Saturday, August 25, 2012

Riding the Signal—Gary Kloster

So, monkeys.
    I don't have a problem with monkeys. I don't want one, but then I firmly believe that you should never have a pet with thumbs. And riding-the-signalwhile the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz freaked me out, but that was a long time ago, and I've recovered.  Monkeys are fine. They're fun to watch at the zoo. Some have mustaches, and that's great.
    I'm cool with monkeys.
    The first sci-fi short story I wrote had a monkey in it. She was the protagonist's romantic interest. Maybe I should unpack that. She wasn't really a monkey, you see, she was a biologist on a spaceship who had uploaded her brain into a computer along with the rest of the crew, and the monkey body was just a VR thing she was doing to… Well, it gets complicated.
Science fiction's like that sometimes.
    Anyway, I had a monkey. Not an evil monkey, though. She was just being a monkey to annoy my protagonist. The guy that liked her. That was part of the reason, at least. Like I said, complicated. So maybe that character had a thing about monkeys.
But that was just something about him.
    Recently, I wrote another story with a monkey in it. A cute, helpful, friendly monkey, who wanted to help my protagonist and his family out. Maybe. That part's unclear. It's definitely a monkey though. An alien monkey, who is possibly (probably) a robot, but not evil. Maybe.
   riding-the-signal Having the alien look like a monkey, that made sense for the story. It was just camouflage. No deeper meaning.
    Now this story, Riding the Signal. Another monkey. An evil robot monkey, with sharp claws, a skull face, and a mouth full of terrifying laughter and poison. A monkey that hides and stalks, tortures and kills.
    So maybe I do have a thing about monkeys. Maybe my cousin had one of those wind-up cymbal banging monkey toys that would just stare and smile at me whenever I visited. Maybe cute moustaches can't quite cover long, sharp teeth. Maybe I've spent too much time imagining tiny little hands with tiny little thumbs easing locks back, silently turning doorknobs, creeping across dark floors… Yeah, okay, monkeys kind of freak me out.
    Still. Three stories about monkeys, and every one has sold.
    Maybe I should think about that. Or maybe not.
    Thinking about wind-up clockwork flying monkeys isn't going to help me sleep at night.

--Gary Kloster

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