Welcome to the ABC 2018 Wrap-Up, the part of the blog where I talk about the state of ABC and what this means for me, for you, and for the rest of the known universe. This has been a strange, messed-up year, one in which I’ve been forced to reevaluate everything I knew or thought I knew, and one in which I’ve heeded some important wake-up calls.

What did we learn?

  • A print version of ABC is not coming anytime soon. Why, you ask? See the following points.
  • Writing up all the entries is next to impossible. The relatively relaxed pace of ABC updating allowed me to spend some time doing as much research as possible and painting illustrations I found, if not good, at least acceptable. But doing it all together is dizzying. I don’t even know how to start at it. And my art has deteriorated massively to the point where I hate it.
  • Finding an agent and/or publisher is next to impossible. I’m unpublished and have no credentials, there is no reason for anyone to hire me. And I don’t live in the US or Europe and don’t have easy access to crowdfunding and other such platforms.
  • My mental state has also degraded significantly. Turns out ABC gave me a reason to exist, a goal, a Thing to Do. Without it and without any clear plan for making the blog or a print book, I’ve been as pointless as a fish without a bicycle. More than usual at any rate.

All this paints a pretty bleak picture, doesn’t it? Well, turns out my loss is your gain. I have decided to go back to updating ABC, at least twice a week as before (and maybe three if I put more elbow grease into it). There are a lot of things I want to tell you about and I want to make sure it gets out there.

Watch this space. Watch it closely.

I can’t possibly do justice to this marvel. From the pages of the (excellent) Legion of Super Heroes, it’s a not-veiled-at-all retelling of Herman Melville’s book, and it’s the Super-Moby Dick of Space.

You’re all so happy I informed you of its existence.

Z is for… Zoureg


The Zoureg is a mysterious Arabian snake. Despite being only a foot long, nothing can stop it once it starts moving. Trees, rocks, human beings – the zoureg goes through them like a hot knife through butter (with fatal results on humans, obviously). The only way to kill it is to decapitate it in its sleep.

Y is for… Ya-te-veo

The Ya-te-veo (literally “I see you”) is, as far as anyone knows, only described by Buel in his book Sea and Land. Since it’s found in both Africa and South America, it’s either a Wegenerian miracle or an amalgamation of all carnivorous plant tall tales. It tends to look like a comfy seat before snaring people in its spiked tentacles and giving them the Iron Maiden treatment. Excellent!

X is for… Xiao

The name Xiao is used for two creatures in the Guideways, an ape and a bird, both of which are noisy. The Xiao or Raucous-bird has four wings, one eye, a dog’s tail, and caws like a magpie. Eating it cures stomachache and diarrhea. The Guideways assures us that it resembles Kuafu the Boaster (it doesn’t).

And the solution to the previous quiz? It’s a beaver. It is described as living in rivers, both on land and in the water, and building houses with multiple chambers and exits.

Never underestimate the power of an artist who has no idea what they’re drawing.

W is for… Wapaloosie

The Wapaloosie is a lumberwoods critter something like a squirrel, but with woodpecker feet and a distinctly caterpillarish way of climbing trees. Even dead and skinned, the wapaloosie’s climbing instincts never depart. It is also among the fearsome critters immortalized in song here!

U is for… Ugunqu-kubantwana

Ugunqu-kubantwana is the Mother of the Animals, a colossal Zulu monster who protects animals and guards a lake with water that tastes like milk. Her mouth is like a cleft in a mountain, her legs like pillars. Forests grow on her back. She is seconded by four oribis who act as her lieutenants. Like the similar Usilosimapundu she is less a creature and more a force of nature. Her name comes from the sound she makes as she moves – gunqu, gunqu, gunqu!