Author: Stephen T. Asma
“Exploring sources as diverse as philosophical treatises, scientific notebooks, and novels, Asma unravels traditional monster stories for the clues they offer about the inner logic of an era’s fears and fascinations. In doing so, he illuminates the many ways monsters have become repositories for those human qualities that must be repudiated, externalized, and defeated.”
I love monsters, I always have. But it never occurred to me to ever look into the history of what makes a monster a monster. Believe it or not, learning about why human beings have been scared of the same things since the dawn of time is not boring at all.
Thankfully, On Monsters was a nonfiction book that was easy to read and comprehend. Some of the terms/words could be a bit complicated but context helped. The book is organized into a timeline from when the term “monster” first appeared in written texts, all the up to modern times.
I gave the book five stars because I enjoyed reading it all the way through. It was a well-written book on a subject that has always interested me. A fun addition to On Monsters was the photographs and the sketches done by the author himself. Its one thing to read a description of a monster, or what was considered a monster but it’s different to see it in black and white.
It was very fun to read how what societies considered to be monsters. The book kind of held your hand and pointed out how it science kept changing what was considered normal and what was considered monstrous.
I felt a bit naive reading some parts of the book, mostly because what should be considered common knowledge was brand new to me. I didn’t know how long Jewish people had been considered “monsters”, but when I thought about it made so much sense throughout history all the way to present day.
If you like monsters or are a horror addict like me, I would 100% tell you to read this book. If not for the content, then at least for the pictures, because some of them are out of this world.