IF MY BOOK: How to Survive a Human Attack, K. E. Flann

Welcome to another installment of If My Book, the Monkeybicycle feature in which authors compare their recently released books to weird things. This week K.E. Flann writes about her new story collection, How to Survive a Human Attack, out now from Running Press.

If How to Survive a Human Attack, were a survival guide for movie monsters, one might discover life-saving tips for werewolves, mummies, cyborgs, ghosts, and other preternatural beings. But no one is saying that’s what it is. To make such a claim within a forum open to humans would be reckless, endangering the creatures the book is designed to protect. Any such statement would be refuted in the strongest possible terms. 

If any such book were, for safety purposes, concealed behind the dust jacket of another book, suggestions would include The 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse or Les Miserables

If the book were carried onto public transit, it would be crucial not to leave it behind. Always make sure you gather your belongings, including regurgitated hairballs, lesion scabs, molted fur, and so on.

If How to Survive a Human Attack were underwater for even a short while, it would dissolve. In such an event, you’d read quickly the chapter that was most applicable.

If the book wouldn’t fit through the entryway of a hive or colony when everyone retired for the evening, it would be important not to leave it outside. Consider a book-share situation with a nocturnal flock, swarm, murder, drove, or horde. 

If the book were accidentally ingested, one would monitor droppings to ensure it had been completely digested. Eating or rolling in the droppings would be optional.

If the book were in a crypt for a few hundred years, it would dry to a husk and blow away like everyone you used to know. You could translate pertinent information to hieroglyphs on the wall. Or download the book onto your e-reader. 

If How to Survive a Human Attack were written in a language too modern to decipher, you could order your familiar to read it aloud. 

If the book were more analog than you’d prefer, you could convert it to code and assimilate the information into your programming. 

If the book wouldn’t pass through the wall when you dematerialized, you’d stay put and moan in one place. Just for a few minutes.

If How to Survive a Human Attack were difficult for rigor mortised hands to manipulate, you could order a book stand. 

If the book were accidentally doused in blood, the paper would not fare well. Thankfully, you could order another copy. 

If How to Survive a Human Attack were a survival guide for movie monsters, its overall aim would be to reduce the rate of premature deaths caused by humans, a staggering 100%. But again. No one is saying that. 

K.E. Flann’s prose has appeared in McSweeney’s, The North American Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, and others. In addition to How to Survive a Human Attack, a guide for movie monsters from Running Press/Hachette, releases include a craft book, Write On: Secrets to Crafting Better Stories, from Stay Thirsty Publishing, and two award-winning short story collections, Get a Grip and Smoky Ordinary. Follow her on Twitter at @KathyFlann.

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