In this week’s blog we talk about SF Horror characters and the importance of characters in general. Plus the regular Track News for this week. As always, this blog is scary good.
The Characters in Our Nightmares
More than plot or location, the characters in SF Horror are what entices us to watch, read, or listen to these remarkable tales. In many cases these characters are paired up with a memorable protagonist (or antagonist) to create dynamic tension. Ripley and the Xenomorph from Alien as well as Ripley with the Alien Queen in Aliens. The monster and Victor Frankenstein from Frankenstein. These are great examples of character pairs (more on that in a moment). MacReady and Childs from John Carpetner’s The Thing are an interesting pair as well. Especially if you think one (or both) have “changed” by the last scene of the movie (spoilers). Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are another pair caught up in their own strange case. In particular they blur the line between protagonist and antagonist and force us to question who is the real monster.
Who Is the Monster?
Who is the monster? The question is not always obvious depending on the story. Certainly Hyde is a part of Jekyll, a part brought out through science and experiment. Hyde is an indulgence and a thoroughly unpleasant side of Jekyll, but who is the monster?
In 1954 Richard Matheson’s novel I am Legend was published. (Minor spoilers ahead.) You may have seen the Will Smith version, or the Charleton Heston version called The Omega Man, or Vincent Price’s The Last Man on Earth. But none of them quite capture the conundrum of Robert Neville, a survivor of a disease that turns people into vampires. Slowly over the novel the protagonist comes to realize that he is no longer a human fighting off waves of the undead, but in fact has become a legend or a monster himself. In the same our SF Horror literature and movies reflect the darkest part of ourselves and our dalliance with technology.
- This Friday is part two of the Ancillary Read Along. Chapters 3 & 4.
- In November we will be discussing Science Fiction and War
- Once we can announce guests who will be on the track (this may not be soon), we will do so.