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What the #@% Is That?: The Saga Anthology of the Monstrous and the Macabre

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  259 ratings  ·  49 reviews
The Saga book of all contain the line “What the @#&% is That?”—is often humorous, sometimes terrifying, but always incredibly entertaining.

Ranging from irreverent humor to straight out horror, What the @#&% Is That? grew from a meme on Twitter when iconic comic book artist Mike Mignola painted a monster. Nobody knew what the F it was, but they loved it.

Renowned editors Jo
Paperback, 368 pages
Published November 1st 2016 by Gallery / Saga Press
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Average rating 3.66  · 
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 ·  259 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Horror is not really my genre, although I use Halloween each year as an excuse to stretch my boundaries a little bit. Short stories aren’t my preferred format either, so I expect for horror aficionados who enjoy short fiction, this would be an excellent anthology.

As promised in the introduction, each story in this volume eventually has a character who asks, “WTF is that?” As usual with short fiction collections, some are better than others (and not always the ones that you would expect in eithe
After the first half of this Anthology I was wondering when I`ll get to the really good stuff.

And after five or six very good stories in a row at the ending of this one I thought that there`s your answer.

But overall I felt very disappointed and I could only conclude to some things.

1. I really don`t like Laird Barron. It has the right ideeas, I loved the first page of the story, but after that it was hard to get in to it. As it is usually with his work.

I liked the ideea of Scott Sigler story, bu
Kyra M
May 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loveeee this! All 20 stories are amazing and I really enjoyed it starting out with Laird Barron who sets the tone to the book. If you can't handle his story than this book isn't for you. Perfect Lovecraft horror with a unique title branching off of a meme. Good and creepy all the way through, crude and gory and true to its creator.
All these writers need to come out with good horror novels soon because the world is in need of new horror novels!
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Of the anthologies I've bought over the years, this is my favorite, by a mile. The only one that comes close is 'Press Start to Play', which has the same editor.

Fun fact: I picked this up at LA Comic Con (formerly known as Comikaze) when I saw John Joseph Adams and 'Press Start to Play' at a booth. He was selling anthologies two-for-$10. I grabbed this one and some other general sci-fi anthology book. I wasn't too excited about that other one. Sci-fi is sci-fi is sci-fi.

This puppy here excited
Barbi Faye (The Book Fae)
I have read another short story horror compilation book...!! AAA! Basically, twenty authors were asked to provide a short story that had to be so horrific, that at some point in the story it must be asked, "What The Fuck Is That??!" Right? We've all been there, right? So scared crap-less we have to utter that phrase in horror, when we get scared. It just pops right out, we have zero control. It is right up there with, "Oh my god!!" These can often be said together too. I. Digress. Ha ha!
Orrin Grey
So, I should probably start by saying that I don't think I really liked this book all that much, but I gave it a three star rating because I'm honestly not sure how fair my not really liking it is, how much it has to do with the quality of the book itself, or how much it's just me.

One thing to know about before getting into this book: These aren't monster stories. Oh, there are certainly some monsters to be found in many of the tales, but there are also ghosts and other things, even an (almost)
actual rating: 2.5

Often I look at an anthology on my TBR and go 'why is that even there' and the answer is usually 'because Seanan McGuire has a story in it'. I should really learn to just read her stories and skip the rest, but I guess it takes me a long time to learn things. I was also looking forward to the Grady Hendrix story but ended up not even finishing it. Oh well. A decent enough idea for a collection - although I'm glad they branched out beyond just Cthulhu related stuff. I am so sick
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a solid collection, although much less cosmic horror-centered than I was expecting, which was a bit of a letdown. Still, it was an overall enjoyable read, and there are two stories in particular that I highly recommend.

The first is Seanan McGuire's "#connollyhouse #weshouldn'tbehere". Although I'm a fan of McGuire, I have to admit that I was a bit wary of this one. I mean, a horror story told in tweets? Sounds gimmicky and trying too hard to be "current," even if it is from a great auth
Jul 27, 2020 rated it liked it
3 stars only because 2.5 isn't an option. Some good stories in here but also several that seemed to be trying for too much existential abstraction. As well as what felt like authors who had their own preachy agendas to advance. ...more
Suzanne Moses
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
The stories that work are really very good, but the anthology overall is very uneven. While the theme is amusing - I don't think it was strong enough to wrap a full anthology around.

I especially liked Seanan McGuire's "#CONNOLLYHOUSE #WE SHOULDN'T BE HERE" which managed to give me chills with only a series of tweets.
Todd Taylor
Nov 20, 2016 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Read Scott Sigler's story 11/20/16. Great! Left me hungry for chocolate chip cookies! ...more
Jan 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some stories were pretty good, some I didn't like that much. But overall it was a fun collection of WTF IS THAT?!!!! ...more
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This 2016 anthology from editors John Joseph Adams and Douglas Cohen showcases twenty short stories from twenty different authors, and each one is guaranteed to have a character ask the phrase "what the #@&% is that?" At the same time, most readers will read these stories and probably ask themselves the same question. Without becoming too derivative or homogeneous, this collection delivers twenty unique pieces of weird fiction, many of which dips into the realms of cosmic (or Lovecraftian horror ...more
Chris Bauer
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Joseph Adams does it again in "What the #@&% Is That?: The Saga Anthology of the Monstrous and the Macabre", a superlative collection of top-notch talent writing original work, all with the tagline found in the title.

