The raptor recently pointed me to this blog by EsoterX, which is an incredibly detailed, well written and entertaining look at various monsters in folklore, literature, modern society and science. Seriously, start reading. It explains (amongst other things) why squirrels are evil, single dimensions are terrifying and catfish are power-hungry.
One of the recent blogs made a point which, whilst not new, got me thinking:
They are nocturnal, which bothers us as we are not. In fact, we are so fond of the sun, that our monsters typically can only find gainful employment at night.
You can’t see it, so what you’re afraid of is the thing you can’t see rather than the thing itself. Your brain supplies fear through ignorance. When writing monsters, then, less is definitely more. It’s an understood thing in horror – Beowulf, Lovecraft, etc, etc – but modern fantasy writers tend to like putting in the details of their carefully built world, and detail kills the monster before the hero gets anywhere near it.
There’s lots more to say on this subject, but I’m going to come back to it later for two reasons. One – I hurt myself at the weekend and have spent most of today sitting in A&E, so I need to get on with some work, and two – there’s more than enough interesting content on EsoterX’s blog to keep you guys entertained for a few hours. Enjoy!