In my upcoming fantasy FROM THE GRAVE, I wanted to explore the concept of prejudice and bullying from a totally different perspective. So I created a world of monsters where conformity and rule following is extremely important. I wanted to show the absurdity of creating mandates based on preferences and obscure reasoning. Each chapter begins with a rule.
Some are nonsensical:
Monster Rule #33: Mayhem is appropriate only when those in authority determine it to be so.
Monster Rule #5: A monster is judged by his actions, so act up!
Some are simple:
Monster Rule #1: Follow the rules, or else!
Some are funny:
Monster Rule #55: Expect the unexpected and then eat it for lunch.
Some are alarming:
Monster Rule #71: Torture is often a necessary component of monster education.
All of them are rather extreme:
Monster Rule #13: Monster or die!
The theme in this sometimes wacky and often intense monster world explores how a society’s views are shaped by conventions: rules, customs, laws. Of course, we need guidelines to create a safe and livable environment. What I wanted to present was a society that had established too many unnecessary rules and regulations on how its inhabitants should look and act. The punishment for violating these monster rules is termination. In this fantasy society, rather than looking for the talents and potential in an unconventional monster, the creature is automatically excluded—unless it can somehow conform.
As might be expected, monsters shy away from change (Monster Rule #913: A well-educated monster knows not to ask any questions.) But I’m hoping FROM THE GRAVE will provide not only an entertaining middle grade read but also serve as a catalyst for discussion on discrimination and intolerance in our own society.