Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


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.

No comments: