Monstrous Affections
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Monstrous Affections

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  135 ratings  ·  26 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, 292 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Chizine Publications (first published January 1st 2009)
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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
Ursula Pflug
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...more
Jun 13, 2011 Michèle rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
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.
Jessica Strider
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...more
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.
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
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...more
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
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...more
Wahiaronkwas David
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
Excellent writing through and through. Worth the read for any lover of the weird, horror, or just damn good imaginative story telling.
MB Taylor
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
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.
RJ Lackie
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
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.
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.
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
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.
pretty decent had a two page short story that I really enjoyed
Jade Eby
Awful, awful.
Lee Eddy
Lee Eddy marked it as to-read
Aug 29, 2014
Philip marked it as to-read
Aug 26, 2014
Shannon is currently reading it
Aug 25, 2014
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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
More about David Nickle...
Eutopia Rasputin's Bastards The 'Geisters The Claus Effect The Sloan Men: Short Story

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