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Lyle Zapato

"Sword of Fire": Mind-Controlling Alien Jungle Octopods

Lyle Zapato | 2014-12-14.9600 LMT | Cephalopods | Mind Control | Paraterrestrials | Weyerhaeuser Conspiracy | Retro

Illustration from the novella "Sword of Fire" by Emmett McDowell, published in the Winter 1949 issue of Planet Stories (full scan here, mangled text version here). Spoilery synopsis follows:

Jupiter Jones, advanced explorer for the Galactic Colonization Board and misanthropic loner, is forced by low fuel to land his ship, the Mizar, on the distant jungle planet Yogol after he was accidentally space-warped beyond Alpha Centaurus. There he discovers that the native humanoids are ruled by purple-shelled octopods called the Anolyn, who ages ago shambled from the inland sea of Dra Dur and mind-controlled the humans by attaching their snail-like young to the back of the humans' necks, forcing the humans to carry the octopods around the jungle on litters, engage in blood-sports and inhuman orgies, and service their nameless cities from which the Anolyn lord over the world.

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Lyle Zapato

Hatchan The Octopus

Lyle Zapato | 2014-07-28.9260 LMT | Cephalopods | Retro


H8ERS GONNA H8

Hatchan The Octopus (蛸の八ちゃん, "Tako no Hatchan") is a Japanese comic about an octopus, Hatchan, who goes on land to learn about being human and has various misadventures. The author, Suihō Tagawa (田河水泡), is more famous for his Norakuro character, a semi-autobiographical, anthropomorphic dog soldier in a thinly veiled Japanese Imperial Army.

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Lyle Zapato

Mandatory Weird Al: Foil

Lyle Zapato | 2014-07-16.4665 LMT | Aluminum | Food | NWO | Mind Control | Black Helicopters | General Paranoia
Lyle Zapato

Arboreal Octopi Of Planet Cholganna

Lyle Zapato | 2013-11-22.8895 LMT | Cephalopods
Lyle Zapato

King Kong vs. The Tree Octopus Menace

Lyle Zapato | 2011-09-03.7618 LMT | Cephalopods

There seems to be a recurring theme in Japan of primates driving would-be tree-octopuses back into the sea. I've already covered tree-dwelling hominoids called Kijimunaa that guard the mangroves of Okinawa from the constant threat of octopus invasion, and monkey military retaliations against forest-melon-raiding octopuses, but here's an example on a much larger scale...

Publicity still from King Kong vs Godzilla
(Click for Flickr set with more stills...)

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Lyle Zapato

Summon A Tree Octopus In Minecraft

Lyle Zapato | 2011-08-03.1520 LMT | Cephalopods

There are now tree octopuses in the popular indie game Minecraft!

Well, sort of... some Minecraft modders just posted a plugin for the third-party Bukkit server modding system that allows players to summon a tree octopus by placing a gold block on top of a tree.

The tree octopus is actually a stock Minecraft squid, but the game's squid only have eight appendages, so they can't really be squid and must therefore be octopuses (then again, they also have teeth, so perhaps we can't rely on anatomical accuracy.)

The mechanism to summon them was inspired by my advice to a young reader asking about tree octopus donations. However, the modders (or at least one of them, Camcade) seem to be confused about what I wrote and think it's a scam:

The website instructed people to help save the tree octopus by putting money up in the trees so that the tree octopuses could make nests out of the bills. Of course, this was a scam just to get people to put money in trees for other people to take.

We here at ZPi have always advised handing bills directly to tree octopuses, not just leaving them in trees where unscrupulous passersby may deprive needy cephalopods of nesting material. If some shady website is advising you to just throw money into the woods, please report it to your local chapter of the Sasquatch Militia.

Lyle Zapato

Osaru no Kantai (The Monkey Fleet)

Lyle Zapato | 2011-08-01.7800 LMT | Cephalopods

Continuous army of octopuses marches into the forest (looping animated GIF)

It has been theorized that species of tree octopuses around the world originally took to the land, and eventually the trees, in search of tasty vegetation, such as ara flowers, tree pitch, and olives. The Japanese have a similar theory: octopuses came into the forests in search of monkey melons. Unfortunately for these would-be tree-octopuses, the monkeys fought back.

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Lyle Zapato

Review: The Lost Cavern

Lyle Zapato | 2011-06-06.0875 LMT | Cephalopods
cover

The Lost Cavern and Other Stories of the Fantastic (Vanguard Press, 1948) by H.F. Heard (a.k.a. Gerald Heard) is a collection of four short stories: "The Lost Cavern", "The Cup", "The Thaw Plan", and "The Chapel of Ease". (Synopses with spoilers follow...)

My initial interest was in "The Thaw Plan" because it briefly mentions a tree octopus, but the story's setting and nascent-Cold-War perspective are interesting in their own right: induced global warming is used by both super powers as a strategic weapon, resulting in a future Earth where humanity has split into two separate species living at either pole, separated from any interaction by an impenetrable, primeval, equatorial jungle -- home to tree octopuses, naturally.

The first part of the story sets the world-building in motion. The year is 1975, 30 years into W.W.2.A. (World War Second Armistice). The world is divided into two super powers, the US and the USSR. The seat of power in the Soviet Union has moved East, to the city of Karakorum. The Chinese have taken control, turning Moscow into a Holy City and elevating the Russian people to the highest (and most powerless) level of "Ritual Rank".

Many in the West see this as a good thing since "a Chinaman never likes war". But the new leader of the USSR, Supreme Commissar Yang, has a devious plot to diminish -- figuratively and literally -- the West (including the Russians): they will use atomic power to melt the tundra, causing sea levels to rise 100 feet, flooding most of the world but leaving the tablelands of Tibet and China uninundated, from which the USSR will rule as the lone superpower.

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Lyle Zapato

Kure Kure Takora (Gimme Gimme Octopus)

Lyle Zapato | 2011-05-03.7630 LMT | Cephalopods

Besides 17th century poetry, here's further evidence of the general awareness of tree octopuses in Japanese culture:

Kure Kure Takora (クレクレタコラ or "Gimme Gimme Octopus" in English) is a Japanese kids' show that ran from 1973-4, centering around the bizarre, greedy exploits of Kure Kure Takora, a tree octopus who wants all that he sees (hence the "gimme gimme").

(UPDATE: The videos were removed from YouTube -- see below. I removed the broken embed codes but I'm keeping the descriptions in place...)

As you can see in the episode below, he likes to sleep on the limb of his tree, where he has a telescope that he uses to survey the forest for things to steal. Only in this episode, everyone is giving him everything he wants! Is it all a dream...?

[...]

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Lyle Zapato

"In The Lair Of The Space Monsters"

Lyle Zapato | 2011-03-28.7910 LMT | Cephalopods | Sasquatch Issues | Hollow Earth | Retro

What do you get if you cross a Sasquatch with a Tree Octopus? Perhaps something like this:

Octopus-man holding human aloft by the top of his head using a tentacle

This illustration is from the short story "In The Lair Of The Space Monsters" by Frank Belknap Long, published in the pulp magazine Strange Tales of Mystery and Terror #6 (Dec. 1932). (The first three pages of the story, including the illustration, are missing from the linked Google Books preview.)

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