Edward Willett

From Squid to Eternity

Margaret Atwood (in)famously referred to science fiction as “talking squids in outer space,” a remark to which I would take great umbrage if not for the fact that my DAW novel Lost in Translation contains a character, Karak, master of the Guild of Translators, described thusly:

 Free of the watersuit and its exoskeleton, his shape was nothing bipedal at all; his almost globular, iridescent body, from which writhed six locomotive tentacles and six manipulators, moved through the water with boneless grace, gill-slits pulsating below the fringe of feeding-tentacles that encircled his beak.  It seemed odd to hear perfect home-planet S’sinn emerging from that alien mouth.

For all intents and purposes, then, Lost in Translation did indeed feature a talking squid in outer space. Which means a) I really shouldn’t bad-mouth Margaret Atwood’s definition, and b) Margaret Atwood reads my stuff!

What Atwood did not mention, and perhaps few people realize, is that everything is improved with the addition of squid. As my daughter and I have discovered: take any title, replace a word with “squid,” and the result is instant merriment!

Don’t believe me?  Consider this list of titles, the top 25 movies in the list of the top 250 movies of all time as voted on by users of the Internet Movie Database:

The Squidshank Redemption

The Squidfather

The Squidfather: Part II

The Good, the Bad and the Squid

Squid Fiction

Schindler’s Squid

12 Angry Squid


One Flew Over the Squid’s Nest

The Dark Squid

Squid Wars: Episode V – The Squid Strikes Back

The Lord of the Squid: The Return of the Squid

Seven Squid

Squid Club

Squid Wars: Episode IV – A New Squid



City of Squid

The Lord of the Squid: The Fellowship of the Squid

Once Upon a Squid in the West

Rear Squid

Raiders of the Lost Squid

The Squidrix


The Usual Squid

Best of all, this even (or especially) works with the titles of Margaret Atwood novels, like so:

The Edible Squid


Lady Squid

Life Before Squid

Bodily Squid

The Handsquid’s Tale

Squid’s Eye

The Robber Squid

Alias Squid

The Blind Squid

Oryx and Squid

The Squidiad

The Year of the Squid

See what I mean? So infallible is this method of amusing oneself (if one is me, anyway, or my nine-year-old daughter), that I have become convinced that “squid” is the funniest word in the English language.

Squid! It’s not just for breakfast any more.

(The photo: Not a squid, but a jellyfish, at the Vancouver Aquarium.)


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  1. Ian H. Says:

    Those are awesome, but I would have gone with “The Squidmaiden’s Tale”… So much fun!

  2. 2 Edward Willett Says:

    You’re right, that’s a better choice. Although I also kind of like “The Handmaid’s Squid.”

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