Beyond this Point be Monsters Mankind has been conjuring up monsters for millennia, in an effort to explain away the strange, the inexplicable, the frightening.

The word “monster” has been used throughout the centuries to describe everything from infants afflicted with birth defects (it was the law in ancient Rome, for example, to “immediately put to death a son recently born, who is a monster or has a form different from that of members of the human race”) to phantasmagorical creatures to present-day politicians.

One fascinating aspect is the sheer variety of things we have conjured up to fear, the seemingly inexhaustible need we have for such things as monsters, and how these ideas about what a monster is tend to move from the fantastic to the human.

What once were monsters are now heroes in some aspects of our culture. And sometimes heroes show themselves to be more monstrous than we may have first thought. Four recent novels — two by Oklahoma authors — illustrate that idea.

The whole genre of paranormal romance is an example of this. And few authors have made as much a success of exploring and exploiting the idea of love among the undead and bloodthirsty as Tulsans P.C. and Kristin Cast, the motherdaughter team behind the best-selling “House of Night” series for young adults.

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Between the Lines: Fall vampire books provide a bloody good read Vampires – those who hunt and those who are hunted – plus zombies, werewolves, demons, pixies and other assorted supernatural types, have made monster strides in their invasion of popular culture niches.

They appear in books (Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” saga), movies (“The Vampire’s Assistant” and Meyer’s upcoming “New Moon,” along with “Zombieland”) and TV (“True Blood,” “The Vampire Chronicles”). In many cases, a big dash of paranormal romance mixes with a tendency toward mayhem.

If it’s spooky Halloween-time reading you’re looking for, consider this sampling:

• Any of the titles in the series of novels by the five biggest names in “urban fantasy,” as the subgenre is known: Kim Harrison (the “Hollows” series), Jeaniene Frost (“Night Huntress”), Vicki Pettersson (“Signs of the Zodiac”), Christine Feehan (“Carpathian”) and Sherrilyn Kenyon (“Dark Hunter“).

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It looks like we have a vast collection of supernatural books with our favorite creators here. All good for a spooky Halloween night 😉 and remember that OBS has its own werewolves books going on, so check out Never Ceese and Shiver! Have the supernatural creators become less scary? What do you think?