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Monstrous Affections

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  185 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
A young bride and her future mother-in-law risk everything to escape it. A repentant father summons help from a pot of tar to ensure it. A starving woman learns from howling winds and a whispering host, just how fulfilling it can finally be.

Can it be love?
Paperback, 300 pages
Published October 15th 2009 by ChiZine Publications (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 780)
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Aug 04, 2010 Greg rated it liked it
Oh, Canada, our literary neighbors to the North. If us Americans paid too much attention to you we might begin to feel a little embarrassed that we alone are not the sole creators of literary culture this side of the Europe (nevermind those Southerns who write in another language, we can shove them aside easy enough). It is a good thing we generally ignore your writers, we might start to feel some kind of envy. And then we might have to blow you up. That's what happens. Or just wreck your econom ...more
Jan 23, 2011 Will rated it it was amazing
This isn't a book of horror stories. This is a book of dread, and sadness, and bitter regrets. Dried tears, just departed, and knowing that the same tears will be back the next day. It creeps on you, the language does. You don't notice it until it's already upon you.

That being said, The Sloan Men is in a different class than the rest of the stories. And Trombone Slide is so subtle it takes a throwaway line to move it all into focus.
Ursula Pflug
Sep 08, 2011 Ursula Pflug rated it really liked it
This review appeared in The New York Review of Science Fiction in June, 2011.
Monstrous Affections
by David Nickle
Chizine Publications, 2011
292 pp.
$18.95 TPB
ISBN: 978-0-9812978-3-5

Review by Ursula Pflug

David Nickle’s collection "Monstrous Affections" opens with a story about a bride’s first meeting with her mother-in-law. It turns out there’s something fearsomely strange about "The Sloan Men," except that part of their strangeness is an ability to wipe awareness of this troubling fact from their
Jun 13, 2011 Michèle rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all literature and fantastic amators,
An excellent introduction to the weird and subtly scary collection of short-stories from Dave Nickle.

I hesitated a long time before buying the book (a little because of the cover), but when I discovered Claude Lalumière's stuff, and more Chizine novels, I told myself it was time I try some fantastic-horror.

So I plunged into Dave Nickle dark fantastic tales, and emerged a happy camper. I began each story with apprehension... and the darkness is never where you expect it to be. The first (and re
Jessica Strider
Aug 11, 2011 Jessica Strider rated it really liked it
Pros: variety of stories, different lengths and wildly different subject matters, though provoking, unsettling

Cons: several stories require some thought to understand, with one being beyond my comprehension

This is a great collection of horror stories. There's variety in length and subject matter, with most having horrifying twist endings of some sort that make you rethink what you believed was happening in the story. Mr. Nickle brings in different mythologies, which was fun. And they all deal wi
Mar 27, 2013 Bibliophile rated it really liked it
Nicely crafted, surprisingly dark short stories. After the first few, I actually dreaded reading the rest of them. Could be I was just in a strange mood, but they struck me as terribly sad and relentless.
Apr 05, 2014 Darin rated it really liked it
The first collection of stories from David Nickle mines the Canadian wilderness for some chills and intersperses them with tales of situations just a tick on the odd side of normal. Vampires trade artistic vision for blood, children are goaded into running rampant at a roadside amusement park by something bent on destruction, lessons in morality are taught with damnable consequences. While the stories are definitely of the "weird fiction" variety, they do not share in or mimic such established h ...more
Danyelle Young
May 26, 2014 Danyelle Young rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I really wish I had been in a book club for this collection.
So many of the stories I'm gonna have to read again because I'm sure I missed things.
The stories weren't the type I would tell by a campfire, but they are really sad/creepy.
Just finished this too late at night, I know I wont be sleeping easy!

The swamp witch was definitely my favorite!
All the stories have their own style, so you're bound to prefer a few.
The feeling the cover gives me absolutely is a good measure of the uncomfortable fe
Mar 28, 2014 Corey rated it it was amazing
David Nickle’s on quite a tear lately, with recent novels Eutopia, Rasputin’s Bastards, and The ‘Geisters proving him a talent of vast range, depth, and awesomesauce. Yet Nickle could have stopped with this collection, his publishing debut, and I’d still be in thrall to his every whim. In Monstrous Affections (which may have the greatest book cover ever conceived), we discover the wisdom of talking fish, the heroism of witches, the persistence of flies, and the ugliness of love. Rich characters ...more
Matt Moore
Jul 24, 2010 Matt Moore rated it it was amazing
This book should be used to teach how to write dark short fiction. None of these stories relies on blood & gore to tie your stomach into knots. It is about normal people thrown into horrible situations, battling horrors both within and without.

