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Of Men and Monsters
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Of Men and Monsters

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  437 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Giant, technologically superior aliens have conquered Earth, but humankind survives - even flourishes in a way. Men and women live like mice in burrows in the massive walls of the huge homes of the aliens, scurrying about under their feet, stealing from them. A complex social and religious order has evolved, with women preserving knowledge and working as healers, and men s ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 251 pages
Published March 12th 1981 by Del Rey Books (first published 1968)
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Here’s another in those series of ‘SF authors you should have heard of but probably haven’t’. William Tenn was the pseudonym of Philip Klass (1920-2010) who was famous for his satirical short stories, mainly published in the 1950’s and 1960’s. In 1999 he was selected as the Science Fiction Writers of America’s Author Emeritus.

He only published one novel, which this is, in 1968.

It is a post-apocalyptic tale of sorts. Aliens -big, technologically proficient aliens, called Monsters here - have take
Where it's good, it's really good. Where it's corny, it's...well, embarrassingly corny. Where it's strange, it's intriguingly strange. And where it's profound, it is...I swear it...profound. Tenn's work may be uneven, but he is swiftly moving toward the top of my list of the heroes of golden age science fiction. My top Tenn list, perhaps.
One of my favorite books from my teenage years. Just great adventure.
Roger Bailey
I looked at the copyright page and found that it was first published in 1968, but it has the flavor of earlier science fiction. In fact, it reminded me of a story I read in an anthology edited by Isaac Asimov called Before the Golden Age which included Science fiction stories published in the 1930s. The story was Tumathak of the Coridors and I would not be surprised if Of Men and Monsters was based on it. In both stories humanity has been defeated by invading aliens and reduced to living in dark ...more
"Of Men and Monsters" is another novel that belongs in the classic category. It’s not very difficult to see that William Tenn likes to turn things upside down. He is considered one of the foremost satirists of his generation and he is very good at making me think about mankind in a different way. Like all good satires, the ending is bizarre but at the same time believable, given the circumstances described. I’ve seen that others have found the book hilarious, but I can’t say that I did. To me, " ...more
William Tenn was one of the best satirical short story writers of the 1950s, but he burned out fairly quickly. In the late 1960s he made a comeback. Several collections of his work were issued simultaneously in 1968 together with this book, his one and only novel. *Of Men and Monsters* relies on a wonderful conceit: gigantic aliens have landed and settled on Earth and human beings are forced to live exactly like mice in the walls of the alien dwellings. Eric the Eye is a young warrior of one of ...more
Peter Auber
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steve Wasling
This is a pretty original idea for a story. Written in 1968, this book is set hundreds of years after mankind has been displaced from the top of the food chain by gigantic creatures who have colonised the Earth and built their own massive dwellings. The many scattered tribes of humanity live like rats or cockroaches in the walls of these giant houses, mounting expeditions into 'monster territory' to steal food or interesting alien artefacts...those small enough to move, anyway.

I'd say this is a
I was very much curious to know how this novel ended and was pleasantly surprised when I read it eventually. It was the only fitting end Willaim Tenn could have conceived for this very good and infrequent plot. Very good read indeed.
Sean Leas
Of Men And Monsters really has a tone that makes it feel much more like a golden age science fiction work. A very interesting concept of role reversal relegating the human race as vermin to a race of gigantic monsters which have reactions similar to us when we run across a mouse or cockroach. Kill it or run for your life. What I also found interesting was the complex human societies that were formed in the various burrows an effect one would expect to see when cutting groups of people off for hu ...more
What if Earth was attacked by creatures with advanced technology that obliterated our world? What if people were forced to live in the walls of the homes of these “monsters” like, well, bugs? These are the questions William Tenn uses to springboard “Of Monsters & Men” and consider what humans might do if they were knocked down a couple of pegs on the dominant species list. How would we rationalize what we’ve done to each other, to the very world around us, if we were no longer on top? Writte ...more
Kay Smillie
I am currently going through a period of reading classic sci-fi. Some I have owned for years and others I have purchased recently, thinking that they look worth checking out.

Must admit that I had never heard of this novel and found it a wee bit slow to start off with, but it was well worth sticking with. One of the best sci-fi novels I have read in many an auld lang syne. Loved the humour, particularly when the humans went out and about in the corridors of the monsters. Also loved the ending and
Roddy Williams
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Edward Davies
Clearly inspired by Mary Norton's The Borrowers, this story of narrow views and short sightedness is great fun to read. The idea of an entire sub-species of mankind living in the homes of giant aliens and evolving seperately from each other is a nice concept which is delivered perfectly by Tenn in this short yet idea-filled novel.
This is classic science fiction from the "golden age," a great story, incredibly well written, and a absolute essential read for any SciFi fan. I read it once before, probably when I was in high school or college, and it was just as good the second time around.
Charles Dee Mitchell
Giant scary monsters have invaded Earth and now, centuries later, humans live like mice in the walls of the invaders gigantic structures.

