Following up Rory Michaelson’s debut novel, Lesser Known Monsters, comes the The Little Book of Lesser Known Monsters, a companion short story collection that is set within the same world as the novel. I was the reviewer covering the novel, giving it four stars, back in October 2020. So I was eager to check in on his latest book to see if the author’s short stories could match the quality of his novel.
My experience in my 20+ years in this business as editor has taught me a universal truth about true talent. Anyone can write and revise a novel, but only the best, most talented of authors can pull off quality short stories. It’s far easier for most average writers to ramble on in prose for 80,000 words or so to tie up a story, but far more difficult to impact readers in just 2,000 or so words (or even less). In creating a short story, every word needs to play a pivotal part in story development. Most good novelists simply can’t achieve this creatively.
So this book was my litmus test to discover how talented Michaelson was as a true author.
This mini collection (105 pages) is a nice mix of dark fantasy which creeps into horror. Yes, there are monsters, ones classified in the more supernatural definition, but more times than not these monsters seem so much more palatable than the humans, particularly in the story “No Place Like Home” where we meet a very cold-hearted mother and father.
“No Place Like Home” features a trouser-wearing hairy monster called Knud, who is a caretaker of sorts and has more heart than the previously mentioned humans in the story. This longer story is divided up into three parts scattered amongst the other stories which I thought worked well, since the other stories served as brief (but very entertaining) intermissions as “No Place Like Home” unravelled its plot.
My favorite story in this collection was the darker “An Other Mouth To Feed” featuring a little hair-raising (shall we say) horror that gave me somewhat of a surprised jolt in the end.
“Meat Your Greens” read like a fairy tale with a cautionary story which was quite enjoyable. Then we have the more modern story of “A Midnight Snack” with a humorous text message chain between son and mother, ending in the reveal of a collective of monsters.
Readers get a total of 6 stories with this companion collection, and it definitely showcases Rory Michaelson as an author to watch, and that his debut was no fluke. And as for the short story form…he has pulled this feat off as well.
With Michaelson’s original imagination, solid prose, and a promise of more monsters on the way, this book serves as a solid contribution between his longer works in the world of Lesser Known Monsters.
The Bone Gate (Lesser Monsters Book 2) is scheduled for an August 2021 release.
The Little Book of Lesser Known Monsters by Rory Michaelson
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This book collection of short horror stories is set in the world of the Lesser Known Monsters series and contains no spoilers for the main books.
DescriptionThis book collection of short horror stories is set in the world of the Lesser Known Monsters series and contains no spoilers for the main books. Lesser Known Monsters is an own voices queer dark fantasy series featuring diverse characters on a found family adventure. These stories are perfect for fans of action and paranormal romance seeking LGBTQ+ heroes “There are…beings. Beings that share this world your people call your own. Some may have seen the truth over the years, spawning the myths and bedtime stories.”— D.R. Tza Monsters are real, and they are everywhere. They could be the handsome man serving your coffee with a wink in the morning, or the quiet cleaner diligently going about their duties. They may also be the burning-eyed skull-headed fifteen-legged hell beetle feasting on your eyes. They are not all very subtle. These eight short stories are an insight into a world you may have already become familiar with through Oscar Tundale and his friends. You should know that though some of these stories may hold less joy and hope than Oscars, they remain an important glimpse into this world of Lesser Known Monsters.
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