We Shall Be Monsters IS ALIIIIIVE


Exciting news for all of you who have been waiting while we assembled this beautiful monster piece by piece – We Shall Be Monsters IS ALIIIIIVE!!

We Shall Be Monsters is our homage to the brilliant Mary Shelley and her monstrous creation Frankenstein. We Shall Be Monsters honours the 200 year legacy of Mary Shelley’s publication of Frankenstein, a novel that has shifted, changed, and been adapted throughout that time period. Frankenstein is a tale that endures through time, telling something new to each new generation that encounters is.

We Shall Be Monsters collects diverse voices on the topic of Frankenstein, reimagining the text for today’s audience, illustrating the versatility and changeability of this text. Each writer reimagined the story of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster for a new audience, playing with ideas in the text and adding their own bits of knowledge, experience, and creativity to a monster that is already an assemblage of multiple different parts. We stitched together aspects of the new monster with aspects of the classic monster of Mary Shelley’s creation to create something that speaks to a new age, a new era of the monster’s existence.

The authors in this collection integrate under-represented voices to the Frankenstein tale, drawing on experiences of disability, indigeneity, ethnicity, Queer and Trans identities. Frankenstein is a tale of oppression, so the voices of authors who have experienced oppression were important for shaping this collection.

You can now get your own copy of We Shall Be Monsters at Renaissance Press’ website at https://renaissancebookpress.com/product/we-shall-be-monsters/

We Shall Be Monsters is edited by 9 time Aurora Award Winning Editor Derek Newman-Stille and contains the works of authors like

Day Al-Mohamed

Lena Ng

Andrew Wilmot

Alex Acks

Evelyn Deshane

D. Simon Turner

Jennifer Lee Rossman

Randall G. Arnold

Liam Hogan

KC Grigant

Cait Gordon

Halli Lilburn

JF Garrard

Kev Harrison

Corey Redekop

Max D. Stanton

Eric Choi

Joseph McGinty

Joshua Bartolome

Arianna Verbree

Priya Sridhar

Lisa Carreiro

Kaitlin Tremblay

Victoria K. Martin

Ashley Caranto Morford

Kate Story

And remember, you can get your copy of We Shall Be Monsters at Renaissance Press’ website at https://renaissancebookpress.com/product/we-shall-be-monsters/


I construct myself: An Erasure Poem from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

I construct myself: An Erasure Poem from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

By Derek Newman-Stille

My laboratory had set

and the moon remained idle in labour,

a reflection of the desolated heart about to form

in murder and wretchedness.

The creature loathed his own deformity

beauty exasperated to inhabit the new,

propagated of terror for generations moved by senseless threats,

Selfishness at the price of a promise.

Malice and treachery tore to pieces

the future

with a howl of devilish despair,

locking my own heart from sickening oppression.

I felt the silence

I was helpless in frightful dreams,

rooted to the smothered voice of incalculable fatigue.

Dare hopes break another? 

Proved unworthy


wretched to my creator, master?

Irresolution in the past cannot move blood

in the impotence of anger 




My other passions dearer than light or food,

fearless and therefore powerful.

Do not poison the air with sounds of malice.

Words leave me safe

while my imagination rose from the ocean


the barrier between me and misery

sacrificed to those whom I had myself created.

A restless spectre loved by a deep sleep

oppressive as reality


wearing away society to reflect the sickening laboratory 

of suspicion

employed in labours of threatened safety, 

the only resource terror 

of benefit to the tortured of starvation 

sufferings replaced by others –

sanguinary and merciless passions!

Even now

mutable and strange

I construct myself of strangers

the dialogue a mixture of curiosity and anger

I recovered myself in silence 

surrounded by a crowd construed of my recollection.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Chapter 20

I sat one evening in my laboratory; the sun had set, and the moon was just rising from the sea; I had not sufficient light for my employment, and I remained idle, in a pause of consideration of whether I should leave my labour for the night or hasten its conclusion by an unremitting attention to it. As I sat, a train of reflection occurred to me which led me to consider the effects of what I was now doing. Three years before, I was engaged in the same manner and had created a fiend whose unparalleled barbarity had desolated my heart and filled it for ever with the bitterest remorse. I was now about to form another being of whose dispositions I was alike ignorant; she might become ten thousand times more malignant than her mate and delight, for its own sake, in murder and wretchedness. He had sworn to quit the neighbourhood of man and hide himself in deserts, but she had not; and she, who in all probability was to become a thinking and reasoning animal, might refuse to comply with a compact made before her creation. They might even hate each other; the creature who already lived loathed his own deformity, and might he not conceive a greater abhorrence for it when it came before his eyes in the female form? She also might turn with disgust from him to the superior beauty of man; she might quit him, and he be again alone, exasperated by the fresh provocation of being deserted by one of his own species.

