I want to warn you that this will be a rather long post. At first I simply wanted to write a summary, an overall opinion about the whole book, but all those stories and all these authors… I’ll point out the stories that fell into my memory and write a sentence or two about them, the other stories you’ll just have to check for yourself.
Out of all the authors listed bellow I only read books/stories written by Neil Gaiman, so they were all new to me and therefore, reading this book was a fascinating experience.
The Humanity of Monsters
Authors: Chinelo Onwualu, Kaaron Warren, Catherynne M. Valente, Gemma Files, Peter Watts, Indrapramit Das, Leah Bobet, Sofia Samatar, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Sonya Taaffe, Yoon Ha Lee, Neil Gaiman, Joe Lansdale, Rachel Swirsky, Maria Dahvana Headley, Sunny Moraine, Berit Ellingsen, Polenth Blake, Kij Johnson, Laird Barron, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Livia Llewellyn, Nathan Ballingrud, A.C. Wise, Rose Lemberg, Meghan McCarron
My overall rating:
I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Tasting Gomoa by Chinelo Onwualu ★★★★★
A pretty strong story to start with. It doesn’t have any kind of monster you might imagine, it’s all about the human nature.
The Bread We Eat in Dreams by Catherynne M. Valente ★★
That was a strange story and not one I liked. It’s about a demon, who was expelled from hell and is bound to live on earth in more or less human form. The Story tells you how the world around demon change how people treat it. The problem is the story is slow paced and, even though it fits the overall theme, it didn’t manage to catch my interest.
The Things by Peter Watts ★★★★★
That one was great! At least after I realized it was actually re-telling of King’s “The thing” only from the monsters’ perspective. Well done!
Six by Leah Bobet ★★★★★
Have you heard the stories about a seventh son of a seventh son? How about any of his brothers? None right, well from this little tale you’ll find out a history of the sixth son and it’s not a happy one. It shows how brutally people can behave against a child who isn’t the chosen one, the pupil, the golden boy. This story surprised me with its ending.
How to Talk to Girls at Parties by Neil Gaiman ★★★★
This was a weird one, but I like it. It’s one of those tales where you don’t really know what’s going on, but you still feel good reading it. Main characters goes to a party with his friend and he feels obligated to finally talk to some girls and maybe even get lucky with one of them. Only those girls are all kind of strange, they talk about weird things, like they’re… not from around here…
Night They Missed the Horror Show by Joe Lansdale ★★★
How I hated all of the characters here. They were horrible racist idiots! From the first few sentences I wished all the worst for them. The problem with this story is… there are always people worse than even these idiots.
Boyfriend and Shark by Berit Ellingsen ★★★★
This was a short and peculiar tale about a man whose boyfriend is replaced by a shark and that man has to learn to let him go.
Never the Same by Polenth Blake ★★★★★
This story is lovely written and the idea is interesting. I liked where the author went with this. The main character is different than others, it seems he doesn’t have feelings, instead he learned how to react like a “normal” person would, what he should do. He’s an outsider, marked by society. Even if he’s behavior is perfect, everyone’s still watching him closely. On the other hand, there’s his brother – a “normal” person, who does or wants to do evil things. How will people react?
Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife by A.C. Wise ★★★
Here we have a story about a choice. A fisherman and his wife start having some strange and very vivid dreams. It seems they need to make a choice – go on with their lives just as they are now, or decide to choose a very different world.
Most of these stories are rather slow paced, philosophical. They stir up something inside you, make you think about humanity, the world and your own behavior and existence. I might’ve not loved all of the stories but in compilation it is a good set, not really in my domain, though that’s why only 3 stars, but some of you might like it more.
Do you think this might be your kind of read? Will you reach for this book? Have you read any other stories by these authors?