William Tenn takes this cornball idea and runs with it. Full disclosure. I read the first portion of this novel when it was excerpted in the October 1963 edition of Galaxy magazine. I had just turned twelve. I thought at the time it was about the greatest thing I had ever read. Monsters, brave young heros, savagery, sex (lots of talk about mating) -- everything
The Earth has been conquered and the remains of humanity now live like rats in the walls of the giant aliens' dwellings. Eric the Only is a hunter in the forward-burrow tribe that calls itself Humanity. It's his job to leave the tunnels and fetch alien food or artefacts - or, at least, small enough such things that he can carry them. It's a conceit that doesn't quite stand up to scrutiny - aliens so large aren't that plausible, nor is a human civilisation surviving as household pests. Still, Of ...more
In the far future, humans are no longer the dominant species, but reduced over centuries to mere vermin to a montstrous alien civilization that has colonized the Earth. In this setting, we follow the coming of age of a young man as he realizes his potential, while venturing farther away from "home," and learns more and more about how the tables were turned on the human race. Written over 40 years ago , which you'd never guess, this is an exciting, unpredictable read, with many interesting, well- ...more
Callie S.
Opera datata, che denuncia nello stile e nelle scelte di traduzione tutti i suoi anni, eppure non manca, come capita spesso alla fantascienza, di offrire qualche spunto di riflessione interessante.
In un lontano futuro, in cui l’avvento di una nuova razza (i titanici) ha condannato l’umanità a un’esistenza da topi e ne ha fatto regredire la civiltà a uno stato primitivo, un gruppo di resistenti curiosi sfida la superstizione per assicurare un domani a quanto resta della civiltà terrestre.
Spesso r
Dev Sodagar
an interesting though rather unoriginal investigation of mankind in a world where they are the vermin of an invading alien species.
Loved this book. It's basically a combination of War of the Worlds and the Borrowers and it's exactly as good as that makes it sound.
Jujhar Singh
A bit of a slow start but got pretty exciting about half way.

A nice and short read.
I read this book as a young man of maybe 13 - I remember liking it alot and I still think about the plot from time to time. I found this book in a pile of westerns in the back of an abandon barn in a small town in Nevada called Nelson. So small there was nothing to do but read. This book as I remember it switched the roles of Humans and Pests (insects) to the point that we (humans) had become savage animals fighting for a way just to survive
Nick Hollinden
A very odd book, I can see the author trying to handle some
social issues as the story progresses. The entire subject is
really neat, and the book makes a great comparison. The mood
is exceptionally dark throughout the book, and the story is
intentionally confusing. This is caused by the first person POV
from a child who grew up being told what to believe, and now
doesn't know what he's seeing in a confusing outside world.
Martin Brochhaus
Didn't like it. It's mainly a religion-bashing book combined with Honey, I Shrunk The Kids. At the same time the book also questions science. So religion sucks. And science sucks. What's left? No explanation. Very convenient for the author, isn't it? No I didn't get anything out of this book that wasn't obvious to me anyways.
A bit of satiric sci-fi in which humanity, having been defeated hundreds of years ago by giant aliens, lives like mice or cockroaches in the walls of monster dwellings. The writing is rather hammy, harking back to an earlier era, but the conceit is modern. Or modern for 1968, anyway. Pretty entertaining, all told.
I read this in a science fiction high school class. This was so long ago, but I remember it inspiring a spark of interest in the sci fi genere for me. This book eventually led me to pick up Dune which blasted off my scifi fascination.
Read this quite a few times over the years. Humanity tries to survive invasion of monsters by living in the insulation of monster houses. Regressed to primatives they strike back.
Alan Fricker
A random pick from the public library SF section though given that it is in the SF Classics series not a huge surprise to find it was excellent.
A friend recommended this book to me, genre was a little out of my comfort zone, but I enjoyed it so much I finished it the next day!
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William Tenn is the pseudonym of Philip Klass. He was born in London on May 9, 1920, and immigrated to the United States with his parents before his second birthday and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. After serving in the United States Army as a combat engineer in Europe, he held a job as a technical editor with an Air Force radar and radio laboratory and was employed by Bell Labs.

He began writing
More about William Tenn...
Immodest Proposals (The Complete Science Fiction of William Tenn, #1) Of All Possible Worlds The Human Angle Here Comes Civilization (The Complete Science Fiction of William Tenn, #2) Time in Advance

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