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Werewolves And Zombies: Old Fantasies, New Fiction

Werewolves, zombies, and the old fantasies — horrors– pouring into new fiction.

The transformation from human into a werewolf is often associated with the appearance of the full moon. (AP)

The transformation from human into a werewolf is often associated with the appearance of the full moon. (AP)

Take a book, put a vampire in it, and it sells.

Or a werewolf. Or a zombie. They are all on the march.

The last Harry Potter film premiered last night in London, with its witches and beasts.

But adult fiction these days is way down the road from tender Harry when it comes to ghouls. Sex and blood and fangs and monstrosity.

What’s it all about? What’s brought the monsters back from the deep and onto the bestseller lists?

We’ve got the author of The Last Werewolf with us this hour. And of Zombie Autopsies.

This hour On Point: Werewolves, zombies and the old monsters pouring into new fiction.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Glen Duncan, author of “The Last Werewolf.” You can find an excerpt of the book here.

Steven Schlozman, author of “The Zombie Autopsies.” He is also a practicing doctor of child and adolescent psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Alexandra Alter, arts and cultural reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

 

From Tom’s Reading List:

Reviews of “The Last Werewolf”

Reviews of “The Zombie Autopsies”

Steven Schlozman, author of “The Zombie Autopsies,” reads up on his new book, before heading into the On Point studio. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Steven Schlozman, author of “The Zombie Autopsies,” reads up on his new book, before heading into the On Point studio. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

More:

This hour, we’ll hear:

  • “The Wolfman” The Real Tuesday Weld
  • “Me and Mr. Wolf” The Real Tuesday Weld
  • “(I Always Kill) The Things I Love” The Real Tuesday Weld
  • “The Lupine Waltz” The Real Tuesday Weld
  • “Zombie” The Cranberries
  • “Hedwig’s Theme” John Williams
  • “Werewolves of London” Warren Zevon

 

Here is a video for “The Last Werewolf.”

Here is a video for “The Zombie Autopsies.”

Excerpt:
The Zombie Autopsies
By Steven Schlozman

UNITED NATIONS OUTPOST
Highly Confidential Memo
25 January 2013

The enclosed documents are highly classified. They
are exact replicas of the recently recovered handwritten
notes of Dr. Stanley Blum, the last scientist sent to
the United Nations Sanctuary for the study of ANSD
and “zombie” biology. After careful examination, World
Health Organization and United Nations officials have
reason to believe that these writings may contain groundbreaking
data regarding the nature of the ANSD pathogen.
Furthermore, it is possible that this information
represents both a key to a viable cure, as well as the most
definitive evidence to date that the ANSD virus was
artificially manufactured— human made — and therefore did
not occur naturally. The importance of these potential
conclusions cannot be overstated.

One- third of humanity has perished from the plague.
Two point three billion people have died, and countless
more are quickly moving toward the final stages of disease.
There is reason to believe that in a short time nearly
everyone on Earth will be infected. The virus continues
to spread exponentially, and all attempts at a vaccine or a
cure have failed. Scientific and industrial infrastructure is
rapidly faltering. Early attempts at controlling the spread
of disease via nuclear and non- nuclear incineration have
left the planet in an ecologically fragile state. Current
computer models suggest that civilization can only survive
for approximately another decade before we face total
destruction. These are indeed dire times. The information
in this journal may very well represent our last hope.1

BACKGROUND

Zombie Autopsies by Steven Schlozman

Zombie Autopsies by Steven Schlozman

Less than three years ago, the idea that a “zombie
plague” would threaten all of humanity was preposterous.
Indeed, the very nature of this claim prevented
swift and decisive action from the world community.
Nevertheless, “zombie” is arguably the most recognizable
term for those who have been infected with ANSD
and have reached the fourth stage of the disease.
Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome
(ANSD), the internationally accepted diagnostic
term for what is more commonly referred to as zombiism,
continues to spread unabated. While some islands remain
disease free, ANSD is otherwise present on every major
landmass. Most of the governed world is under martial
law. The signs and symptoms of the disease are universally
known, but the disease itself appears both indestructible
and untreatable.

