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Sunday, October 3, 2010


In preparation for chapter 8 (East of Eden), an introductory "podcast" (yep, I'm going to do it!), the and discussion on the woman who began as Cathy Ames, I need your input on MONSTERS.

Classic monsters, but not by category--vampires, werewolves, zombies, Inferno, etcetera--I mean specific, individual monsters with names.  These can be from movies, they can be from books, they can be from comic books, songs, folk tales, family, whatever. 

some generic image of Grendel I found
There is one specific type of monster (though all monsters are needed!) I'm looking to focus on (the others I need for contrast's sake):

The TRICKSTER.  In Native American folklore, he's often called Coyote.  In European folklore and tales, he's often labeled Puck.  The problem I have with Puck--or pucks in general--is their general lack of deep malice.  The best example I can think of is Coyote himself, from Chabon's Summerland.  On the other end, there is Grendel, from Beowulf (from which a terribly awesome book, Grendel, was written by John Gardner).

The trickster is a liar.  A Father-of-all-Lies kind of character.  Who lies just to lie, or just to mess people up, or because it screws things up and that what he loves most.  Screwing things up. 

So, Folks, I need a LIST.  Monsters, people.  Movie fans, book fans, aficionados of horror:  Monsters.  Comment with the names of monsters.

And don't forget to sign up as follower and get your picture over there.  I'm doing a drawing soon.  That means free stuff, and as well all know:  FREE STUFF GOOD.


  1. My favorite monster from all of the books I've read is the Jachyra from the Wishsong of Shannara. It is hairless, red skinned, highly muscular, and walks hunched over, but not on all fours, and it is quick and very mobile. It also has sharp tusks. The coolest thing about it though, is that it feeds off of its own pain. As it suffers, it gets stronger. So essentially, to kill it, you have to do it in one feel swoop. I should look up the chapters in Wishsong of Shannara, so you cna read about it.

  2. Robert, that'd be awesome if you could find the quotation. He sounds a little bit like a dementor, only more--MONSTER. Is there a force or character pulling the Jachyra's strings? They're usually more of the TRICKSTER stuff.

  3. Gollum.

    You could debate whether he is a "monster", but looking back through all of my recently consumed media, the "trickster" monster is not a monster, but more a person who has been corrupted.

  4. You're right, Stephen, and that's exactly the point I'm leading up to. This lady, Cathy Ames, though ostensibly human, is referred to very pointedly as a monster by the narrator and others in East of Eden. And isn't a monster who does not look monstrous the most dangerour kind?

  5. First off, you'll forgive me for not being up on classic literature. As Nickie will tell you (though in a more sarcastic way), I "don't read fiction."
    As a classicist, the first monster that came to mind was the Medusa, but reading further I see you want tricksters. For that, my friend, look no further than the future (enter geek): Q! If ever there was a trickster god it is John de Lancie's character of Q from Star Trek The Next Generation. Dunno if you're a Trekkie or not, but if you need more info, let me know.

  6. How about the description of Satan in Job? He has no clear motivation other than screwing things up and proving that Job isn't any better than anyone else. It's kind of an interesting portrayal of the arbitrariness of some forms of evil. It reminds me of a quote from "The Dark Knight," (which I thought was good, but slightly over-rated, probably because people love them some comics).

    This is from the Internet Movie Database:

    Alfred Pennyworth: A long time ago, I was in Burma, my friends and I were working for the local government. They were trying to buy the loyalty of tribal leaders by bribing them with precious stones. But their caravans were being raided in a forest north of Rangoon by a bandit. So we went looking for the stones. But in six months, we never found anyone who traded with him. One day I saw a child playing with a ruby the size of a tangerine. The bandit had been throwing them away.
    Bruce Wayne: Then why steal them?
    Alfred Pennyworth: Because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

  7. If this is actual literary material, you may have brought redeeming social value to my middle school years. :) Also, these synopses don't do it justice. To really understand, you should watch the episodes. They're available free streaming on startrek.com. You have to create an account to do it.
    Further info: http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/Q

    This is going to be a series of posts because the whole thing (3 pages in Word) violates the 4096 character limit. (good thing I don't have to do this on Twitter).

