Monster/Headless/Loop 12/06/20


Last night Rios and I watched Crawl. Extremely tight, effective monster movie about a father and daughter trapped in a crawlspace during a Florida hurricane, hunted by big ass alligators. After it finished, Hulu recommended a show called Monsterland. I let it play out.

The first episode is an extremely depressing (and slightly poverty-pornish) story about a waitress in a dead-end Louisiana town who has to deal with her troubled daughter, and also shapeshifters. Think The X-Files by way of True Detective.

Now I’ll admit, halfway through the episode I asked Rios to look up just what in the fuck we were watching. We’d seen a woman get beaten up by her baby daddy, her daughter drowned (not to death), and that same woman have sex with a serial killer. It felt dark and ugly.

She read from her phone: “This is based on a short story collection, North American Lake Monsters, by Nathan Ballingrud…”

I stopped her. Nathan wrote this shit?

Six years ago, maybe seven, before I left Oklahoma for Portland, I had just started Broken River. I’d been contacted by Nathan, who was interested in having me publish his follow-up to NAM, The Atlas of Hell. I read the first short story, which had hillbillies in a Louisiana swamp reading from a Necronomicon. It was ugly and depressing, but so fucking well written.

We talked on the phone, and because Broken River was so small, I couldn’t give him an advance. He moved in a different direction. And a good one, at that! TV show on Hulu, nicely played.

That’s something that’s weird about being in the writing world long enough, is that you come to know everyone who makes the TV shows, the people who make the big books. You know who’s an asshole, who’s not. Nathan is definitely not. Anyway, finding out that his book became this show made me happy. It is definitely dark, not for everybody, but I’m happy that his difficult stories made it to stream.


I got this by googling “monster headless loop”.

In the darkest ocean depths surrounding Antarctica lurks the majestic “headless chicken monster”. This swimming sea cucumber, Enypniastes eximia, was first caught on film in the Gulf of Mexico in 2017. Our researchers got a surprise recently when another one popped up on camera in the Southern Ocean for the first time, at a depth of three kilometres.


Then came this in the YouTube hole.


And then this…that’s enough internet for today.

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