In July 2012, the United Nations established a study
site on the island of Bassas da India in the Indian Ocean.
The official charter for this site called for a laboratory setting
where the world community could focus its efforts on
the scientific study of ANSD, including anatomic explorations
of zombies themselves, as well as molecular investigations
of the presumed contagion. This site is formally
known as the United Nations Sanctuary and Study Site
(UNSaSS) but is more commonly referred to at the UN
bunkers as the Crypt. Those who volunteer to participate
in the work on the island understand that a return to the
bunkers is not permitted and scientists started referring to
the site as the Crypt in an effort to acknowledge the blunt
reality of their important and difficult tasks.
On 11 November 2012, the UN received its last
message from the Crypt. The message was a radio transmission,
and, as with most digital communications, the
content was badly garbled due to nuclear interference. It
is important to note that we had not received any e-mail
contact from the island for some time, and the voice message
was received over a little- used commercial satellite
frequency. Voice analysis has suggested with reasonable
certainty that the communication was from Dr. Blanca
Gutierrez, who was at that time the resident microbiologist
on the island. After significant digital analysis, the
message reads as follows:

Status . . . gent. Hype . . . . . . . . new. Diff . . . virus.
Vaccine . . . ble

An international group of scientists, policy makers,
epidemiologists, and ethicists has theorized that Gutierrez
had new information regarding a viable vaccine.
It is unclear whether “hype” refers to “hyper” (a possible
acceleration of disease progression) or, more likely, to the
hypothalamus, a region of the brain oddly not affected
by ANSD infection. The “-ble” suffi x at the end is consistent
with words such as “possible,” “viable,” or, conversely,
“impossible.” We are fairly certain that “gent” is most consistent
with the word “urgent.”

No further communications were received, and
attempts to communicate with the island were unsuccessful.
At that time, UN records show that Gutierrez’s team
included Dr. James Pittman, a Canadian anatomist and
medical illustrator; Dr. Anita Gupta, a leading virologist
from Delhi; as well as three military attachés. There were
also an unspecifi ed number of infected humanoids in the
holding facility.

On 14 November 2012, a team of three individuals was
sent to investigate the Crypt in an attempt to regain contact
with Gutierrez and her colleagues. Dr. Sarah Johnson,
a Scottish neurobiologist and expert in viral brain infections;
Dr. Jose Martinez, the chief forensic pathologist for
the former New York City; and Dr. Stanley Blum,2 a neurodevelopmental
biologist with the United States Centers
for Disease Control (CDC), were selected for the mission.
While Drs. Martinez and Johnson were chosen for their scientific expertise,
Blum’s orders were to record the findings of
the team and to ensure that these findings were reviewed by
scientists in the international ANSD research community.
All three set out in separate automated transport
planes programmed to bypass the security apparatus at
the UNSaSS. Unfortunately, only Dr. Blum arrived safely
on the island. After an automated transmission from Dr.
Blum signaling his arrival, communication with the island
was lost altogether.

At that time, ANSD experts felt the risk of further
exploration of the Crypt was too great. Researchers on the
island were genetically manipulating the virus, and ANSD
experts were consequently reluctant to potentially release
an even more dangerous form of the contagion from the
sterile confines of the study site. However, as already
noted, world conditions continued to rapidly deteriorate.
The decision was therefore made to pursue excavations
of the Crypt with the primary goal of understanding the
final transmission from Gutierrez.

After extensive precautions, the study site was thoroughly
investigated for seven days, 8– 15 January 2013.
Three of the seven surveyors have since died from ANSD,
and the remaining four have all shown signs of progressive
infection. We are grateful for the courage and sacrifice
made by those who conducted the surveillance.
Surveyor 3, Captain Amy McBride of the elite British
Special Boat Service, was among the first to succumb to
Stage IV disease while on the island. As protocol dictated,
she was fatally shot by members of the surveillance team.

Although she had collected only limited data onto her
hard drive, the team failed to search her personal belongings,
presumably in their efforts to quickly sterilize the
body for transportation back to the UN base. She was frozen
in liquid nitrogen and sealed in an automated marine
transport unit. Navigational malfunctions prevented the
remains of Captain McBride from arriving at the docking
station until last week. Upon arrival, the handwritten
laboratory notes of Dr. Stanley Blum were discovered in
her backpack.