Even if they were to leave Europe and inhabit the deserts of the new world, yet one of the first results of those sympathies for which the dæmon thirsted would be children, and a race of devils would be propagated upon the earth who might make the very existence of the species of man a condition precarious and full of terror. Had I right, for my own benefit, to inflict this curse upon everlasting generations? I had before been moved by the sophisms of the being I had created; I had been struck senseless by his fiendish threats; but now, for the first time, the wickedness of my promise burst upon me; I shuddered to think that future ages might curse me as their pest, whose selfishness had not hesitated to buy its own peace at the price, perhaps, of the existence of the whole human race.

I trembled and my heart failed within me, when, on looking up, I saw by the light of the moon the dæmon at the casement. A ghastly grin wrinkled his lips as he gazed on me, where I sat fulfilling the task which he had allotted to me. Yes, he had followed me in my travels; he had loitered in forests, hid himself in caves, or taken refuge in wide and desert heaths; and he now came to mark my progress and claim the fulfilment of my promise.

As I looked on him, his countenance expressed the utmost extent of malice and treachery. I thought with a sensation of madness on my promise of creating another like to him, and trembling with passion, tore to pieces the thing on which I was engaged. The wretch saw me destroy the creature on whose future existence he depended for happiness, and with a howl of devilish despair and revenge, withdrew.

I left the room, and locking the door, made a solemn vow in my own heart never to resume my labours; and then, with trembling steps, I sought my own apartment. I was alone; none were near me to dissipate the gloom and relieve me from the sickening oppression of the most terrible reveries.

Several hours passed, and I remained near my window gazing on the sea; it was almost motionless, for the winds were hushed, and all nature reposed under the eye of the quiet moon. A few fishing vessels alone specked the water, and now and then the gentle breeze wafted the sound of voices as the fishermen called to one another. I felt the silence, although I was hardly conscious of its extreme profundity, until my ear was suddenly arrested by the paddling of oars near the shore, and a person landed close to my house.

In a few minutes after, I heard the creaking of my door, as if some one endeavoured to open it softly. I trembled from head to foot; I felt a presentiment of who it was and wished to rouse one of the peasants who dwelt in a cottage not far from mine; but I was overcome by the sensation of helplessness, so often felt in frightful dreams, when you in vain endeavour to fly from an impending danger, and was rooted to the spot.

Presently I heard the sound of footsteps along the passage; the door opened, and the wretch whom I dreaded appeared. Shutting the door, he approached me and said in a smothered voice,

“You have destroyed the work which you began; what is it that you intend? Do you dare to break your promise? I have endured toil and misery; I left Switzerland with you; I crept along the shores of the Rhine, among its willow islands and over the summits of its hills. I have dwelt many months in the heaths of England and among the deserts of Scotland. I have endured incalculable fatigue, and cold, and hunger; do you dare destroy my hopes?”

“Begone! I do break my promise; never will I create another like yourself, equal in deformity and wickedness.”

“Slave, I before reasoned with you, but you have proved yourself unworthy of my condescension. Remember that I have power; you believe yourself miserable, but I can make you so wretched that the light of day will be hateful to you. You are my creator, but I am your master; obey!”

“The hour of my irresolution is past, and the period of your power is arrived. Your threats cannot move me to do an act of wickedness; but they confirm me in a determination of not creating you a companion in vice. Shall I, in cool blood, set loose upon the earth a dæmon whose delight is in death and wretchedness? Begone! I am firm, and your words will only exasperate my rage.”

