From science fiction writer Chet Gottfried, author of the hiliarious SF novel Into the Horsebutt Nebula.
In my previous piece, I discussed various types of monsters, from dinosaurs to snapping turtles. Today’s piece takes a different direction: bugs.
When it comes down to alien and noxious species, bugs have excellent potential. Of course, there are bugs and bugs, although some choices are better than others. Ticks, for example, make a person twitch or scratch, which is hardly the mood any writer or artist wishes to promote. Mosquitoes aren’t much better. How could that incessant buzzing encourage anyone to relax with a story?
Kindly consider ticks and mosquitoes the exceptions, because there are some great bugs out there. For example, how about an assassin bug. There are various types of assassin bugs, and the one shown below is a wheel bug nymph (Arilus cristatus), the type of creature that should be good for nightmares. Its bright red proboscis (seen underneath its head, in a resting position) is used to stab a victim and suck its victim dry.
The wheel bug nymph is only about an inch and a half long, but it doesn’t take much imagination to enlarge the bug and have it stalk its victims.
Perhaps I’ll use the assassin bug in a story one day, but my problem is this: The wheel bug nymph isn’t particularly common, and most people will have never encountered one. A vivid description might do the bug justice, but there has been a trend against description. Modern taste and all that.
There are more alternative bugs that people are familiar with and which make fine monsters, such as a dragonfly. With excellent eyesight, flight, and ability to maneuver, a dragonfly could easily be a winged emissary of death. Moreover, dragonflies are visually impressive, with striking colors, huge eyes, and transparent wings. The one shown below is a male blue dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis).
At present dragonflies aren’t particularly large, perhaps a few inches; however, back during the Carboniferous and Permian periods (in the Paleozoic era, long before dinosaurs), an early form of dragonfly had a wingspan of over 2 feet. Now we’re getting into real monster action.
Dragonflies themselves are friendly creatures, but with a wizard’s magic and the addition of new features, such as poison, I created weirdragons, oversize dragonfly-like insects that inhabit my fantasy novel The Gilded Basilisk. Monsters can be ever so much fun, especially when combined with a distinct purpose.
Chet’s books can be found in many places including Amazon in Kindle and Print.
Look out now! http://lookoutnow.com/