Dr. Blum’s writings are presented here in preparation
for tomorrow’s meeting. His journal, as noted, is handwritten,
and he and Dr. Pittman made extensive sketches and
diagrams to document their work. The final pages
of his notebook are frustratingly unclear, and physicians
here speculate that he was traumatized as well as suffering
from the cognitive effects of the treatments used to slow
progression of ANSD toward zombiism.

The standard of care for treatment of ANSD infection
remains an artifi cially induced increase in human pH.
This technique was fi rst described by Blanca Gutierrez
and has been referred to as the Gutierrez protocol. Unfortunately,
the effects of these measures create a number of
signifi cant neurological side effects that ironically mimic
the cognitive decline consistent with full zombie status.
Thus, it is unclear why Blum’s cognitive state appears to
decline throughout his notebook. He was either suffering
from the effects of the Gutierrez protocol or was in fact
slowly moving toward zombie status.

Nevertheless, it is possible that careful examination of
this material will yield crucial answers. Most important,
when Gutierrez left for the Crypt, she was already pursuing
a theory that ANSD spread when it combined with
still- unidentifi ed additional infectious agents. If those
agents could be detected, then there was a much greater
likelihood of creating a viable cure. She therefore intended
to pursue her theory by examination of infected humanoids
while looking for additional pathogens.

These investigations had not yet been pursued by
scientists at the Crypt or anywhere else, and Gutierrez
insisted that she go herself. She felt strongly that investigations
would have to be thorough and that fi ndings from
previous autopsies would need to be selectively discarded.
Her expertise in molecular biology, microbiology, and
vaccine development made her especially well suited for
the position, though her commitment also meant that she
would expire on the island. Thus, her efforts were both
heroic and potentially scientifi cally groundbreaking. She
asked that Dr. Anita Gupta join her as a co-investigator in
this project, given Gupta’s expertise in viral infections of
the brain.

While Blum’s journal documents Gutierrez’s fate, we
remain somewhat unsure how Blum himself expired. We
are relatively confi dent that the decomposed body in the
infi rmary described by the surveyors was Blum’s. Unfortunately,
digital images of the site obtained by the surveyors
are badly distorted by electromagnetic interference. Computer
reconstruction teams are working to create interpretable
images, but at the current time we have only the
debriefings from the remaining surveyors, and none has
the cognitive capacity to offer reasonable explanations.
The ANSD Working Group has elected to prepare
this written briefi ng in order to maximize the work at
tomorrow’s meeting. Many of their annotations in the following
notebooks will be rudimentary for the scientists
on the panel, but it is important that all who see this
material be able to participate as effectively as possible in
the discussion.

We must not lose hope. One- third of humanity remains.
It is fair to note that tomorrow’s meeting is among the
most important gatherings in human history. If there are
questions, do not hesitate to contact your facilitator.
Good luck.

1. In addition to new material, the following documents contain background
information intended to brief the fourteen new representatives who have
recently arrived at the UN compound. The WHO and the UN regret the
contamination that necessitated the removal of those with Stage IV infection
in last month’s breach. Precautions have been taken to prevent further
infectious incidents. Early identifi cation protocols remain in effect.

2. Many will recall that Dr. Blum was central in the research and diplomatic
endeavors resulting in the seminal paper on ANSD published in
August 2011. Prior to the completion of that manuscript, there was ongoing
debate in the international community about the extent to which scientists
understood or were prepared for the pandemic. Blum’s diplomatic efforts
brought together an international team of ANSD experts, succinctly
described the history of the outbreak, and made clear the need for urgent
attention to the rapidly developing crisis.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Anonymous

    Wouldn’t a zombie autopsy be vivisection?  Call People for the Ethical Treatment of Zombies!

  • Cory

    I’d rather live in a world overrun by zombies than one overrun by conservative republicans.

    • Mark S.

      How exactly would you know the difference?  Wait.  What’s that in the distance the sound of banjoes and feet shuffling this way!  Must be a Teabaggers’ convention.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

    The obsession with super-natural monsters is a reflection of the incapacity of most folks to deal with the very real sociopaths who have over run this country.

    • Mark S.

      The best description of teabaggers and evangelicals I’ve heard yet!

  • Anonymous

    I am tired of mainstream writers and critics suddenly “discovering” genre fiction. There are plenty of great science fiction and fantasy writers out there. On Point is doing a disservice to the depth of writers out there when you simply pay attention to the mainstream writers who decide to set food in genre.

