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Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction

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Meet the women writers who defied convention to craft some of literature’s strangest tales, from Frankenstein to The Haunting of Hill House and beyond. Frankenstein was just the beginning: horror stories and other weird fiction wouldn’t exist without the women who created it. From Gothic ghost stories to psychological horror to science fiction, women have been primary archi Meet the women writers who defied convention to craft some of literature’s strangest tales, from Frankenstein to The Haunting of Hill House and beyond. Frankenstein was just the beginning: horror stories and other weird fiction wouldn’t exist without the women who created it. From Gothic ghost stories to psychological horror to science fiction, women have been primary architects of speculative literature of all sorts. And their own life stories are as intriguing as their fiction. Everyone knows about Mary Shelley, creator of Frankenstein, who was rumored to keep her late husband’s heart in her desk drawer. But have you heard of Margaret “Mad Madge” Cavendish, who wrote a science-fiction epic 150 years earlier (and liked to wear topless gowns to the theater)? If you know the astounding work of Shirley Jackson, whose novel The Haunting of Hill House was reinvented as a Netflix series, then try the psychological hauntings of Violet Paget, who was openly involved in long-term romantic relationships with women in the Victorian era. You’ll meet celebrated icons (Ann Radcliffe, V. C. Andrews), forgotten wordsmiths (Eli Colter, Ruby Jean Jensen), and today’s vanguard (Helen Oyeyemi). Curated reading lists point you to their most spine-chilling tales. Part biography, part reader’s guide, the engaging write-ups and detailed reading lists will introduce you to more than a hundred authors and over two hundred of their mysterious and spooky novels, novellas, and stories.


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Meet the women writers who defied convention to craft some of literature’s strangest tales, from Frankenstein to The Haunting of Hill House and beyond. Frankenstein was just the beginning: horror stories and other weird fiction wouldn’t exist without the women who created it. From Gothic ghost stories to psychological horror to science fiction, women have been primary archi Meet the women writers who defied convention to craft some of literature’s strangest tales, from Frankenstein to The Haunting of Hill House and beyond. Frankenstein was just the beginning: horror stories and other weird fiction wouldn’t exist without the women who created it. From Gothic ghost stories to psychological horror to science fiction, women have been primary architects of speculative literature of all sorts. And their own life stories are as intriguing as their fiction. Everyone knows about Mary Shelley, creator of Frankenstein, who was rumored to keep her late husband’s heart in her desk drawer. But have you heard of Margaret “Mad Madge” Cavendish, who wrote a science-fiction epic 150 years earlier (and liked to wear topless gowns to the theater)? If you know the astounding work of Shirley Jackson, whose novel The Haunting of Hill House was reinvented as a Netflix series, then try the psychological hauntings of Violet Paget, who was openly involved in long-term romantic relationships with women in the Victorian era. You’ll meet celebrated icons (Ann Radcliffe, V. C. Andrews), forgotten wordsmiths (Eli Colter, Ruby Jean Jensen), and today’s vanguard (Helen Oyeyemi). Curated reading lists point you to their most spine-chilling tales. Part biography, part reader’s guide, the engaging write-ups and detailed reading lists will introduce you to more than a hundred authors and over two hundred of their mysterious and spooky novels, novellas, and stories.