The monster saw my determination in my face and gnashed his teeth in the impotence of anger. “Shall each man,” cried he, “find a wife for his bosom, and each beast have his mate, and I be alone? I had feelings of affection, and they were requited by detestation and scorn. Man! You may hate, but beware! Your hours will pass in dread and misery, and soon the bolt will fall which must ravish from you your happiness for ever. Are you to be happy while I grovel in the intensity of my wretchedness? You can blast my other passions, but revenge remains—revenge, henceforth dearer than light or food! I may die, but first you, my tyrant and tormentor, shall curse the sun that gazes on your misery. Beware, for I am fearless and therefore powerful. I will watch with the wiliness of a snake, that I may sting with its venom. Man, you shall repent of the injuries you inflict.”

“Devil, cease; and do not poison the air with these sounds of malice. I have declared my resolution to you, and I am no coward to bend beneath words. Leave me; I am inexorable.”

“It is well. I go; but remember, I shall be with you on your wedding-night.”

I started forward and exclaimed, “Villain! Before you sign my death-warrant, be sure that you are yourself safe.”

I would have seized him, but he eluded me and quitted the house with precipitation. In a few moments I saw him in his boat, which shot across the waters with an arrowy swiftness and was soon lost amidst the waves.

All was again silent, but his words rang in my ears. I burned with rage to pursue the murderer of my peace and precipitate him into the ocean. I walked up and down my room hastily and perturbed, while my imagination conjured up a thousand images to torment and sting me. Why had I not followed him and closed with him in mortal strife? But I had suffered him to depart, and he had directed his course towards the mainland. I shuddered to think who might be the next victim sacrificed to his insatiate revenge. And then I thought again of his words—“I will be with you on your wedding-night.” That, then, was the period fixed for the fulfilment of my destiny. In that hour I should die and at once satisfy and extinguish his malice. The prospect did not move me to fear; yet when I thought of my beloved Elizabeth, of her tears and endless sorrow, when she should find her lover so barbarously snatched from her, tears, the first I had shed for many months, streamed from my eyes, and I resolved not to fall before my enemy without a bitter struggle.

The night passed away, and the sun rose from the ocean; my feelings became calmer, if it may be called calmness when the violence of rage sinks into the depths of despair. I left the house, the horrid scene of the last night’s contention, and walked on the beach of the sea, which I almost regarded as an insuperable barrier between me and my fellow creatures; nay, a wish that such should prove the fact stole across me. I desired that I might pass my life on that barren rock, wearily, it is true, but uninterrupted by any sudden shock of misery. If I returned, it was to be sacrificed or to see those whom I most loved die under the grasp of a dæmon whom I had myself created.

I walked about the isle like a restless spectre, separated from all it loved and miserable in the separation. When it became noon, and the sun rose higher, I lay down on the grass and was overpowered by a deep sleep. I had been awake the whole of the preceding night, my nerves were agitated, and my eyes inflamed by watching and misery. The sleep into which I now sank refreshed me; and when I awoke, I again felt as if I belonged to a race of human beings like myself, and I began to reflect upon what had passed with greater composure; yet still the words of the fiend rang in my ears like a death-knell; they appeared like a dream, yet distinct and oppressive as a reality.

The sun had far descended, and I still sat on the shore, satisfying my appetite, which had become ravenous, with an oaten cake, when I saw a fishing-boat land close to me, and one of the men brought me a packet; it contained letters from Geneva, and one from Clerval entreating me to join him. He said that he was wearing away his time fruitlessly where he was, that letters from the friends he had formed in London desired his return to complete the negotiation they had entered into for his Indian enterprise. He could not any longer delay his departure; but as his journey to London might be followed, even sooner than he now conjectured, by his longer voyage, he entreated me to bestow as much of my society on him as I could spare. He besought me, therefore, to leave my solitary isle and to meet him at Perth, that we might proceed southwards together. This letter in a degree recalled me to life, and I determined to quit my island at the expiration of two days.

Yet, before I departed, there was a task to perform, on which I shuddered to reflect; I must pack up my chemical instruments, and for that purpose I must enter the room which had been the scene of my odious work, and I must handle those utensils the sight of which was sickening to me. The next morning, at daybreak, I summoned sufficient courage and unlocked the door of my laboratory. The remains of the half-finished creature, whom I had destroyed, lay scattered on the floor, and I almost felt as if I had mangled the living flesh of a human being. I paused to collect myself and then entered the chamber. With trembling hand I conveyed the instruments out of the room, but I reflected that I ought not to leave the relics of my work to excite the horror and suspicion of the peasants; and I accordingly put them into a basket, with a great quantity of stones, and laying them up, determined to throw them into the sea that very night; and in the meantime I sat upon the beach, employed in cleaning and arranging my chemical apparatus.

