THE BAEN BIG BOOK OF MONSTERS (Baen; 2014). Edited by Hank Davis.
As a lover of monster stories [the larger the monster the better] and movies -- as well as the author of more than one "giant monster" horror novel -- I looked forward to this compilation of classic creature tales. Unfortunately, the book also includes some new stories by writers whose work has been published by Baen, for publicity purposes, I suppose. So on one hand we have famous stories like H. P. Lovecraft's masterful "The Dunwich Horror" and Robert E. Howard's wonderful "The Valley of the Worm," along with lesser-known gems such as Murray Leinster's "Planet of Dread" and Anthony N. Rud's "Ooze," but on the other hand we've got some pretty bad modern-day monster tales that pad the book and waste paper. There is at least one exception, Steven Diamond's "A Single Samurai," in which a man climbs and attempts to slay a creature of Godzillian proportions. So this is a mixed bag, but it has its pleasures. "The Dunwich Horror" has the countryside beset by a destructive, huge and invisible creature, offspring of a human and a demon; "Valley of the Worm" features a huge serpentine creature that devours entire villages; and "Planet of Dread" takes place on a world full of giant insects where there is added tension due to the feelings and actions of the crew. These and a couple of other stories are worthwhile.
Verdict: Some great stories with others force-fed the readers by the publisher. **1/2.