Madison Scott-Clary's Reviews > This World is Full of Monsters

This World is Full of Monsters by Jeff VanderMeer
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it was amazing
bookshelves: good-weird

** spoiler alert ** I came into this book fresh off the Southern Reach trilogy, having at some point been infected by the heady lyricism of VanderMeer's writing, and, at first, was a bit overwhelmed. I felt like the words were a bit too hot, or a bit to slippery to hold, and I had to put it down for a while to read something else (I've been typesetting Keats, which served well).

Having returned and finished it, though, I have to say I'm all for it, and all for VanderMeer in general. I know that it lacks a lot on terms of conventional plot that one can associate with e.g: the Southern Reach trilogy, but when read not as a collection of words and sentences and paragraphs that tell the story of a protagonist but as a series of ideas that tell the story of bringing a piece of writing to the public, it all makes sense.

The story monster comes to the author, and one day, they blink awake and the world has changed around them.

The story monster and the author struggle as the story itself takes form. Often, this feels more like a process of the story taking shape and being 'resuscitated' than of being written and set down by the author, that it is the author that is changing.

The story monster, now finished with the author, lets them go, and there is a dizzying sense to the world, like perhaps it has become incomprehensible since the story has been finished/the story has finished changing the author.

The school creature comes by and teaches the author the process of line editing, and the author finds themself learning in the process.

As the author crosses the lake with the dead shell creature brings new insight by exploring the creation through (literal) new eyes which help the author edit the work.

The author dreams of how the story changes the world, how their brother walked along the streets and shared the story and how the world became how it was (that is, the world in which the story has been read).

The author swims out into the wider world and the ocean, which is not an ocean but instead a wider, broader creature which works with many smaller entities, prepares the author, who has on some level become the story to spread to the universe to, in its own way, infect new individuals and create new story creatures and school creatures and dead shell creatures of its own. The ocean is a publisher, and escape velocity publication.

VanderMeer is, as is probably evident, one of my favorite writers. Although he has many wonderful fantasy, mystery, and speculative stories within him, and although this -could- be classified as such, This World is Full of Monsters is at its heart a delightful take on the process of writing.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
January 12, 2020 – Shelved as: good-weird
January 12, 2020 – Shelved

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