The 25 Most Intriguing People

updated 12/26/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/26/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

Butter your eyelashes. You're about to encounter an erotic flamethrower. Intrigued? Or maybe you'd rather commune with a monad in the universal mind—we've got one of those too. We've also got a walking bomb, a woman who wasn't, 10 fingernails that shook the world, a duchess in Dutch, a pandemic technoterrorist, the littlest billionairess, the monster who ate Broadway, and a tall, skinny guy who plans to pig out on pizza in the Oval Office. Not to mention a little girl whose face and fate will crush your heart—and whose spirit will hurl you in the air. It's a wonderfully human zoo out there, and we've rounded up 25 of the year's most fascinating creatures for your holiday contemplation. They made us laugh, cringe, thrill with their visions, gasp at their predicaments and above all give thanks that we're part of the same astonishing species: people. We hope you find them all, as we do, thoroughly intriguing.

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