Nothing could be more complete than the alteration that had taken place in my feelings since the night of the appearance of the dæmon. I had before regarded my promise with a gloomy despair as a thing that, with whatever consequences, must be fulfilled; but I now felt as if a film had been taken from before my eyes and that I for the first time saw clearly. The idea of renewing my labours did not for one instant occur to me; the threat I had heard weighed on my thoughts, but I did not reflect that a voluntary act of mine could avert it. I had resolved in my own mind that to create another like the fiend I had first made would be an act of the basest and most atrocious selfishness, and I banished from my mind every thought that could lead to a different conclusion.

Between two and three in the morning the moon rose; and I then, putting my basket aboard a little skiff, sailed out about four miles from the shore. The scene was perfectly solitary; a few boats were returning towards land, but I sailed away from them. I felt as if I was about the commission of a dreadful crime and avoided with shuddering anxiety any encounter with my fellow creatures. At one time the moon, which had before been clear, was suddenly overspread by a thick cloud, and I took advantage of the moment of darkness and cast my basket into the sea; I listened to the gurgling sound as it sank and then sailed away from the spot. The sky became clouded, but the air was pure, although chilled by the northeast breeze that was then rising. But it refreshed me and filled me with such agreeable sensations that I resolved to prolong my stay on the water, and fixing the rudder in a direct position, stretched myself at the bottom of the boat. Clouds hid the moon, everything was obscure, and I heard only the sound of the boat as its keel cut through the waves; the murmur lulled me, and in a short time I slept soundly.

I do not know how long I remained in this situation, but when I awoke I found that the sun had already mounted considerably. The wind was high, and the waves continually threatened the safety of my little skiff. I found that the wind was northeast and must have driven me far from the coast from which I had embarked. I endeavoured to change my course but quickly found that if I again made the attempt the boat would be instantly filled with water. Thus situated, my only resource was to drive before the wind. I confess that I felt a few sensations of terror. I had no compass with me and was so slenderly acquainted with the geography of this part of the world that the sun was of little benefit to me. I might be driven into the wide Atlantic and feel all the tortures of starvation or be swallowed up in the immeasurable waters that roared and buffeted around me. I had already been out many hours and felt the torment of a burning thirst, a prelude to my other sufferings. I looked on the heavens, which were covered by clouds that flew before the wind, only to be replaced by others; I looked upon the sea; it was to be my grave. “Fiend,” I exclaimed, “your task is already fulfilled!” I thought of Elizabeth, of my father, and of Clerval—all left behind, on whom the monster might satisfy his sanguinary and merciless passions. This idea plunged me into a reverie so despairing and frightful that even now, when the scene is on the point of closing before me for ever, I shudder to reflect on it.

Some hours passed thus; but by degrees, as the sun declined towards the horizon, the wind died away into a gentle breeze and the sea became free from breakers. But these gave place to a heavy swell; I felt sick and hardly able to hold the rudder, when suddenly I saw a line of high land towards the south.

Almost spent, as I was, by fatigue and the dreadful suspense I endured for several hours, this sudden certainty of life rushed like a flood of warm joy to my heart, and tears gushed from my eyes.

How mutable are our feelings, and how strange is that clinging love we have of life even in the excess of misery! I constructed another sail with a part of my dress and eagerly steered my course towards the land. It had a wild and rocky appearance, but as I approached nearer I easily perceived the traces of cultivation. I saw vessels near the shore and found myself suddenly transported back to the neighbourhood of civilised man. I carefully traced the windings of the land and hailed a steeple which I at length saw issuing from behind a small promontory. As I was in a state of extreme debility, I resolved to sail directly towards the town, as a place where I could most easily procure nourishment. Fortunately I had money with me. As I turned the promontory I perceived a small neat town and a good harbour, which I entered, my heart bounding with joy at my unexpected escape.

As I was occupied in fixing the boat and arranging the sails, several people crowded towards the spot. They seemed much surprised at my appearance, but instead of offering me any assistance, whispered together with gestures that at any other time might have produced in me a slight sensation of alarm. As it was, I merely remarked that they spoke English, and I therefore addressed them in that language. “My good friends,” said I, “will you be so kind as to tell me the name of this town and inform me where I am?”

