Mothers & Other Monsters

Maureen F. McHugh  - published June 2006

“Gorgeously crafted stories.” — Nancy Pearl, NPR, Morning Edition, “Books for a Rainy Day

Story Prize finalist · BookSense Notable Book · Cleveland Plain Dealer Recommended Summer Reading

Also available in a signed, numbered limited edition.

In her luminous, long-awaited debut collection, award-winning novelist McHugh wryly and delicately examines the impacts of social and technological shifts on families. Using beautiful, deceptively simple prose, she illuminates the relationship between parents and children and the expected and unexpected chasms that open between generations:

—A woman introduces her new lover to her late brother.
—A teenager is interviewed about her peer group’s attitudes toward sex and baby boomers.
—A missing stepson sets a marriage on edge.
—Anthropologists visiting an isolated outpost mission are threatened by nomadic raiders.

McHugh’s characters—her Alzheimers-afflicted parents or her smart and rebellious teenagers—are always recognizable: stubborn, human, and heartbreakingly real. The trade paperback has bonus added material for book clubs and reading groups, including an interview with the author, book club questions and suggestions, and a reprint of Maureen’s fabulous essay,  The Evil Stepmother.

Maureen F. McHugh is the author of four acclaimed novels. Her genre-expanding short fiction has won the Hugo and Locus Awards and has frequently been included in Best of the Year anthologies. Since 1988 she has attracted a broad readership in publications such as Asimov’s, Scifiction, Starlight, The Year’s Best Science Fiction, and The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. She lives in Los Angeles where she writes alternate reality games.

Table of Contents

Ancestor Money
In the Air
The Cost to Be Wise
The Lincoln Train
Interview: On Any Given Day
Laika Comes Back Safe
Eight-Legged Story
The Beast
Frankenstein’s Daughter

Reading Group Guide (Download as PDF)

The Evil Stepmother: An Essay
Author Interview
Talking Points


“Gorgeously crafted stories.” — Nancy Pearl on NPR, Morning Edition, “Books for a Rainy Day

“Unpredictable and poetic work.” — Cleveland Plain Dealer (Recommended Summer Reading)

“[McHugh] cherry-picks subtle magical or futuristic elements from the expansive genre library.” — Angle Magazine

“McHugh’s prose style is unique.” — LEO (Louisville Eccentric Observer)

“McHugh’s stories are hauntingly beautiful.” — Booklist

“The 13 stories in McHugh’s debut collection offer poignant and sometimes heartwrenching explorations of personal relationships and their transformative power…. McHugh (Nekropolis) relates her stories as slices of ordinary life whose simplicity masks an emotional intensity more often found in poetry. The universality of these tales should break them out to the wider audience they deserve.”
Publishers Weekly

“Passion and precision.” — Locus

“McHugh is enormously talented…. [She] has a light touch, a gentle sense of a humor, and a keen wit. — Strange Horizons

“There’s not a single story that isn’t strong, and most are brilliant.” — Ideomancer

Story Prize finalist. Pictures from the event: Maureen, Maureen & Larry Dark, Maureen, fellow finalist Jim Harrison, and winner Patrick O’Keefe

A Book Sense Notable Book. Interview.

Maureen F. McHugh & Sarah Willis in conversation: parts 1, 2 & 3.

Also available as a beautiful limited edition.

Advance Praise

“My favorite thing about her is the wry, uncanny tenderness of her stories. She has the astonishing ability to put her finger on the sweet spot right between comedy and tragedy, that pinpoint that makes you catch your breath. You’re not sure whether to laugh out loud or cry, and you end up doing both at once.” —Dan Chaon, Among the Missing

“When I first read China Mountain Zhang many years ago, Maureen McHugh instantly became, as she has remained, one of my favorite writers. This collection is a welcome reminder of her power—they are resonant, wise, generous, sharp, transporting, and deeply, deeply moving. McHugh is enormously gifted; each of these stories is a gift.” —Karen Joy Fowler, The Jane Austen Book Club

“Wonderfully unpredictable stories, from the very funny to the very grim, by one of our best and bravest imaginative writers.”
—Ursula K. Le Guin, Changing Planes

“Enchanting, funny and fierce by turns—a wonderful collection!”
—Mary Doria Russell, A Thread of Grace

On the web:

We Have Seen the Future
Why I am Not Postmodern

Short short story: “Makeover

Creative Commons

April 22, 2008: Released online as a free download under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

Cover image © Conde Nast Archive/Corbis. Photographer: Erwin Blumenfeld.
cover for print.


5 Responses to “Mothers & Other Monsters”

  1. » Post Topic » The Lincoln Train by Maureen F. McHugh on April 22nd, 2010 9:33 am

    […] & Other Monsters: Stories.  (You can now legally download this entire book for free at the Small Beer Press web site. ) • You can also find The Lincoln Train in Gardner Dozois’s fabulous The Best of the Best: […]

  2. Best Books 2011 | city of tongues on December 18th, 2011 11:30 pm

    […] If you haven’t read her you can download her 2005 collection, Mothers & Other Monsters for free from Small Beer Press, or check out one of the title story from After the Apocalypse in Jonathan […]

  3. / Lectures 2011 on December 31st, 2011 5:05 pm

    […] Mothers & Other Monsters, Maureen F McHugh (Nouvelles de science-fiction. Offert par une amie de Los Angeles dont l’auteure est la collègue. Belle découverte. Hâte de lire son plus récent qui a reçu d’excellentes critiques.) […]

  4. Useless Things « Apex Magazine on February 7th, 2012 8:04 am

    […] and now lives in Los Angeles, California. She is the author of a Story Prize finalist collection, Mothers & Other Monsters, and four novels, including Tiptree Award-winner China Mountain Zhang and New York Times editor’s […]

  5. Морийн Ф. Макхю - Влакът на Линкълн - фантастичен разказ (Преслава Николова) | Сборище на трубадури on January 16th, 2014 5:54 am

    […] Първият ѝ публикуван разказ излиза през 1989 г. в Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. Написала е четири романа и над двайсет разказа. Нейният първи роман, China Mountain Zhang (1992), е номиниран за наградите „Хюго“ и „Небюла“ и печели наградата „Джон Типтрий – младши“. През 1996 г. разказът „Влакът на Линкълн“ (The Lincoln Train, 1995) печели наградата „Хюго“ и е включен в сборника Mothers & Other Monsters (2005), издаван от Small Beer Press. […]

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