cover image The Humanity of Monsters

The Humanity of Monsters

Edited by Michael Matheson. ChiZine (Diamond, U.S. dist.; PGC/Raincoast, Canadian dist.), $16.99 trade paper (296p) ISBN 978-1-77148-359-9

In the introduction, Matheson admits to an imprecision in this remarkable anthology's title. While indeed examining the humanity of monsters "literal, figurative, or otherwise," Matheson writes that he hoped the anthology would also present "the ‘inhumanity' of the delusively non-monstrous" and speak to how "monstrosity will always be a matter of degree and perspective." Yet monster-lovers should fear not, as the pages are filled with cannibals, vampires, ghosts with voices "like entropy and smoke and sudden death," and people in madhouses and mazes. In its set of international authors, Neil Gaiman and Joe R. Lansdale are the biggest names, but while their contributions are sterling—Lansdale's "Night They Missed the Horror Show" being arguably the most disturbing tale present—the other authors' stories are equally strong. Gemma Files proves that "hunger has no moral structure" in the gruesome "The Emperor's Old Bones." In "The Things," Canadian SF writer Peter Watts slyly de- and re-constructs the classic horror movie The Thing. Nebulous title notwithstanding, this is a spirited, incisive, often disturbing collection of nightmarish visions from all corners of the globe. (Oct.)