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The Profound Symbolism of Being Swallowed: Exploring the Human-Animal Connection in 'Whalefall'

Renowned author Daniel Krauss joined us on our latest podcast episode for a deep exploration of the profound and intricate connections between humans and animals, a central theme in his latest novel, "Whalefall". This fascinating tale of survival takes the reader on an extraordinary journey inside a sperm whale, blurring the lines between monsters and heroes, and prompting us to examine the ways our understanding of the world is shaped by our relationships with animals.



In our conversation with Daniel, we delved into the undercurrents of his book. The visceral description of the protagonist's survival within the belly of a sperm whale is both captivating and horrifying. This narrative not only amplifies the tension and intrigue but also highlights the inherent intricacy of the human-animal relationship. It is this primordial connection, represented by the repeated motif of being swallowed by a whale, that forms the core of Daniel's story.


Our discussion also shifted towards our personal experiences with animals. From childhood traumas to unusual research inspiration, these anecdotes underline how certain dramatic experiences can influence our interests and even shape our lives. The viral video of two kayakers nearly swallowed by a whale sparked an interesting debate ab


out the potential outcomes of such extraordinary occurrences.


The podcast also illuminated the intimacy and redemption found in monster stories. Drawing parallels with the film "Creature from the Black Lagoon", we examined how Daniel's work, much like the film, presents a monster that is both romantic and tragic. Daniel has a history of redefining monsters and finding beauty within them, thereby redefining our perceptions of animals and our place in their world.


We further discussed the significant role animals play within literature and how Daniel’s "Whalefall" mirrors the complex human-animal relationship. The way we treat animals reflects our humanity, and through his book, Daniel emphasizes this connection. Daniel's admiration for his artistic heroes and their influence on his work is also apparent in his writing.


Finally, Daniel shared some insights about his upcoming book, "Wrath". Venturing into the exciting realm of science fiction, "Wrath" explores the concept of genetically altered pets, further deepening the exploration of our bond with animals.


Our conversation with Daniel Krauss underscored the awe-inspiring world of animals and the subtle ties that bind our existence with theirs. Whether it's survival within a whale or genetically altering pets, Daniel's work offers a profound exploration of the human-animal connection, one that urges us to reconsider our understanding of both animals and ourselves.


Show Notes...

October Special! Transcript Have you ever imagined finding yourself inside the belly of a whale, like a bizarre narrative pulled straight out of myth or biblical lore? Allow us to lead you through a captivating conversation with celebrated author Daniel Kraus, as he unravels the themes of his latest gripping novel, Whalefall, a survival tale set inside a sperm whale. Get ready to probe into the blurred lines between monsters and heroes, and comprehend the profound ways our understanding of the world is shaped by the intricate connections we share with animals.



Guest: DANIEL KRAUS (he/him) is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and graphic novels. He coauthored The Living Dead with legendary filmmaker George A. Romero. With Guillermo del Toro, he coauthored The Shape of Water, based on the same idea the two created for the Oscar-winning film. Also with del Toro, Kraus coauthored Trollhunters, which was adapted into the Emmy-winning Netflix series. He has won two Odyssey Awards (for Rotters and Scowler), and The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch was named one of Entertainment Weekly’s Top 10 Books of the Year. His books have been Library Guild selections, YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults picks, Bram Stoker finalists, and more. His work has been translated into over twenty languages. Daniel lives with his wife in Chicago. Visit him at DanielKraus.com. Book Recommendation: Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film by Carol J. Clover and The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams and Fathoms: The World in the Whale by Rebecca Giggs


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