Five of the creepiest monsters in SFF

Here’s a post by Aliette de Bodard at Five of the Creepiest Monsters in Fantasy Fiction

By an amazing chance, I’ve actually read every one of her five picks. That doesn’t happen very often when checking out these top-five and top-ten lists.

These are good choices, though I could go back and forth about several. Stiletto wasps, sure, but bugs like that (and worse) are pretty common in SFF, yes? At least, it seems to me Swarming Bugs That Sting are everywhere. Granted, Scott Lynch is a great writer who evokes the horror of that kind of swarm pretty effectively.

The Hunter from The Book of Atrix Wolfe … I felt so sorry for everyone caught up in this spell-gone-awry after I understood what had happened, so I can’t remember now whether I found the Hunter especially creepy the first time I read the story.

Let me see, creepiest monsters in SFF … not like there’s a shortage, really … but I find myself inclined to pick a handful who strike me as psychologically creepy rather than biologically icky. That would include, oh —

1) Cersei in Game of Thrones. Her special brand of narcissistic paranoia makes her worse to read about even than Jamie. And that’s saying something.

2) O’Brien, from George Orwell’s 1984. There’s a reason I hate adult dystopias and the victory of evil is it. O’Brien personalizes that kind of victory.

3) The Master of the Wild Hunt in Kate Elliot’s Spiritwalker trilogy. His inhuman detachment and casual cruelty are totally creepy. In contrast, we also see, in the same trilogy, James Drake, who is just an appalling person the reader comes to loathe, but not creepy. So this trilogy is great for distinguishing between creepy monster villains and bad guys who are really bad, but not in such a disturbing way.

4) The Gentleman with the Thistledown Hair in Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norril. His complete lack of empathy is quite terrifying.

5) And, you know, while we’re on the subject of villains who completely lack empathy, Lilianne from The City in the Lake. She’s not fae, and she is certainly more ambitious than the Gentleman with Thistledown Hair, but she is similarly lacking in the slightest understanding of and compassion for ordinary people.

Please Feel Free to Share:


3 thoughts on “Five of the creepiest monsters in SFF”

  1. The little girl who controls ghosts in Strange The Dreamer was super creepy – knowing what factors made her the way she is didn’t make her any less so.

    In tv and movies, I can’t handle anything that involves mind controlling bugs. A bunch of people recommended Braindead to me, but it was a no-go.

  2. I have to agree with her on Pillars of the Sky having plenty of creepiness, though whether the demons or the Evil Wizard were the creepiest isn’t clear.

    I guess I’ll have to try Lynch again. I bounced hard against his series about Lock Lamora. The writing was fine, but I just didn’t care about the main character.

  3. I liked the Master of the Wild Hunt. His detachment and cruelty made him alien, but not, for me, in a creepy way. And he had a good, sympathetic goal.

    Coraline’s psuedo-mother, on the other hand, *that* is creepy. I hate characters who seem nice, but are actually evil. I find that the worst. There was one recently… I think it was in “The Girl in the Tower” by Arden. Sweet words and evil intent. Ugh.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top