“Inhuman Resources” was written for the Ultimate Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Workshop (which I highly recommend) and published in the “Monsters” issue of Crossed Genres. The story is crafted as a sort of parody or satire of several things.
First, it is probably the closest I’ll come to writing urban fantasy. While I enjoy the genre, unless I can come up with some sort of really original take on vampires, werewolves, etc., I don’t want to write just another vampire story. However, I’m perfectly happy to do a short piece where I take the tropes of the genre and poke a little fun. I’ve always found it interesting that characters in urban fantasies always have cool or exotic jobs: cop, private detective, bartender, mob enforcer, stripper. Where are the vampire clerks at the 7-11, the werewolf insurance salesmen, the undead gas station attendants. They can’t all have exotic skills; some of them must work ordinary jobs like the rest of us.
Which brings me to the second part: it is a bit of a satire on Human Resources. HR professionals juggle a host of contradictions every day. They’re supposed to speak for the employees and yet protect the business. They’re the “warm and fuzzy” part of the business, but they’re also compliance. They’re the ones people get mad at when benefits get more expensive but no one thinks about the fact that their benefits just got more expensive, too. They’re essential to the business, but they don’t make money, so they’re one of the first places businesses go to cut costs.
Combining that bundle of contradictions with the urban fantasy setting resonated with a theme I explored in “Monster in the Mountains” (and some of my yet unsold works): exactly who is the monster here? “Inhuman Resources” is an attempt to look at that question with a little more humor and, hopefully, some of the punch of the old EC comics horror stories. At the same time, it’s a bit of a nod and a wink to some of the real world struggles of HR professionals.
I hope you enjoy it.