Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts
Courtney Miller Santo
Coming in at about 48000 words, the short story collection, There is a Beast, offers a modern take on the Frankenstein tropes of man as monster and monster as man. Inspired by writers such as Aimee Bender, Haruki Murakami, and Helen Oyeyemi, the collection embraces the fantastical, the humorous and whimsical. Further influenced by writers like Stephen King and Kurt Vonnegut, the horrific and grotesque take centerstage. Specifically, There is a Beast focuses on the frailty and ferocity of mankind, with stories often invoking the views of a different species, such as aliens in “A Planet of Korbobians” and an all-knowing robot in “Tabula Rasa.” The collection also tackles the question of humanity’s destiny, as seen through the science-gone-wrong in “Formicidae,” the ache for purpose and grandeur in “Caulbearers,” and the end of mankind in “Water on Mars.” Several of these stories experiment with length, point of view, and voice, eschewing common categorizations of either literary or genre, instead striving to be both. Additionally, the characters themselves often toe the lines between nature, man, and machine as they search for understanding of themselves, their world, and their part in the greater universe. Through this revelatory process, the characters unlock some terrible mysteries about human nature, including hard truths about themselves. Thus, there is a beast in all these stories, sometimes several, and they look a lot like modern man.
dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Manuel, Marisa Lindsay, "There is a Beast" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2007.