"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." Sir Richard Steele

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Guest Author Marc Vun Kannon

It is my distinct pleasure to welcome Marc VunKannon to my blog today. I will turn it over to him.

I'm very much in favor of monsters.
Perhaps I should put that a different way.

The thing I like about monsters is that they're, you know, monstrous. Vampires who kill, werewolves who rend. The only problem being of course that such creatures are pretty dull. Sure there's lots of running and screaming, blood spurting and dogs barking, but really that's all just noise and motion. The story is sort of shambling on. Werewolves are basically killing machines, it's the men who become the wolf that should drive the story. Even with ghosts, the most humanized of monsters, the usual case is a spectral visitation of some sort, a sort of otherworldly 'Here Be Dragons' to lead people on, either in search of treasure or clues to some mystery, as if the world was a lock and the ghost merely a key, the first clue.

Like werewolves, my take on the whole 'ghost' thing is usually on the people they used to be rather than the spectral ghastly things they are. The Changeling, the Uninvited, The Haunting, all about people and the things, the forces that drive them even beyond death. Not to mention all the TV shows floating around lately, with ghost whisperers, mediums of all sorts, and people who raise the dead to ask them how they died. Get rid of the thing, you get rid of the ghost, seems pretty straightforward. But the things are not so straight, no simple repetition or revenge fantasies for these ghosts. My friend Kfir Luzzatto has a very nice little ghost story with a mystery in it on that very topic. If you haven't read Crossing the Meadow you should. Or Beth Solheim's book At Witts End, where the ghosts are able to make their own destinies, thank you very much.

Suppose the ghost isn't a ghost for any particular reason. Suppose, instead, that the ghost is a ghost because he doesn't have anywhere else to go. And if you think, amongst all this supposing, that I did any of it when I was writing St.Martin's Moon, you'd be very wrong. I discovered the ghosts on the Moon the way I discovered everything else, completely by accident. (Oh, yes, the Moon is haunted. Didn't you know that? It's no surprise, really, the werewolves didn't know it either.) Anyway, one of the threads that wove its way into the tapestry that is St.Martin's Moon had its origins in Kfir's book, specifically in the meadow that he used as the borderlands of death. I liked the image, especially when contrasted with the bleakness of a normal lunar landscape.

By the way, there's 10 points to anyone who names the TV shows I described up there. No prizes, but the points are pretty shiny.

The whole point about monsters is that they illustrate in fairly graphic fashion what can happen when men allow themselves to become less than they ought to be. A monster story is a morality play, every time. Except when it becomes fashionable to make them sexy, French-speaking vampires in silk ruffled shirts. or alpha males (and females) who come by it unnaturally. Making them into men with lots of cool nifty powers defeats the purpose. One has to wonder why anyone would bother being a mere mortal anymore. But somehow the whole 'sleeps in a coffin' thing gets downplayed, and the man-into-beast thing rarely makes it on camera anymore, although I did see it happen once. It drove the heroine into the arms of her vampire paramour. Ah well... I suppose the best that can be said about the new trend in zombie fiction is that it's hard to make them sexy, but I suppose some one's out there trying anyway.


  1. Yep, ghosts and the monster have been done to, uh, death, er, so to speak. You have to find a new angle. Thanks for the post.

  2. Great interview, and a new author to check out--yay!

  3. Thank you. I have a number of short stories featuring Vampires and other monsters, if that's your pleasure. (Don't know why I would think that.) My latest novel, St. Martin's Moon, features a werewolf attack on a lunar colony. It debuts in May.