THE MONSTROUS is artfully executed

More reviews and mentions of Ellen Datlow’s not for the faint of heart anthology THE MONSTROUS.

Ellen Datlow and her monstorus friend are thrilled with all the great reviews

BOOK & COFFEE ADDICT found the disturbing collection made her think.

This collection of stories is not for the faint of heart, nor, in some cases, the weak of stomach.

All in all, THE MONSTROUS is a collection of some truly dark tales, but they’re not just tales of horror and depravity for the sake of shock value – these are stories that will stick with the reader and make them think, even though the thoughts conjured may not be truly comfortable to contemplate.

BATTERED, YELLOWED, TATTERED, & CREASED delivered a lengthy review of the literate horror and fantasy anthology.

The sheer diversity of authors is impressive, and there’s bound to be something here for everyone. Gemma Files offers something for the fan of extreme horror with “A Wish From a Bone,” a gruesome thriller where the crew for a reality TV show stumbles across the tomb of ancient evils which then begin to possess the film crew. Dale Bailey’s excellent tale is more chillingly cerebral, about miners who quite literally find “Giants in the Earth;” as the winged behemoths sleep, the miners debate what to do, and their decision(s) have lingering after-effects. Caitlin Kiernan’s “The Beginning of the Year Without Summer” is a Southern Gothic, beautifully written and flush with atmosphere, that raises as many questions as it answers. Or take Stephen Graham Jones’ “Grindstone,” another unsettling gem; it’s a visceral tale, sort of a weird western, about a man so evil even his sun-bleached bones can pass on his inhuman vileness.

This is a collection about monstrous creatures and individuals, after all, so it should come as no surprise that many of these stories were quite dark, unsettling, or visceral even when they weren’t specifically graphic or gruesome. But these tales aren’t just chilling and disturbing, they’re also artfully executed, filled with some very literate horror and dark fantasy. If you’re a regular reader in those genres, especially one who enjoys good short fiction, The Monstrous is an excellent volume worth picking up. As usual, anything with Datlow’s byline rarely disappoints, and The Monstrous is no exception, an above-average collection of twenty strong stories within one unique theme.

On his blog A DARK AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY, editor Michael Matheson delights in the comparisons of his own anthology THE HUMANITY OF MONSTERS alongside THE MONSTROUS.

Lastly, for now, I will note that I’m delighted that THE HUMANITY OF MONSTERS is apparently bought frequently on Amazon along with Ellen Datlow’s THE MONSTROUS. (Or so their system tells me.) Admittedly, I’m wondering if that’s not from the assumption that both anthologies are doing identical things with their contents? There’s overlap of intent to be sure from looking at Ellen’s introduction to her anthology, and the notion may be reinforced because the timing just worked out so the two books were coming out within a month of each other. I don’t know. There’s variation in what’s being discussed though, and why. But given how gorgeous Ellen’s book is, even just from brief perusal of my own copy as yet (because my pile of books to review is not inconsiderable and tends to come first), I am more than happy to have THE HUMANITY OF MONSTERS associated with THE MONSTROUS.

For more on THE MONSTROUS, visit the Tachyon page.

Illustrations by John Coulthart

Cover by Reiko Murakami

Cover design by Elizabeth Story