Human Monsters is a BIG collection with a wide range of styles and themes represented. Editors Sadie Harman and Ashley Sawyers have brought together a truly disturbing chorus of dark voices. There are too many stories in this volume to go title by title, but here are my picks for the top. My favorite was Josh Malerman’s “A Sunny Disposition”. There is at least one image from that story I have been unable to shake loose. Creep factor off the scale. My second favorite would be “One and Done,” by Stephen Graham Jones. There are times in his writing that he takes on a voice that just feels comfortable and real – it’s evident in his novel Mongrels, and in The Only Good Indians, and it’s also the voice of this twist on an old theme. I will mention one more story by more than title alone, “Eggshell,” by Gemma Amor. This story is so much more subtle than the others in this volume, concentrating less on the evil, and more on a method – an art – used to unearth it. As in her novel Full Immersion, Amor shows off a flair for detailed research and authentic, complex characterization. I would love to see the story become a novel.
Other notable stories (for me) were:
Monster Misunderstood – By Catherine McCarthy
The Myth of Pasiphae by Andy Davidson
Bodi-Bag by Rebeccah Jones-Howe
Between the Crosses, Row on Row – by Venezia Castro
Grave Bait – Chad Lutzke
Down the Road You Might Change Your Mind – S. P. Miskowski
Overall a solid anthology that runs the gamut from truly disgusting, extreme horror to carefully wrought prose. Well done.