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Insight: The Codex Extinct Animalia

A very monstrous find, one finds the illustrated tome of The Resurrectionist quite appealing. For one, it’s a two part book, opening with a pseudo-biographical look at a most ingenious yet delusional scientist by the name of Dr. Spencer Black. Second, it is lovingly illustrated with exquisite diagrams of mythical creatures brought to life as various formes of human evolution in a collection called The Codex Extinct Animalia — and this, my friends, is where the juiciest tidbits are found.

Some of the creatures covered in the Codex include the Sphinx, Siren, Satyr, Chimæra, Pegasus, Oriental Dragon, and more.

Finding a copy on-line at Chapters.Indigo, I was ecstatic to receive it in my post a few weeks later. I highly recommend a copy to anyone with a love of the bizarre, and the mythical.

~The One Called Jake

Monster Cake, by Mitchel Stoycheff, Jake Zaccaria, and Penny C.

Jurassic Park (Novel) Review, or “When Mesozoic Creatures Were Revived Through the Science of Magic!”

Author Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park brings to life {literally} a world of wonder… and heart-pounding terror. Westward off the coast of Costa Rica lies Isla Nublar, new home to about fifteen species of ancient animals revived through the magic of science! Dinosaurs, folks. We’re talking about dinosaurs.

Of course, most of you know all about Jurassic Park thanks largely in part to director Steven Speilberg. And while Michael wrote the screenplay for Speilberg, the film adaptation is quite different from its source material. For one, eccentric philanthropist with a love for kids Mr. John Hammond is in fact a greedy, whip-cracking capitalist with an ego larger than some of his animals, and his focus is so set on opening the park and making tonnes of money that he fails to see the issues with the park even to the bitter end, when he dies at the mercy of many hungry mouths of tiny, vicious Procompsognathus.

Second, the sheer number of cameos by these wonderful Mesozoic animals and, in particular, the carnivore’s bloodlust, brings some good pacing and variety to the story arc. Take for example the Velociraptors in the novel: pack hunters, they coordinate efficiently and swiftly when the power grid fails for the second time, and head straight for the visitor’s compound to harass, maim, and devour the nearly helpless humans barricaded inside. They practically toy with Dr. Ellie Sattler until the last moment, when it turns out they were merely distracting her (and the others) long enough to draw them away from those who were on the roof, who proceeded to violently kill the veterinarian Dr. Harding and give Dr. Sattler a real run for her life.

And Tyrannosaurus… the big king, well, queen herself, is glorious. Because of course all* of the genetically engineered creatures in the park are female (*nearly true, except for a few notable species who happened to have amphibian DNA spliced in, allowing them to change their sex and breed uncounted amongst the confines of the park). She has a human snack courtesy of Ed Regis when the power fails during a tropical storm, scatters off the rest after tossing a vehicle into a tree with Tim still inside, and throws Dr. Malcolm into the brush after nearly tearing his leg clean off. Then she proceeds to hunt some unsuspecting hadrosaurs while the fences are down, tracks down Dr. Grant and the kids on their backroad excursion through the park after being disturbed from her midday nap, and nearly has Tim for lunch when, thankfully, Muldoon comes along and tranquilizer’s her into a small coma.

One of my favourite creatures detailed in this novel are, of course, the raptors. While not technically Velociraptors — in fact they’re representatives of their close cousins, Deinonychus — the author paints our first encounters with these animals behaving as cold-blooded killers who play with their food. But later, Dr. Grant tags a juvenile male with a desire for companionship and playfulness, and tracks him to an underground nest where he, Dr. Sattler, and the lawyer Donald Gennaro witness these creature showing many amazing traits: parental care, cunning intelligence, and an almost hive-mind-esque ability to communicate amongst themselves, showing no outward aggression to these three fleshy meals-on-wheels who came careening into their domain. It really made you feel for these misunderstood beasts… Of course, it all when sky-high in a military execution of napalm to decimate the island and its ecosystem.

The park was a failure, and almost everyone involved was either dead or nearly so: a sober wake up call to the horrors one can witness when science goes too far. Not a huge divergence from the film, but definitely more cutthroat and raw than it’s almost toned-down pop culture counterpart.

Not wanting to give too much more way (and trust me, there’s so much more!), I highly recommend a thorough read of this novel for anyone — particularly a sci-fi and/or horror fan. I personally found a copy pretty cheap at my local Cole’s/Chapters Indigo on a 2 for $10 deal and, at a quarter of a century old, it would likely be an easy find at a local used bookstore or library too. Happy reading; remember, keep it monstrous folks!