“You will know that soon enough,” replied a man with a hoarse voice. “Maybe you are come to a place that will not prove much to your taste, but you will not be consulted as to your quarters, I promise you.”

I was exceedingly surprised on receiving so rude an answer from a stranger, and I was also disconcerted on perceiving the frowning and angry countenances of his companions. “Why do you answer me so roughly?” I replied. “Surely it is not the custom of Englishmen to receive strangers so inhospitably.”

“I do not know,” said the man, “what the custom of the English may be, but it is the custom of the Irish to hate villains.”

While this strange dialogue continued, I perceived the crowd rapidly increase. Their faces expressed a mixture of curiosity and anger, which annoyed and in some degree alarmed me. I inquired the way to the inn, but no one replied. I then moved forward, and a murmuring sound arose from the crowd as they followed and surrounded me, when an ill-looking man approaching tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Come, sir, you must follow me to Mr. Kirwin’s to give an account of yourself.”

“Who is Mr. Kirwin? Why am I to give an account of myself? Is not this a free country?”

“Ay, sir, free enough for honest folks. Mr. Kirwin is a magistrate, and you are to give an account of the death of a gentleman who was found murdered here last night.”

This answer startled me, but I presently recovered myself. I was innocent; that could easily be proved; accordingly I followed my conductor in silence and was led to one of the best houses in the town. I was ready to sink from fatigue and hunger, but being surrounded by a crowd, I thought it politic to rouse all my strength, that no physical debility might be construed into apprehension or conscious guilt. Little did I then expect the calamity that was in a few moments to overwhelm me and extinguish in horror and despair all fear of ignominy or death.

I must pause here, for it requires all my fortitude to recall the memory of the frightful events which I am about to relate, in proper detail, to my recollection.

We Shall Be MonstersNominated for a Prix Aurora Award

I want to share some exciting news with all of you: We Shall Be Monsters has been nominated for a Prix Aurora Award, the top award in Canadian Speculative Fiction!!

We Shall Be Monsters is a powerful manuscript that comes out of collaboration. Like I said in our kickstarter, it is like Frankenstein’s monster itself – composed of stitched together different bodies. We Shall Be Monsters is similarly stitched together, not from different bodies, but from the work of different people. We Shall Be Monsters was created by all of you who supported the project, by the incredibly authors who submitted stories to the anthology, and by the publisher and folks at Renaissance Press who put work into shaping this collection into the beautiful monster it has become.

I want to thank all of you for creating a collection that is incredible to read, and that sparks so much passion, excitement, and dialogue – an anthology of stories that entertains while it gets us to think. It is also an anthology that came to include a lot of voices of marginalized authors and under-represented people because so many of us identify with the figure of the monster who is treated as an outsider.

Ottawa Double Book Launch for Over the Rainbow and We Shall Be Monsters

By Derek Newman-Stille

It was extremely satisfying and exciting to have the chance to launch both of my new anthologies in Ottawa. There is something incredibly magical about seeing one’s work come together and bringing together numerous voices that were part of these books. I always find that there is much more context that an author’s voice adds to their story, so I was excited to get the chance to hear so many works in their own voices. I was able to get a sense of the nuances of their stories and the feeling behind their words.

We had multiple readers at our Ottawa launch, each adding new voice to their stories and answering questions about their tales from the audience (and occasionally from me as well). We were able to alternate back and forth between stories from each anthology – fairies and monsters, fairies and monsters, allowing the audience to dip into multiple magical worlds and spaces of imagination. We had the chance to listen to slam poetry as part of our tale, to listen to the words of a professional storyteller, and to hear academic perspectives on these texts in addition to the readings.

The launch took place at the Lieutenant’s Pump on Elgin Street in Ottawa.

There were readings by Nicole Lavigne, Ashley Caranto Morford, Liz Westbrook Trenholm, Victoria K. Martin, Kate Heartford, Arianna Verbree, and Richard Keelan. We also had Sean Moreland in attendance to sign books. Not everyone was able to make it, so I want to also acknowledge that Nathan Frechette and Cait Gordon were there in spirit, but not in physical form.

I want to thank all of the readers, the audience, Renaissance Press, the Lieutenant’s Pump, and Dwayne Collins for all of their support in making this an exciting and successful event.

