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Destroy All Monsters and Other Stories

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  56 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, Greg Hrbek’s Destroy All Monsters, and Other Stories is a collection that explores what it means to be human—and inhuman. These ten stories have won an array of honors—and whether set in the historical past or in a speculative future, each is wildly imaginative and shockingly real.
In “Sagittarius,” selected for The Best
Paperback, 192 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Bison Books
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Pheeeeew, this is the air going out of my hopes and anticipation I had for this book. "Not on Fire but Burning" was one of my absolute favorite things I read last year and given that my expectations likely were too high I should cut this collection some slack but it was just a disappointment, with each story losing more and more of the energy I brought into it when I started it.
I didn't hate it though, it was more that most stories either fell flat or came in short of what they potentially could
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: partially-read
I've only read Sagittarius, which was published online, and I found it haunting: a beautiful parable about the tension of having children that are atypical and the joy that they can bring. It was a perfect short story in pacing, in spare but beautiful prose and in rapidly drawn, immediately sympathetic characters.
Aug 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Hrbek's collection of surreal, heartbreaking tales are extremely well written and will no doubt leave readers slightly off kilter. The title story about the filming of kaiju eiga (monster film) involving multiple narrators, was one of my favorites in the collection, humorous at times but also melancholy and with a dash of the bizarre. Which was the common theme throughout the stories, something tragic, hope lent by a combination of science and myth. was also a really interesti
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Sagittarius:" This story stands out from the others due to the fact that counterbalances the terror of parenthood with a sense of wonder. I think "balance" is the key here-- it's a stronger story because of that feeling of balance.

"Tommorow People:" This is basically an early draft of Hrbek's novel Not on Fire, but Burning. The novel does a better job of developing the themes and characters. And has a sad ending, which is more appropriate than the strangely upbeat ending we get here.

"False Posi
Ariel Cummins
I have a definite soft spot for short stories. Not enough of a soft spot to, say, subscribe to literary magazines or anything so industrious as that. But enough so that if I see a book of short stories on the new book shelf and it’s all shiny and has an awesome cover, I’ll check it out and tote it home. Which is precisely how I found Destory All Monsters.

This slim book is full of stories that occasionally trend toward the fantastical or the overly sentimental, but all are full of what I can onl
Sep 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Probably the best book of short stories I've ever read. While each one was heartbreaking in its own way, they were also inspiring and made me think about the way our world is going now. I hope to own this soon!
Oct 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
I finally got around to reading this collection and am so glad I didn't forget about it. Some stories were stronger than others and many were surprising. Quite a few stuck with me and I can see myself returning to them again.
Aug 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
I think I was hoping that these stories would be weirder than most of them ended up being, but they were still some pretty nice stories. I think my favorites would have to be "Sagittarius" or "Tomorrow People." Definitely some interesting writing in any event. Makes for good reading.
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm calling this read even though I only read about half of the stories- I skimmed the rest. I really liked some of them and some of them made me remember why I prefer big, long meaty novels. Short stories are just like appetizers and they're over too quickly. But, he's a great writer.
Oct 13, 2011 rated it liked it
The stories are written well, but the fantastic or surreal elements often don't add much and instead feel out of place or tacked on. Worth a read if you like just a little bit of surrealism in your literary fiction. I personally do not, but I still enjoyed reading many of the stories.
Sarah Turnbull
Jan 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Unique voice. Unique style. Haven't read anything quite like it. It's almost like experiencing another person's dreams... in full, vivid description.
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: surreal
Shocking and surreal...but despite the dreamlike or hallucinatory nature of many of the stories, they are poetic and beautiful and tragic and so full of truth.
Mar 06, 2012 rated it did not like it
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Greg Hrbek's "Not on Fire, but Burning" was a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice and an NPR Best Book of 2015. His first novel, "The Hindenburg Crashes Nightly," won the James Jones First Novel Award. His short stories have appeared in Harper's Magazine, Tin House, and The Best American Short Stories anthology. A first collection of stories, "Destroy All Monsters," was awarded the 2010 Pra ...more
More about Greg Hrbek...