Thursday, June 20, 2013

The mating ritual of the angler fish reminds me of the Ferali in Brent Weeks' Night Angel trilogy and I think that's truly terrifying

I finished reading these books. Decent, but by far the best part was Mr. Weeks'
monster creation. His monsters made me keep turning each page looking for more.
Here in Utah, there are lots of black widow spiders. I've never liked them much, and I know they're name is synonymous for women who marry and then kill their mates. However, last night I was doing my usual bored surfing of the web, and I came across a YouTube video called "Facts about the Angler Fish," which really made me feel for the poor male angler fish. His fate seems worse than what happens to the male black widow spider. I mean...the male just gets killed and eaten by the female spider. Horrific, right?
I read this and thought, "some people are such douchebags." 
But what the female angler fish does to the poor male angler fish is like an aquatic version of the nightmarish movie, "The Human Centipede." For those of you who are unfamiliar with this "masterwork" of gorn (that's an amalgamation of the words "porn" and "gore"), in the "Human Centipede" two unsuspecting ladies who are driving alone in the wilderness of Germany are kidnapped by an evil doctor who is famous for his work with conjoined twins. Needless to say, he's moved onto "other" experiments of combining animals to create new lifeforms and decides that these ladies shall become unwilling participants in his fantasy to create a centipede (only one made from humans). That's where I'm going to stop with the description of this plot and let you google it yourself if you're curious as to how the grotesque digestive system is supposed to work. Now, back to my angler fish story.
So what is it that the female angler fish does that is worse than a black widow spider killing and eating her mate? Well, I suppose it's a matter of perspective, but from my point of view it sounds bad. The female angler fish attaches him to her body and digestive juices basically dissolve his face and all of his internal organs over time, thereby incorporating his body as a permanent sperm dispensing gonad that she can use whenever she feels the need to reproduce. He literally becomes a lump on the outside of her flesh. Imagine doing that as a human...seeing a boy you like...and reducing him to a sperm dispensing gonad that's permanently attached to your body as an extra flap of skin so that you can go about your business and produce children whenever the need arises.
What a horror story. And this isn't made up, it's real. I wonder if Brent Weeks (who's the author of the Night Angel trilogy) heard about this and based his monster, the Ferali, off of it. I just finished reading this trilogy a little while ago, and I thought the best part of his story went into the monster creation. The Ferali in the book was created by these dark magicians called Vurdmeisters that would grab a hold of one person and torture them until there was nothing left inside of that person except pure hatred. Once they accomplished this, they embedded diamonds into the man's flesh and channeled their dark magic into the diamonds that mutated the victim's flesh and bone structure to be able to absorb other humans.
An illustration by artist Chris Rahn for Wizards of the Coast. I think it
might be for the Magic: The Gathering game but don't quote me on that.
Anyway, it's exactly what I picture a Ferali looking like before it shapeshifts.
The whole "grab onto a body and absorb it" thing is reminiscent of
how the female angler fish treats the male. Click to EMBIGGEN.
Then they'd go to their stockades and cells, grab prisoners, and throw them at the Ferali who would latch onto them (all the while these poor prisoners are screaming) and then meld with them and eventually absorb them entirely. The result was that the bones of the person being absorbed added to the strength of the Ferali's own skeleton. The flesh went to toughen the hide and so on and so forth. A Ferali with hundreds of bodies inside it, could break its own bones and take any form it desired, creating huge limbs to grasp people who thought they were a safe distance away, or to transform into gargantuan animals. They were built for one purpose only: war. Because of their invulnerability, the Vurdmeisters would sick a Ferali on an army of men and the thing would just tear through the ranks, grabbing soldiers and sticking them to its skin, all the while growing bigger and bigger and bigger.

Anyway, the mating ritual of the angler fish really reminds me of the Ferali in Brent Weeks' Night Angel trilogy, and I think that's terrifying. I suppose inspiration for monsters is all around us if we just bother to look for it.


  1. Yuck! And the Anglers are ugly fish. Wow, a black widow sounds merciful comparatively.

    The Ferali do seem similar.


  2. "holy crap, did you--what the f--"

  3. My eight year old grandson may have heard about Black Widow Spider, but I am definitely going to hold off telling him about the Angler Fish video until he is at least ten or even twelve.

  4. I don't like horror, but I have to admire the creativity of looking to nature to create a monster. As for the Angler Fish and Black Widow..nature just made them that way. That's what they have to do otherwise their kind would die off. I don't think they would be

  5. me is too scared to read the story, but I do love, sport myself and encourage wearing hoodies :)

  6. That is pretty nasty but I guess any death that's involved with mating has to be better than just some random stupid accident because at least you're going out scoring.

  7. How f****** great are those covers? They rock my world, they do.

    When I first discovered the mating rituals of the angler fish I thought of it from a woman's perspective. The male is attracted to the female and it implants itself into her flesh. So she has to go through her entire adult existence with this bloke hanging off her fins. Actually, loads of male anglers will attach themselves over time, so she's stuck with men hanging off her body for eternity!

    Doesn't get any worse than that, IMO. Although, I can see it from the male perspective too, having their flesh melted away like that. It's not the female's fault! Evolution wasn't kind to the male angler fish making him compulsively attracted to attaching himself to females. Let's face it. Glad I wasn't born a male angler.

  8. Didn't know this about angler fish. Very creepy and I can see how this could inspire Science Fiction.

  9. Wait, you're saying that's not how it works for all animals? Crap, I need a... I don't know... a saw or something.

  10. What the WHAT!! This is truly horrifying. I think that I love the ask answer section about The Human Centipede. People are such gullible creatures.

  11. Oh my goodness, that is the BEST video ever!!!

    ...and no, that's not sarcasm, I actually laughed for like 10 minutes whir re-watching it several times in a row.

    I think the creepiest thing about it is, the male intentionally does that to himself, unlike a preying mantis or black widow where the male, at least, gets it on before becoming a meal...

  12. Hi, Mike,

    Didn't know this stuff about the Angler. Fascinating. I can see something like that working out for women who might have no use for men, other than, you know...

    Going to watch the YouTube clip now.

  13. zefrank, who made the "True Facts About the Angler Fish" video, is awesome. He's been into the animal comedy thing for a while ("comedy"), but every writer and artist should take a look at his "Invocation for Beginnings." It's beautiful. Guaranteed tears / weepiness on each viewing.

  14. Sorry, as soon as the words "Human Centipede" hit the post, I had to stop reading. Someone told me about that movie, and I was grossed out for several weeks. It really hit me hard, and now I need to clean out my brain with bleach again in hopes that I won't end up with those nightmares again.

  15. Brent Weeks does have a gift for monster creations. I didn't know about the angler fish. Creepy.

  16. Truthfully, it's late at night, I'm about to go to bed, so I'm gonna read this post tomorrow rather than have nightmares tonight.

    Sleep tight, Michael darlin'.

  17. I had no idea female angler's were so merciless. It's amazing what science teaches us-- what is more amazing is what we learn about human nature via watching animals.