30 review for Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction by Lisa Kroger is a 2019 Quirk Books publication. Just in time for Halloween, Monster, She Wrote, will give you a host of books to add to your Fall/Winter reading list! This book is also a tribute of sorts and is a reminder of the major contributions that women have made to the horror, Gothic, and science fiction categories. These pioneers of horror fiction were trailblazers, creating some of the most thought-provoking a Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction by Lisa Kroger is a 2019 Quirk Books publication. Just in time for Halloween, Monster, She Wrote, will give you a host of books to add to your Fall/Winter reading list! This book is also a tribute of sorts and is a reminder of the major contributions that women have made to the horror, Gothic, and science fiction categories. These pioneers of horror fiction were trailblazers, creating some of the most thought-provoking and spine-tingling literature ever written, and influencing many authors in the future. Personally, as a big fan of Gothic literature, I was familiar with many of the names listed in the book- at least half of them, but some background information and biographical details were new to me. The author also provided a recommended reading list along with each author profiled, which gave me plenty of new authors and books to try. Some of these authors are lesser known, but have an impressive body of work to explore. Elizabeth Gaskell I’m grateful to Lisa Kroger for giving these writers the long overdue credit they deserve, and for reminding me of authors and books I had forgotten about. There is plenty of history introduced in this book, as well as many interesting stories about the featured writers, and of course, this is also a ‘book about books’ and who can pass that up? Amelia Edwards (Precursor to Barbara Michaels/ Elizabeth Peters) The book is well organized, well researched, with a terrific presentation that made it easy to follow, and held my interest, while avoiding pointless minutiae. I fully intend to hunt down the books on the recommended reading list- especially the Gothics! - And I will use this book as a reference in the future. Vernon Lee There is a little something in this book for everyone- no matter what horror sub-genre you prefer. Not only that, it is informative, entertaining, and even inspirational, serving as a reminder that we owe these great writers a debt of gratitude. They have helped pave the way for female writers today who must bravely compete in a mostly male dominated genre and, with a few notable exceptions, still struggle for the same respect. Anne Rice So, now that I’m inspired to tap into more horror novels written by women- tell me who some of your favorite female horror writers or your favorite horror novel written by a woman.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Is your TBR becoming shorter? Neither is mine and now the wishlist is even longer. These authors want you and I to know that there are tons of great Gothic/horror/ terror filled books out there and they are all written by fantastic female writers- some names I knew(Daphne Du Maurier, Shirley Jackson) but there were many more that were whispering from the shadows " I'm still here." Which sounds quite spooky but it fits with the whole atmosphere of this non fiction. Divided into six categories, th Is your TBR becoming shorter? Neither is mine and now the wishlist is even longer. These authors want you and I to know that there are tons of great Gothic/horror/ terror filled books out there and they are all written by fantastic female writers- some names I knew(Daphne Du Maurier, Shirley Jackson) but there were many more that were whispering from the shadows " I'm still here." Which sounds quite spooky but it fits with the whole atmosphere of this non fiction. Divided into six categories, the authors take us from the 17th century(the founding mothers) all the way up to the 21st century( the new Gothic). Each author has a short biography, an analysis of her literary contribution to the genre, and most importantly tons of related reading to dive into. What more could a curious reader ever ask for? With Halloween just around the corner, this book will definitely spur a number of readers into a Gothic fiction read-a-thon. Thanks to Netgalley and Quirk Books for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review. Goodreads review published 28/08/19 Publication Date 17/09/19

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror

    Well, this was only my second time reading a nonfiction book about the origins of horror and I must say that this was a lot of fun. I learned a lot, I took notes and I have a bunch of books I'd like to look for the next time I'm a secondhand bookstore. Currently writing my review for Scream Mag and it will be published this October 2019 I will say that horror fans looking for some Gothic Lit or some dark, obscure reads that probably inspired modern horror writers, should pick this up!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Johann (jobis89)

    4.5 stars. What a great resource! So many new female authors to add to my TBR. Full review to come.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Daviau

    Do you like horror novels? Do you crave more horror by women authors in a genre that is saturated with male authors? If you answered yes to either of those questions then you need to drop whatever you’re doing, run to the store and buy this book NOW! It immediately caught my eye when I saw it announced online and I just couldn’t resist it. It has everything you ever wanted to know about the history of women in horror writing, the different genres of horror and so many great recommendations that Do you like horror novels? Do you crave more horror by women authors in a genre that is saturated with male authors? If you answered yes to either of those questions then you need to drop whatever you’re doing, run to the store and buy this book NOW! It immediately caught my eye when I saw it announced online and I just couldn’t resist it. It has everything you ever wanted to know about the history of women in horror writing, the different genres of horror and so many great recommendations that I immediately added to my TBR. The packaging of the book itself is really stunning too, there’s gorgeous illustrations and the chapter headings are just beautiful! Seriously folks, every horror fan NEEDS this book in their lives!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Olivia (Stories For Coffee)

    An interesting read exploring the women who have paved the way for speculative fiction and horror. Split into sections like “pulp fiction writers” and “haunting the home”, this book dove into the lives of some famous writers of horror stories while also highlighting works of theirs that might not be as well known while also recommending other works similar to these writers’ stories.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Helen Power

    What a beautiful book, inside and out! Of course, I’m referring to the illustrations, but also the content. Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson have a witty and informative writing style, and this book is a must-read for any horror lover. Monster She Wrote is broken up into sections, where like authors are grouped together based on what or when they wrote.  Each section has a brief foreword explaining the importance of the contribution of these women to literature, talking about the political and What a beautiful book, inside and out! Of course, I’m referring to the illustrations, but also the content. Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson have a witty and informative writing style, and this book is a must-read for any horror lover. Monster She Wrote is broken up into sections, where like authors are grouped together based on what or when they wrote.  Each section has a brief foreword explaining the importance of the contribution of these women to literature, talking about the political and social climates in which they wrote, as well as the impact their works have had on later generations.  There are sections on the traditional Gothic authors, the women who penned ghost stories, “the women who wrote the pulps”, and much more. Throughout each author’s biography, there are mentions of their works and the significance they had on the genre and literature in general.  I was impressed with how Kröger and Anderson managed to summarize these books in such succinct and intriguing ways that made me reach for my notebook to add yet another title to check out later.  The end of the section on each author provides recommended readings, both by the author, as well as by those who were influenced by her.  My to-read list has grown pages since picking up this book. For example, (I picked this at random) under “Related Work” for the author Angela Carter, “Werewolf fans may enjoy St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves (Knopf, 2007), a story collection by Karen Russel about nuns, wolf-girls, and alligators set in the Florida swamps." Um, yes please, add that to my list, thanks! Monster She Wrote provides an excellent foundation on the women of horror and speculative fiction, and I recommend it to all readers and authors alike. This review appeared first on https://powerlibrarian.wordpress.com/ Instagram | Blog | Website | Twitter My 2020 Reading Challenge

