There is no question in my mind that ChiZine Publications is the best publisher of short story anthologies and collections today so I was happy to have another one, “The Humanity of Monsters” edited by Michael Matheson, to sink my teeth into.
“The Humanity of Monsters” is a collection of works by 26 writers that range from relative newcomers to some of the most recognizable writers of speculative fiction today. With writers such as Neil Gaiman, Joe Lansdale, Laird Barron, and Gemma Files, the anthology packs a significant amount of star power as the writers examine the nature of monsters as well as their origins and their impact and relationship with humanity. The tone of the stories varies widely from tale to tale with some being poignant and touching while others are brutal and visceral. This anthology is a walk into the shadows of a darkened room at midnight as well as a journey to the darkest corners of the human mind.
One story that stands out for me is Joe Lansdale’s “Night They Missed the Horror Show.” It is not surprising that I like this story since I have long been a fan of Lansdale’s unique style which is strong in this story. I also enjoyed Gaiman’s story, “How to Talk to Girls at Parties,” as well as the stories by Barron and Files. This is to be expected so there was nothing shocking about this.
More impressive to me, and what makes a strong anthology, is the quality of stories by the authors that are less familiar. A good publisher does not just look for filler around the bigger names but for diamonds in the rough or rising stars to fill the pages and ChiZine Publications. Stories such as “The Things” by Peter Watts, which is a retelling of a classic horror story from a new perspective, and “Sixth” by Leah Bobet, with its interesting take on the unlucky brother of an immortalized child, set this anthology above many of its peers.
ChiZine Publications continues to impress me with the quality of the short stories that it published and “The Humanity of Monsters” continues in that great tradition. The stories in the anthology may at times shock and even disappoint but overall the book is much stronger than most anthologies. There are a couple clunkers in the book but they are by far outweighed by the stellar stories found within.
Take a chance and stroll down to the weird side of the tracks with “The Humanity of Monsters.” The only certainty is that you will never view the world quite the same again.
I would like to thank ChiZine Publications and NetGalley for this review copy. “The Humanity of Monsters” is available now.