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The Beauty

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  984 ratings  ·  246 reviews
Somewhere away from the cities and towns, a group of men and boys gather around the fire each night to listen to their stories in the Valley of the Rocks. For when the women are all gone the rest of your life is all there is for everyone. The men are waiting to pass into the night.

The story shall be told to preserve the past. History has gone back to its aural roots and th
Paperback, 104 pages
Published September 2014 by Unsung Stories (first published August 1st 2014)
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Aliya Whiteley Hi Bikram, The 2014 release by Unsung Stories was UK only. The January 2018 release is through Titan Books and is US only. The upcoming release also…moreHi Bikram, The 2014 release by Unsung Stories was UK only. The January 2018 release is through Titan Books and is US only. The upcoming release also features a new novelette along a similar theme. (less)

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3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  984 ratings  ·  246 reviews

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Ian Hocking
Aug 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A mixture of 'disturbing' and 'brilliant' -- that's right, it's brillurbing.
Bob Milne
The Beauty is a weirdly beautiful novella from Aliya Whiteley that feels disconcertingly unfinished. It is altogether fascinating, with a sinister progression of themes and ideas, but it ends too soon, and Nate's narration keeps much of the story at arms' length.

In an undefined future, the world has been overcome by a fungal infection that has taken the lives of every single woman, young and old. The men who survive them know that they are to be the last generation, and exist in a sad sort of li
Oct 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A fabulous metaphorical delight! What happens when impossible beauty ideals become a fungus that infects women and brainwashes men? More than a commentary on gender roles, this disturbing little tale places blame squarely on the society that sets, perpetuates, and prioritizes physical female beauty over human love and shared responsibility. Fantastic truncated paragraph style, too. Nice and rhythmic.

I don't even know how to rate this.

This is just one fkn WEIRD book okay.

Also it's two stories so that was completely unexpected.

The Beauty

The actual, titular story, which I thought was the entire novel. Super weird. Basically there's no women left because they all died from some nasty womb disease so there's just this little band of lonely men. I thought this was going to be a thought-provoking, feminist-type horror story about how hopeless men are without women but instead we get mushroom wo
S.E. Lindberg

What is beautiful? Repulsive? Are you attracted to it? Are you beautiful, or unloved? These question resonate as one reads "The Beauty."
Aliya Whiteley's THE BEAUTY offers a compact dose of weird fiction, body horror specifically, in which humanity is evolving into mushrooms. Expect a mashup of  William Golding's 1954 Lord of the Flies and P. D. James' 1992 novel The Children of Men: a cluster of men survive in a dystopian future where all the women are dead (no hope for reproduction). The Beau
Aug 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
NOTE: This book was provided by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

(link to review on my blog soon)

Why did I read this book? Because the blurb promised me a world without women. Not "a world without women except for one who for some reason didn't die", but "a world without women, full stop". And let me tell you, to feminist me, this sounded incredibly intriguing.

So I gave it a shot.

This book, let me tell you, is a powerhouse. The story follows Nate, the resident s
Dannii Elle
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the most bizarre thing I have read in my entire life!
Eleni (OverThePlace)
Like tripping on mushrooms (or having sex with them).
Literally, that's the whole plot. It's brilliant, wise and messed-up.

***Update: I just discovered the iconic artist Georgia O'Keeffe and I think that her paintings, especially the ones with the huge flowers, should be on the cover of this book. Her paintings represent exactly the theme and the feeling of the book.
Seregil of Rhiminee
Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Risingshadow.

Aliya Whiteley's The Beauty is the first book that I've reviewed twice, because I feel that it deserves a second review due to the fact that this new edition (published by Titan Books) contains an additional story that is excellent and worth reading.

I consider Aliya Whiteley's The Beauty to be one of the utmost best and most original weird fiction books ever published, because it's a masterpiece of modern weird fiction and imaginative storytelling. In this bo
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really don't want to give away too much of this story. It's unique and somewhat disturbing. I realized that I'm so used to typical gender roles that a number of things that happen in this book made me really uncomfortable. And that's incredibly disappointing to me. Gender, now more than ever, is becoming less of an issue in society, but when you take the typical male and female roles and completely switch them, it's amazing how quickly I became uncomfortable. That tells me that perhaps society ...more
Leah Bayer
I was very much looking forward to this book but it let me down hard--I really liked Whiteley's The Arrival of Missives and was hoping for more like that. The idea here is so cool: all the women in the world contract a strange fungus-based illness and die. After their death, mushrooms start growing on their graves and eventually turn into weird sentient mushroom-women. I HATE mushrooms really passionately (are you a plant? an animal?! make up your damn mind!) so this was particularly horrifying ...more
Oct 15, 2016 rated it liked it

«Beauty is a word that has a different meaning for me now and I am delighted to have reclaimed it.»

The Beauty es por lejos uno de los libros más bizarros que he leído en mucho tiempo, y si no fuera por la habilidad de la autora para narrar de un modo que por momentos es hasta poético, la historia sería repugnante. O mejor dicho, la idea de la historia es retorcida y desagradable, pero gracias a lo bien escrito que está, eso pasa a segundo plano.

Éste es un mundo postapocalíptico donde por
Grace Troxel
Oct 31, 2014 rated it liked it
This review originally appeared on my blog, Books Without Any Pictures:

3.5 stars.

