Here be Monsters!
They lurk and crawl and fly in the shadows of our mind. We know them from ancient legends and tales whispered by the campfire. They hide under the dark bridge, in the deep woods or out on the great plains, in the drizzling rain forest or out on the foggy moor, beneath the surface, under your bed. They don’t sparkle or have any interest in us except to tear us apart. They are the monsters! Forgotten, unknown, misunderstood, overused, watered down. We adore them still. We want to give them a renaissance, to reestablish their dark reputation, to give them a comeback, let the world know of their real terror.
Welcome to ‘The Fox Spirit Books of Monsters’. A book series with dark fiction and art about monsters from around the world, starting with Europe, continuing with Africa in 2015 before the travel continues. Fox Spirit Books will take you from continent to continent, bringing you art and dark fiction about monsters based on local folklore, myths and legends from around the world.
Edited by Jo Thomas & Margrét Helgadóttir
Cover art by Daniele Serra
A study of some of Europe’s most interesting monsters presented as a coffee table book.
“Here be European Monsters: a phantasmagoric delight of image and word direct from the uncharted realms of the imagination. Remember to keep those lanterns lit in the small hours, because darkness is an invitation to these horrors…” – Simon Marshall-Jones of Spectral Press
“A richly imagined and dangerous journey through the grimdark haunts of European monsters, some prey in their natural mythical habitats while others take their hunts into more modern and urban settings. Illustrated with beautiful evocative art, this is a wonderful and terrible book to treasure.” … Suzanne McLeod, author of the Spellcrackers urban fantasy series.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Jonathan Grimwood: Herne
Anne Michaud: Vijka
James Bennett: Broken Bridges
Byron Black: Upon The Wash of The Fjord
Hannah Kate: Nimby
Adrian Tchaikovsky & Eugene Smith (artist): Serpent Dawn
Joan De La Haye: Black Shuck
Aliya Whiteley: A Very Modern Monster
Nerine Dorman: Fly, My Dear, Fly
Aliette le Bodard: Mélanie
Krista Walsh: Moments
Chris Galvin: Hafgufa Rising
Peter Damien: Old Bones
Icy Sedgwick: The Cursed One
Jasper Bark & Fabian Tunon Benzo (artist): Mother Knows Worst
Artists/ illustrators: Daniele Serra, Eugene Smith, Gavin Pollock and Kieran Walsh.
Unsympathetic Werewolves by Hannah Kate
Shadows under Bridges by James Bennett
We Can Still be Wolves by Anne Michaud
For the Love of Blackbirds by Nerine Dorman
Making Moments by Krista Walsh
Bringing the Cursed One to life by Icy Sedgwick
The Exmoor Beast by Aliya Whitely
Mermaid and the Deep by Peter Damien
For African Monsters we have tried to work with writers and artists from or with a strong connection to Africa as much as possible.
Cover art is by Daniele Serra
“African Monsters is a fantastic anthology featuring many African writers at the forefront of the new wave of Speculative Fiction tapping directly into the deep and rich mythology of African cultures.” — Ivor W. Hartmann, editor for African Roar and AfroSF volume 1 & 2
Nnedi Okorafor: On the Road
Joan de la Haye: Impundulu
Tade Thompson: One Hundred and Twenty Days of Sunlight
Jayne Bauling: Severed
Su Opperman: The Death of One
T.L. Huchu: Chikwambo
Dilman Dila: Monwor
S. Lotz: That Woman
Toby Bennett: Sacrament of Tears
Chikodili Emelumadu: Bush Baby
Joe Vaz: After The Rain
Dave-Brendon de Burgh: Taraab and Terror in Zanzibar
Nerine Dorman: A Whisper in the Reeds
Vianne Venter: Acid Test
Nick Wood: Thandiwe’s Tokoloshe
James Bennett (writer) and Dave Johnson (artist): A Divided Sun
The book will also have illustrations from Su Opperman, Kieran Walsh, Vincent Holland-Keen, Eugene Smith and Benali Amine.
