Tuesday, 5 October 2010

My First Self-Illustrated Story

Monsters of the Victorian Age

Lecturing Monsters

In 1877 monsters were finally allowed to give public lectures. These talks often generated considerable controversy due to the fact that the electric system of amplification invented by Emile Berliner and his Detectives the previous year rendered subtext audible for the first time. People didn't like what they heard and turned away in droves. Even drovers turned away in droves. The question of whether monsters should have delivered these lectures behind closed doors, in universities and technical institutes, is purely academic.

Making the Beast with Two Backs

Victorian gentlemen greatly enjoyed making the Beast with Two Backs. In their spare time they studied engineering especially for this purpose. It is not clear why the activity was kept secret from their wives, but so it was. Hangars were erected in every major city to house the equipment needed for the regular making of Beasts with Two Backs. In 1883, some of the finished Beasts escaped and had to be legislated against. They were hunted down by Coppers and other steam-powered robotic policemen and sent to operate treadmills in the workhouse, grinding urchins.

Musical Monsters

The vogue for musical monsters began in 1841 when Chumworth Blighter, the progressive impresario, arranged the first season of afternoon concerts in which imaginary beings were the sole performers. Prior to this achievement, common wisdom had decreed that monsters "should be screamed but not heard". Rapidly growing in popularity, recitals by monsters of music composed by monsters soon became the dominant form of acoustical entertainment in concert halls, theatres and outdoor arenas. The fad crumpled just three years later when notes H to Z inclusive, the ones most favoured by monsters, were officially removed from the octave in compliance with wide-ranging austerity measures.

Petrified Monsters

The common assumption that monsters are frightening, and that they frighten human beings, and that the reverse situation never occurs, was conclusively disproved by the opening of the Imperial Monster Museum in 1866, a public facility where unique cryptozoological exhibits could be viewed for a nominal sum. The rooms were filled with monsters that had literally petrified from fright after catching sight of a human face. These stone behemoths, sciapods, harpies, colossi, minotaurs, gorgons, cynocephali, onocentaurs and other mythical beasties were arranged randomly after the directors of the museum disagreed on how best to categorise them. The Imperial Monster Museum was closed in 1899 and the exhibits sold at private auction to statue enthusiasts.

Entangled Monsters

The difficulty of disentangling certain monsters after they had embraced each other led to the passing of a law in 1868 that treated knotted conglomerations of imaginary beings as single units for the purposes of moral and scientific research. Monsters can be sticky and massively elongated, making entanglements almost inevitable and natural; and yet the general public tended to regard monster knots as examples of tragedy. On the lighter side, an Italian chef was inspired to create a new dish called "spaghetti" by the sight of an especially intricate knot of monsters off the coast of Margate. Some people dispute this and claim that the first spaghetto was created in the 12th century, but such arguments are now all in the pasta. It is not entirely unknown for Lecturing Monsters to be included in the set of Entangled Monsters.

Chimney Monsters

Chimney monsters keep the Empire happy. Chimney monsters keep the Empire warm. They dine on chopped wood and black stones and never complain. Without chimney monsters where would we be? Not here, not here! Chimney monsters keep stuck sweeps for pets. Chimney monsters call a spade a shovel. Black, blistered and riveted they cough all day; roaring and hissing they glow all night. Chimney monsters share our air. They jut their horns but not their chins. If chimney monsters went away, the Queen would fall and break. The Empire too. Even the smallest chimney monster is grate. Remember that!