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Lyle Zapato

Weaponized Bees: A Taste For Honey & Black Mirror

Lyle Zapato | 2016-10-26.4120 LMT | Nature | Technology | Simulacra | General Paranoia


(Click to enlarge.)

A Taste For Honey (1941) is a murder mystery novel by H. F. Heard, also known as Gerald Heard, whose works I've covered a number of times now.

[Spoiler Alert] Sidney Silchester, a man with a taste for honey, moves to the rural English village of Ashton Clearwater for some peace and quiet. Mysteriously, no one in the district is able to raise bees except for one secretive man, Mr. Heregrove.

A true honey fancier, Silchester won't buy the stuff sold in shops, so he makes arrange­ments with Here­grove's wife to secure a regular supply of real honey, until one day she turns up dead, stung to death by her husband's bees.

With his honey reserves dwindling and hearing that the coroner had ordered Heregrove to destroy his hives, Silchester is forced by his mellivorous appetite to go inquiring about an alternate honey source. He is drawn by a curious sign to the home of a new arrival in Ashton Clearwater, one Mr. Mycroft, who is interested in beekeeping, but only for studying bee psychology, not producing honey.

Mycroft tells Silchester that he was recently attacked by a particularly venomous breed of bees and that Heregrove is responsible. Mycroft has deduced that Heregrove has bred his bees to attack other hives to eliminate the competition. Little did Silchester realize he's embroiled himself in a deadly plot to corner the honey market of Ashton Clearwater!

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Lyle Zapato

Les Pieuvres de Paris

Lyle Zapato | 2015-08-10.6821 LMT | Cephalopods | Retro

Decadent Parisian women partying on the back of an octopus.
Cliquez pour agrandir.

Les Pieuvres de Paris ("The Octopuses of Paris") is a French novel by Pierre Zaccone. Sadly, it's not about giant octopuses hosting drunken parties on their backs as they float down the Seine. Much like the equally misleading Trail of the Octopus, these octopuses are only metaphoric.

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Lyle Zapato

Julian Huxley's "The Tissue-Culture King"

Lyle Zapato | 2015-06-13.0810 LMT | Mind Control | Aluminum | Fashion | Retro


Hascombe shows off his incredible animal monstrosities.

"The Tissue-Culture King" is a short story by Julian Huxley first published in The Yale Review in Apr. 1926, and later in Amazing Stories, Aug. 1927. It's notable for containing reputedly the earliest use in fiction of an anti-mind-control foil deflector beanie -- colloquially known among orthonoids as a "tinfoil hat".

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Lyle Zapato

Ajooba Kudrat Kaa: Yeti I Love You!

Lyle Zapato | 2015-01-02.9580 LMT | Sasquatch Issues | Retro

Happy New Year again! Here's a 1991 Bollywood film called Ajooba Kudrat Kaa (English: The Magnificent Guardian) about a young girl, Sasha, who befriends a Yeti and helps save him from yetinappers. Skip ahead to 1:06 in the clip above for the song and dance number, "Yeti I Love You!"

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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.