Monday, November 8, 2010

William Tenn's "The Flat-Eyed Monster" (novelette, parody): An inversion of bug-eyed monster idea

Quote from short story The Flat-Eyed Monster by William Tenn
There have been several stories of the class; perhaps the most famous is van Vogt's "The Monster". And while I didn't find it as magical as van Vogt's, it's a very good read.

Story summary.

Alien scientists on a world near the center of galaxy have accidentally teleported a human, Clyde Manship, into their lab! Aliens ("flefnobes") are telepathic among themselves; Clyde can listen to their conversations, but cannot be "heard" by them.

Of course, the aliens find the man supremely repulsive, what with "those horrible lonely eyes! Just two of them--& so flat! That dry, dry skin without a trace of slime", & probably a non-sentient animal. So he must be killed, perhaps after dissection. So we get a standard monster story - with Clyde, the monster, running for his life through the alien city & the whole world hunting him "before the creature starts to reproduce" ...

Fact sheet.

First published: Galaxy, August 1955.
Rating: A.
Related: Stories of William Tenn.