Derek Newman-Stille
Nicole Lavigne
Ashley Caranto Morford
Liz Westbrook Trenholm
Victoria K Martin
Kate Heartfield
Arianna Verbree
Richard Keelan
The readers from Over the Rainbow: Folk and Fairy Tales From The Margins
The readers from We Shall Be Monsters
All of our fabulous readers


Speculating Canada reviews Lena Ng’s Love Transcendent from We Shall Be Monsters. Check out the review here.

Speculating Canada: Canadian Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy

A review of Lena Ng’s Love Transcendent in We Shall Be Monsters (Renaissance Press, 2018)
By Derek Newman-Stille

Lena Ng’s Love Transcendent is a belle mort tale of transformation. Exploring the Ancient Greek image of the soul represented as a butterfly, Ng explores the idea of death itself as a process of beautiful transformation, as a chrysalis in which the caterpillar of life becomes something majestic and winged after life.

This beautifully macabre tale explores the role of a young doctor seeking to understand the body, who ultimately becomes fascinated with what exists beyond the physical. As much as he is fascinated by the inner workings of the body, he is fascinated by the aesthetics of embodiment. Life evokes a passion for discovery in him that is all-consuming, a desire to understand things that are unfathomable.
This is a tale of a doctor’s obsession born of death and his…

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Immortality Piece by Piece

Immortality Piece by Piece
A review of Day Al-Mohamed’s “Ashes to Ashes” in We Shall Be Monsters (Renaissance Press, 2018).

By Derek Newman-Stille

Day Al-Mohamed’s “Ashes to Ashes” is a contemplation of immortality, but not the simple, pretty immortality that is generally presented in stories, rather this immortality is messy, complicated, and, at its core, rotten. Al-Mohamed’s protagonist is a doctor firmly rooted in science and firmly disinterested in the supernatural… so what happens when that doctor awakens in a body that is clearly dead? How does the doctor reconcile the firm scientific belief that there is nothing beyond this life with the strange animation of his flesh?

Most people fear death. Most people would opt for immortality if given the opportunity, but Al-Mohamed’s tale is an exploration of the horrors of eternal life. It is a discourse on decay and rot and the fear of losing everything that makes life meaningful and worth living. Al-Mohamed explores the isolation and loneliness that comes with immortality, the loss of normalcy, and the fear of further bodily losses.

This Frankensteinian tale entwines the medical and the monstrous, combining Dr. Frankenstein and his monster into one body seeking survival while driven by the passion to discover. 

To find out more about Day Al-Moahmed, visit http://dayalmohamed.com

To discover more about We Shall Be Monsters, visit Renaissance Press’ website at https://renaissancebookpress.com/product/we-shall-be-monsters/

Eyes of a Monster

Eyes of a Monster

A review of Junji Ito’s Frankenstein (VIZ Media, 2013)

By Derek Newman-Stille

Dialogue is important in Junji Ito’s Frankenstein, but it is the eyes of the characters that speak louder. Whole worlds of suffering and histories of torment speak through the eyes of the characters in Junji Ito’s adaptation. The monster has strange, gaslit eyes that speak of an otherworldliness that is far more distancing than the green skin, electrodes or stitches of the Universal Studios Frankenstein. And yet, despite the otherworldly look of the monster’s eyes, Dr. Frankenstein’s eyes are far more haunted. Junji Ito manages to imbue the doctor’s eyes with years of torment, but also with a distant look of someone who has spent his life looking off into the next horizon. Victor’s eyes are draped in shadow, sunken to illustrate what obsession does to a person. It’s as though his body is consuming itself with its passion for discovery… and later with its horror at that same discovery.

The manga’s use of black and white has the power to focus the reader’s attention on shadows and depth, which Junji Ito uses to his advantage to create haunting, inescapable scenes.

Junji Ito’s monster is a hulking, awkward, bandaged figure that seems to mock humanity with its presence on the page. As much as it emulates the human form, the monster sits on the page like an insectile monster, its limbs resembling that of a praying mantis. Junji Ito marbles the flesh of the monster with rot, giving texture to every part of the monster’s body that is revealed through the bandages.

