This week’s subject of weird fiction discussion over at LibraryThing.
Review: “Replacements”, Lisa Tuttle, 1992.
This is one of those stories that isn’t cosmic horror, doesn’t use a conventional monster, and introduces a disturbing element into our world which doesn’t – at least immediately – threaten it.
Our protagonist is Stuart Holder, an editor at a London publishing firm. He’s walking through the littered streets of London one morning on the way to the train station. Normally, he’d get a ride from his wife Jenny whose career in publishing has been more successful than Stuart’s. But there was an argument that morning, and Stuart decides to walk.
He comes across a disgusting, unknown creature half dead in the gutter.
It was about the size of a cat, naked-looking, with leathery, hairless skin and thin, spiky limbs that seemed too frail to support the bulbous, ill-proportioned body. The face, with tiny bright eyes and a wet slit of a mouth, was like an evil monkey’s.
He instinctively loathes it and crushes it under foot. The act’s violence surprises him since he’s not given to killing much of anything except insects. The creature isn’t dead, and he stomps on it again, almost screaming, and is disturbed when he sees a “smart business suit” looking at him doing this with “a sick fascination on her face’. That, of course, brings to mind the nicely dressed woman at the beginning of the story. We’re not told it’s the same woman, but maybe it is. Maybe she liked what she saw dying in the gutter that day and somehow got her own.Continue reading