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Monstrous Affections: An Anthology of Beastly Tales

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Overview

Predatory kraken that sing with—and for—their kin; band members and betrayed friends who happen to be demonic; harpies as likely to attract as to repel. Welcome to a world where humans live side-by-side with monsters, from vampires both nostalgic and bumbling, to an eight-legged alien who makes tea. Here you'll find mercurial forms that burrow into warm fat, spectral boy toys, a Maori force of nature, a landform that claims lives, and an architect of hell on earth. Through these, and a few monsters that defy ...

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Monstrous Affections: An Anthology of Beastly Tales

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Overview

Predatory kraken that sing with—and for—their kin; band members and betrayed friends who happen to be demonic; harpies as likely to attract as to repel. Welcome to a world where humans live side-by-side with monsters, from vampires both nostalgic and bumbling, to an eight-legged alien who makes tea. Here you'll find mercurial forms that burrow into warm fat, spectral boy toys, a Maori force of nature, a landform that claims lives, and an architect of hell on earth. Through these, and a few monsters that defy categorization, some of today's top young-adult authors explore ambition and sacrifice, loneliness and rage, love requited and avenged, and the boundless potential for connection, even across extreme borders.

As in their acclaimed and award-winning anthology Steampunk!, Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant have brought together fifteen of the premier voices in speculative fiction to explore the intersection of fear and love—where the monsters within meet, and sometimes blur into, the monsters without—in a haunting, at times hilarious, darkly imaginative volume.

With stories by:
M. T. Anderson, Paolo Bacigalupi, Nathan Ballingrud, Holly Black, Sarah Rees Brennan, Cassandra Clare, Nalo Hopkinson, Dylan Horrocks, Nik Houser, Kathleen Jennings, Alice Sola Kim, Joshua Lewis, Kelly Link, Patrick Ness, and G. Carl Purcell

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 07/21/2014
Link and Grant (Steampunk!) present an engrossing, morally complex anthology of 15 stories centered on the seemingly antagonistic concepts of monsters and love. Throughout, troubled protagonists meet genuine monsters—some traditional, like vampires, others much less so. Almost invariably, it’s understood that other people in the protagonists’ lives are far worse than the monsters. In Paolo Bacigalupi’s poetic “Moriabe’s Children,” a teenager fleeing her abusive stepfather finds sisterhood with the kraken that haunt the nearby sea. In Holly Black’s bloody but funny “Ten Rules for Being an Intergalactic Smuggler (The Successful Kind),” a girl stows away on her uncle’s spaceship, fights off pirates, and partners with a purported alien killing machine. M.T. Anderson’s wistful and beautifully realized tale of WWII on the home front, “Quick Hill,” concerns a young man’s sacrifice for his community’s safety, and Kathleen Jennings’s graphic short, “A Small Wild Magic,” is a delightful variation on the story of the boy who receives three magical wishes. Additional stories are written by Cassandra Clare, Patrick Ness, and others; all of the entries are strong, and many are splendid. Ages 14–up. Agent: Renee Zuckerbrot, Renee Zuckerbrot Literary Agency. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
Luminous... There are wonderful stories... M. T. Anderson’s "Quick Hill" is a tour de force of contemporary short fiction. It does, as well as anything I’ve read recently, what scary stories are supposed to do: It says what we feel, but cannot say.
—New York Times Book Review

From vampires to ghosts and from strange creatures made of mercury to half-harpies, these beasts will broaden readers’ perspectives. Teens will never think about monsters in the same way again. Long after the last page is turned, these tales will linger in readers’ brains, in their closets, under their beds, and in the shadows.
—School Library Journal (starred review)

Link and Grant present an engrossing, morally complex anthology of 15 stories centered on the seemingly antagonistic concepts of monsters and love. ... All of the entries are strong, and many are splendid.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The authors of these tales brilliantly intertwine morally charged issues with elements of horror writing that engage the reader. ... This is a must-read for anyone who enjoys horror fiction.
—Library Media Connection

A deliciously gory collection of fifteen original stories... While the theme is certainly familiar, the diversity of interpretations of monsterhood is an asset, and the book sets a fresh and amusing note with the opening pop quiz that assesses readers’ views of monsters. ... Fans will be happy to find a well-edited, sharp collection of new stories about their favorite topic that covers both the creepy and alluring elements of monsters.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Short stories with otherworldly creatures may be a dime a dozen, but rarely do they offer such nuanced scope. Link and Grant ... know their way around excellent short fiction, and their editorial skills are on display here. From the light(ish) and delightful to the subversively unromantic, from humor to horror, each entry both tells a good story and says something about monstrousness. ... An anthology of riches, even if they aren’t always fair of form.
—Kirkus Reviews

Link and Grant clearly spent a lot of time building this collection, which includes a graphic entry, and consequently none of the stories disappoint. Authors such as Cassandra Clare and Patrick Ness—along with the monster dripping blood on the cover—will draw in readers eager for creepy, atmospheric tales.
—Booklist

