Author Spotlight: Jason Maurer
A Darke Phantastique has some great fiction, but we’re not quite sure how this one fits. Is it really fiction? Jason Maurer is our next spotlight contributor and his entry is titled:
“In Your Dark”
Differing Strategies in Subhuman Integration through “Monster Academies”
[by S. Armand & J. Miller, Unpublished Manuscript]
It begins with this Introduction:
“Subhumanity (‘monsters’) has long since attempted to integrate itself successfully into human society through the use of educational institutions commonly known as ‘monster academies.’ By providing courses that both emulate those of a normal high school (and, in some cases, the very atmosphere itself) and concrete techniques of how to integrate successfully, these ‘academies’ in theory allow subhumans to successfully integrate into human society in human form, untroubled by the bitter animosity and prejudice often characterizing relations between the two species (Burtran & Burtran, 1888; Miller & Armand, 1999).
Subhumanity has existed since time began and, it is theorized, will exist long after the advent of humanity (Groleo & Darshahn, 1892). However, this has been disputed by a number of other researchers (Armand & Miller, 2000a) as mere speculation and, at best, wishful thinking. With humanity’s population always increasing, more subhumans are attempting to integrate while fewer have chosen to remain placid or fight, and those that do are inevitably destroyed. However, through natural differences in their biology (a partially insubstantial atomic structure that is governed by species-specific physical laws—for more information, see
Armand & Miller, 2001, i.e. the micro-universe theory of subhuman structure) subhumanity has found it possible to infiltrate our society.
Subhumans originally built institutions to help integrate their own kind, but recently more humans have begun to aid in the practice, both financially and more directly.”
This is where Maurer claims it came from:
“This story was born from my love of horror and dark fantasy stories and my degree, a double major in English and psychology. I initially did the degree because I thought that it would make me a better writer; while I’m not sure that it actually had an effect on my writing, it did teach me how to read and criticize research papers. When well-written, psychology papers can give fascinating insights into both the world we’re living in
and the people who write them; but even when poorly written, I admire the way that a mundane description of a hundred people staring at dot arrays can sound as if whole worlds are being discovered (and vice versa—that staggeringly important findings on the human condition can be made to sound like instructions on how to make instant oatmeal). After you read enough of them, you start looking past the rather formulaic writing for something to stimulate you beyond the often distant implications for the topic—for me, that’s the people, the writers. What were they feeling as they gathered data? Are they pleased with the results? Do they regret the path in life they chose? After graduating, I began thinking that I wanted to use this knowledge of psychology research in a different way from what I was expected to use it for, as I had no intention of pursuing further study. This led me to think that the typical structure of a scientific article—the IMRAD structure, or ‘Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion’ structure—is itself like a story: You introduce a world that has a problem; describe the characters, their relationships, and how they’re suited (or must change to be so) to solving the problem; talk about what these characters did to address the problem, and whether they succeeded; and try to relate what happened to a larger thematic truth of our world. Throw in the essential premise of a manga I was reading at the time about a school that educated monsters on how to be human, and you get the story you’re about to read. I hope that you will enjoy it.”
Jason Maurer was born in the United States, educated in Scotland, found love in Finland, and is currently working in Sweden for a company based in India. He spends his days attacking poor English in psychology and nursing
research papers, and writing (despite how much it scares him). He enjoys drawing, painting, and cooking. This is the first anthology he has been a part of, though he hopes it will not be the last. His current writing project is about a magical dungeon under Helsinki. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter @grinningking.