  8. Okay, the Trekkie comes out…

    Q is an omnipotent being who plays games with the crew of the USS Enterprise. But they often have a point. Episode by episode:

    “Encounter at Farpoint” Q is the primary antagonist in the pilot episode of the series. He put the crew of the Enterprise on trial for the crimes of humanity. Captain Picard demands that Q not judge humanity on its past, but on the present actions of his crew. Q watches as they try to solve the mystery of Farpoint Station, dropping little clues along the way. They figure it out, and Q lets them go, but not without promising to continue watching.

    “Hide and Q” Q returns and places the crew of the Enterprise in the midst of wargames with aliens dressed in Napoleonic uniforms. In the midst of the game, he gives the first officer, Commander Riker, the opportunity to have the powers of the Q, which he can then use to remove his crew from the game. He accepts, but only after Wesley, a young member of the bridge crew, is killed. He revives Wesley, returns everyone to the ship, and they go on their way. Captain Picard make Riker promise not to use these new powers, and Riker agrees, because they are too dangerous. He is then placed in a situation where he could save the life of a small child, but cannot because of the promise. Afterward, he decides to renege on the promise, and tries to give all of his crewmates and friends their fondest wishes, but they turn them down because they come from Q. Because of this, Riker understands that the powers of the Q, while all-encompassing, are not without faults. He gives the powers up.

  9. “Q Who?” Q tries to convince Captain Picard that he should be a member of the Enterprise crew. He proves this by tossing them halfway across the galaxy and introducing them to the Borg, a species with no redeeming qualities who is bent assimilating everything into their collective.

    “Déjà Q” Q arrives on the Enterprise claiming to have been ousted from the Q Continuum for his mischief. He has decided to be human because “in all the galaxy, Jean-Luc [Picard], you are the closest thing I have to a friend.” They cautiously allow him to remain on board, teaching him what it is to be human, only to discover that a number of people (and whole species) are out to get Q now that they have discovered that he is mortal. The Enterprise protects Q from certain death. Q, realizing that his enemies will destroy the Enterprise to get to him, takes a shuttle with the intention of allowing them to kill him, but saving the ship. Picard tries to pull back the shuttle, but the whole scene is stopped when another Q intervenes and, recognizing that Q has performed a selfless act that casts a shadow on the Continuum’s judgment, restores his powers.

    “QPid” Q puts the crew of the Enterprise in the midst of the Robin Hood tale (this episode came out the same year as Prince of Thieves), with Picard as Robin Hood and a recurring love interest of his as Maid Marion. The purpose of this (according to Q) is to show Picard that he is weak when it comes to the fairer sex. Q intends to show that Picard is willing to risk his crew to save the life of one woman, but he goes alone and the crew follows to help him of their own volition (the crew is, of course, the Merry Men).

    “Tapestry” This episode tells the story of an event in Picard’s Academy days that led to him having an artificial heart, which appears to be the cause of his death later on. Q gives Picard the opportunity to replay this moment, to avoid being stabbed and needing the artificial heart, and to see how this would affect the rest of his life. Picard finds that avoiding that one risk causes him to fear risk for the rest of his life and he does not achieve the great things that he had. With this realization, he convinces Q to put things back the way they were.

    “All Good Things…” The final episode of the series brings us back to the beginning. Q is yanking Picard back and forth through time to give him the information he needs to prove that humanity is not the “dangerous, savage, child-race” that the Q Continuum believes them to be. In the seven years since Farpoint, Q has not been able to convince them not to destroy humanity, but now Picard has been given a final chance to redeem his species. Q can only help from the sidelines, and it sometimes looks as though he’s not helping at all, but in the end, humanity is saved.

  10. Chrissie: Awesome. Thank you. There's no better answer than the detailed one (and ask Nickie, I mean it).

    James: Satan is the ultimate trickster. Perfect quotation as well. Good fodder for the pending podcast.

    Nickie: elaborate!

  11. Yeah, I would like to see more about the Julia comment, too, because I view her more as a symbol of lust/love (or even more broadly, human emotion not directed toward the state) that threatens Big Brother than any monster. But I'm willing to be persuaded.

  12. Am now following. Glad I could help. :)


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