Nickle doesn't need to rely on break-neck pacing or over the top horror to pull you into the lives of these all-too-real characters and force you to confront what all good horror stories should do: Force yourself to consider what would you have done di
Wahiaronkwas David
Jul 15, 2011 Wahiaronkwas David rated it it was amazing
What a wild ride. From the unexpected end of Sloan Men, the freaky horror of Tar Baby, the fun and fear of Swamp Witch and the Tea-Drinking Man (Swamp Witch is my favorite character) all the way to an unlikely love interest in Polyphemus' Cave. It's hard to pick a favorite tale of the whole bunch. I recommend this for anybody who likes to be surprised by a tale, rather than trod along familiar paths.
Aug 31, 2011 Kerry rated it really liked it
This book suffered from some of the things that always irritate me about short stories...sudden jerking twists at the end being the biggest. That said, the concepts presented were new and unique. The writing was spectacular.
Mar 10, 2011 Cliff rated it liked it
Overall a very interesting collection of Canadian themed thriller/horror stories. A little uneven across the entire collection, but a few of the stories are such standouts that they override the less-compelling works.
Ken McDouall
Dec 20, 2014 Ken McDouall rated it liked it
These stories are of uneven quality--some are very well written while others seem pointless. Nickle is good at creating a sense of imbalance and dread.
Bill Hsu
Aug 17, 2011 Bill Hsu rated it liked it
A little uneven. I loved the more open-ended, almost abstract pieces, like The Sloan Men, Other People's Kids, and The Inevitability of Earth.
J.C. Hart
Sep 10, 2011 J.C. Hart rated it really liked it
Review to come. 3.5 stars - there are some excellent stories in here, and some that I wasn't so taken with, but a great little collection all in all.
Jun 05, 2014 Poeticdemise rated it it was amazing
Excellent writing through and through. Worth the read for any lover of the weird, horror, or just damn good imaginative story telling.
MB Taylor
Feb 18, 2011 MB Taylor rated it it was ok
Just finished reading Monstrous Affections (2009) by David Nickle; a collection of 10 short stories originally published between 1994 and 2007 and 3 previously unpublished stories. I saw this book while browsing the new science fiction and fantasy shelf at the local Barnes and Noble. The cover (called jarring) caught my attention and I bought it. I wouldn’t call this science fiction or fantasy, it’s horror; which is OK with me. I like horror well enough, and frankly, based on the cover it’s what ...more
Bruce Mohler
Aug 08, 2015 Bruce Mohler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of short stories was marketed as "horror" (dark, stark, and creepy) but the stories were wider in scope than just that genre and therefore made the entire collection more enjoyable. The Pit-Heads was a pleasant short journey into painting and (view spoiler). The Swamp Witch and the Tea-Drinking Man felt like it was down in Louisiana. My least favorite was the end of Polyphemus' Cave.
Ryan Nims
Dec 14, 2015 Ryan Nims rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Of the stories, some were better than others, but overall, this is a good collection!

Nickle is fast becoming one of my favorite authors; if there's one thing he does better than anyone, it's the ability to instill a deep sense of dread from the first word, and let it simmer until the last word.

Stand-out stories for me were:

"Night of the Tar Baby" - Seriously creepy cautionary tale about keeping one's anger in check.
"The Pit-Heads" - This one's a little obscure... An interesting take on the Vampi
Aug 21, 2014 Rattyfleef rated it liked it
3.5 Pretty good. I remember liking some of the stories a lot. Intensely disliked one of 'em but eh. Some good soft-horror stories.
Maya White-Lurie
Aug 04, 2016 Maya White-Lurie rated it it was ok
This collection felt a bit uneven. The first and last stories were definitely the best.
RJ Lackie
Jan 29, 2015 RJ Lackie rated it really liked it
Some fantastic stories, some baffling, all imaginative. The front half of the book is superb - particularly ones like "The Tar Baby" and "The Sloan Men", both of which stayed with me long after I read them. "Slide Trombone" onwards, the stories became less magnificent and more confusing. Still, earned a 4/5 for the handful of 5/5 stories in here and the generally strong baseline.
Michael Seidlinger
Jan 13, 2012 Michael Seidlinger rated it it was ok
A collection with a decent few tales, "The Webley" and "The Mayor Makes a Brief Statement and Then Take Questions," pockmarked with the usual horror/Southern/Canadian Horror genre short story conventions.

Yeah, yeah, I admit it bought this for the cover. As you can tell by the rating, I got what I deserve.

Don't succumb to impulse buys. Lesson learned.
May 21, 2013 Janet rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2013
I admit, I got sucked in by the creepy cover. Something about that face just gives me the willies! At any rate, I enjoyed some of the stories and some just didn't come together for me. One or two seemed to not be stories at all but several paragraphs with no discernable beginning or end.
May 05, 2012 Courtney rated it it was ok
I liked some stories better than others.. but I guess that's typical with most books of short stories. Some of them I just didn't GET and some I just thought were really out there (not that there is anything wrong with that). Not bad, but not amazing either.
Djordje Nagulov
Jul 01, 2013 Djordje Nagulov rated it it was ok
Was led to buy it on the strength of the quietly creepy first story. No wonder it was the first. The rest aren't nearly as good, alas. Love the cover and title, though.
Jun 09, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it
Some of the stories I really like...others...I didn't really understand, Janie and the Wind in particular...but overall it was good
Aug 15, 2013 Marcus rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
pretty decent had a two page short story that I really enjoyed
Dec 14, 2015 Karalalala rated it it was amazing
This was great!! More more more!!
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David Nickle is the author of several novels and numerous short stories. His latest novel, The 'Geisters, is available from ChiZine Publications. His novel Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism was a finalist for the Aurora Award, the Sunburst Award and the Compton Crook Award. His story collection Monstrous Affections won the 2009 Black Quill Reader's Choice Award. He's a past winner of the Bram ...more
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