  8. 5 out of 5

    Juli

    Warning: This book will definitely add many titles to your TBR list! Even if you've read these horror novels before, I guarantee horror lovers will be rushing to read them again after reading the facts shared in this book! I love a good scary story! Whether it's a gothic supernatural mystery in a dark, dank castle or a crazed killer chasing co-eds, I'm always up for a good scare. This book starts back with the earliest female writers who terrorized their readers up to the more modern ones. A lot Warning: This book will definitely add many titles to your TBR list! Even if you've read these horror novels before, I guarantee horror lovers will be rushing to read them again after reading the facts shared in this book! I love a good scary story! Whether it's a gothic supernatural mystery in a dark, dank castle or a crazed killer chasing co-eds, I'm always up for a good scare. This book starts back with the earliest female writers who terrorized their readers up to the more modern ones. A lot of the recommended books I have read before (Frankenstein, Flowers in the Attic, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, etc) and some I have not (The Cipher, The Woman in Black, A Master of Mysteries). Many of the featured authors I was familiar with already...but some are completely new to me. Every recommended book sounds interesting, so I have decided to read at least one book by each of the featured authors starting in January 2020. The book gives a short biography of each author including facts about their contributions to the horror genre, and also a recommended reading list from each one. I loved how it gave one "if you only read one book by this author....'' recommendation followed by the titles of other works. For some of these authors I have read the top recommended story....but the other titles listed are new to me. So excited to read some of these!! Awesome book! I am going to have a blast reading through the wonderful writings of all of these talented women. The facts presented were interesting....and the book lists are fantastic!! I am buying a copy of this book for my keeper shelf! **I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Quirk Books. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty

    Will I ever tire of books about books? (Answer: no.) This one was great fun, and was a pleasant reminder of my favourite course during my English Lit undergrad, on the Female Gothic. It's a very brief overview, but I found the selections interesting, and I've added several new books to my to-read list. The more modern selections had some strange omissions (no Hotel World by Ali Smith? No Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel? No Amelia Gray or Camilla Grudova?) and focused on some lightweight YA authors Will I ever tire of books about books? (Answer: no.) This one was great fun, and was a pleasant reminder of my favourite course during my English Lit undergrad, on the Female Gothic. It's a very brief overview, but I found the selections interesting, and I've added several new books to my to-read list. The more modern selections had some strange omissions (no Hotel World by Ali Smith? No Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel? No Amelia Gray or Camilla Grudova?) and focused on some lightweight YA authors when it would have made more sense to focus on literary authors who are writing great and unusual books while also really engaging with the topics mentioned. But still, I really enjoyed it, and would have happily read it at twice the length.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michael Hicks