A delightful (often frightful) anthology of short fantasy fiction. ... The strong writing brims with misdirection, humor, horrors and twisty endings. ... This substantial volume will provide older teens—and adults—with hours of thoroughly enjoyable reading. A monstrously entertaining anthology.
—Shelf Awareness

Provocative. One would expect no less from veteran anthology editors Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant. ... Beautiful language.
—Boston Globe

VOYA, October 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 4) - Donna Phillips
What do you get when you mix love and monsters? A tasty collection of macabre short stories from fifteen writers of fantasy and gothic fiction, including Paolo Bacigalupi (Ship Breaker [Little, Brown, 2010/Voya August 2010]), Holly Black (Doll Bones [McElderry, 2013]), and M. T. Anderson (Feed [Candlewick, 2002/VOYA December 2002]). They range in length from Kathleen Jennings’s thirteen-page comic strip “A Small Wild Magic” to Sarah Rees Brennan’s fifty-seven-page “Wings in the Morning.” Teens will bump into the familiar ghosts, vampires, and werewolves, lesser-knowns like harpies and krakens, and unfamiliar monstrosities like the Trinidadian douen (the half-faced embodiment of the soul of an unbaptized child) or the animistic Maori wairua. Varieties of love are also represented—Brennan’s harpy is gay. In Alice Sola Kim’s “Mothers, Lock Up Your Daughters Because They Are Terrifying,” the characters are Korean adoptees who conjure a monster mother to replace those they never knew. The ambiguous ending suggests that the anonymous narrator may be romantically involved with one of her friends, who has ended what felt like an incestuous relationship with her Nordic adopted brother. Yuko Shimizu’s cover art will lure plenty of readers, who will be morbidly curious about the white-winged wolf, fangs dripping blood on the ghostly figure of a dead teen face down in a forest of blood-red thistles. Readers are immediately rewarded with a cheeky pop quiz to assess their own beliefs about monsters. Teachers looking for accomplished writing, complex points of view, ambiguous plots, and rich themes will enjoy exploring these stories—if they dare. Reviewer: Donna Phillips; Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
★ 09/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—Find a dark corner, light a candle, and wrap yourself in a blanket—these are stories that beg to be read in the dark. Between these pages readers will find entries by literary greats as well as new authors. Some of these tales are moving, others terrifying, but they all have one thing in common: monsters. In Paolo Bacigalupi's "Moriabe's Children," a girl hears the kraken that drowned her father calling her to come to them. A disobedient teen discovers that interstellar space pirates are more monstrous than the creatures she's been taught to fear in the amusing "Ten Rules for Being an Intergalactic Smuggler (The Successful Kind)" by Holly Black. In "This Whole Demoning Thing" by Patrick Ness, a young demon discovers how to be true to herself through music. And "Left Foot, Right" by Nalo Hopkinson is an eerily touching story about one girl's crippling grief and the monsters that guide her through to the other side. From vampires to ghosts and from strange creatures made of mercury to half-harpies, these beasts will broaden readers' perspectives. Teens will never think about monsters in the same way again. Long after the last page is turned, these tales will linger in readers' brains, in their closets, under their beds, and in the shadows.—Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO
Kirkus Reviews
2014-06-18
Short stories with otherworldly creatures may be a dime a dozen, but rarely do they offer such nuanced scope.Link and Grant, who edited the fantasy half of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror anthology until its demise in 2009, know their way around excellent short fiction, and their editorial skills are on display here. From the light(ish) and delightful to the subversively unromantic, from humor to horror, each entry both tells a good story and says something about monstrousness. “This Whole Demoning Thing” posits a world of demons but demonstrates that sometimes the greatest power is just being yourself; “Wings in the Morning” and “A Small Wild Magic” are laced with romance regardless of species, while “The Woods Hide in Plain Sight” takes the “girl meets vampire, finds eternal love” trope and turns it inside out. On the other end of the spectrum, “Son of Abyss” and “Mothers Lock Up Your Daughters Because They Are Terrifying” guarantee cold shivers and probably nightmares, one through gore and the other through psychology. Standouts include Paolo Bacigalupi’s “Moriabe’s Children” and Holly Black’s “Ten Rules for Being an Intergalactic Smuggler (The Successful Kind),” both of which clearly prove that monstrous behavior is usually human in form.An anthology of riches, even if they aren’t always fair of form. (introduction) (Anthology/horror/fantasy. 13 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781491502549
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 9/9/2014
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant edited the acclaimed anthology Steampunk! They also started a zine, founded an independent publishing house, own two letterpresses, and edited the fantasy half of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror for five years. Kelly Link is the author of three acclaimed short story collections, and her award-winning stories have appeared in many anthologies. Gavin J. Grant has published numerous articles and short stories. They live in Northampton, Massachusetts, with their daughter, Ursula.

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