You won’t be able to forget THE MONSTROUS

More mentions and reviews of superstar editor Ellen Datlow’s latest anthology THE MONSTROUS.


Vince Darcangelo at ENSUING CHAPTERS enjoyed THE MONSTROUS.

The point being that you should bring a more elemental perspective to Ellen Datlow’s latest anthology, THE MONSTROUS. The “monsters” here do not conform to the creature-feature definition. Rather, these are encounters with the beautiful and the displaced. Characters confront things that shouldn’t be and must reconcile these irregulars with natural law.

Yes, there are literal monsters in this collection, but more often than not the stories in THE MONSTROUS live in our periphery. The terror doesn’t always come from the creatures, but from the intersection of different worlds.

The essential story of this collection, in my opinion, is “Giants in the Earth” by Dale Bailey. It begins with a classic horror trope of innocent laborers unearthing something beyond their comprehension. But rather than something horrible, they encounter something emotionally overwhelming, so much so that witnesses come away with vacant expressions.

This is not terror, but fascination. This is the thrill of the unexplained. I had a strong emotional reaction to this story because it really delved into the subconscious (fittingly set, of course, in the depths of a mine). If you’ve ever cried for no reason, or been overwhelmed by the beauty of something, you’ll get it. From start to finish, “Giants in the Earth” is a deeply impacting tale.


For my money, this is the official book for Halloween 2015, a collection of shadows, scales, flesh and bone that is beautiful and unsettling all at once. You will recognize some of the monsters in here as ones you’ve faced in your darkest anxiety dreams — and others that you’ve never imagined before, but won’t be able to forget.

In an interview at WEIGHTLESS BOOKS about the novel THE
ULTRA FABULOUS GLITTER SQUADRON SAVES THE WORLD AGAIN, A. C. Wise discusses her contribution to the anthology.

Q: How did your Cthulhu mythos story, “Chasing Sunset,” come to be included in editor Ellen Datlow’s recently-published collection THE MONSTROUS?

Wise: “Chasing Sunset” was originally written for WHISPERS FROM THE ABYSS, a Lovecraftian anthology from 01 Publishing. In writing the story, I wanted to play with different kinds of monsters, human versus inhuman, and I liked the idea of two horrific mythologies battling it out to see who is the biggest bad of the big bads. When Ellen put out a call to authors she’d previously worked with asking for reprint stories that weren’t the typical depiction of monsters, but were still monstrous, I sent it off hoping it would be a good fit. Luckily, it was!

THE CAMPUS CIRCLE included THE MONSTROUS on its Holiday Booklist.

Premier horror editor Ellen Datlow assembles a list of top names in the field, including Peter Straub, Caitlin R. Kiernan and Jeffrey Ford, in THE MONSTROUS, a new anthology collecting tales that explore the wide range of all the title evokes. 

For more on THE MONSTROUS, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover by Reiko Murakami

Illustrations by John Coulthart

Cover design by Elizabeth Story