    My review of MONSTER, SHE WROTE can be found at High Fever Books. Almost immediately, I had to come to grips with what Monster, She Wrote is versus what I had hoped and wanted it to be. Without knowing much about the book beyond the awesome illustrated cover art and the premise as revealed in the title (The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction), I had expected a more thorough study exploring the various authors and a deep-dive into their eras, their work and legacies, and how they s My review of MONSTER, SHE WROTE can be found at High Fever Books. Almost immediately, I had to come to grips with what Monster, She Wrote is versus what I had hoped and wanted it to be. Without knowing much about the book beyond the awesome illustrated cover art and the premise as revealed in the title (The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction), I had expected a more thorough study exploring the various authors and a deep-dive into their eras, their work and legacies, and how they shaped an entire genre. Instead, Monster, She Wrote is more of a reference guide to the hundreds of women authors working in the horror and speculative fiction genres. We’re introduced to these writers, given a very brief biographical sketch and an overview of their most relevant works, followed by a short reading list naming a singular must-read title from their bibliography, a second book to try, and some related works by other authors exploring similar themes and topics. Because of the large number of authors Kröger and Anderson are compiling here, each of the women featured here are only given a few pages worth of space to touch upon their biography, influences and interests, and their most relevant titles to the genre at hand (some of these women wrote romance, young girls fiction, and nonfiction titles, as well, which obviously fall outside of the scope of Kröger and Anderson ‘s examinations). The book itself is arranged into eight parts, starting with The Founding Mothers and the modern horror genre’s roots in Gothic literature of the late 1700s — 1800s, sparked by Ann Radcliff, who helped popularize the genre. She and the writers that followed wrote in the Gothic style that had begun with Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, claiming the genre for their own and making it a literary force to be reckoned with and one that explored their own gruesome nightmares. Without these women, Kröger and Anderson argue, we wouldn’t have films like Suspiria or the domestic horrors explored by Shirley Jackson. It was these women that made Gothic horror so popular that enabled and influenced enormous swathes of horror and spec fic authors to come, including Stephen King. From there, Kröger and Anderson move into the various subgenres that grew naturally from their Gothic origins, moving into stories dealing more directly with the supernatural, like ghosts and hauntings, and the occult as society, science, and philosophers of the late 19th Century began to explore the question of what happens after death, as well as attempted to scientifically explore psychic phenomena. Although male authors like Charles Dickens used ghosts in their fiction, it was, again, the women authors that really led the forefront and used their writings to explore societal and political issues of the time, cementing the horror genre into a form that would become more recognizable for 21st Century readers, paving the way for the paperback horrors of the 1980s from VC Andrews, Kathe Koja, Ruby Jean Jensen, and The New Goths, like Anne Rice and Susan Hill. While I certainly appreciate Kröger and Anderson’s work here, and believe that it will help readers (myself included — and rest assured, I’ve made note of a number of titles mentioned throughout this book) discover a number of strong, and perhaps overlooked, voices in the genre, it was the prefaces that began each section that I found most interesting. When Monster, She Wrote dug into discussions of the Spiritualist movement and occult societies that help inspire the women writers of that era, I was supremely fascinated and wanted to know about that history and how those works fed off each other. I wanted a deeper exploration of how these women used their writings to further civil rights and support abolition movements. Although some readers decry politics in their fiction (primarily, I’ve come to note, politics they disagree with), the simple fact is that art and politics are inextricably intertwined and always have been and always will be. I would have loved to have read a deeper examination of this topic in regards to women in horror and how their (counter-culture) attitudes fueled the genre in its earliest stages. Monster, She Wrote gets close to these topics, but never steps into the muck to get its hands dirty. It’s not the central focus of this work at all, but it is at its most interesting during these instances and if Kröger and Anderson ever opt to take a deep dive into these issues I’ll be sure to read the hell out of it. That said, you can at least explore these topics and issues through the women and their stories that Kröger and Anderson have selected to highlight as most relevant. Also of interest, and again something I wish were explored more deeply and thoroughly, were the later discussions of the lost women writers of the pulp era, who influenced other creatives like HP Lovecraft and the creator of Dungeons & Dragons, and the paperback horror boom of the 80s, which saw many works disappear entirely following the horror market’s collapse as publishers went out of business and various titles went out of print. Where Monster, She Wrote is most successful, though, is in showcasing the women of horror themselves, and in this regard it’s very much an indispensable reference guide. Every February, the horror genre celebrates Women In Horror Month, and readers devote the shortest month of the year to discovering strong new voices or overlooked classics. There’s more than enough horror stories by women to fill an entire calendar year and then some, and Monster, She Wrote is a solid starting point to discovering these authors and enriching your library with their voices. Beyond the central handful of figures that Kröger and Anderson have selected to best represent each era of horror fiction, you’ll find plenty of leads toward other women authors of the time, as well as more recent 21st Century examples that were inspired by those earlier writers and best recapture the spirit of those themes or genre hallmarks. Monster, She Wrote is also a handy book to have on hand just in case you run into some especially dimwitted man who foolishly thinks women don’t, can’t, or shouldn’t write horror, so you can throw the book at them or crack them over the head with it. Maybe you’ll luck out and knock some sense into them! [Note: I received an advance readers copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley.]

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bon

    This was an absolute joy. First, the narrator was really skilled, as I did the audiobook. Second, I now NEED the hardcover because there were so many great recommendations in this book. The women were roughly broken from oldest to most recent careers, biographies were given, and then what readings are most recommended, and what other readings are of similar vibes. There was really skillful analysis given to the writings of these women, too. Absolutely loved it, and my TBR shelf is expanding like This was an absolute joy. First, the narrator was really skilled, as I did the audiobook. Second, I now NEED the hardcover because there were so many great recommendations in this book. The women were roughly broken from oldest to most recent careers, biographies were given, and then what readings are most recommended, and what other readings are of similar vibes. There was really skillful analysis given to the writings of these women, too. Absolutely loved it, and my TBR shelf is expanding like crazy. 5 full stars.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Candace Robinson