    • FWeiss

      Jan,

      I completely agree with you (see my post above).  This hasn’t been the first time NPR (& New York Book Review) has focused on the mainstreaming & discovery of genre fiction, not to mention graphic novels.  And it won’t be the last.  This is not a new discussion.

      While it can get tiresome when reviewers, reporters & critics express an “oh gee, werewolves & zombies are so catchy!” mentality, mainstream authors have dipped into the field since the beginning of literature, any press can be advantageous to increasing readership & sales.  As you said, there are far greater genre writers; however, some people will start with popular writers & will move into writers who explore the genre more in depth.

      I did find it funny that they said Margaret Atwood has explored fantasy recently.  When did Atwood NOT write fantasy?

      • Anonymous

        I look forward to seeing you at Readercon. I’ll be attached to my service dog Byron, fluffy little guy with a blue service dog vest.

        • FWeiss

          Jan, you’re the one with the Kees? 

          You started me thinking about eventually adopting & training a service dog (Keeshonden are one of breeds that I’m considering), once I’m ready. :-P

      • Fuaim_Catha

        I think it’s safe to say Atwood writes science fiction or “speculative fiction” if you prefer.  I don’t think she’s written anything you could classify as fantasy, though.  …Unless you count the pulp story within the story of the Bilnd Assassin.
        I’ve heard her argue (even recently) that she couldn’t write fantasy or science-fantasy if she wanted to.

  • Dh001g

    Which song was the intro music? That was the best Onpoint intro ever!

  • Marion

    There’s a long history of milder sci-fi and fantasy, too… JM Barrie’s “Mary Rose” (on  a theme similar to his “Peter Pan” ) is playing in Sudbury, MA on July 15 & 16: http://www.sudburysavoyards.org/shows/2011_mary_rose/index.html

  • Anonymous

    I just called in to the show. I wanted to say that this genre of fiction has gone on for a long time. And they said “we will not have time to get to your call” and hung up.

  • Dh001g

    What about “Grendel” by John Gardner? or even “Beowulf” itself. Monsters make great metaphors.

  • Bill Ramsay

    I have a different take on why this happening. The traditional literary novel is dying – or maybe is already dead. How many times can you read about failed marriages, dysfunctional families, druggy heroes, etc, without barfing. People are looking for interesting stories not angst.

  • Puyao

    It’s telling of the times that a respected Harvard professor and psychiatrist will probably be better remembered for his book on zombies than his academic work

  • http://silverimagelimited.com/Silverimagelimited_3.1/ENTER_2.html Alexander Thompson

    My take is that earlier than Van Helsing (the film) and this idea that Werewolves are self aware, there was a darker terror of the Werewolf who had only dark suspicions of its own nature. And the beast which never posessed an intellect above that of a menacing flesh eater. I can’t swallow the attempt to add continuity to the life of the Werewolf.

  • Craig V

    These creatures are truly immortal, transcending the generations.

  • Dharrigan

    Anout 40 yrs ago a history professor at Wayne state U, said that when the world, reality becomes confusing and people need answers they turn to reliving,philosophy, or magic, but most of the time in history man turns to magic.

  • Darryl

    I’ve got to mention the work of Terry Pratchett and his Discworld Series.  Pratchett was the largest selling author in Great Britain prior to JK Rowling (and she, in my opinion, owes much to him). 

    The Discworld has it all; humans, vampires, witches, wizards (inhabitting with a university), werewolves, zombies, golems and more.  Too few Americans are familiar with Pratchett’s work, but if you haven’t read him, you owe it to yourself to.  

  • Joe

    Airborne zombie infection makes me think of the cordyceps on the Planet Earth documentary and how they affected ants and other insects. 

  • Brett

    “…love is more than a meal” That’s a good line…I was gonna say I saw a werewolf walking down the street…and his hair was perfect, but I won’t! I shan’t!!

  • Connie

    When I was a child in the forties, the father of one of my neighbor friends would gather us all up and take us to movies–sometimes horror movies. The only horror movie I remember at all focused on zombies. It was weeks before I wouldn’t let anyone turn off the hall light at night! My mother never allowed me to go to another horror movie. I have stuck with this prohibition. To this day, vampires and werewolves bore me, but the thought of zombies still terrifies me.