One of the great things about being a book blogger is that you are introduced to books that you otherwise would never have heard of or considered reading. I received a review request from a small speculative fiction publisher based out of the UK called Unsung Stories for a novella called The Beauty, which is quite possibly one of the most bizarre books I’ve ever read.

The Beau
Eliza Graham
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What is a woman? Are gender roles fixed or fluid? These are big philosophical questions and Nate, the young storyteller and main protagonist of The Beauty, tries to weave tales that make sense of life. Until something weird starts happening near the graves of the dead women who are now all that is left of the female sex. The Beauty has some shocking and disturbing moments, but are there for a reason and the prose is elegant.
John Beta
Jan 14, 2019 rated it liked it
The stranger the better. Women died off to some sort of vaginal fungus, men and boys satisfying each other, mushroom women growing from graves, men having sex with mushroom women, men turning into women and having babies, mushroom women taking on the male role, resistance, acceptance, disgusting and comforting. Some weird stuff which I like, however, it was at times a bit hard to follow. Gonna make me a mushroom omelet tomorrow!
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, sci-fi
You can find my full review of The Beauty on my speculative fiction book blog.

In summary: The Beauty is a rich and atmospheric tale which handles the uncanny and horror with huge confidence. I'm not sure it could ever be made into a movie, but if so, Guillermo del Toro (who made Pan's Labyrinth) would have to direct. It is a stunning achievement.
Jun 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
Errr .... what the hell?! There wasn't really anything I liked about this book, but I was very grateful that it was only 99 pages long. Oh dear.
Creepy and fabulous. Life finds a way.
Sep 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: from-publisher
The nitty-gritty: A short but powerful story that will make you think about what "gender" means, but seriously, one of the strangest things I’ve ever read.

The Beauty were small at first but they grew, and they took all the best qualities of the dead. They sucked up through the soil all the softness, serenity, hope and happiness of womankind.

I’m not the sort of reader who shies away from anything odd or bizarre, and many of the books I've read and enjoyed can be described in just that way. I was
Review to come.
C.J. Lines
Sep 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the same smart way that (for example) the TV series Deadwood used the tropes of a Western to explore the brutal socio-economic development of a community, The Beauty uses body horror to look at a developing society from an existential standpoint. It focuses particularly (although not exclusively) on issues of gender and asks allegorical questions that are uncomfortable and unflinching. But never mind all that. Even if you're not of a philosophical bent, this is a grotesque, entertaining fable ...more
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff, horror
SUPER weird. Not Bizarro weird (a genre that has truly pushed my limits on strangeness and unpleasant descriptions) but it's up there. We start with the old trope of a post-apoc that killed off one gender --women in this case-- and combine it with insular community creepiness. Fungus begins growing on the graves of dead women and bloom into fungal approximations of women. Sounds disturbing right? That's not even half of it. Would really only rec this with a caveat of having a strong stomach for ...more
Kim Raccoon
Feb 07, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have to be missing something. A metaphor, allegory, symbolism, something. I just can't understand why mushroom-human sexual relations is so compelling for people.
lauren ♡ (wonderless reviews)
I'm not sure what I just read but I loved it.
I notice I've been reading a lot of "what if women" books lately. What if women developed a power in their bodies? What if women ruled over a matriarchal society? What if women slowly started to become invisible to everyone around them?

This year I vowed to read only female authors and so far, there's been a trend - stories as tools or canvases to show how we can change society for the better, how far we can further fall, and how things wouldn't be better if roles were swapped.

This book also fall
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. An allegorical marvel questioning the meaning of gender and dissecting the essentials of human existence under a new light - a much deeper experience than the genre-lit-premise the blurb promises. I truly enjoyed the prose too, filled with a sort of sensorial wisdom which gives the imagery a unique flavor, and the paragraphs offer a distinctive cadence marked by truncated sentences and intentional pauses. Short novel but very powerful.
Feb 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
review later
Paul Ataua
Dec 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Intriguing short novel set in a world where a fungus infection has led to the death of all women, and in which the men sit around the camp fire telling stories. Then mushrooms start growing on the women’s graves and develop into mushroom women. Fascinating in parts and sometimes very perceptive, but I found it hard to follow the line of the story, and was, at times, frustrated by the narrative.
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dystopian, now-ish
This story was disturbing as fuck, and I could. not. put. it. down.

All the women in the world have died off, and now these yellow mushroom beings have grown out of the gravesites.

The beings (dubbed "The Beauty") have each sort of forced themselves on a man, and made the men dependent upon them for everything: emotional support, physical support (chores, heavy lifting), sex.

It's.... rapey. But, like many rapes, it's not stereotypically violent, it's more like coercion. The men are repulsed but co
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“There are two types of understanding in this world. There's the kind that comes from the reading and the hearing, and it doesn't penetrate the skin. It is surface knowledge, like a soft blanket that can be placed over the shoulders. And then there's the understanding that comes from doing. That kind of understanding is not soft. It is water that soaks into the rocks and earth, and makes the seeds grow. It is messy, and painful, and impossible to hold.” 7 likes
“There is so much to say about a past. It's a vein of gold through a mountain, leading to an incontrovertible stone heart of truth. But the future is a horizon - a faintly visible line that will promise much, and always remain to far away to touch.” 6 likes
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