    I’m not the biggest nonfiction fan in the world but this has everything I love! Awesome info about horror and speculative fiction women writers, cool and creepy drawings, and all around interesting! Plus it had me by having the word monster in the title!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Anna Luce

    DNF 40% Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction is an accessible guide/introduction to both major and minor female Gothic, Horror, and Speculative writers (from the 17th century until now). The illustrations are lovely, the writing is fairly engaging, and it seems to be catered towards younger audiences. It is not work of criticism or theory but a compendium that offers a few key biographical facts, the titles or summaries of these women's works, and recommended DNF 40% Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction is an accessible guide/introduction to both major and minor female Gothic, Horror, and Speculative writers (from the 17th century until now). The illustrations are lovely, the writing is fairly engaging, and it seems to be catered towards younger audiences. It is not work of criticism or theory but a compendium that offers a few key biographical facts, the titles or summaries of these women's works, and recommended reading list. I previously read their collection Shirley Jackson: Influences and Confluences, which had a much more academic and serious tone, and examined in much more depth the work of its subject. Here however I just couldn't get used to the constant references to popular culture. Why why why compare Margaret Cavendish to the Kardashians? Isn't our everyday culture saturated enough by this family? And while I appreciated references to books or tv-shows that actually take inspiration from the work (ie: the characters of Victor Frankenstein and his Creature from Penny Dreadful) I found that the links to Marvel, Star Wars, and even Dungeons & Dragons to be completely unnecessary (as if we don't hear about the first two on a daily basis...). These references were clearly trying to grab the attention of younger readers...but I don’t think that they added anything. The women included in this collection are interesting and fascinating enough on their own. I also found it pretty objectionable that most chapters seemed to imply that these women believed in the supernatural...merely because they wrote about it (with the exception of one work Radcliffe always provided rational explanations for the seemingly 'supernatural' elements within her Gothic narrative; Jackson's 'witch-act' was a very smart move on her part as it boosted the readers' interest in her fiction). With the exception of one or two names, the majority of writers included in this book write in English...and maybe it would have been nice to have a chapter dedicated to those female writers who wrote or write in other languages. Hopefully readers who aren't fussed by the things I mentioned above will be able to enjoy this.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Miranda

    Monster, She Wrote by Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson is a nonfiction book that details the lives and works of women who have contributed to the growth of horror and speculative fiction. Many of these women have been overlooked or have not been given credit where credit was due. However, the authors of this book set out to show just how many women have helped and still help shape what we know and think about horror and speculative fiction today. The book is broken up into eight different par Monster, She Wrote by Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson is a nonfiction book that details the lives and works of women who have contributed to the growth of horror and speculative fiction. Many of these women have been overlooked or have not been given credit where credit was due. However, the authors of this book set out to show just how many women have helped and still help shape what we know and think about horror and speculative fiction today. The book is broken up into eight different parts that are then broken down into sections about various authors. The main parts include things like the founding mothers, hauntings, the occult, pulps, etc. Each part is full of genuinely interesting information about writers you may know or ones you may have never even heard of. Kröger and Anderson do a great job at presenting this information with details about the authors, overviews of different works, quotes, and suggested reading lists. They don’t present an overwhelming amount of information, but they present enough to open you up to new ideas and spark your interest. Also, the cover and illustrations are gorgeous. I learned a lot from this book, and I discovered a multitude of new authors and works to check out. It was impossible to read without making notes about cool new books to check out after. I highly recommend Monster, She Wrote to those who are curious about women in writing, horror, and speculative fiction.

  15. 4 out of 5

    TraceyL

    Very good history of women horror/sci-fi/fantasy writers. It starts with the classics but moves right up to modern day, and includes TV shows and movies as well. There are lots of book recommendations as well. If you're a horror fan, it's worth the read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Oleksandr Zholud