    • Connie

      Excuse me for replying to my own post: the third sentence should have read “It was weeks before I would let anyone turn off the hall light at night!”

  • FWeiss

    I’ve been reading ‘literary’ fantasy since I was a very young reading the Bunnicula books (by James Howe) & Kton-Ton (Jewish Tom Thumb) to when I was 9 yrs old reading “The Crystal Cave” trilogy by Mary Stewart to the time when I first read “Little, Big” (by John Crowley).

    (some of my favorite childhood films: Pete’s Dragon, Escape to Witch Mountain, Whoever Slew Auntie Roo & Trolls (the are trolls in it & the original Harry Potter) reflect this interest in blurring fantasy & needs of fictional humans & animals struggling some realistic concerns) 

    For me, literary fantasy isn’t a new genre.  Every year, I go to ‘Readercon’ in Massachusetts which focuses on literary fantasy & scifi, magic realism & slipstream fiction.  In order to capture my interest & pull me into the field, my intellectual, spiritual/magical & visceral arenas need to be tapped & challenged.  I find that they tap into my inner self & I connect to this subgenre more than “realistic fiction”.  Literary fantasy is more aware than “realistic fiction” of the roots of fiction as there are no qualms & is more comfortable being fiction.

    “Don Quixoite”  (Cervantes) poked fun of the “rational” perspective of reading fiction & following pulp, serialised chapters in early circulated papers.  There was no differentiation between “realistic fiction” & “fantasy fiction”, rather the splitting fiction into catagories was developed as a marketing strategy which resulted in reader’s identification of what she/he would read or not read.

    The term literary fantasy as well as slipstream literature (which is the incorporation of fantasy into mainstream literature & mainstream authors exploring the fantasy genre) has been a subject of debate at Readercon for years.  There are mixed opinions about the increase of this trend; this is partially due to some elitest perspectives of those of us who are drawn to literary fantasy (& historical literary fantasy) that are most appreciated by those of us who read at a college (or beyond) level (whereas fiction that isn’t considered literary is often between a 3rd & 5th grade reading level), comprehend inside information & allusions & have an academic background of historical, scientific, psychological information & folklore & fairy tales.  With the incorporation of these elements, this often limits the reader audience (Readercon attendance is small in comparison to Arisia as Arisia includes fiction & movies that don’t require a certain level of  academic background, comprehending abstract concepts & understanding symbolism & references that may be obtuse to the general public. 

    One of the ideas is that while literary fantasy & nongenre writers dipping into the field & gaining exposure for this on platforms such as NPR, we can increase readership from the well-read public that have high level of expectations for their escapist adventures & exploration of societal issues.  While I have always had a love for fantasy (and ”steampunk” & Victorian/Edwardian literature/art/architecture/fashion), I did go through a phase of eschewing fantasy in thinking that I was “too mature & educated” to read fantasy until I realised what I was missing.  Through magic realism, I rediscovered the value of (literary) fantasy.

    Thus, the field continues to expand to incorporate a growing readership, even if it is just due to a repackaging of the pre-existing field & a push from publishing P.R.s & marketing strategy to pull in more readers.  I anticipate that every few years there will be a revisitation by NPR & similar platforms that ‘literary fantasy’ & ‘literary horror’ has continue to explode into the mainstream.  We can only hope that this saturation doesn’t dilute the field & erradicate the definition & why authors & readers were originally were drawn to the field in the first place (can we say “steampunk”?). 

  • http://safaalai.com Safa

    In a world where religion is on the decline and science has pinned human beings as soulless computers, these novels fill our need for the supernatural, for the something beyond scientific empirical nothingness.   But why monsters?  Because we are grappling with the ugliness of reality while yearning for the something beyond and transcending our every day lives.

  • Duncan Eagleson

    Coming into the discussion belatedly…

    I’d agree with jan_dumas and FWeiss, in fact, I’d take it a step further.

    As a reader, I resent Glen Duncan’s cavalier attitude about “research” for his book.  Sure, there’s no “werewolf academy,” and the sound byte makes for a good cheap joke.  But there does exist a rather extensive body of literature dealing with the werewolves.  It seems to me it behooves any author taking on a new subject to familiarize themselves with what’s been done with that subject by previous authors.  How do you avoid the tired old cliches and re-inventing the wheel, if you haven’t looked at the field?

