Here’s What I’m Reading: Monstrous Affections

Here’s What I’m Reading: Monstrous Affections

I decided to reach waaaayyyy back to 2014 for an anthology I’ve been meaning to read: Monstrous Affections, edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant. The subtitle is “An Anthology of Beastly Tales.” It’s supposed to be middle grade or YA or something, but look. From their beginnings, editing and publishing Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, to all kinds of impressive awards for writing and publishing fantastical literature, Link and Grant have been master genre-exploders and archetype-benders, and this anthology is quintessential Link and Grant.

Starting with a windswept tale about the beasts an ocean-faring village harbors within and without (“Moriabe’s Children” by Paolo Bacigalupi, which should be required reading for anyone who harms children), my journey through Monstrous Affections has continued through space for an unlikely interspecies friendship (“Ten Rules for Being an Intergalactic Smuggler (The Successful Kind)” by Holly Black); to small-town America during World War II to explore what a community is willing to sacrifice for its own security (“Quick Hill” by M.T. Anderson); into a weird scientist’s house where a supernatural being finds itself empowered by bullying, neglect, and isolation to attempt a ghastly demonstration of love (“The Diabolist” by Nathan Ballingrud); and veered into humor and whimsy with a rock band of teenaged monsters preparing for their first concert (“This Whole Demoning Thing” by Patrick Ness).

I’m only about halfway through. I haven’t even gotten to the stories by Nalo Hopkinson or Kelly Link herself–I know! Still over 250 pages to go and nine more worlds, all between the two lushly illustrated covers of a bona fide, nicely weighty, Link-and-Grant collection. (Did I mention the covers? I got a library edition. The covers are smooth and sturdy, lustrous but not too shiny, the front featuring a creepy-gorgeous color illustration by someone named Yuko Shimizu). What greater wealth could a reader ask for?

 


Featured Image: Theodor Kittelsen, “Gott på hit test” (“The Horse Depicting the Nix”), circa 1890-1909.