A darkly compelling dream from the deep summons thousands to the California coast, a siren song offering to make all dreams come true, or at least to end to all disappointments, in Jeff Wood’s “Clickbait.”
Jeff Wood appeared in Amazing Monster Tales #2: Monster Road Trip, with a messed-up tale about roadside repairs and the little detours we all make along the way, going horrifically wrong. Here, he’s back on the road again, driving us right up to the edge and forcing us to make a decision of whether to plunge deeper or run away. I particularly like the way Jeff focuses his horror stories on small moments, building the suspense gradually and making you think that it might all still work out.
I mean, it still might, right?
You can find “Clickbait” in Amazing Monster Tales #4: Into the Briny Deep, out now!
How do you feel about the ocean? Any particular memories you’d like to share?
I grew up in land-locked Iowa, where the ocean was a myth told to us by adults. We’d visit relatives in Texas from time to time, and I’d see the calm tame waters of the Gulf of Mexico and think, “Oh, so that’s the ocean.” I encountered it again in the years I lived in New York City, but that view of the ocean seemed similarly tame, and dwarfed by the size of that glorious city. It was only when I took my own kids to California, and stood at the shore, that I saw the ocean for the powerful, dangerous, beguiling, unknowable thing it is.
It became easy for me to see monsters looming on the curve of the ocean’s horizon.
What is your favorite media (stories, nonfiction, video, games, music) about the ocean?
Creature from the Black Lagoon is the first one that swims into memory. I remember watching it on my family’s old black and white television. I even had the Aurora model when I was a kid. I played with him in the tub until I accidently broke his head off.
I have a continuing fascination with submarine movies too: Run Silent, Run Deep; Below; Black Sea; Das Boot.
What monster did you bring to your AMAZING MONSTER TALES story in this issue? Why?
I had an image of crowds of people gathering at the edge of the ocean, drawn by urges they couldn’t articulate, looking out to the horizon to finally discover and confront what it was that drew them. I didn’t know what they were looking at, or what lured them to abandon their lives and rush to the sea. So I wrote the story to find out.
Also, my Dad died when I was writing this story. Death is not the monster here, but it figures prominently. Let’s call it monster-adjacent.
Bonus question! Anything you’d like to share with the readers, promotional or otherwise?
I have one more ocean movie recommendation! There’s a little-seen Robert Redford movie called All is Lost, where there’s virtually no dialogue and he is the only cast member, lost at sea. Riveting stuff.
[I almost feel like we need to have a side competition for who can identify the most sea-related puns in this interview! But no.–Editor.]
Jeff lives in Colorado with his wife and multiple cats, where he spends a little too much time watching baseball, and way too much time looking at the night sky. Jeff has had over 40 short stories published in print and online publications such as Dark Moon Digest, The NoSleep Podcast, Boston Phoenix, New York Press, The Greyrock Review and Bellowing Ark. He is currently working on his second novel, a sci-fi/horror tale entitled Chew, about capitalism run amok.
Jeff has a free monthly-ish newsletter called The Oort Cloud, where he talks about upcoming publications and appearances, books, his writing process, orbital mechanics, baseball, parenthood and much more.
You can find Jeff at: