Guest Post by author David W. Edwards, author of Nightscape: Cynopolis, in association with Worldwind Virtual Book Tours
A Brief Guide to Lesser Were-Creatures
In deciding on the type of urban were-beast to make the focus of my latest supernatural thriller, Nightscape: Cynopolis, I canvassed the literature for appropriate options. I ultimately landed on jackal-headed monsters along the lines of the Egyptian god Anubis (responsible for ushering souls into the afterlife). I felt creatures of this type had been underutilized in horror fiction and at the same time, best fit with the novel’s cheery themes of cultural and economic decline. Here are a few of the alternatives that didn’t make the cut.
As much as I enjoy B movies like Willard, were-rats just didn’t strike me as physically imposing enough. Sure, they could’ve been fanged, oversized rodents with Wolverine-style claws. But I still wouldn’t have been able to get ridiculous images of the rabbit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail out of my head. And I loathed the prospect of giving characters inventive excuses for falling down or otherwise coming in range of the were-rats’ talons when they could easily get in their SUVs and start churning up roadkill. I did, however, forfeit an awesome title: Ratscallions.
All of the downsides of were-rats without the cultural caché. Describing the cra-aack of a were-roach shell would’ve been fun once, but the monotony would’ve soon caught up to me. Eventually, I would’ve resorted to lazy Pop Rocks or packing peanuts similes.
The were-creature with the greatest odds of going internet-viral. It’s easy to envision the “I can has cheezburger?” knock-offs and other LOLcat pics. The need to stay true to the nature of housecats, however, sunk this idea. I don’t know about your cat, but mine doesn’t do much more than sleep, eat and whine for petting time. Even if I’d made them hyper-aggressive, they would’ve still been vulnerable to the sounds of vacuum cleaners, blenders and the occasional leaf blower.
Not the sexy corsets. I’m talking about a stuffed animal combo of Teddy Ruxpin and Chucky. I alluded to one in my previous book, Nightscape: The Dreams of Devils, so nope, been-there, done-that.
Imagine this: a giant turtle with the mind of an ancient Greek sophist and the boxing skills of a muay thai champion. It can talk Zeno’s paradox while beating down the populace man-in-suit-style. Look into its eyes long enough and you’re hypnotized into witnessing the history of humanity’s abuse of the oceans. Now imagine a pissed-off horde of them rampaging through a coastal city, squashing polluters and annoying bro-surfers alike. Yeah, I’m totally saving this idea for another book.
About Nightscape: Cynopolis
Nightscape: Cynopolis is the second book in this transmedia series of supernatural thrillers. Each entry in the series is designed to work as a standalone release but those who delve deeper will be rewarded with surprising connections.
The book concerns a former countercultural radical who starts a thought-virus that turns the city’s dogs feral and its underclass into jackal-headed beasts. Abandoned to their separate fates among hordes of monsters, the few surviving humans must find a way to elude the military blockade preventing their escape or defeat the virus at its source—before government forces sacrifice them all.
Kirkus Reviews calls it “entertaining, poignant, and heady, a thoroughly enjoyable thrill ride powered by jolts of philosophy.”
Find out more by visiting www.nightscapeseries.com.
About the Author
David W. Edwards is the writer, director and producer of the feature film Nightscape and author of the novels Nightscape: The Dreams of Devils and Nightscape: Cynopolis. He attended the University of Southern California’s prestigious screenwriting program and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English Literature while working for a variety of Hollywood production companies. He’s the founder and former CEO of a successful high-tech market research firm, and a former two-term state representative. He currently lives in Hillsboro, Oregon with his family.