    This is often the problem when “literary” writers approach genre subjects.  Because they tend to have a condescending attitude toward the genre ghetto, it never occurs to them to read deeply (or at all) in the existing literature, and so they advance “fresh, original” takes on the subject matter that are about as fresh and new as those rotting zombies stumbling out of the graveyard.  They retread tropes that have been done to death, introduce plot twists that the genre reader sees coming a mile away, and often bring nothing new to the table except their name and the attendant “respectability.”

    (Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” being a perfect example.  Widely touted as startlingly original, for anyone who has read a few dystopian post-apocalyptic SF books, there’s nothing at all original in it except the lack of quotation marks – it’s all been done before, and in some cases, done better.  McCarthy is clearly a good writer, if he had bothered to read a few of those books, he might have avoided the cliches, and done something really original.)

    Sure, there’s lots of trash published under the auspices of genre.  There are also thoughtful, competent, talented, and even profound authors tilling the genre fields.  There are plenty of genre books that deserve only to be recycled, but there are also others that deserve the recognition of a wider audience, that have some substance to them, that are “about” ideas more than thrills, chills, and plot devices.  The one advantage to having literary writers dabble in genre is that it sometimes brings the attention that will get some of the genre authors the wider recognition they deserve.

    Literary types considering slumming in the genre pool ought at least to read SFWA’s Turkey City Lexicon, which lists the most comonly overused genre tropes and devices, so they can avoid writing a book that’s swimming in cliches (the Lexicon is oriented to science fiction, but covers tired old fantasy and horror tropes as well).

    I was excited and interested to hear the lead-in to this program, but was sorely disappointed in the program itself.  Though acknowledging the long history of genre and the relatively recent development of the line between “literary” and “genre” works, both Mr. Ashbrook and Mr. Duncan seem to take a condescending and patronizing attitude towards those authors who have chosen genre as their primary metier, an unfair and undeserved attitude which does disservice not only to these writers, but to themselves and their respective readers and listeners.

  • sholem

    Zombies (or a zombie apocolypse) force us to confront our own mortality in one of the scariest ways imaginable – your world and loved ones are not only dead but constantly in your face trying to eat you. As terrifying as it is, that latter bit prompts you to fight for your existance and humanity – it revvs you up instead of depressing you.

     It also allows the characters to act out their frustrations and aggressions on an enemy that is no longer human without feeling much guilt. You can find common ground with werewolves and vampires, but it’s tough to identify with zombies, except maybe how you feel on Monday mornings.

    The zombie apocolypse genre also challenges us to ask ourselves how we would respond to the situation. In a world where almost everyone has been transformed into the antithesis of human and the incarnate of death, how would we go about holding on to our humanity and working to rebuild? Do we retain human decency or give in to chaos?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brennan-Moriarty/100000655771831 Brennan Moriarty

    Tom, and all the Guests are awsome.
    The Lost Boys was filmed in my home town-county, Santa Cruz Calif, the vampire capital of the world, when I was still 16 yrs old -I’v been too virtually every location in that movie [mostly private] and by coincidence only.
    I think the Monster Mash is a combination of what’s in the punch… “denominated” by a sociological[geo-history::;, or disposable-insanity] of Alien still-beating Quetzal-Twilight Saga… normativity as a vehicle of Justice in phantacie;:; or travesty [whatever...looks human but poli-culturally bites...]
    The Readers enjoy the Soup, but the writters seek the rare ingredients and twists of the roast,- just try to Escape now!, huh?
    The thing about taking a Zombie to the Emergency Room for Medical assistance is Politically infeasible, War! of hearts and Brains… keep all emotion bound, only the heart throb teens; Political-police[inc DR's$]; and the Monster/creature Himself can see what is and what WON’T Bee~ resolved.
    Every world [geography] has it’s conspiracies, hunger and defects. If you don’t tip the scales!!! [denominator de-conspire {the bends} disarm] the Monsters or emotion will just keep coming—
    in a degenerative/intoxicated/LOST refraction. [Betelguse!]

