The Monster's Point of View

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The Monster's Point of View

Retelling a popular story from an alternate character’s point of view has become popular lately. Some well-known recent examples are the books Wicked (which tells the story of the Wizard of Oz from the witch's point of view, Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian, and the movie Maleficent.
 
I like the idea of telling and re-telling stories in different ways. To that end, here are some of my favorite monster stories told from the monster’s point of view.
 
Grendel by John Gardner
One of the earliest examples, Grendel was published in 1971. Grendel the book tells us the story of Beowulf as seen by Grendel the monster. In his words, he is confused, lonely, and misunderstood. His mother is unable to communicate. Grendel can understand the humans, but they can’t understand him. His initial attempt at contact results in Grendel being attacked. He is still a monster, but after listening to his internal monologue, it’s hard not to be sympathetic to his situation.
 
"The Things" by Peter Watts — found in Beyond the Rift
A short story told from the perspective of the alien in John Carpenter's The Thing. The creature is part of a hive mind whose ship crashed on this little backwater we call Earth. It was able to protect itself from the cold before it froze. When the creature was awakened by the humans who found it, it attempted to communicate, only to find itself under attack by these “biped offshoots.”
 
Hyde by Daniel Levine
Here, Mr. Hyde is in hiding. He is trapped in Dr. Jekyll’s surgical cabinet and telling his side of the story over the course of four days. Mr. Hyde is portrayed as the victim, as someone oppressed by the overbearing Dr. Jekyll. Mr. Hyde behaves as a wounded child, struggling to make sense of the world and the people around him.
 
To Reign in Hell by Steven Brust
This book tells the story of Satan, generally considered the biggest monster of all. Here is the story of the revolt and fall. Yaweh orders Satan to participate in something he disagrees with, something that will cost hundreds of angels their lives. Satan is hesitant, while a third angel plays each side against the other to make matters worse for everyone.
 
Caliban’s Hour by  Tad Williams
Twenty years after the events of The Tempest, Caliban is able to escape the island where he has lived his entire life. He intends to take his revenge on Prospero, but finds that he is too late: Prospero has died. Caliban then tracks down Miranda and forces her to listen to his story, so she can understand how he feels wronged by the two of them.
 
Red Doc> by Anne Carson
Geryon was a three-bodied monster who tended cattle. Hercules was forced to steal these cattle as one of his infamous twelve labors. This story takes place many years later. Geryon, now called G., is tending a herd of musk oxen. G. happens to bump into Hercules, who is now called Sad. Sad is suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. Naturally, they decide to take a road trip to a volcano.