~The One Known as Jake

On the First Day of October

On the First Day of October

The monster gave to me,

The Enigmatic Monster Issue 3!

EMP_issue3

(Go on, click it. Resistance is futile. <3 )

Here it is, in all of its sickly glory! The Triad of Terror is now complete. As we continue to  catch muses in the dark, we wonder what next year will bring? Hmmm . . .

For now we must play the game as we always have, and bring our nightmares to the surface world for all to see.

As always, spread us to the far corners of the world. Keep it monstrous!

P.S: If you do not want to download the PDF file, fear not! You’ll be able to read the 3rd issue online as well! Just look for The Triad of Terror in our top menu (that’s where we keep all of the goods)!

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There and Back Again

There and Back Again | Creature Feature

hobbit1

This is why you should go to book sales, or:

How many versions of The Hobbit can a person have? Not enough, as it turns out. We bring you a version of the classic tale with illustrations from the Rankin and Bass film. It’s quite the delight! Continue reading

Mundane Things, Part Two

Four Weird TalesMundane Things, Part Two

When I went back to reading Four Weird Tales, I noticed something in the grouping of the stories. It seemed to me that the first two stories dealt more specifically with beliefs. We know that if you believe something, it will colour the way you see things (a nice rose tint, perhaps). For the sake of argument, I’ll say that The Insanity of Jones and The Man Who Found Out deal more specifically with beliefs and their effects upon perception; in a nutshell, a certain belief affects the way these characters think and act, and ultimately how they see their day to day lives.

(Well, that was slightly redundant . . . Only just slightly, a little tiny bit . . . Maybe.  )

If those two deal with belief and perception, what do the other two deal with then? Again, for the sake of argument, I’m going to say that they deal with what we see. That is to say, we see before we perceive. Everything else follows after that . . .

. . . I see therefore I think, and then I think some more . . .

(And maybe I discern some great truth? Or see something.)

The Glamour of the Snow was right up my alley; I loved it because it was a perfect mix of all of my favourite things. Now in that story our main character isn’t seeking out great truths or hunting down enemies from certain past lives—he’s leading a normal life, working by day and socializing by night (while still managing a reasonable bed time too, I bet). There’s nothing abnormal about him, so when our antagonist comes waltzing right in he doesn’t know any better. It looks like a normal person, and that person is a lady!

Naturally, things follow their course. We know well before he does that something is amiss. The minor side characters know what’s going on before he does, because he doesn’t truly know what he is actually seeing.

Because he hasn’t seen anything like it before.

(And if he doesn’t know what he’s seeing, what on earth is he going to think?)

This can be argued to death. But I think you get my drift. Just a little food for thought. Now let’s take a moment to salute those authors of horror and weird fiction—and thank them—for ruining perfectly mundane things!

We all know those authors of horror and weird fiction scare only out of concern for our well-being.
So let’s take a moment to keep it monstrous. Love the monster on Facebook.
(Facebook is pretty creepy sometimes too. Remember the time when the status box asked you what you were doing? Remember when it called you by name? WHOA!)

Mundane Things, Part One

Four Weird TalesMundane Things, Part One

Or, Four Weird Tales, by Algernon Blackwood. Lately I’ve been on an Algernon Blackwood kick. I’ve mentioned it before, the way Blackwood writes is very simple; he takes very mundane situations and objects, turning them into interesting tales. The previous story was The Wendigo, a quick read with an interesting premise. Here I am looking at two stories in the book: The Insanity of Jones and The Man Who Found Out.

As we all know, the horror genre is all about eliciting a fear response within its audience, taking very familiar things or situations, and then turning them upside down. After seeing Scream, can you look at your garage the same way still, or do you think twice before going in there alone? Horror is not necessarily in your face, though. Often, it’s more subtle. Sometimes you may not even know it’s a horror story till you get to the end, or till you read it again.

Now, is Four Weird Tales considered horror, or is it just weird fiction? Well, in this case the lines can be easily blurred. If you think about it, H.P. Lovecraft wrote a lot of weird fiction, and most (if not all) of his work was also horror . . . So . . . This neither confirms nor denies anything, meaning that it’s all up to you. Too many choices can slow things down, ironically, so does this mean that nothing gets done?

Algernon Blackwood likes his horror to be more about awe, according to Wikipedia, which makes sense to me. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been enjoying his work so much. The thing I like about these two stories is that the main characters can be sane, or they can be insane; and they’re obviously written in a way that forces you to make a decision. It’s a very intriguing thing to think about; reality and perception are two things which can be very frightening . . .

