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Title: Menace of the Monster
Series: British Library Science Fiction Classics
Editor: Mike Ashley
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
The War of the Worlds (abridgement) • (1920) • short story by H. G. Wells
The Cloud Men • (1911) • short fiction by Owen Oliver
The Dragon of St. Pauls • (1899) • short fiction by Reginald Bacchus and C. Ranger Gull
De Profundis • (1914) • short fiction by Coutts Brisbane
Dagon • (1919) • short story by H. P. Lovecraft
In Amundsen’s Tent • (1928) • novelette by John Martin Leahy
King Kong • (1933) • short story by Draycot M. Dell and Edgar Wallace
The Monster from Nowhere • (1939) • short story by Nelson S. Bond
Discord in Scarlet • [Space Beagle] • (1939) • novelette by A. E. van Vogt
Monster • (1950) • short story by John Christopher
Resident Physician • [Sector General] • (1961) • novelette by James White
Personal Monster • (1955) • short story by Idris Seabright
Alien Invasion • (1954) • short story by Marcia Kamien
The Witness • (1951) • novelette by Eric Frank Russell
I went into this knowing that Ashley was going to blab before each story. Thankfully, there was a LOT less sociocultural BS than in the previous book. He actually talked about the stories and authors as stories and authors instead of as representative of this or that modern idea. I didn’t want to stuff a sock down his throat and choke him to death so that was quite the improvement from last time 🙂
With that being said, the stories here weren’t quite as engaging, hence the 3.5star rating. The War of the Worlds abridgement was just too short. It did make me want to seek out the full version though, so that’s something. King Kong was a short story based on the screen play and man, did it feel like it. I’ll take Jackson’s Director’s Cut of the movie any day. I’d read several others of these throughout the years so that familiarity helped ease me along.
Overall, this series is exposing me to authors that have disappeared or fallen out of the knowledge of even the SF community and it is very interesting to read such things. I like the short story format, as I’m not getting bogged down because an author can’t shut the feth up. I didn’t even realize how much I am starting to hate modern authors because of their bleeding wordiness until I started reading more short stories and the distillation of an idea instead of an expansion of the idea. As much as I loved Sanderson when he started, I’m not sure I can read much more by him. And don’t get me started on jackasses like Gwynne who think they’re somebody and have the right to pen tomes as newbie authors.
To end, this one went MUCH better even while some of the stories weren’t as good. I hope things can stay at this level.