Making Monsters With Author Brian Kirk
The sordid rabble at Samhain are damned happy to call Brian Kirk our newest brother. His debut novel, WE ARE MONSTERS, has been the talk of the town. I’m saving it to read on my upcoming vacation so I can thoroughly lose myself within its pages. Brian and I are both monster lovers, but the monsters in his story are far more frightening than a pissed off Bigfoot or Chupacabra.
So let’s train that spotlight on Brian Kirk. The haunted stage is yours…
Hey, Hunter, thanks for having me on your site. I like the dark shadows and fresh scent of coagulated blood.
While your horror spans a wide spectrum, I know you have a special affinity for monsters, both real and supernatural. So that’s what I wanted to discuss here today if that’s okay with you.
Specifically, I wanted to talk about monsters of the human variety. I want to talk about us, and the worst of our kind.
Who are the most dangerous among us? The ones who commit the vilest and most barbaric acts?
Politicians, you say? Oh, you’re killing me!
Seriously, though. If I were to create a list (so saying as I proceed to create a list) of the most heinous of our kind, I’d include the following, in no particular order: pedophiles, serial killers, rapists, and cannibals.
These are the people you definitely don’t want living next door. But who are these people? How did they get this way? What turns an innocent toddler into a monster that feasts on human flesh?
It’s difficult to say. Some of it’s nature, some of it nurture. Some people are born with abnormal brains, while others have their minds altered through prolonged exposure to trauma or violent environments. One thing that may be safe to say is that no one grows up wanting to become one of these perverted, and violent predators. I don’t think anyone with a normal, healthy brain and upbringing consciously decides to begin engaging in these acts rather than, say… go to dental school.
It’s an innate calling, an urge. An irresistible compulsion that defiles our dream that we’re all basically good. That evil does not exist in this world. That we’re more than hairless monkeys born of violence and blood-thirst.
What do we think when we see violent and heinous acts? When deranged killers walk into elementary schools and gun down innocent children? Evil is what comes to mind, isn’t it? Insane.
But not insane like an illness. Insane like a demonic possession.
I wonder about that. Is insanity more like an evil possession, or more like a disease?
Some may say, “Who cares. What’s the difference? The acts are evil and should be punished.”
While I absolutely agree that people with irresistible pedophiliac urges cannot be allowed to roam freely in society, I wonder what should be done with them. What if, instead of being deviant predators, these people were otherwise normal human beings afflicted with a disease or deformity that could be corrected or cured? What if it was your brother who inexplicably had these urges, or your son?
Let’s say we could identify and diagnose the people with this disease before they ever acted upon its urge. Would we send them to prison? Would we kill them? Or would we quarantine them while we worked to develop a cure? The same way we would treat someone who inadvertently contracted small pox and was now a health hazard to the rest of humanity.
Heck if I know. I’m just intrigued by the question. I’ll tell you this, though. If the urge to harm others is, at times, caused by a “disease” or deformity of the brain, much like how the mutation of a cell can lead to cancer, it is by far one of the worst diseases that can afflict an individual. And its contagion is among the most damaging to society as a whole.
These are difficult questions involving an uncomfortable subject. They are questions that inspired the nature of my debut novel, We Are Monsters.
In We Are Monsters, a troubled, yet brilliant psychiatrist is working to develop a cure for schizophrenia. At first, the drug he creates shows great promise in alleviating his patient’s symptoms. It appears to return schizophrenics to their former selves. But (as you may imagine) something goes wrong. Unforeseen side effects begin to emerge, forcing prior traumas to the surface, setting inner demons free. His medicine may help heal the schizophrenic mind, but it also expands it, and the monsters it releases could be more dangerous than the disease.
This novel asks challenging questions. As the venerable review site, Ginger Nuts of Horror said, “Parts of the story are heartbreaking, parts will make you angry, and the whole story will have you examining the human race as never before.”
But I believe they are questions worth asking. I hope you’ll check it out.
Thanks for having me, Hunter! Here’s my contact info in case anyone is interested in forming a virtual friendship.