In myths and legends, squids are portrayed as fearsome sea-monsters, lurking in the watery deeps waiting to devour humans. Even as modern science has tried to turn those monsters of the deep into unremarkable calamari, squids continue to dominate the nightmares of the Western imagination. Taking inspiration from early weird fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft, modern writers such as Jeff VanderMeer depict squids as the absolute Other of human civilization, while non-Western poets such as Daren Kamali depict squids as anything but threats. In Squid, Martin Wallen traces the many different ways humans have thought about and pictured this predatory mollusc: as guardians, harbingers of environmental collapse or an untapped resource to be exploited. However humans have perceived them, squids have always gazed back at us, unblinking, from the dark.
Martin Wallen is Professor Emeritus at Oklahoma State University. He is the author of many books, including Fox (Reaktion, 2006).