What it all comes down to is that you really don’t know if what you see is actually there, or if you are perceiving things as they are, or if there is anything at all.

Am I saying that we’re all crazy? Hell no. But if we begin to cast doubt upon ourselves, things can get a bit hairy. I was disenchanted after watching The Matrix, because it did just that: cast doubt upon how I see reality.

Everyone perceives things differently, sees things differently. Some people see things, some see them differently, and others see things that aren’t there.

Or are they there?

See what I mean? So, was Jones really insane, or was he actually living his life according to all of his past lives, settling accounts good or ill? And did the professor really find the answers to life’s deepest questions, answers so revelatory that he lost all hope for life?

Who knows what Algernon Blackwood was thinking on this one . . . The good thing about fiction, is that we don’t have to think to hard on it—it’s not real!

This edition was brought to you by Penny C.
Do you like what we’re doing? Love the monster on Facebook, and spread us to the far corners of the world!
We also have Twitter @monstrousenigma
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For all of those in Northern Ontario: 
Winter is coming.
Keep it monstrous!

Creature Feature: Iron Hans

Creature Feature: Iron Hans

Illustrated by none other than Marilee Heyer!

Here is another creature feature, and yet another look into my book collection! This book was once my dads, and then it just became my book, through mysterious means.

This book was also another source of inspiration for me, back when I was a young aspiring artist. Marilee Heyer has some fine work, let me tell you. I’d sit and stare at the pictures for hours on end, daydreaming of someday creating epic pieces just like her. The story itself was okay, but I think the book was more about her work anyways. There’s not much else for me to say, so just enjoy the art!

         

This Creature Feature has once again been brought to you by Penny C. A special thanks goes out to Marilee Heyer. Iron Hans is a Brothers Grimm fairy tale.
Do you like what we’re doing? Show some support by following our blog, or loving the monster on Facebook!
Spread us to the far corners of the world, and keep it monstrous!

Creature Feature: Dinotopia

IMG_0089Creature Feature: Dinotopia

 . . . Also doubling as a look into my book collection!

I said it, and now it’s happened. The second instalment of Creature Feature, and the first look into my book collection (for real this time). Before I continue I’d just like to mention that my book collection is not big. It’s just big enough. With that being said, I’d like to introduce you to the talent known as James Gurney

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UPDATE (?!)

You are not seeing things, you have in fact read the title correctly. As some of you may already know we are currently looking for more ways to improve the project for the next year. Yes, don’t forget, we’re still making a few more issues! We intend to go out with a bang, you know!

Starting tomorrow we will introduce a little side project . . . Book covers.

Oh yes, you are not seeing things; Penny will design book covers for some of the books she has read and reviewed for the project . . . She might even share a few covers from her personal book collection.

Have any thoughts or suggestions? Let us know!

Don’t forget to check out our first issue! It available for free, and you can even download a nice pdf for your tablet or laptop!
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Instagram: enigmaticmonster
Twitter: monstrousenigma
When is a door not a door?

The King in Yellow Must Die

Introduction:

Things have all gone their merry way, and now the end of October is upon us, which subsequently means the fall of the King in Yellow, ultimately signifying the end with The King in Yellow. And good riddance too; I nearly bored myself to death making stuff up. Lesson learned: Never make a blog series longer than three posts.

I promise to remain short, sweet, and simple from now on.

Conclusion Before the Conclusion:

Now I will tell you what I think the King in Yellow represents in Robert W. Chamber’s world: death. Wearing a different suit, that is. Think about it: a mask which is not a mask, tattered robes, insanity, chaos, confusion, melodrama . . .

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Creature Feature

Book Cover.

Book Cover.

This Tuseday, one of my friends had a surprise for me: Barlowe’s Guide to Fantasy. I’d never even heard of this man before then, but I have to say: boy can this guy paint!

So far I’ve flipped through this book at least once everyday. Essentially he’s taken select characters/creatures from different fantasy books, and has painted his own version of them, taking great pains to stay true to the author’s description. Now I’ve added a few new books to my reading list. That’s a good thing, seeing as the Enigmatic Monster Project may turn into a quarterly issue.

For now, you’ll have to stay tuned for more interesting things Team Monster has to offer! One thing to look forward to is our next podcast, and the grand unveiling of our brand identity.

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Monster?

July 27th marked the day I finished reading The Secret Glory by Arthur Machen. It is held to be one of his best works, and so far from what I have read, I concur. His characterization is some of the best I have ever come across, and let’s face it: the only reason I ever started to read his works was due to the promise of faeries. And yes, I was duped, but gladly. Continue reading