Boys, Beasts & Men

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Pub Date 10 May 2022 | Archive Date Not set

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Description

In Nebula Award-winning author Sam J. Miller’s devastating debut short-fiction collection, featuring an introduction by Amal El-Mohtar, queer infatuation, inevitable heartbreak, and brutal revenge seamlessly intertwine. Whether innocent, guilty, or not even human, the beings in Miller’s gorgeously crafted worlds can destroy readers, yet leave them wanting more.

“Miller’s sheer talent shines through in abundance . . . Boys, Beasts & Men is an outrageous journey which skillfully blends genres and will haunt you with its original, poetic voices as much as its victims, villains, and treasure trove of leading actors.”
—Grimdark Magazine


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.

In Nebula Award-winning author Sam J. Miller’s devastating debut short-fiction collection, featuring an introduction by Amal El-Mohtar, queer infatuation, inevitable heartbreak, and brutal revenge...


A Note From the Publisher

About the Author: Sam J. Miller is a Nebula-Award-winning author. His debut novel, The Art of Starving, was an NPR Best of the Year, and his second novel, Blackfish City, was a Best Book of the Year for Vulture, The Washington Post, Barnes & Noble, and more, as well as a “Must Read” in Entertainment Weekly and O: The Oprah Winfrey Magazine. A recipient of the Shirley Jackson Award and a graduate of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, Sam’s work has been nominated for the World Fantasy, Theodore Sturgeon, John W. Campbell, and Locus Awards, and reprinted in dozens of anthologies. The last in a long line of butchers, he lives in New York City and at samjmiller.com.

About the Author: Sam J. Miller is a Nebula-Award-winning author. His debut novel, The Art of Starving, was an NPR Best of the Year, and his second novel, Blackfish City, was a Best Book of the Year...


Advance Praise

“Miller’s sheer talent shines through in abundance . . . Boys, Beasts & Men is an outrageous journey which skillfully blends genres and will haunt you with its original, poetic voices as much as its victims, villains, and treasure trove of leading actors.”
Grimdark Magazine

“The stories in this collection offer a nuanced and beautiful exploration of masculinity and the many faces of love, touching on romance, desire, family, and friendship, all presented through the lens of the fantastic—with literally mind-altering drugs, resurrected dinosaurs, near-future worlds in post environmental collapse, and of course, monsters.”
—A. C. Wise, The Kissing Booth Girl and Other Stories

“This is the collection you are looking for. Explosive, careening, shape-shifting tales . . . haunting and defiantly tender.”
—Ben Loory, author of Tales of Falling and Flying

“Sam Miller is my hero: a fearless visionary whose stories are at once vivid, electrifying, brutal, and full of heart. Oh, the heat of them.”
—Sarah Pinsker, author of A Song For A New Day and Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea

“Even in the darkest of these perfectly crafted stories, Sam Miller’s tragic boys yearn to be good instead of bad, strong instead of weak, whole instead of broken. May your heart ache with love for every doomed one of them; I know mine did.”
—Andy Davidson, author of The Boatman’s Daughter

 “Loneliness, manhood, and ferocious queer joy . . . thick with both the tenderness and ugliness of imperfect relationships.”
Publishers Weekly

“In these stories Sam J. Miller writes about people on the margins and in transition, both capturing a sense of uncertainty and horror while immersing us in these worlds with sensitivity and care.”
—Carrie Vaughn, author of The Immortal Conquistador

“The very best horror in all its ghoulish, glorious humanity.”
—Deborah Miller, two-time winner of the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award (and also Sam's mom)

“Miller’s sheer talent shines through in abundance . . . Boys, Beasts & Men is an outrageous journey which skillfully blends genres and will haunt you with its original, poetic voices as much as its...


Marketing Plan

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•    Prepublication endorsements from leading authors, review, and media outlets and general publications for fantasy and LGBTQIA+ audiences
• Planned online and print features, author events, and...


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781616963729
PRICE $17.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 14 members


Featured Reviews

'Boys, Beasts & Men' is a phenomenal short story collection that brings to mind a pack of wolves, with each story pulsing to its own heartbeat, straining at the leash that affixes it to the whole with bestial vigor.  The stories are dark, enigmatic, eerie and fantastical, all written with surprising weightlessness. As a result, they invoke the feeling of trying to breathe in subzero temperatures, when puffs of gelled heat are replaced by a chill, one which steals more than just body heat. In much the same way, Miller's prose breaches and traces that most inner part, sneaking its way past the body's defenses, pawing at the senses. Every story is wildly imaginative, each one twists and bends its form to stun and titillate that much more. And aside from the wonderfully eclectic narratives, which burst and shatter but never disenchant, it's emotion that dominates every page. Death, grief, rage, lust, longing, loss and desire breed various beasts and terrors, which are, in turn, nurtured by the intensity of human passion. Likewise, the monsters' physicality is used to illustrate the depravity lurking within the human psyche. Miller makes it a point to disengage the body from the soul, repeatedly referencing "the bodies we wear", the fates dictated by our lack of choice when it comes to the fit and color we're assigned upon conception. This fracture is tangible in each one of his stories, and it blends eroticism with ghoulishness, sensuality with violence. Talk of capitalism and AIDS is founded on rage, but it's the intensity of the emotion that allows sensations and actions to bleed into each other, arousing those in the throes of savagery. The idea of the body is further pushed to envelop Eastern elements, such as spirits incorporating the essence of a house. Through them, Miller shows the rupture between the spiritual and the material in the human mind, an innate sense of connection gone feral. What enhances the collection's unique appeal is the stories' duality, the way they instill morals to combat insanity. Miller is the master of his worlds and his characters the gods of their domains, pivoting and remolding reality in a state of euphoric dread. That's why entering the space they occupy is a challenge, a thrill, a plunge into an untethered imagination. Not a gradual descent, but a drop toward a new, form-defying center of gravity.  'Boys, Beasts & Men' is the fruit of substantial creative autonomy, a glorious nightmare wrapped around a daydream. Its images are vibrant, its thoughts throb on the page, its characters reshape the labyrinth of the mind, fears and desires feed on the flesh they manifest. Whatever imprint the stories choose to leave behind, whether it be yearning, outrage, grief or unfulfilled carnality, each one is imbued with sorrow, each one breaks you with a craving for more.

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The first collection of short stories by speculative fiction author Sam J. Miller collects thirteen of Miller's best known stories (and. one new one), many collected in "Best of..." annuals or nominated for Nebula and World Fantasy Awards. Brief interstitials act to bind together the stories into a cohesive whole. Thematic juxtapositions reveal surprising connections in the stories, with the "Things With Beards"/"Ghosts of Home"/"The Heat of Us"/"Angel, Monster, Man" sequence being a particularly strong standout.

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An amazing collection of short stories! Each was so atmospheric and unique in concepts ranging from body controlling powers, minds connected to the internet to a modern day dinosaur. Each story has such a fresh twist on the horror/thriller genres. I also greatly enjoy the queer representation in these stories, and how it does not sugar coat the relationships either. I was thoroughly impressed by this collection and can't wait to check out a full novel by this author. I am looking forward to the publication of this collection so everyone can read it.

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