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Monsters are the ultimate Other. In them, our most heinous traits, our weirdest fantasies, our greatest primordial fears, are mirrored and transmogrified into grotesqueries of every kind. Our ancestors’ imaginative visions of terror and dread gave rise to a spectacular alternative universe of fiends, daemons, ghosts, griffins, zombies, succubi, dragons, chimeras, sea serpents, vampires, werewolves, and other monstrous progeny. Latter-day generations have been just as creative in adding marvelous creatures to the Nuclear Age pantheon—1954 alone saw the birth of Godzilla, stirred to life by the atomic bomb, not to mention the giant mutant ants of Them! No matter the era, no matter which century, be it a dark age or one of enlightenment, monsters have held a mesmerizing fascination, as well as an existential horror, for everyday mortals.
In Grendel’s Kin, classic monsters such as the Minotaur and Sasquatch are conjured alongside newly imagined unfriendly beings like the Gricklemare, the Moon Fairy, and the Soul Collector, as well as a poltergeist, a tentacled creature discovered in an uncharted crevasse in Antarctica, a sister who is grossly, inexorably extruded from her host sibling (much to the latter’s mortification), and killer fleas from beyond Pluto. Here are monsters who inhabit the churning oceans and ride on killer tsunamis. Monsters born of plague and strife and hatred. Monsters who lurk in spellbound woodlands. Village and city monsters. Monsters who are stubborn, inescapable, greedy, pestilent, some of them cunning, others a bit clumsy—and most of them as malignant as a stumble off a very high cliff.
Conjunctions:74, Grendel’s Kin: The Monsters Issue explores, through innovative fiction, poetry, and essays, the many ways in which monsters are sublime and horrifying and an important part of the human legacy from one generation to the next.
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The Owl Count
Thirteen Short Tales about Monsters
The Soul Collector
Near, and Nearer Now
The Care and Feeding of Minotaurs
The Constant Lover
Wherever Thou Wilt Touch a Bruise Is Found
The Ancient One