Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Five books with terrible monsters that tug on our human heartstrings

Kerstin Hall is a writer and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. She completed her undergraduate studies in journalism at Rhodes University and, as a Mandela Rhodes Scholar, continued with a Masters degree at the University of Cape Town.

Her debut novel, The Border Keeper, is out in July from Tor.com.

At Tor.com Hall tagged "five books featuring monsters that we might still pity as they bite off our ears," including:
The Scar by China Miéville

To be honest, this list could easily be filled with Miéville monstrosities alone. From the contents of the ‘Säcken’ in the short story of the same name, to Yagharek in Perdido Street Station, to the whole menagerie of macabre Remade in the Bas-Lag Trilogy, pitiable and grotesque monsters proliferate in his work. And in The Scar there are the Anophelii.

The Anophelii, or mosquito-people, rose to power as a dominant race during the years of the Malarial Queendom. While their reign of terror was short-lived, the devastation they wrought resulted in their entire species being banished to a small island for the next 2000 years.

Male Anophelii are mute vegetarian scholars. Female Anophelii are ferociously hungry predators with retractable, foot-long proboscises inside their mouths, capable of draining all the blood from their victims within a minute and a half. Everyone is, quite rightly, terrified of them.

And yet, although the mosquito women spend most of their lives starved and blood-crazed, they experience a brief window of lucidity after feeding. Stabbing proboscis aside, their mouths are more similar to a human’s than to males of their own species. But when they attempt to reach out to other people, to communicate, they are immediately met with fear and violence.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Scar is among Fran Wilde's top five books that explore the monstrous.

--Marshal Zeringue