    This is a non-fic about women-writers of horror and speculative fiction. The blurb mentions and her , so I assumed it will cover SF writers in detail as well, but this is not so. I’m not a fan of horror genre, it is hard to be frightened of ghosts if your grandparents saw people dropping dead from hunger and real women eating own children during the Great Famine of 1933 – life is more frightening than any fiction. The book starts with several very interesting characters, namely Margaret Cavendish This is a non-fic about women-writers of horror and speculative fiction. The blurb mentions and her , so I assumed it will cover SF writers in detail as well, but this is not so. I’m not a fan of horror genre, it is hard to be frightened of ghosts if your grandparents saw people dropping dead from hunger and real women eating own children during the Great Famine of 1933 – life is more frightening than any fiction. The book starts with several very interesting characters, namely Margaret Cavendish, Ann Radcliffe, and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. While from both the title and blurb one expects to reads about strong women, who fought the patriarchy and managed to get published, in reality I read that money and power beat gender every time. Take as an example Margaret Cavendish, definitely a very interesting person: born in 1623 to the wealthy family, accepted as a “maid of honour” to Queen Henrietta Maria, got married with William, who would become Duke of Newcastle Upon Tyne, who had been educated by Thomas Hobbes. Cavendish scandalized polite society more than once; on one occasion, she showed up to a theater event wearing a dress that exposed her breasts, including her nipples, which she had thoughtfully painted red. Of course this asks for a courage, but I guess low class person (man or woman), would be arrested for lude behavior after such an escapade. Another interesting point is that while there is a ‘classic’ notion that behind every great man there is a woman, it seems to work both ways, so behind every great woman there is a man (this does not lessen their greatness). For example, the classic proto-SF Frankenstein was written by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley after no other than Lord Byron suggested to write a horror story and her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley was responsible for heavily editing the original text (the most common edition right now is from 1831, when Mary re-edited her teenage 1818 writing). The book allows to see the roots of horror genre and this is novel for me, but as it went to the XX century, it mainly specialized on horror writes, while I hoped for more women in SF like Andre Norton, Ursula K. Le Guin, Joanna Russ, or Octavia E. Butler, but they got minimum to none attention. Also I’m still unsure whether those ‘forgotten’ authors are worth remembering because they were strong authors or just because they were women, for I usually stick to Theodore Sturgeon rule, 90% of everything is crap.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marie-Therese

    3 stars for me and 4 stars for its intended audience. This is a very nice book, friendly, approachable, a book I think a lot of readers will enjoy and learn something from; a book that will expand their horizons and lead them to search out new to them authors and explore horror and speculative fictions' vast back catatlogue of intriguing and excellent books by women. But, the three-star rating is because this is not that book for me. I think I was hoping for something a little more in-depth, som 3 stars for me and 4 stars for its intended audience. This is a very nice book, friendly, approachable, a book I think a lot of readers will enjoy and learn something from; a book that will expand their horizons and lead them to search out new to them authors and explore horror and speculative fictions' vast back catatlogue of intriguing and excellent books by women. But, the three-star rating is because this is not that book for me. I think I was hoping for something a little more in-depth, something that reflected both authors' academic credentials, something beyond potted bios and brief reading lists. While the authors are very good about citing their sources and providing resources for follow-up (hooray!), they rarely dig deep enough to make those cites necessary. This is a very superficial glance at women's role as creators of horror and speculative fiction-a taste rather than a full meal. Still, I'm glad they've written this; I'm glad it won a Stoker award and that the ever-awesome Valancourt Press is releasing a reissue series based around the books featured in this volume (including using the same fantastic artist-her work is delightful and a huge part of what makes Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction so effective).

  18. 4 out of 5

    Leah Rachel von Essen

    "Perhaps the weirdest tale," write Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson in MONSTER, SHE WROTE: THE WOMEN WHO PIONEERED HORROR & SPECULATIVE FICTION, "is how we've managed to forget the women who created such amazing stories." This incredible book gave me a reading list 30 books long. Despite knowing more about feminist speculative fiction than the average person, I knew very few of the authors referenced in this book, which outlines the long history of women writers and authors in the horror genr "Perhaps the weirdest tale," write Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson in MONSTER, SHE WROTE: THE WOMEN WHO PIONEERED HORROR & SPECULATIVE FICTION, "is how we've managed to forget the women who created such amazing stories." This incredible book gave me a reading list 30 books long. Despite knowing more about feminist speculative fiction than the average person, I knew very few of the authors referenced in this book, which outlines the long history of women writers and authors in the horror genre, including many queer women (I was especially excited about the classics and classical authors that turned out to be queer—did you know Daphne du Maurier was queer, for example? I didn't!). This book is a great way to expand your to-read shelf. I plan to go out and buy a ton of these to tackle in October. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. MONSTER, SHE WROTE is out September 17.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Spencer

    Monster, She Wrote is a fascinating look into the history of female horror authors. I learned a lot and added so many new books and authors to my TBR list. If you have any interest in horror I'd reccomend this, it made me excited to check out many of the books and writers mentioned and learn more about them.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    Actual Rating: 4.5 stars If you have any interest in speculative fiction or horror, I definitely recommend picking this book up! It is a fascinating, well-crafted non-fiction book about the women who pioneered those genres. The tone is both informative and fun, which makes is really accessible for any reader. The book is divided up into 8 sections, each including information on several women. At the end of each bio, there are suggested reading recommendations and I promise you will come away with Actual Rating: 4.5 stars If you have any interest in speculative fiction or horror, I definitely recommend picking this book up! It is a fascinating, well-crafted non-fiction book about the women who pioneered those genres. The tone is both informative and fun, which makes is really accessible for any reader. The book is divided up into 8 sections, each including information on several women. At the end of each bio, there are suggested reading recommendations and I promise you will come away with many more books to be read! Some sections are definitely stronger than others. The first few were among my favorites and it was so interesting to learn about Victorian women with such unexpected lives and interesting story ideas. The section on pulp writers was a little lackluster, but that might be due to the lack of information in existence about the women in that category. Overall, I think this is really interesting, engaging, and a physically beautiful book as well. Thanks to Quirk Books for sending me a copy for review. I have a long list of new authors and stories to try out. Now excuse me while I go read....

