Tuesday, September 20th, 2011...3:25 am

Secret Monsters

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(Sorry this is long… as it was I couldn’t fit everything in! Too much evidence!)

When I first finished the story I thought the humans had discovered all of the monsters… but then, I re-read the last page. “Beyond the stars is the answer,” McReady says , “From a hotter planet that circled a brighter, bluer sun they came…

“Because They came from another sun, a star beyond the stars. They came from a world with a bluer sun” (33).

How could McReady possibly know where the monster came from? The characters had wondered whether it was from our own solar system, maybe from Mars. They had since learned that Blair’s habitat was 120˚, which doesn’t necessarily indicate a hotter sun, or a bluer one. I went back to the beginning of the story and tried to find evidence that would point to who- or rather what- McReady was.

McReady was one of the characters who, like Blair, had dreams of the creature. The characters who didn’t have the dreams, like Barclay and Copper, turned out to be human… though, admittedly, Norris says he’s had the dreams too.

McReady makes very informed statements.  On page 33 he says the ship landed on “sheer accident.” When Kinner is wondering whether or not he’d know if he were a monster, McReady just says “You’d know” (22).

On page 24, McReady says “it doesn’t fight. I don’t think it ever fights. It must be a peaceable thing, in it’s own—inimitable—way. It never had to, because it always gained its end – otherwise.” At this point, the monster had already fought the dogs. It seems to me that a human in McReady’s position wouldn’t conclude it was a peaceful creature. On page 32, he tells Barclay “it had other things to think about.” He talks as though he as insight to the creature’s feelings, and says things like “It cannot animate a dead body… it is just waiting—waiting until the best opportunities come.” (22).

It seemed likely to me that McReady’s fear could have been the monster’s fear, worried about being killed and trying to get past the humans. After all, it’s a life-or-death situation for the monster, too. Imitation is its form of defense. McReady feels fear when Copper starts crying after conducting a test; Garry has been found out. If it’s all one creature, Garry being found out is McReady being found out, too.

McReady never says anything about the creatures being from hell, and he pauses before using the word ‘monsters’ on page 19.

McReady passes the blood-test, but since he was the one conducting it, perhaps he found some way of getting around it.

This is getting too long, but I found a number of other little details, none of which prove anything, but all of which further the possibility. Garry chose McReady to take over, and Garry was a ‘monster.’ McReady almost ‘forgot’ about Blair, and had Blair had just a little longer he would have gotten away. On page 24 after he sees horror and fear in Clark’s eyes, he “knew at the same instant it was in his own,” but it doesn’t say he actually felt horrified. It could have been imitation.

I suggest re-reading the story with the assumption that McReady is a monster almost the entire time; even if it might not be true, it certainly made for an interesting read.


  •   engh451blog
    September 22nd, 2011 at 3:34 am    Reply

    While I do agree that McReady does seem very persceptive of the abilities and thoughts of the “monster” the omission in one of your quotes does leak some of its strength: “It cannot animate a dead body, apparently” (22). This bit of uncertainty does not refute your claim, with which I happen to share a line of thought, it does follow logically the process through which a human being would explain something to which he/she had drawn a hypothesis. He generally makes assumptions based upon data of how the creature has reacted which lends itself to the believe that he is simply a intelligent and abstract thinker.

  • This is indeed a very interesting perspective, and going back to read it from this angle is well worth your time. Though from that initial quote on the last page, I thought that McReady was just musing on the idea of there being more creatures that came from other planets, just as any one common person thinks about such things. But as you have pointed out, it is very well possible that the creature have been in McReady from near the beginning. The argument for this possibility stands strongest on page 24 when he says “It must be a peaceable thing, in its own – inimitable -way. It never
    had to, because it always gained its end – otherwise.” Though its true the confidence exuded from McReady is evident throughout the story, this comment is nonetheless one that caused me to look back over a second time. Why would he suggest such a thought, that the monster may have already gained its end. Van Wall’s response confirms this: “You’re suggesting then, that perhaps it already has the greater numbers, but is just waiting – waiting, all of them – all of you, for all I know – waiting till I, the last human, drop my wariness in sleep.” Teasing out this possibility that McReady is indeed a monster, this comment fits right it. He, as a monster, using this ability to shape-shift, is just waiting for the opportune moment, and is instead actually inside of most of the humans anyway. While this thought in the story is quickly moved from, it is an interesting thought to pull out nonetheless.

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