17.46: Monstrous Awakening

Your Hosts: Mary Robinette, C.L. Polk, Fran Wilde, and Howard Tayler 

Okay, before we start, you have homework: Please take a few minutes to read this essay by Fran Wilde entitled “You Wake Up Monstrous.

That will give you context for our discussion, which is about how body horror and other monstrous-ness is a tool we should be employing with great care.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Daniel Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson.


Rewrite a scene containing body horror or body humor so that the character with the  disability/deformity is neither the source of the horror nor the butt of the joke.

4 thoughts on “17.46: Monstrous Awakening”

  1. Hi, I’m loving this series of episodes on body identity and look forward to more exploration.

    Here are a couple of corrections to minor speakos in this episode:

    Pat Cadigan’s short story “The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi” is mistakenly referred to as “The Girl-Thing That…” (Aside, the current linguistic trend of using “that” instead of “who” drives me up the banana wall and I hope against hope it doesn’t survive the passage of time. Maybe this is really animalist of me, but I really like to differentiate whos from thats.)

    Lois McMaster Bujold’s novel Falling Free is mistakenly referred to as Freefall.

    Keep up the great work! I really enjoy Writing Excuses. I (have only two complaints: The episodes are too damn short; and the tagline “…and we’re not that smart!” wasn’t funny the first time and feels more embarrassing each time you say it, as though by self-deprecating so crudely you’re actually fishing for compliments. Your brilliance is self evident, silly! And just because you’ve used the same tagline for years doesn’t mean it has to shamble on, groaning terribly, trailing shreds of rotting flesh. I beg of you, bury the Zombie Tagline!)


  2. This week, Mary Robinette, Fran, Chelsea, and Howard took a look at the staple of body horror and body humor, waking up monstrous! The Fly or the Metamorphasis… waking up with no mouth, and you can’t even scream! Rope and duct tape can make people helpless. Losing the mortgage on your house and having to move into an apartment is not a disaster! Grabbing wheelchairs and other “help”? Plenty of interesting discussion that you can read about now in the transcript available in the archives.

  3. Just an idle wonder as I was doing the transcripts. One side of monstrous awakening concerns the loss of ability or agency. However, in some stories, e.g. Spiderman, we also have characters waking up with new abilities, often somewhat out of their control or expectations. That kind of “Oh, what am I doing jumping up to the ceiling, breaking the wall, scaring my dog” scene is not really horror, but it sure seems to be related?

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