Nowadays, we love monsters; and Fantasy as a mode loves monsters to the exclusion of almost everything else. Writers have made whole careers finding ways of delivering weirder and gnarlier monsters to their readership; and producers evidently believe that the way to make Wrath of the Titans (in cinemas soon!) even better than its big-budget predecessor Clash of the Titans is to make the monsters bigger, toothier and more photo-realistic. The problem is: it’s not true. Our response to such SFX is one of disinterested curiosity, not primal terror. But the alternative aesthetic approach—that monsters are only scary if they are embedded in an eloquently realised society, culture and language, is anathema to a lot of fantasy, which prefers to sketch its world and populate it characters who are essentially modern folk in medieval fancy dress.
Arcfinity – Adam Roberts: The Critic Revisits the Monsters. A superbly insightful essay.