Saturday, March 30, 2013

Reading The Weird: 'Mimic' by Donald Wollheim

Donald Wollheim

Earth's human population: 7 billion.
Earth's insect population: 10 quintillion. At any given time.

Fun fact.

Anyway, for someone who doesn't have that much of a friendly relationship with insects, I can only say that 'Mimic' left me feeling a little scratchy. That said, I don't necessarily believe that you need this particular phobia to be disturbed by Wolheim's story. 

'Mimic' plays on the theme of the Other being hidden in plain sight, things that often go unnoticed because of people's refusal to see - to acknowledge - that which upsets their entrenched views of "what should be". Someone, however, inevitably, does see, and it's their fate to carry the burden of reality:

"But it is the other thing I saw when I ran to the window that has 
shaken me most. The policeman did not see it. Nobody else saw it but me..."

I swear, a man in a hat and trench coat walking down the street and pointing out what he wants in a grocery store instead of asking for it has never been so damned creepy. Did I mention that praying mantes scares the crap out of me? Those things are Cree.Py.

Yes, this is the short that Guillermo Del Toro based his 1997 film 'Mimic' on (which, actually, I quite like).

Find this story and other Weird delights in The Weird: A Compendium of Dark and Strange Stories, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer.