With its eye-catching cover and compellingly strange sketches and drawings, Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction attracts attention from its opening pages. From there, the authors Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson proceed to thoroughly entertain and inform those curious enough continue reading about this underexplored topic. Providing historical context, fascinating biographical background and a plethora of reader's advisory information, Monster She Wrote is mandatory for anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of these genres that are typically assumed as dominated by their male authors. Kröger and Anderson's chronology starts with Margaret Cavendish in the 17th century and the advent of speculative fiction and gothic tales, culminating with recent releases—many of which that have sought to revive, expand and modernize some recurring feminist themes over the centuries. The book is divided into eight sections, each with an introduction to a time period or emerging trend accompanied by defining characteristics; a quick bio of its most relevant female writers with recommended reading lists; and suggested supplemental materials related to each. Also sprinkled within are quotes and asides that discuss how women's voices, changing roles and male counterparts contributed to each moment in the genre's history. With their witty and colloquial tone, it is obvious that the authors are both well-informed and passionate about the subject matter. Monster, She Wrote can be enjoyed sequentially or browsed in any order for those seeking to explore the origins of some exceptional horror/speculative fiction or add substantially to their TBR list.
Thanks to the authors, Quirk Books and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.