Although I tend to read Mary Shelley’s monster as sympathetic, there is none of this sympathy to be evoked from Junji Ito’s monster. There is none of the pathos or emotional connection. Junji Ito’s monster is a murderer who just wants to hurt humanity whenever possible. Part of this may be the shortened scene of the monster’s interaction with Felix, Safie, the old man, and their family. Instead of getting a sense of the monster wanting to learn from humanity only to be spurned at his only source of connection to humanity, this monster’s encounter with the family feels shortened and Junji Ito focusses far more on the murders that the monster perpetrates. Although, like Shelley’s monster, Junji Ito’s monster is eloquent, he has far fewer opportunities to talk or share his feelings and understandings of the world with his reader. We don’t, for example, hear the monster’s discourse about his own abjection and the horrors of loneliness.

Junji Ito gives us a more horror-filled tale of monstrosity without the complicated pathos that is frequently seen through recent adaptations of Mary Shelley’s text. This monster is meant to evoke terror.

To find out more about Junji Ito’s Frankenstein, go to https://www.viz.com/frankenstein-junji-ito-story-collection

An Interview with Frankenstein Scholar Sarah Milner

An Interview with Frankenstein scholar Sarah Milner, Trent University.

By Derek Newman-Stille



Sarah Milner is a researcher at Trent University. Her interests include textual adaptations, transformative texts, film studies, and the filmography of James Whale in addition to her studies of Frankenstein. Milner is also a bluegrass musician, a performer, and radio personality.


In our interview, Sarah Milner discusses Frankenstein’s monster as an outsider, the Universal Frankenstein films, the work of director James Whale, gender, textual adaptation, Frankenstein stories for children, and humanizing the monster.


Click on the link below to check out our scholarly interview with Sarah Milner:

We Shall Be Monsters scholarly interviews




Poor Monster

Poor Monster

A review of Charles de Lint’s “Pity The Monsters” in The Ultimate Frankenstein (Simon & Schuster Inc., 1991)

By Derek Newman-Stille

I was surprised to see that Charles de Lint set his Frankenstein tale Pity The Monsters in the city he invented – Newford – a city that he generally sets tales of fairies and fantasy in, but in doing so, he illustrated the fantasy quality of Frankenstein tales, and he stuck to areas that he has often evoked in his Newford-centred stories. De Lint used a Frankenstein tale to explore ideas of poverty and homelessness, setting his tale in the impoverished part of Newford generally called The Tombs, an area of abandoned buildings that house squatters of the human and supernatural variety. De Lint explores the interweaving of normal city life with the uncanny, as he generally does in his Newford tales, having characters pulled out of their normate lives as they encounter something seemingly otherworldly. He illustrates to his audience that normalcy is a facade, a construction, and that it is a thin veneer that shows its artificiality when scratched.

Pity The Monsters is a tale that explores ideas of mental illness and altered perceptions while also examining the dispossession that often faces people with mental illness. It explores parental abuse and violence, entitlement and bodies, because Frankenstein IS a tale of violence, parental abuse, and entitlement over the bodies of others. It is a tale about the pain of Otherness and rejection and a tale about the policing of othered bodies.

To find out more about Charles de Lint, go to https://www.sfsite.com/charlesdelint/

An Interview with Ashley Caranto Morford, author of “My Name is Wollstonecraft” in We Shall Be Monsters

Interview with Ashley Caranto Morford, author of “It Was On A Joyful Night in November” in We Shall Be Monsters

By Derek Newman-Stille


Q: To begin our interview, could you tell readers a little bit about yourself?


Caranto Morford: Hi everyone! Thank you so much for supporting this project! I’m Ashley Caranto Morford. My pronouns are she/her. I identify as mad and am on the asexual spectrum. I am a woman of colour, a member of the Visayan and Luzonese diasporas on my mother’s side and British on my father’s side. I am currently a PhD student in Literature and Book History at the University of Toronto, which occupies the territories of the Wendat, Haudenosaunee, and Anishinaabe nations.


Q: What inspired you to explore the privilege Victor occupies in this story? Victor’s arrogance in seeking to create life has always struck me as an act of a person in privilege. What in Mary Shelley’s tale inspired you to see his privilege and arrogance?


