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Fermi’s Pair of Ducks


The Innkeeper’s Secret


What St. Jerome Did Not Know


Death Awaits Him


He and She


The Test Subject


The Zombies


The Curious Case of the Missing Tea


What Dreams Are Made Of


The Vampire


The Puppeteer


Epilogue: On Fantastic Literature




Introduction


H.P. Lovecraft famously wrote, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” He is right in pointing out the primal influence of the unknown has upon us. He is also right in saying that one of the reactions we have to it is fear. We don’t know what to expect from it. Will it offer us some sort of help, or will it pose to us some sort of danger? But what this does not mention is the fascination the unknown has for us. We are drawn to it. We want to explore it. We want to know it, if we can – though we want to explore it and penetrate it in as safe a way as possible. This combination of fear and awe should tell us something about this unknown, this primary experience of humanity: the unknown is united to another concept, that is, to the holy (which is described by many religious scholars as being the mysterium tremendum et fascinans – the fearful and fascinating mystery).

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