Title: The Monstrous
Authors: Ellen Datlow, Jeffrey Ford, Peter Straub, Dale Bailey, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Gemma Files, Livia Llewellyn, Adam-Troy Castro, Kim Newman, Jack Dann, Gardner Dozois, Carole Johnstone, Brian Hodge, Stephen Graham Jones, Adam L. G. Nevill, Sofia Samatar, Terry Dowling, Glen Hirshberg, A.C. Wise, Steve Rasnic Tem, Christopher Fowler, and John Langan
Editor: Ellen Datlow
Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Publication date: October 13th 2015
Page Count: 384 pages
Age Rating: NA & Up (blood, gore, violence, disturbing imagery, mild sexual references, explicit depictions of assault)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received a copy to review
Publisher’s page: The Monstrous
Take a deliciously terrifying journey led by the best horror editor in the business. Literary masters of suspense, including Peter Straub, Kim Newman, and Caitlín R. Kiernan, go to a dark place where the other is somehow one of us. These electrifying tales redefine monsters from mere things that go bump in the night to inexplicable, deadly reflections of our day-to-day lives. Whether it’s a seemingly devoted teacher, an obsessive devotee of swans, or a diner full of evil creatures simply seeking oblivion, the monstrous is always there—and much closer than it appears.
This collection of stories is not for the faint of heart, nor, in some cases, the weak of stomach.
Within the pages of The Monstrous are monsters and men engaging in some truly monstrous acts; bestiality (non-explicit), creature rape (explicit), and body horror (explicit), to name a few that may be triggering for some readers.
It took me a while to get through these stories, and that had nothing to do with the writing – which is superb of course, Datlow knows what she’s doing when she pulls these collections together – it was the way these stories, these sometimes horrendously inhumane, monstrous stories, really left a lasting impression with me. Each dark tale stuck with me long after I closed the cover and set the book down. There’s that sense of trying to ground yourself in reality, of the goodness of reality, and the unsettling feeling of how these stories held up a warped mirror to reality, dark and depraved reflections, that in actuality rang a little too close for true peace of mind.
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.
A deep, dark blend with hints of bitter chocolate and an almost sickly sweet molasses lingering bite, Dark Matters Coffee Giant Step Dark Roast goes very well with this collection of thought-provoking, monstrous tales that stay with reader long after the turning of the last page.