This month, Nightmare Magazine contains a wonderful article by Kate Jonez on horror’s need for new monsters.

Monsters, whether they are metaphors for human fears or failings or the manifestation of external evil, are the most fascinating element of horror fiction. Western horror fiction, if authors take appropriate care to respect the culture from which the monster was borrowed, can only grow richer by embracing a wider tradition.

She introduces us to a splendid panoply of creatures from other cultures (including my new favorite, the Busaw).

I fully agree with Ms. Jonez’s statement that the basis of our monsters lie in the things we fear. In my mind, however, the best way to find a new monster is not in the folklore of others, but in a deeper introspection.

Smarter people than I have spent much more time examining and reviewing the notion of monsters in our basic human fears (Death, the other, and the wilderness).

The same is true of cultural fears (Grendel vs. Anglo-Saxon hospitality, Frankenstein’s Adam vs. Victorian English faith).

These universal or cultural fears can get you started; but to create a truly new monster, you must look within.

What brings you awake, screaming? What lurks in your shadow?

Yes, I fear starvation, and its most extreme answer, cannibalism – the obvious roots of the FAMISHED series.

I also fear blind adherence to tradition, self-righteousness, and a faith that cannot question. All of these can be seen in my Gentleman Ghouls.

I fear isolation and the tendency toward self-harm. I fear, not violence per se; but the extent of our capacity for violence.

I fear an inner, existential emptiness that seeks to be filled, and accepts the simplest answer at hand.

If you’ve read FAMISHED: THE FARM, none of this should be a surprise.

In FAMISHED: THE COMMONS, new and different fears give rise to new and different monsters.

All of them are deeply personal. Many are universal. They are unusual, if not unique.

Go now. Call your monsters forth.