Friday, July 6, 2012
Microscopic Giants, Desricks, Gnoles
Alfred Hitchcock's Monster Museum has a mix of well-known and more obscure writers. Many stories, such as Theodore Sturgeon's "Shadow, Shadow on the Wall," (Mayan's illustration shewn -- this one, and the others scared the crap out of me when I was a youth) are excellent examples of Poe's dictum of every word in a short story counting toward a single effect. Guy Endore, aka Samuel Goldstein, author of "The Day of the Dragon," was a riveting individual without even considering his written work, as one can readily find online. "The Day of the Dragon" is one of several apocalyptically-themed stories in the collection -- another is "Doomsday Deferred" by Will F. Jenkins, with Brazil standing as an exotic Other. I remember being stymied by the word "Deferred" when I first read this one in childhood.
Were-cats and werewolves (or, say, cat into man or man into dog), transformation, are another running note, in such pieces as Miriam Allen DeFord's "Henry Martindale, Great Dane," Jerome "It's a Good Life" Bixby's "The Young One," and Stephen Vincent Benét's "The King of Cats." Paul Ernst's (Max Ernst's brother?) "The Microscopic Giants" is exceptionally eldritch. With other writers such as Ray Bradbury, Joseph Payne Brennan, and Manly Wade Wellman joining in, this anthology is nostalgic for myself -- and still resonates today. I'll have to re-read Alfred Hitchcock's Ghostly Gallery as well, which had good whimsical illustrations itself, though not as potent as Mayan's. I read this initially about the same time as my first reading of Monster Museum.
Posted by Jonathan at 1:01 AM