Edge Of The City: Why Monsters?

One of the most common aspects of Urban Fantasy (UF) is the creatures that reside in these worlds. No longer the dreaded, terrorizing monsters of classic literature, these creatures are now partners, heroes, and love interests of the main characters. One wonders how did they get that way and why?

Literature, along with most art, allows the artist to reflect what is going on in the world around them without actually pointing a big sign saying: “Not True,” “Liars,” or “This needs to change.”

Everyone see things around them that they would like to change. This is a person’s agenda. Some people are more vocal than others, but writers can be quite adept at giving people an insight of what might be without blatantly shoving it in a reader’s face.

Classic werewolf books portray these monsters as bloodthirsty, viscous, uncontrollable  monsters. Pick up some of the older movies or some of the original stories to see how much terror these creatures caused the population. But now, werewolves are more of a romantic, tragic creature.

Many stories–but not all–portray werewolves as victims or survivors of a rough set of circumstances. They are ruled by a packleader who has had to prove him/herself over and over again to be tough, smart, and able to control the pack. While under control, they pose no danger to society. But that society they so desperately want to fit into doesn’t trust them.

In Patricia Briggs novels, the werewolf community has come out after centuries of hiding and now are mainstream. They face a lot of challenges, including Congressional questions as to if they are even human and therefore not protected by law. The werewolf community has to weigh every decision they make with the pros and cons of creatures that aren’t quite human but have once been human.

How does that relate to events going on now?  Look around in the headlines. What groups are lobbying for basic rights here at home or in the world at large?  What are some basic comforts that the majority enjoys that others do not? (Parallels can be seen in True Blood‘s depiction of vampire lobbyists.)

UF isn’t just an an enjoyable read. It is often a social commentary on the world around us and how some individuals would like it to change.  It is an unobtrusive way of opening reader’s eyes to the plights of others, without rocking the boat too much.


Even though the day job keeps her busy, Sarah Hendrix finds time to sneak in words at every chance.  Writing, reading and editing are her specialties even though she is wetting her toes as a publicist for Apex Book Company. Her work can be found in the In Situ and FISH anthologies from Dagan Books and the upcoming Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 from Flying Pen Press. Look for her on twitter , her blog, facebook and google+


~ by Shadow on November 15, 2011.

One Response to “Edge Of The City: Why Monsters?”

  1. [...] Bryan Thomas Schmidt’s blog, Sarah Hendrix has a guest post about the different portrayals of creatures such as werewolves and va… in traditional horror, where they are depicted as pure bloodthirsty monsters, and urban fantasy, [...]

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