Ada Hoffmann’s MONSTERS IN MY MIND anthologizes 49 pieces of the author’s speculative fiction and poetry published between 2010 and 2017, including ten new, never-before-seen pieces. The author’s range is on full display in this collection: the 49 works alternate among traditional short stories, flash fiction, microfiction, poetry, and prose poems, creating a rhythm and flow to the collection as a whole and uniting stories with otherwise multitudinous and divergent content. Much of the work is suitable for readers of all ages, although it is worth noting that several stories deal frankly with issues of gender, queerness, sexuality, grief, and loss. Every piece in the collection constructs an immediate and effortless world whose rules are self-evident, although rarely explicit, plunging the reader again and again into an ever-expanding literary multiverse.
When it comes to themes, MONSTERS IN MY MIND spans the speculative fiction universe, demonstrating that the genre itself is bound only by the limits of the human imagination, and that its “raw materials” continually reemerge, shift, act, and process in ways few can articulate. The collection is not merely “weird,” as so much speculative fiction is; it is weird in the best ways, weird in the service of, and underscoring the true expansive potential of, the human. By exploring deeply human experiences like loss, grief, duty, love, courage, and loneliness within the context of parallel universes, fantasy quests, reimagined fairytales, near-sentient AI, velociraptors, and the occasional cephalopod, the collection creates a form of access for the reader: a way to approach, understand, and even befriend the monsters in one’s own mind through the exploration of worlds that are vividly different, yet achingly familiar. The collection is essential reading for anyone interested in speculative fiction, the shifting boundaries of more “traditional” science fiction and fantasy genres, queer theory, or monster studies.