The Tokoloshe by Nick Wood
A Mirror to a Tenebrous Sun by Su Opperman
Not just a vagina by Chikodili Emelumadu
Sunlight, Shadow and Ichitapa by Jayne Bauling
At River’s Edge by Nerine Dorman
Monsters by Dilman Dila
Behind ‘Sacrament of Tears’ by Toby Bennett
Behind the Scenes by Dave De Burgh
Opening Paragraphs of European Monsters
Herne by J C Grimwood
There are leaves on the line at Waterloo. Thick twists of ivy have forced their way under the tracks and wrapped steel rails in sinewy wood. The ivy is winning. An engine and eight carriages have been pegged in place by roots. It clings to cast iron pillars that rise towards the station’s famous glass roof. Half the light is already obscured by the thickness of the growth and soon the whole roof will be hidden. Unless the ivy wins its battle to break through.
Despite signs from South West Trains forbidding entry and declaring the site private property, an impromptu city has sprung up. McDonald’s is a dorm. Delice de France a puppet theatre. Boots the Chemist a temple to the horned god. No one has seen him… Well, no one reliable but his image is stencilled everywhere.
Above the great clock, smoke from an open fire drifts through one of the panes the ivy has managed to break. The station is beautiful in a strange way. Like a giant Kew, says an old woman, who then has to explain botanical gardens to three teenagers who’ve never been further west than Marble Arch. One, the white one, has dreadlocks. The others have shaved their heads, girl included. She’s pretty, but fierce. Quickly glaring when she sees you watching.
Starburst Magazine on European Monsters : EBooks have been a boon to the small press, allowing many independent publishers to produce work that would otherwise be too expensive. This has also meant that paper and ink books created by such companies have become much less common. So it’s nice to see that Fox Spirit’s latest anthology is not only available in the old fashioned format, but that it’s also beautifully produced and illustrated.
European Monsters is a gorgeous collection of tales of unnatural creatures, dealing with the rigours of the modern day. Each tale picks a creature from myth and gives us a short but sweet snapshot of its existence.
From Nerds of a Feather : These are beasts, mostly, but in each story there are monsters deeper still, human ones who see the world as needing something to hold it in check or emotional doubts and fears that lurk beneath the surface of consciousness.
James Nicoll on African SOME SPOILERS : The editors continue what appears to be an ongoing mission to keep monsters monstrous. This time they focus on the monsters of Africa. And, in a surprising twist for Westerners talking about Africa, on Africans themselves.
European Monsters on Goodreads
Opening Paragraphs of African Monsters
ON THE ROAD by Nnedi Okorafor
A tiger does not proclaim its tigritude. It pounces.
– Wole Soyinka, Sub-Saharan Africa’s first Nobel Laureate
I slammed the door in the child’s face, a horrific scream trapped in my throat. I swallowed it back down.
I didn’t want to wake my grandmother or auntie. They’d jump out of bed, come running down the stairs and in a string of Igbo and English demand to know what the fuck was wrong with me. Then I’d point at the door and they’d open it and see the swaying little boy with the evil grin and huge open dribbling red white gash running down the middle of his head. Split open like a dropped watermelon.
My stomach lurched and I shut my eyes and rubbed my temples, my hand still tightly grasping the doorknob. Get it together, I thought. But I knew what I’d seen—jagged fractured yellow white skull, flaps of hanging skin, startlingly red blood and some whitish grey jelly… brain? I shuddered. ‘Shit,’ I whispered to myself.
The boy had been standing in the rain. Soaked from head to toe, as everything outside was from the strange unseasonable three-day deluge. He’d been smiling up at me. He couldn’t have been older than nine. I gagged. I couldn’t just leave him out there.
African Monsters from Starburst This anthology does its damnedest to explore the myths and legends from one massive continent. Not only does it do this quite well, but it also showcases the talents of writers you may not have had the chance to read much of. Editor’s Margrét Helgadóttir & Jo Thomas have done a remarkable job of not only assembling a list of thematically strong stories, but also creating a book that flows from story to story in a solid and compelling way.