Caranto Morford: I wanted to emphasize that Mary Shelley’s Victor is representative of colonial scholarship. Victor is representative of Western science’s ongoing legacies of exploiting marginalized communities without consent. He steals from communities under the banner of research, for instance in his taking of body parts from graves and other spaces without the consent of those human and other-than-human peoples. As is also representative of colonial scholarship, he refuses to be in ongoing relationship or kinship with those communities, which is emphasized when he refuses to be in relationship with his Creation. Further, the desire to know everything and to think that one has the right to know everything is a colonial desire. We must accept, respect, and understand that there are certain knowledges that not everyone has the right to, but, as is too often true of colonial scholarship, Victor does not honour that.


Q: You evoke a commonality between the blind man De Lacey from Shelley’s story and Victor’s creation Wollstonecraft. What inspired you to connect these two individuals?


Caranto Morford: In the Nick Dear adaptation of Frankenstein, De Lacey is an educator and a mentor to the Creature. They grow close, they teach one another and learn from one another, and, at times, their discussions engage with and confront ableism, albeit their discussions and moments of learning/teaching are often problematic and colonial. But I wanted to honour the close connection they grow to have in the Dear adaptation, and especially to honour it and re-imagine it from a decolonial lens.


Q: You explore a multiplicity of identities in the small community in which Wollstonecraft has found themself. What inspired you to evoke so many different identities?


Caranto Morford: Representation matters. This world is filled with diverse people, yet all too many mainstream movies and books present the world as narrowly white, cisgender, heterosexual, neurotypical, able-bodied, thin. And, when those of us from marginalized positionalities are represented in mainstream media, it is all too often in stereotypical, highly problematic, highly oppressive, highly colonial ways. That needs to change. Seeing ourselves represented in our humanities in films and books is so crucial in helping us to understand and love our beautiful and diverse identities and selves. I want to see the world represented in its diversity through films and books, and I want films and books to celebrate the beauty of decolonial pasts, presents, futures, and ways of being.


Q: Your story brings out the way that Mary Shelley’s text was haunted by colonialism. What inspired you to bring out these colonial aspects of the narrative?


Caranto Morford: The novel was written when the British Empire was the world’s dominant colonial force. The ways in which the text is shaped by colonial ideologies and the ways that it both grapples with but also upholds colonialism has always interested me, and yet I don’t think that the colonialism and the anti-colonial potentials of the text get talked about enough. I wanted to bring these aspects to the forefront. What about the shift in tone from the 1818 and 1831 versions, with the 1831 version taking on more overt mentions of and connections to colonialism and imperialism through Clerval? The main story of Shelley’s text, too, is buttressed by the story of Arctic exploration, and European/Western exploration of the Arctic is deeply intertwined with colonialism and imperialism. Yet Mary seems incredibly skeptical of Western colonial society’s desire for knowledge. Walton is egotistical and dislikeable, as is Victor, and both of their journeys to gain knowledge are dangerous and destructive.


Q: In your story, you speak of a “decolonial love”. Could you tell us a bit more about why that spoke to you so strongly? Connectedly, the notion of “found family” seems to shape a lot of the ideas in this story. What inspired you to explore Victor’s creation accessing a familial structure?


Caranto Morford: Colonialism has dictated that the most significant love, the one that we should privilege above all others, is monogamous romantic-sexual love. Colonialism has suggested that, to be successful, one must get married and have a nuclear family — that that is something everyone should desire. As a person on the ace spectrum, I want to challenge those ideas. I want to emphasize how significant, intimate, and beautiful friendships and the love of and for friends can be and is. I want to celebrate platonic love and the joys of platonic love.


Q: Your story discusses many different academic texts, particularly those with an activist quality. What evoked this desire to share these texts with Victor’s creation? Was this a way of educating Mary Shelley’s character about ways of occupying a decolonial world?


Caranto Morford: Absolutely. These books have been such a gift and privilege for me to read; they are so full of wisdom, so full of decolonial teachings, written by such amazing activists, and they are not read nor celebrated enough in mainstream spaces. Sharing these texts with Wollstonecraft — and Wollstonecraft’s reciprocal act of sharing these texts with readers — was also a way of speaking back to the Creature’s education in the Shelley text, wherein they read texts that have been labelled “canonical” and yet these texts often perpetuate toxic colonial ideas. I want to challenge what we consider to be “the literary canon,” and the kinds of teachings and authors that get privileged through the mainstream “canon”.


Q: Where can readers find out more about your work and see what you are up to?


Caranto Morford:You can follow me on Twitter: @ashleycmorford