THE MONSTROUS delivers real, spine-chilling horror

With Halloween just around the corner, more reviews for Ellen Datlow’s disturbing anthology THE MONSTROUS rise from the depths.

Ellen Datlow with one of her favorite monsters


This collection is not for the young or faint of heart — and ornithophobes should skip it, too.


This is a solid horror collection that pulls old creatures and new ones into the genre. Only a very few stories in THE MONSTROUS are hard for the casual reader to follow. When that happens, the disconnect seems most related to nontraditional narrative voices, like the child in “Catching Flies” by Carole Johnstone or another child in “Miss Ill-Kept Runt” by Glen Hirshberg. The monstrosity of the tale is always obvious. Second readings clear up any confusion.

The stories in THE MONSTROUS are intense, with unsettling imagery that persists long after each one ends. This collection has something disturbing for everyone.


THE MONSTROUS combines 20 different creepy little tales, and it is most definitely a book by horror fans, for horror fans. Everyone who contributed has a clear grasp of the genre and a worthy concept, and they all seem to have their own way of playing in the sandbox. Subject matter ranges from the more psychological to the more supernatural to full-blown science-fiction. It’s so nice to see the kind of enthusiasm that these authors bring to the table.

These are also writers who clearly understand atmosphere. In an age where most horror is all about jump scares and startlingly loud noises, it is comforting to see that there are still people out there who are able to create real, spine-chilling horror. Because that’s what the genre is, and should always be, about.


Other than that, if you are the horror junkie that I am, you will enjoy reading it most without any idea of where each story is going. If horror is your thing, you will most definitely find a lot to love here.

FREE-FOR-ALL, the official blog of the Peabody Institute Library (Peabody, MA), included THE MONSTROUS as part of their Countdown to All Hallows Eve.

Another collection of stories, this time pulling together 20 stories that examine what it is that makes something a monster. In this anthology, 10-time World Fantasy Award winner Datlow pulls together a collection of stories, all about non-human (though some are incredibly close) monsters, all of which are struggling to adapt to the modern world and encourage us to look a little deeper at what’s beneath our own skin. This anthology is also illustrated, but with sparse, almost icon-like drawings that give the pages a more atmospheric tone.

For more on THE MONSTROUS, visit the Tachyon page.

Illustrations by John Coulthart

Cover by Reiko Murakami

Cover design by Elizabeth Story