As anthologies go, this one was really strong. I can't say I enjoyed all the stories equally - some were simply written in a style which I did not care for, or did not enjoy - but whether I "liked" the tale or not, is irrelevant. The sheer quality of writing in each work is top
K.S. Thompson
May 18, 2019 rated it liked it
A friend of mine is going through the process of downsizing their library and this was one of the books they passed on to me. The idea for this short story collection came from a meme, which was based on the cover art used for a collection of tales written by HP Lovecraft.

It's a solid collection of stories, my one critique is that the endings often seem rather abrupt and rather than leaving me wanting more, they leave me wondering what I just read. The story that stands out for me is "The Catch"
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love anthology books. You never know just quite what you're getting yourself into. They will be filled with stories ranging from good to bad and everything in between. And since it's all short stories, if you don't like one, the next is just around the corner. They also give you an excellent idea of whether or not you'll enjoy other works from a dozen or so authors you may have never read before. Such a joy!

In this case, the book's stories revolve around creature features. Some are mundane lik
Breonna Charrell
I loved most of the stories that were in this collection.
They were interesting, fun, and had way more diversity than what I was expecting. I'm really used to reading horror stories that deal with straight white men (not that this book doesn't have any stories about straight white men), so it was a breath of fresh air to run across stories with gay women of color, gay men, children and other usually ignored demographics in the lead role. It definitely introduced me to a few authors that I would
Nick Spacek
Aug 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
neither great nor terrible, the collection's kind of a mixed bag. even the lesser stories are pretty entertaining, but there's the rare story which really grabs the reader and leaves a distinct memory. thinking back on this, there's just a vague recollection of a lot of lovecraft homages, which get a little tiresome. "#CONNOLLYHOUSE#WESHOULDNTBEHERE" is the best story in the collection, managing to be absolutely terrifying and conveyed entirely in tweets, a combination which is both amazing and ...more
Jasmine Powers
As this book is an anthology, my rating is a compromise. Of the 20 short stories, I loved 6: Only Unclench Your Hand by Isabel Yap, Little Widow by Maria Dahvana Headley, #connollyhouse #weshouldntbehere by Seanan McGuire, The Catch by Terence Taylor, Hunters in the Wood by Tim Pratt and Whose Drowned Face Sleeps by An Owomoyela and Rachel Swirsky. A few of the others bored me to the point where I put the book down and didn't want to pick it up again, and so it took me six days to get through it ...more
Erick Mertz
Solid anthology. Overall a lot of good writing to pick at.

I'm not going to call out any stories as bad. There were a few torture porn stories in here that I wasn't all that excited about, but they fit the theme and were readable.

Recommended: Laird Barron's story and Whose Drowned Face Sleeps.
Dakota Thompson
May 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Sometimes it isn't the book, it's the reader. I didn't enjoy the read, but it wasn't the worst I've ever read. I personally don't think they were written badly, or that the stories weren't developed or stimulating, but instead it is that I am perhaps not the audience that would compliment the collection. ...more
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really had a hard time getting through the first story, which I realized had set the tone for the rest of the book. None of the stories were bad in any way, but there was quite a difference in these stories versus anything in ‘The Things We Lost in the Fire’ by Mariana Enriquez.

Overall, the anthology was average, only a few of the stories being above a 3 star rating.
Sarah Jimenez
Feb 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Overall I really enjoyed the stories in this anthology. Laird Barron is becoming one of my favorite horror authors and I was introduced to a few others I plan on checking out. There was one story I felt didn’t fit at all, it was fine, but overall boring & very predictable.
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only read two of the stories:
"The house that love built" by Grady Hendrix
"We all make sacrifices: a Sam Hunter adventure" by Jonathan Maberry

I liked them both very much.
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-it
This was good! The last few stories were really good.
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first story was not worth my time nor was it worth the paper it was written on. The rest of the stories where delightful.
Salena Moffat
I would have rated this anthology more highly had not several of the stories made me laugh out loud. Being horror stories, I'm pretty sure that wasn't the original intent. ...more
John Robinson
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bought this solely for the Laird Barron story in it. Absolutely worth it. The other stories are also great fun.
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fun little read with some nice short Stories. While they were not all uniformly fun to read, what anthology has all winners in it?
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John Joseph Adams is the series editor of BEST AMERICAN SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY. He is also the bestselling editor of many other anthologies, such as ROBOT UPRISINGS, DEAD MAN'S HAND, BRAVE NEW WORLDS,WASTELANDS, and THE LIVING DEAD. Recent and forthcoming books include WHAT THE #@&% IS THAT?, OPERATION ARCANA, PRESS START TO PLAY, LOOSED UPON THE WORLD, and THE APOCALYPSE TRIPTYCH (consisti ...more

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