Tag Archives: monsters

Book Review – The Mummy by Anne Rice

The Mummy coverHey look, I finished a book! It’s our first done of the year, with plans to read many more. To be fair, I cheated, by starting this book half a year or more ago… So we’ll see how I do with book number 2!

I picked up Anne Rice’s The Mummy because she’s one of those authors I figured I ought to read, but wasn’t sure where to begin. I had tried to read Interview with the Vampire but didn’t get very far… and there would have been oh-so-much to read after that! A stand-alone novel like this was a much better taste of her writing, and lets me move on to another author’s work next…

As a first thought on the novel – and as an observation that probably applies to much of the rest of Rice’s work – it’s incredibly hard to pin down its genre. The gut reaction is that it’s a monster story – like the Universal monster flicks. However, it’s not really a horror story. It has romantic elements, but isn’t a romance novel. It is placed in a historical moment, but it’s full of alternate history (you know, the living mummy). The only alternate technology is the elixir that gives long life, so not really Steampunk. Kind of fantasy with the immortality, but also like science fiction in that it must have an explanation with modern science… Modern adventure fantasy? Something.

Whatever it is, it’s good.

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Science Fiction Today – The World of Monsters

It’s probably playing Fallout 4, but I’ve been thinking about how many visions of the future, and fantasy stories for that matter, are full of monsters. Monsters in the wild, monsters in space, monsters we become.

Maybe the classic is the Final Fantasy series, with people living in their defended settlements, or just towns, and the countryside, forests, oceans, and everywhere else crawling with monsters. It’s a fact of life.

My first Final Fantasy game was VIII, which is particularly science fictiony. In it, the monsters amass on the moon and actually are brought over spilling into the world in an extreme way. But even before that, you have characters working as monster hunters, protection mercenary forces, and standing armies. All for fighting monsters.

In other stories, you see things like aliens, zombies, and even mutated humans. Heck, we just finished Jessica Jones the other day… Kilgrave is a monster!

But some of my thought is… why? Why do we so expect monsters in the future? Monster aliens, from Ender’s Game  to Doom. Conflicted misunderstood aliens to evil demonspawn. And transformations from mutants to zombies. Monsters in the environment from ones we might expect like wolves, to dragons and more. And that’s before you think of all the Lovecraftian stuff out there…

Is it that monsters make sense to us, that they’re an obvious evil? That they can avoid moral relativism? And then, if you want to make it a complicated story, you just add some moral relativism back in? Black and white, gray, where do monsters fall?

They can also represent our fear of the unknown, our fear of ourselves, our fear of the future. But there are oh, so many of them, when you start thinking of it. Are we that afraid?

Like I said, new way of looking at things. I ran into Super Mutants in Fallout 4, and it got me thinking. That’s after the giant mosquitos, giant scorpions, giant crabs…

Why monsters? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Catching Up: Godzilla

As Holly mentioned yesterday, we got plenty of movie watching in on our flights to and from Australia. I watched a great Australian science fiction film (Predestination) that I am going to talk about later (it comes out in the U.S. January 9th, it looks like – I recommend it!). I also watched a pretty miserable Australian science fiction/comedy called The Infinite Man (which I would NOT call a comedy…), and maybe I’ll talk about that too at some point.

But today I wanted to talk about Godzilla. We had been reluctant to see this film, and with the number of LitFlix we had going in May and June, we just did not make it to see this movie on the big screen. And it’s the sort of movie that probably begs to be seen on a big screen, with big monsters and all… instead we watched it on the tiny, tiny airplane screens. Such is life!

The most obvious comparison is to the 1998 Godzilla, but I can easily say this movie was better, and move on. I think instead I’ll make some less obvious comparisons to the movie, because after all, it’s Comparative Geeks! And because I’m not sure this movie stands on its own in my mind, it makes me think of too many other things. So spoilers ahead for 2014’s Godzilla!

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The Creepy Casefiles of Margo Maloo

Creepy Casefiles of Margo Maloo, copyright of Drew Weing http://www.drewweing.com/

Creepy Casefiles of Margo Maloo, copyright of Drew Weing http://www.drewweing.com/

This week I got introduced to a new webcomic called Creepy Casefiles of Margo Maloo by Drew Weing. It has not been going for very long, it has completed Chapter 1 and has recently started Chapter 2 and updates twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday, so it is easy to catch up at this point. The story itself is incredibly creative. It presents the idea of monsters and other scary creatures as things that are living their own lives with their own motivations. Not inherently evil, but trying to live in this world as much as any of the kids. Margo Maloo is a monster mediator for kids. She gets a call from a kid and shows up to help mediate between the kid and the monster. Now we get to see this through the eyes of a kid who recently moved to the neighborhood and surprisingly discovers a monster in his closet. He ends up calling Margo and the first story that plays out is such a fun adventure.

Some of what I really like about this web comic is how it plays into our fears as a child of a monster under the bed or in the closet, but shows this young girl handling them as easily as you would handle another person. There are rules that they need to abide by and it is not just the monsters that have rules, but there are times that the fault might be with the human. I am looking forward to seeing what monsters we get to meet and where they will be found. (Spoilers for Creepy Casefiles of Margo Maloo) Continue reading

EMP Museum Horror Exhibit, Enter if You Dare

EMP Can't Look Away the Lure of Horror

David and I were in Seattle this weekend and on our last day we ended up at the EMP Museum. The EMP Museum has exhibits about Music, Science Fiction, and Pop Culture. One of the exhibits they had while we were there was about the Lure of Horror. The exhibit was curated by Roger Corman, John Landis, and Eli Roth, three well known Horror directors. The exhibit it self was great because it took you through a few different areas around horror and really tried to explain what made something horror. Not only was it about the information that was presented, but the atmosphere that the exhibited exuded horror movie. Everything about the exhibit brought you into a space that was meant to be unsettling. Continue reading