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Moore

    This was the perfect book to start October’s screamathon: A book about books, about female authors of horror and speculative fiction. It’s perfect for creating a list of must-read horror, covering books from Mary Shelley and Daphne du Maurier, all the way up to recent novelists Helen Oyeyemi and Mira Grant Meticulously researched, it will make you super savvy if you need to write a paper on literary works by female authors. A great read for any horror bookworm.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie M. Wytovich

    Absolutely inspired! I can’t recommend this enough. Mandatory reading for all Speculative Fiction writers.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jenna Moquin

    This was a great book, highly recommended. There are so many forgotten female authors, and I also just beefed up my TBR list (as if I needed any more books to add to it...). I just downloaded The Unforseen by Dorothy Macardle, next on my reading lineup.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alex (Hey Little Thrifter)

    This is an excellent overview of female horror authors throughout the centuries. Whether you're a lifelong fan or new to the genre I think you'll find something interesting here. I read it from cover to cover and now I'm going to flip back through it and make some notes of books to add to my TBR! I am a big fan of reading horror written by women so even though there are plenty of authors within the genre that I have already read or am aware of I bought this book in the hopes that it would introdu This is an excellent overview of female horror authors throughout the centuries. Whether you're a lifelong fan or new to the genre I think you'll find something interesting here. I read it from cover to cover and now I'm going to flip back through it and make some notes of books to add to my TBR! I am a big fan of reading horror written by women so even though there are plenty of authors within the genre that I have already read or am aware of I bought this book in the hopes that it would introduce me to some new ones. And indeed it did! So on that front it definitely delivered. I really enjoyed the layout of the book and the historical aspect in that it starts off in the 17th century and works its way to the present day. That format worked really well and I liked how each chapter begins with an overview before going on to focus on a handful of specific authors. I do have a couple of negative points to mention. One is that at times I felt it strayed a little too far from its synopsis of specifically horror and speculative fiction. I definitely expected there to be some crossover into science fiction and fantasy etc but at times I thought the author choices weren't as relevant as I'd have liked. Also there were times it felt like they were trying too hard to fit authors into a specific chapter theme which unfortunately didn't work all of the time. One last thing, frustratingly there is no author index! Despite my couple of nitpicks it is an excellent book! Informative and enjoyable, I definitely recommend giving it a read. Clearly a lot of effort has gone into creating it and I hope it encourages more readers to pick up horror by women.

  25. 4 out of 5

    The Artisan Geek

    3/3/20 This was such an amazing read! Incredibly insightful and a great resource! I managed to find a number of interesting female authors. What I appreciated the most was definitely the range. This book features people of colour, queer authors and features works spanning centuries of gothic/horror/thriller literature. Would definitely recommend if you are looking for more than just the current big names in the game (as well as a nice introduction these genres). You can find me on Youtube | Instagr 3/3/20 This was such an amazing read! Incredibly insightful and a great resource! I managed to find a number of interesting female authors. What I appreciated the most was definitely the range. This book features people of colour, queer authors and features works spanning centuries of gothic/horror/thriller literature. Would definitely recommend if you are looking for more than just the current big names in the game (as well as a nice introduction these genres). You can find me on Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amy Sturgis

    I would give this a 4.5 if I could, due to some small errors of fact at the start of the book, but if I have to choose I will round this up to a 5, because the delight of this volume and its usefulness as a springboard for more reading and research cannot be understated. What a fabulous guide and generator for "must read" lists this is! My detailed review is available on the StarShipSofa podcast here. I would give this a 4.5 if I could, due to some small errors of fact at the start of the book, but if I have to choose I will round this up to a 5, because the delight of this volume and its usefulness as a springboard for more reading and research cannot be understated. What a fabulous guide and generator for "must read" lists this is! My detailed review is available on the StarShipSofa podcast here.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Steve Wiggins

