Nights of Passion welcomes back my favorite science fiction writer Chet Gottfried, author of the hiliarious SF novel Into the Horsebutt Nebula.
Monster selection is a specialist occupation, generally the providence of writers and artists, but almost everyone has views about what goes into a good (or an especially bad) monster. Although it is common knowledge that humans make the best monsters (an infinite variety), I limit myself to wildlife in order to have some variety.
Dinosaurs are a terrific first choice, and it’s a pity that the larger ones are all extinct. Yes, not every dinosaur is gone, since birds are the evolutionary descendants, but let’s face it: There’s nothing particularly threatening about a sparrow or even a great blue heron (although Daphne du Maurier did put birds to good use in her long story, “The Birds,” later made into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock).
Maybe dinosaurs aren’t walking among us, but any writer, artist, or person can place a dinosaur in a previously unknown location. If earth has been too explored too thoroughly to allow that, then there are other planets. Somewhere, at some time, there is an ideal dinosaur waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting character.
A reasonable choice (since I limit my would-be monsters to those closest on hand) is a snapping turtle.
A snapping turtle has it all: scales, plates, long claws, a powerful bite, and a snapper can move reasonably quickly, close to a person’s walking pace. Who would want to be ambushed by one hidden in tall grass? A snapper can be all but invisible in surrounding vegetation (and having nearly stepped on one in such a situation, I speak wholeheartedly).
However, relying on snappers has a downside. As impressive as their reputation and name, snapping turtles are not particularly violent, not on land. In a pond or a lake, a snapper is reputed to have a fierce personality, but from my own experience, I’ve seen large snappers dive from a log into the water as soon as they were aware that I was watching (or ready to take a photo).
Therefore, perhaps I’ll hold snappers in reserve and move on to another selection in my next piece.
Chet’s books can be found in many places including Amazon in Kindle and Print.
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