Horror Reviews

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Mammoth Book of Monsters

Review by J. Travis Grundon

For years people have marveled at monsters and loved countless classic creatures. They know our nightmares and dwell in the dark corners of our minds. Now multiple award winning editor Stephen Jones has collected all the greats and more into one book, appropriately titled, The Mammoth Book of Monsters.

Like the previous Mammoth books, the Mammoth Book of Monsters this monstrous anthology assembles twenty-two stories. rom the horror legends like Robert E. Howard and Clive Barker to great authors like Ramsey Campbell and. Some of these stories have been seen elsewhere but most are originals, featuring all types of monsters, including old favorites and new nightmares.

R Chetwynd-Hayes combines horror and humor to provide "The Shadmock," while in Ramsey Campbell's "Down Under" monsters lurk in an office buildings basement. The philosophical thriller"The Medusa", by Thomas Ligotti is a masterful piece of horror, focusing on man obsessed with the myth of the Medusa and all the terror surrounding it. In Scott Edelman's "The Man He Had Been Before" is post apocalyptic tale of world overrun with zombies, through the eyes of a teenager.

Are you ready to enter the world of monsters?

"Downmarket" by Sidney J. Bounds is a terrifying tale about an odd monster demanding human sacrifices and Robert E. Howard's "The Horror from the Mound" a classy, charming variation on the subject of vampirism.

By contrast, Brian Lumley's "The Thin People" constitutes a fine example of subtle horror fiction featuring unfathomable alien creatures who love privacy and hate cars.

Tanith Lee provides a new story, the outstanding, creepy "The Hill," possibly the best piece in the book, telling in a solid, fascinating narrative style how the house of a missing scientist becomes the center of a series of sinister events.

Basil Copper ("The Flabby Men") and Robert Holdstock ("The Silvering") contribute stories with a strong SF taste depicting alien creatures either malevolent and deadly or ready to love and be loved.

In the superb "Someone Else's Problem," written by Michael Marshall Smith in his usual extraordinary style, inexplicable, monkey-like monsters haunt a train running from London to Cambridge.

"Rawhead Rex" is vintage Clive Barker, one of his most scary creations, a memorable, ageless, ever hungry monster.

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