  • Tengberg75

    I’m not sure that the question why monsters are hot properties “again” is a valid one since they have always been popular, even though they weren’t necessarily part of the “mainstream”, a term that should be extinct by now since eventually everything becomes mainstream in the end.  It’s just a case of new readers discovering monsters, or old readers re-discovering a genre that in the past may have been looked down upon, much like the superhero genre.  But I agree that the role of the monster in society changes and that s/he can be many things to many people.  I believe, for example, that werewolves aren’t good or evil; just victims of circumstance.  No one sets out to be a werewolf, unlike vampires in some cases.  In a way they can be portrayed as a tragic hero of sorts.

  • Gerald Fnord

    “Life would be so much simpler.”

    Yup, you have to scrounge for food and fend off a fate worse than death, but at least it isn’t _alienate_ labour.

    • Gerald Fnord

      Duh—”alienate”–>”alienated”.

  • http://profiles.google.com/atom.fullerene Adam Fuller

    Glad to see the literary fiction types step out of the unneeded constraints of straight up realism

    • http://www.thehistoryofthings.com g. martinez cabrera

      I agree with this completely.  In large part because as a writer who both strives for quality and who incorporates the magical, I feel it’s really hard to find a place in the sun. 

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  • http://www.amazon.com/TwiLITE-A-Parody-ebook/dp/B005AJN7AQ/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1310965420&sr=1-2 Ttttterry

    Let’s just hope that the “Twilight” generation driving much of the increased popularity of this genre will grow to appreciate the more literary offerings. I think there’s hope for that. After being astounded by just how bad “Twilight” was, I wrote a parody (“TwiLITE A Parody by Sue Knott…originally available only at scribd.com, but now also on kindle) designed to open fans’ eyes…and to my surprise, it worked. I received scores of comments from “Twilight” fans indicating they not only laughed (okay, they LOLed), they “got the message.” (By and large, they still claimed to adore “Twilight,” but at least they were begining to recognize why they shouldn’t.)

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ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 18, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a nationally televised question-and-answer session in Moscow on Thursday, April 17, 2014. President Vladimir Putin has urged an end to the blockade of Moldova’s separatist province of Trans-Dniester. Trans-Dniester, located in eastern part of Moldova on border with Ukraine, has run its own affairs without international recognition since a 1992 war. Russian troops are stationed there.  (AP)

Deadly clashes in Eastern Ukraine. A white supremacist rocks Kansas City. The Marathon bombing anniversary. And Bloomberg on guns. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Apr 18, 2014
This undated photo provided by NASA on April 2, 2014 shows Saturn's moon Enceladus. The "tiger stripes" are long fractures from which water vapor jets are emitted. Scientists have uncovered a vast ocean beneath the icy surface of the moon, they announced Thursday, April 3, 2014. Italian and American researchers made the discovery using Cassini, a NASA-European spacecraft still exploring Saturn and its rings 17 years after its launch from Cape Canaveral. (AP)

Oceans in Space. The new discovery on a moon of Saturn, and the possibility of life there.

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Apr 17, 2014
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men burn leavened items in final preparation for the Passover holiday in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish town of Bnei Brak, near Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday, April 14, 2014. Jews are forbidden to eat leavened foodstuffs during the Passover holiday that celebrates the biblical story of the Israelites' escape from slavery and exodus from Egypt. (AP)

In the week of Passover and anti-Semitic gunfire, we look at the history of the Jews with acclaimed historian Simon Schama. Plus, Pope Francis and the Catholic Church today.

 
Apr 17, 2014
Students cheer and wave as President Barack Obama, not pictured, exits the podium after speaking at the University at Buffalo, in Buffalo, N.Y., Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, beginning his two day bus tour speaking about college financial aid.  (AP)

The inside dope on college financial aid. The way it really works, who gets what, and how.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Space moon oceans, Gabriel García Márquez and the problems with depressing weeks in the news. Also: important / unnecessary infographics that help explain everyone’s favorite 1980′s power ballad.

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Some Tools And Tricks For College Financial Aid
Thursday, Apr 17, 2014

Some helpful links and tools for navigating FAFSA and other college financial aid tools.

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How Boston Is Getting Ready For the 2014 Boston Marathon
Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014

Boston Globe metro reporter Maria Cramer explains how the 2014 Boston Marathon will be different than races in the past.

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