I’m not a horror guy. Or a sci-fi guy. Or a fantasy guy. Guess I’m just not a “hey, let’s suspend the primal forces of nature ‘cause it makes a better story” guy. I mean I always figured, if you want horror, you can read the fucking paper or a history book. You got something scarier than the Holocaust? The Black Death ain’t enough to float your post-apocalyptic dread boat? Didn’t think so.
So IRREGULAR CREATURES ain’t my usual plate-o’-taters. In fact, in general, I don’t much like taters. “But wait,” you say. “You’re name’s O’Shea. You’re Irish. You gotta like taters.” Yeah? Ever hear of the potato famine? Fuckin’ taters let us down big time. Damn near pulled off their own holocaust. Sure, I’m Irish. I can hold a grudge. So screw you and your taters.
Sorry, where was I? Oh yeah, IRREGULAR CREATURES. Like anybody else who frequents Chuck Wendig’s blog, TERRIBLEMINDS, I know the boy has some chops, and the collection cost less than a gallon of gas, so I figured what the hell, I’ll take a gander.
And I’m glad I did.
Because, while each of the stories in the collection does feature some kind unnatural creature or occurrence, those things are simply of the story, they aren’t the story, and it is the stories themselves that matter. The toothsome vajayjay in Mr. Muh’s Pussy Show is as much an allegory for the self-consuming nature of our unhealthy obsessions as it is an extra-natural fictive element – and it only works as such because Wendig has so clearly articulated the squirming maggot nest of preverse self-loathing in the protaganist’s mind. The flying cats in Dog-Man and Cat-Bird could be seen as the external manifestation of the main character’s internal conflict – a man locked in a descending spiral of inertia who must pass through a cathartic crisis to regain his direction.
OK, I’m done. I’m not gonna go all Freudian symbolism and Jungian archetypes on you. I’m just gonna say that Wendig does in IRREGULAR CREATURES what the ancients did in myths. Finds ways to externalize our fears and wonders in concrete form so they can be addressed in stories.
And click here to listen to my interview with Chuck. Wendig Interview FINAL