James Hain

Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




David Kress

Second Committee Member

Alexander C. Irvine

Third Committee Member

Naomi Jacobs


"Octopus: Eight Stories" is a collection of short works of fiction, humorous in nature, centering around the theme of difference and, especially, human reactions to those perceived as "different." The stories range from short character vignettes about slightly odd individuals, to more elaborate pieces that border on science fiction. Influenced by the works of Kurt Vonnegut, Fredric Brown, Woody Allen, and David Cronenberg, the author explores themes of alienation, social mores, and the concept of being placed apart from the majority. Stories involve: an eccentric man who constructs a shirt entirely out of bacon; a man who experiences the awkwardness of a going away party for a co-worker with whom he has had an uncomfortable fling; a suburban couple who embrace the fact that their first child was born an oversized spider; a red-headed replica of Elvis who competes in a world record competition; the dating travails of a woman born with an extra vagina; a love triangle involving a man with eight arms; a man who decides to bury a submarine in his backyard as a response to a traumatic surgical mishap; and a young boy who must deal with the fact that his junior high crush is a mermaid.