Our Summer of Plague wraps up with a look at potential cures and a post-human reality. Between Guillermo del Toro’s Frankensteinian bugs and a post-apocalyptic UK, the end of the world may be closer (and more necessary) than we think.
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Mimic. Dir. Guillermo del Toro, 1997.
The Girl with All the Gifts. Dir. Colm McCarthy, 2016.
Down and Dirty Pictures. Peter Biskind’s examination of the rise of Miramax and Dimension Films.
Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities. An in-depth look at the notebooks and films of del Toro.
At Home With Monsters. A look at del Toro’s touring exhibit!
“Mimic”. The short story, by David A. Wollheim
Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. Julia Kristeva’s treatise on the purpose of abject horror.
Queer Revolution, Zombie Uprisings, and the problem with M. R. Carey’s The Boy on the Bridge: an article examining the prequel to The Girl with All the Gifts.
The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement: “May we live long and die out”
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The text in your link to the short story seems to be rearranged and mixed up somehow. This is closer to the text I found in a pdf of Creatures of Beyond (which I won’t link because it’s less specific), although it has some ‘.’s superfluously added within certain words:
Wow – one of your episodes is worth a semester-long course! My favorite line, “Let’s talk about human extinction.” Loved learning about post-humanism and structural functionalism. Lots of meat on the bones of this podcast!
When people talk about movies they always end up talking about themselves. Practically inevitable, as all artistic appreciation is subjective. In this discussion of Mimic, Andrea’s deep hatred of motherhood shows up again, even using a direct reference to Aliens to affirm it. This idea that Aliens is ruined or somehow not a major landmark female-led SF action movie because it makes Ripley a mother is surreal and says so much more about Andrea than the movie. It’s as if she’s following the sexist assumption that once a woman becomes a mother she is forever defined by that role. But Ripley isn’t defined by that role. She is multi-faceted, and one of those facets is being a mother. Insisting that when a woman becomes a mother she is limited by that role is sexist and reductive. There’s enough actual sexism and misogyny in the world without having to invent more of it and shove it in where it doesn’t actually exist, such as these misguided academic readings. Andrea’s bizarre antagonism to one of the most important functions in life is more interesting than the film analysis.
The narrator of the short story actually explains why it behaved differently toward men vs women:
“I suppose the stranger of the black cloak did not fear women so much as it distrusted them. Women notice men, perhaps; more closely than other men do. Women might become suspicious sooner of the inhumanity, the deception. And then there might perhaps have been some touch of instinctive feminine jealousy. The stranger was disguised as a man, but its sex was surely female. The things in the box were its young.”
I didn’t think Chuey could actually “communicate” with the Judas breed. He could only parrot sounds without understanding them.
I wasn’t surprised at all that the scientists wanted to destroy rather than preserve the Judas breed. It’s an unintentional “invasive species” which was never intended to persist, and its survival constitutes a big screwup for them. And the bugs aren’t actually humanlike even if they can superficially resemble them, anymore than a fly that looks like a spider is actually like a spider.
Girl With All the Gifts was mostly better than Mimic, but I don’t think the ending really works. The hungries don’t seem capable of persisting as the new version of humanity, as we know of the feral kids eating through their mothers in the womb. They would just die out when there are no more humans to infect.