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Of Men and Monsters

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  565 Ratings  ·  51 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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I'm sitting here feeling I've almost (not quite, but very nearly) failed some sort of intelligence test with this book. Having completely missed the huge clue in its title, some distance in I was still thinking, 'Well, I like the oddness of this, but it doesn't seem to be going anywhere much' and it looked to be heading for a disappointing two stars.

The set-up is this: after an invasion from space by gigantic aliens (called 'Monsters' throughout) what's left of humanity has been reduced to livin
Dec 24, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Natalie Monroe
What baffles me is Of Men and Monsters has very similar themes to what we see in YA. Off the top of my head, The 5th Wave, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and Enclave. Yet this is paraded as a sci-fi masterpiece and YA is dismissed as kiddy books.

Aug 31, 2010 Rod rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 05, 2008 Charles rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Jan 05, 2016 Rhys rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 31, 2009 Ken rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
An outstanding sci fi tale where aliens have taken over and we live in the walls like rats.
Apr 28, 2013 Lise rated it really liked it
"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
Steve Wasling
Aug 15, 2014 Steve Wasling rated it liked it
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
Claudia Hochstein
Apr 05, 2016 Claudia Hochstein rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Aug 01, 2014 Sean Leas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Jun 03, 2014 Michael rated it really liked it
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
Jul 21, 2014 Kay Smillie rated it it was amazing
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
Peter Auber
Mar 31, 2016 Peter Auber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Roddy Williams
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 30, 2015 Denis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardcover, library
Of Men and Monsters (1968) by British born American author William Tenn (pen name of Philip Klass) a who wrote, primarily, ‘satirical’ short stories and novellas. OM&M is his one and only full length novel based on the much shorter work, “The Men in the Walls”, published in Galaxy Science Fiction in October 1963.

This is a neat, cute, little adventure story set in the far future, long after giant aliens have inhabited the earth, building large infrastructure. Humans have become tribal and li
Jul 21, 2015 Louise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For most of the way through I found this book interesting, but average. And then there was the ending, which I will not give away, so let's just say it made me stop and go 'huh'. And I haven't stopped thinking about it since.
Apr 04, 2014 Will rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 03, 2012 Charles Dee Mitchell rated it liked it
Shelves: mid-century-sf
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
Jul 04, 2012 Ian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 07, 2012 Shailen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 26, 2014 Dev Sodagar rated it liked it
an interesting though rather unoriginal investigation of mankind in a world where they are the vermin of an invading alien species.
Alice Florence
Nov 28, 2015 Alice Florence rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-shelf
Monsters have conquered earth and men now live as rodents in the walls. A young man goes on his first forage from the monsters as his initiation into manhood but on his return finds out his people have turned against his uncle, and him, claiming (rightfully so) that his uncle had abandoned their belief system. Now an outlaw, he returns to monster territory where he finds more folk in the same position as him. Of course, the monsters catch them and the boy has to lead them to freedom. And at the ...more
Jul 28, 2014 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Timothy Boyd
Feb 07, 2016 Timothy Boyd rated it liked it
Very good SiFi story. nice different take making humans the aliens of the story. Recommended
Jujhar Singh
Oct 01, 2014 Jujhar Singh rated it really liked it
A bit of a slow start but got pretty exciting about half way.

A nice and short read.
Jul 15, 2015 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
more like 3.5 stars.

This really does have a feel to the writing that it was written in the 50's instead of the late 60's. This is a good adventure story, and humans are pretty much cockroaches to the monsters which is supposed to be a comment on our society it seems but I don't really think that came across very well. It does drag on in the last third of the book, which is a shame since the first two thirds of the story were interesting and I found well written.
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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...

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