You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?
Dr. Peter Watts
is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials
, heartbreaking eulogies
, and agonizing run-ins with fascists
) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting
science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed
2006 novel Blindsight [full text]
-- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room
, the Philosophical Zombie
, Chernoff faces
, and the myriad quirks and blind spots
that haunt the human mind.
's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew
, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism
), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section
, tomorrow will see the release of
Dumbspeech State of Grace Echopraxia [website]
, the long-delayed
"sidequel" depicting parallel events on Earth. Want more? Look inside for a guide to the rest of Watts' award-winning (and provocative) body of work. [more inside]
The gals at Anglo-Filles have an entertaining (and epicly long) talk about the history of Dracula and vampires as characters and symbols throughout the ages and throughout fiction
- topics discussed include Varney The Vampire, The Vienna Vampire Scare, Where Does Sunlight Killing Vampires Come From, The Secret Spanish Dracula, and Jonathan Harker As An Abuse Survivor.
Deadly Asian giant hornets
- aka Vespa mandarinia
- kill at least 41 people in China
. Hundreds more have been hospitalized by these 2+ inch beasts with a sting that packs a human-tissue dissolving neurotoxin. Survivor stories
are terrifying. Think you are safe in the U.S. or Britain? Nope
. (via @BitterOldPunk
is an annual, one-night tournament of monsters competing in various categories -- Best Kill, Most Unnecessary Collateral Damage, Sexiest Victim -- with the top prize being the coveted Killer Cup. The objective of the tournament is killing humans.
What if Edward Gorey illustrated Lovecraft?
It'd look like John Kenn Mortensen's work
, that's what. Except Mortensen makes his art in his spare time, on post-it notes. He has an art book.
Show The Monster
: "Guillermo del Toro’s quest to get amazing
creatures onscreen." Video: Monsters in the Making
In September, Jon Schindehette
] and Lars Grant-West
] issued a challenge
to students at the Rhode Island School of Design: "Create a creature based upon a non-humanoid critter
from H.P. Lovecraft's literature.
The creature should have a fully resolved form, convey motion where appropriate, and be believable. Creature can be shown as either 3/4 view or 'turn-arounds'." Here are the entries
and here are the judges' comments. [more inside]
is a short monster movie created by four animation students. Here's a version with English subtitles
(although it's hardly necessary). [via
Vampires are over
, argues Neil Gaiman
. (Via the Guardian
, who rather oddly suggest the similarly over-exposed zombies as a replacement)
What did kids do before the Internet? Well, some bought makeup magazines
, grabbed their parents' Super-8 cameras
, and made their own horror movies
. Now that kids have the Internet? Well, more of the same
(albeit with slightly less sophisticated monsters
). (YouTube, Google Video).