    This is a great book. Although Quirk makes it look, in its characteristic style, somewhat juvenile, Monster, She Wrote is a somewhat lighthearted, but serious book about women who historically explored, and who continue to write, horror. It isn’t comprehensive. It isn’t exhaustive. But it is inspirational. The many women featured here were adventurers into territory chauvinistically claimed by males, and these women excelled in their explorations. Horror, however defined, is experienced by membe This is a great book. Although Quirk makes it look, in its characteristic style, somewhat juvenile, Monster, She Wrote is a somewhat lighthearted, but serious book about women who historically explored, and who continue to write, horror. It isn’t comprehensive. It isn’t exhaustive. But it is inspirational. The many women featured here were adventurers into territory chauvinistically claimed by males, and these women excelled in their explorations. Horror, however defined, is experienced by members of all genders. Why shouldn’t all genders be able to write their experience of it? A number of these writers are well known, either as contemporary artists or as those who penned classic pieces, such as Mary Shelley or Ann Radcliffe. A great many are obscure. Some wrote under male or ambiguous names so that they could do what they felt called to do. As I noted elsewhere (Sects and Violence in the Ancient World), for a non-female, such as yours truly, the book gave me an amazing reading list consisting of many titles I’d managed to miss. It also gave me a modicum of hope that if those compelled to write in the past could find publishers, it should still be possible today. Those looking for in-depth literary analysis won’t find it here. They will, however, find an appreciative, intelligent treatment of a subject that many of us count as a guilty pleasure. There is more depth in horror literature than many critics would admit, and although much of the literature in this genre was considered pulp fiction, it has risen to a new literary appreciation. This book celebrates both that fact and the related, and lesser acknowledged truth that women have been part of it from the very beginning.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kris - My Novelesque Life

    RATING: 4 STARS 2019; Quirk Books I love the cover of Monster, She Wrote. I picked up the book from the library just to see how the book was put together. I liked the hardcover aspect of the book, and the artwork is great throughout the book. The book looks at a few women writers that made the sci-fi/horror/fantasy fiction popular in their own right. I enjoyed learning about authors I have known and ones that I just heard about. This book has added to my tbr list, so be aware! ***I received a comp RATING: 4 STARS 2019; Quirk Books I love the cover of Monster, She Wrote. I picked up the book from the library just to see how the book was put together. I liked the hardcover aspect of the book, and the artwork is great throughout the book. The book looks at a few women writers that made the sci-fi/horror/fantasy fiction popular in their own right. I enjoyed learning about authors I have known and ones that I just heard about. This book has added to my tbr list, so be aware! ***I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.***

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    So this was a My Book Box selection. I can't remember what month because I am behind. But it was cool because this book was on my list, and My Book Box delivered again. The non-fiction selections are usually pretty darn good. (The Mystery ones are a little more hit or miss, but more often than not a hit). So this book is about the women who invented and contributed to the horror and gothic genres. Therefore the book starts with writers other than Mary Shelley. The choices are basically English a So this was a My Book Box selection. I can't remember what month because I am behind. But it was cool because this book was on my list, and My Book Box delivered again. The non-fiction selections are usually pretty darn good. (The Mystery ones are a little more hit or miss, but more often than not a hit). So this book is about the women who invented and contributed to the horror and gothic genres. Therefore the book starts with writers other than Mary Shelley. The choices are basically English and American authors, and while the famous names are dropped (ie Anne Rice, Jackson, Shelley), there are enough lesser known writers mentioned. The book will also add several other books to your tbr pile. While the main writers mentioned are English and American (majority white), there are several women of color and international writers mentioned as further reading as well as the last few sections of the book that are less profile based. Butler is mentioned more than once as is Due among others. There are some strange bits though. While Anne Rice gets a profile, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro is only mentioned in passing, which is a bit strange considering that the Count Germain series is the longest lasting vampire series. While Tananarive Due is recommend more than once (at least three times I believe), she really should have had her own profile (and Joplin's Ghost should have been mentioned). It was also strange that Datlow and Windling's collections were not mentioned in any of the further read bits. Still it was enjoyable.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nostalgia Reader

    A great pseudo-bibliography of women writers of Gothic, horror, weird, and speculative fiction! While it's certainly not completely comprehensive (Molly Tanzer wasn't included in any of the chapters and I'm baffled by this), it's an excellent jumping off point for readers who want to read more works by women. Whether you like just one of the genres it encompasses or all of them, there's definitely something in here that you'll end up adding to your TBR. The timeline spans the entire history of G A great pseudo-bibliography of women writers of Gothic, horror, weird, and speculative fiction! While it's certainly not completely comprehensive (Molly Tanzer wasn't included in any of the chapters and I'm baffled by this), it's an excellent jumping off point for readers who want to read more works by women. Whether you like just one of the genres it encompasses or all of them, there's definitely something in here that you'll end up adding to your TBR. The timeline spans the entire history of Gothic lit, from its roots in the late 1700s up to recent publications, and covers both short story and novel writers. Each author featured gets a brief writing-centric bio, discusses some of their most famous works, and provides a list of key reads by that author as well as authors similar to them.

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