We are all of us monsters. We are none of us monsters. Through the work of twenty-six writers, emerging to award-winning and masters of their craft, The Humanity of Monsters plumbs the depths of humane monsters, monstrous humans, and the interstices between. Monstrous heralds of change, the sight of whom only children can survive. Monsters born of the battlefield, in gunfire and frost and blood, clothed in too-familiar flesh. Monsters, human and otherwise, born of fear, and love, and retribution all, wrapped tight and inextricable one from the other: the Fallen outside of time, lovers and monsters in borrowed skin, and creatures from beyond the stars and humans who have travelled to them. Dreams of lost and siren-song depths – of other half-held, half-remembered lives. And the things we have survived, and the things we might yet survive, in the face of greater, eviscerating loss. In stories by turns surreal, sublime, brutal, and haunting, there are no easy answers to be found, no simple nor uncomplicated labels to be had. Only the surety that though there be monsters, you will name them false. And when you meet those who truly are, you will not know them. – Goodreads Synopsis
Humanity of Monsters Review
The anthology introduction makes it clear that not everyone is going to agree with the stories that were included, because it examines different facets of the word “monster” as it has been/is viewed by different parts of society. Indeed, this is true, for the very first story had me wondering why in the world it had been included. However, remembering the introduction, I can shift my view a little to the right and see why it was included. I guess it depends on what exactly you think happened in it. (Vague enough for you yet?) I will say, it was a bit of a shaky start, but overall I’m glad I took the time to see it through to the end.
Like all anthologies, there are stories you’ll like, stories you’ll have to slog through, and stories that’ll make you go “What…did I…just….read?” The Humanity of Monsters contained only a few stories that I felt like I had to slog through, and most of those I think were simply a matter of taste over actual content and/or writing ability. There were a few that were excellent, with unique takes on classic/well-loved stories that were a delight tocourse there were some that also tried to do the same thing with the unique take and…failed. Horribly. Definitely a mixed bag, this anthology.
A few standouts: I think my favorites were “The Things“, “The Bread We Eat In Dreams“, and “The Ashmouth Man“. I shan’t say why I particularly liked them, because I want you to read them yourselves! “The Night They Missed The Horror Show” is perhaps the most repulsive (in terms of an anthology of horror, an apt choice) and I think guaranteed to raise a few hackles, but considering the time it’s set in, it was also disgustingly believable. “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” was definitely the weirdest of the bunch.
Overall, I think The Humanity Of Monsters has a little bit of something in it for everyone who enjoys horror and/or scifi stories, and includes some introductions to authors that I, personally, can’t wait to read more from. It has more strengths than weaknesses, and gave me a few pleasant hours. I’d definitely recommend you buy Humanity of Monsters on Amazon if you enjoy these types of anthologies at all.