Friday, October 24, 2014
Big Book Of Monsters!
The Baen's Big Book of Monsters is an absolute hoot. I snatched it off the racks when I first clapped eyes on it. It's full of vintage stories of giant monsters with new material sandwiched between. The new stuff I can take or leave, but the old stories, many from Weird Tales are some I've long wanted to read.
Highest on that list was "Ooze" by Anthony Rud, which appeared in the very first issue of Weird Tales. This yarn which slowly reveals its menace is well crafted though any monster fan will see it coming a mile off.
Many of the stories in this collection seem to have been written to order because of an evocative cover. That's certainly the case with Curt Siodmak's "The Eggs from Lake Tanganyika".
That seems to be the case with Murray Leinster's "Planet of Doom" also.
Henry Kuttner's "Beauty and the Beast" works hard to create a story which will justify this cover of a dinosaur crashing into the Captiol. What I didn't realize is that this story almost certainly inspired Ray Harryhausen's 20 Million Miles to Earth, though there is no mention made of that here.
Lovecraft's "The Dunwich Horror" is included and I'm always ready for another go at this seminal and potent monster story. Likewise "The Valley of the Worm" by Robert E. Howard which is on hand.
Also included are "The Shining Ones" by Arthur C. Clarke, "The Island of the Ud" by William Hope Hodgson, "The Monster God of Mammurth" by Edmond Hamilton (his first published tale), and "Greenface" by James Schmitz.