Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century
A Most Anticipated Book of the Year at Kirkus and The Rumpus
A WIRED Pick for the Book You Need to Read This Winter
A dazzling and daring debut story collection by PEN/Hemingway finalist, Kim Fu.
In the twelve unforgettable tales of Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, the strange is made familiar and the familiar strange, such that a girl growing wings on her legs feels like an ordinary rite of passage, while a bug-infested house becomes an impossible, Kafkaesque nightmare. Each story builds a new world all its own: a group of children steal a haunted doll; a runaway bride encounters a sea monster; a vendor sells toy boxes that seemingly control the passage of time; an insomniac is seduced by the Sandman. These visions of modern life wrestle with themes of death and technological consequence, guilt and sexuality, and unmask the contradictions that exist within all of us.
Mesmerizing, electric, and wholly original, Kim Fu’s Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century blurs the boundaries of the real and fantastic, offering intricate and surprising insights into human nature.
Stellar. . . . Fu’s stories crackle with quirky plots, and her characters’ problems and hunger for new possibilities are palpable. This is a winner.
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Powerful. . . . Fu addresses questions of technology and community with grace and subtlety.
—Kirkus, Starred Review
A breathtaking collection of speculative fiction stories about how new places and innovations affect timeless emotions.
—Foreword Reviews, Starred Review
A dozen sly, provocative, fabulous short stories sure to delight and shock. From doll parts to winged ankles to stockpiled gold bars, Fu flaunts an inimitable imagination. . . . Irrefutably fantastic fiction.
—Booklist, Starred Review
Rich and metamorphic. . . . [Fu] clearly has a knack for the form.
Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century is one of those rare collections that never suffers from which-one-was-that-again? syndrome. Every story here lights a flame in the memory, shining brighter as time goes by rather than dimming. Kim Fu writes with grace, wit, mischief, daring, and her own deep weird phosphorescent understanding.
—Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Ghost Variations
How I loved the cool wit of these speculative stories! Filled with wonder and wondering, they’re haunted too by loss and loneliness, their imaginative reach profoundly rooted in the human condition.
—Peter Ho Davies, author of A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself
Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century is for the adventurous reader—someone willing to walk into a story primed for cultural critique and suddenly come across a plot for murder, or to consider the dangers of sea monsters alongside those posed by 21st century ennui. Each story is spectacularly smart, hybrid in genre, and bold with intention. The monsters here are not only fantastical figures brought to life in hyper-reality but also the strangest parts of the human heart. This book is as moving as it is monumental.
—Lucy Tan, author of What We Were Promised
When a collection is evocative of authors as disparate as Ray Bradbury and Stephanie Vaughn, the only possible unifier can be originality: and that’s what a reader finds in Kim Fu’s Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century. The strangest of concepts are tempered by grounded, funny dialogue in these stories, which churn with big ideas and craftily controlled antic energy.
—Naben Ruthnum, author of Find You in the Dark
Kim Fu’s Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century crushes the coal-dark zeitgeist between its teeth and spits out diamonds, beautiful but razor-sharp. This will be one of the best short story collections of the year.
—Indra Das, author of The Devourers
Precise, elegant, uncanny, and mesmerizing—each story in this collection is a crystalline gem. Kim Fu’s talent is singularly inventive, her every sentence a surprise and an adventure.
—Danya Kukafka, author of Notes on an Execution
The best speculative fiction seeks to decenter, decolonize, and disrupt what many have taken for granted as the universe’s natural order. Or at least, that’s what I decided after reading Monsters, because in it, Fu leaps so nimbly from story to story, center to center, taking whatever perspective necessary to take nothing in the multiverse for granted. . . . Fu, who has published two novels and one book of poetry previously, excites me as an emerging speculative fiction author of unique voice and considerable talent.
—South Seattle Emerald
If you want your fiction as weird as it can get while still being compassionate, resonant, and beautiful, look no further. . . . Super excited about this one.