More from the LONG EYES Collection
“Monsters” must be the most disturbing piece of fiction I’ve ever written, and I say that as someone whose first novel opens with five billion people dead.
The heroes of Plague Year are murdering cannibals — the heroes! — but this story bothers people more. I think that’s because the protagonist of “Monsters” deliberately turns to evil. In the end, he chooses to walk into the darkness, whereas Cam and Sawyer and the other survivors of Plague Year have no other option.
I got this idea from a newspaper article, and, later in the story, the nameless hero reads about other mindless attacks both large and small. A lot of people are unhappy. Some of them try to make everyone else unhappy, too.
Why? What drives them to spread the misery instead of working to reduce it?
Sometimes I think it’s a failure of imagination. Many of us are short-sighted. We can’t see beyond our own immediate needs, and I think that’s incredibly sad. It’s also scary as hell. “Monsters” is upsetting, but it’s probably also the best story to emerge from my horror phase. Too often, life is horrific, and it’s hard to argue that “Monsters” doesn’t capture that feeling.