Boys, Beasts & Men by Sam J. Miller is a fairly eclectic collection of queer male science fiction short stories. You learn from the point of view of couches, learn about what towns will do when an allosaurus comes into existence, and many other things. If you want to see more on my thoughts on this interesting collection of short stories, continue down below!
Despite his ability to control the ambient digital cloud, a foster teen falls for a clever con-man. Luring bullies to a quarry, a boy takes clearly enumerated revenge through unnatural powers of suggestion. In the aftermath of a shapeshifting alien invasion, a survivor fears that he brought something out of the Arctic to infect the rest of the world. A rebellious group of queer artists create a new identity that transcends even the anonymity of death.
Sam J. Miller (Blackfish City, The Art of Starving) shows his savage wit, unrelenting candor, and lush imagery in this essential career retrospective collection, taking his place alongside legends of the short-fiction form such as Carmen Maria Machado, Carson McCullers, and Jeff VanderMeer.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
I did like a majority of the short stories, but not all grabbed my attention. As is the way of short stories, I suppose. Some of the stories were incredibly inventive in how they were written and/or in their plot. I mean, one of the stories was from the point of view of a yellow couch. While the others did not quite grab my attention in the same way. I think this variety was what I enjoyed most from the collection. The short stories were a great way to showcase Miller’s writing skills. I often forgot that Miller wrote all of these stories.
The overall mood of the book was dark. Should I have expected this with the title of Boys, Beasts & Men combined with this cover? Maybe. The stories were typically through the lens of different queer male characters as they explore their sexuality, endure prejudice, find love, lose love, violence, etc. The infusion of science fiction in these stories, for the most part, helped create a dark mood. Do not pick up this collection with the expectation of a couple of heartwarming tales of love.
You do need to be looking to read a series of short stories to be able to fully enjoy Boys, Beasts & Men by Sam J. Miller. I always fall into the trap of enjoying a story and getting disappointed that it just stops. It is a rather morose book, but honestly, the writing is very well done and I enjoyed a majority of Miller’s short stories.