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John Wiswell

Autor(a) de Someone You Can Build a Nest In

13+ Works 106 Membros 10 Críticas

About the Author

Includes the name: John Wiswell

Obras por John Wiswell

Associated Works

We’re Here: The Best Queer Speculative Fiction 2020 (2021) — Contribuidor — 21 exemplares Short Fiction: Summer 2023 (2010) — Contribuidor — 19 exemplares
The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: Volume Two (2021) — Contribuidor — 18 exemplares
Uncanny Magazine Issue 20: January/February 2018 (2018) — Contribuidor — 13 exemplares
Uncanny Magazine Issue 37: November/December 2020 (2020) — Contribuidor — 8 exemplares
Unidentified Funny Objects 9 (2022) — Contribuidor — 8 exemplares
Uncanny Magazine Issue 43: November/December 2021 (2021) — Autor — 4 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum

Data de nascimento
20th century



Most people want love, a sense of connection and community—for a lack of a better term, family. This may be the case even when those people are sort-of gelatinous, tentacled creatures who kill and eat animals and humans and then fashion themselves internal bone structures out of their remains! Part horror, part exciting action-adventure story, part romance, all heart (ironic for a main character with no circulatory system?!). I really enjoyed this by turns incredibly gross, sweet and moving, and climactic tale of a monster trying to start a family in a world run by terrifying humans.… (mais)
bibliovermis | 2 outras críticas | Apr 5, 2024 |
The Publisher Says: Discover this creepy, charming monster-slaying fantasy romance—from the perspective of the monster—by Nebula Award-winning debut author John Wiswell

Shesheshen has made a mistake fatal to all monsters: she's fallen in love.

Shesheshen is a shapeshifter, who happily resides as an amorphous lump at the bottom of a ruined manor. When her rest is interrupted by hunters intent on murdering her, she constructs a body from the remains of past meals: a metal chain for a backbone, borrowed bones for limbs, and a bear trap as an extra mouth.

However, the hunters chase Shesheshen out of her home and off a cliff. Badly hurt, she’s found and nursed back to health by Homily, a warm-hearted human, who has mistaken Shesheshen as a fellow human. Homily is kind and nurturing and would make an excellent co-parent: an ideal place to lay Shesheshen’s eggs so their young could devour Homily from the inside out. But as they grow close, she realizes humans don’t think about love that way.

Shesheshen hates keeping her identity secret from Homily, but just as she’s about to confess, Homily reveals why she’s in the area: she’s hunting a shapeshifting monster that supposedly cursed her family. Has Shesheshen seen it anywhere?

Eating her girlfriend isn’t an option. Shesheshen didn’t curse anyone, but to give herself and Homily a chance at happiness, she has to figure out why Homily’s twisted family thinks she did. As the hunt for the monster becomes increasingly deadly, Shesheshen must unearth the truth quickly, or soon both of their lives will be at risk.

And the bigger challenge remains: surviving her toxic in-laws long enough to learn to build a life with, rather than in, the love of her life.


My Review
: I really hoped that I'd find something that recalled for me the affect and effect of Mrs Caliban in this book.

Not so much.

This being the twenty-first century, I get it; that kind of quiet exploration of repressed rage and thwarted love is not the way this louder, more boisterous time copes with Life. Also, the author's an ace man. We aren't much for writing quiet women unless they are silenced by our power and privilege over them. (Look at the mind-numbing abundance of male-authored "thrillers" centering sex crimes against women sometime.) What this book does, then, is entirely unlike what I was prepared for.

This is a large pipe organ's keyboard. The stops, those round thingies, are the way the organist chooses the kind of sound...brash blaring trumpets, quiet soft woodwinds...the instrument will send into your ears. Author Wiswell pulled the "Strange" stop on his book's keyboard all the way out and then used the loud pedal.

The idea of this being reproducing in the same unspeakably horrifying way that wasps do is nightmarish enough for me. I absolutely abominate wasps. But then to be confronted with Shesheshen, the wasplike alien's, twisted psychology...finding its parasitic fatal-for-Homily (her intended victim) reproductive strategy LOVING!...and I thought, "that's me out!"

And then...

The reason I kept going, pushing past the extreme horripilation induced at the mere notion of this, this travesty on Love was the strength of my horror. If I am this repulsed and infuriated, the author is saying something loud and clear, and however much I don't *like* hearing it I should listen. I am honestly surprised to say I am glad that I did.

Female-presenting monsters are having A Moment, it seems...Alasdair Gray's Poor Things, a book I did not like but a film that was a note-perfect adaptation of it most recently....and Author Wiswell's more SFnal take on it surpasses that deeply strange story. In imaging an alien just trying to exist, as "Bella Baxter" does, as Frankenstein's monster does, but in such a revulsion-evoking way, Author Wiswell makes his readers stop and think: "where is my horror coming from?" Survival by consuming one's host is appalling! When one is the host, yes; but really, are we any different? We are using up the planet, we are complicit in the slave labor that provides us the benefits of food to eat, as well as the devices you're reading and I'm writing this on, and that offers the laborers nothing but early graves.

Some people who reviewed the book on Goodreads had some reservations about the nature of a man writing a love story between a woman and a female-presenting alien, when the love was not sapphic but asexual. To me, this felt like a feature, not a bug (!), because the point was asexuality. That was something I found moving, once I wrapped my head around it; the lovers are genuinely in love and they cannot deny or repress their feelings, nor are these feelings physiologically expressed through sex. If this is something you are unfamiliar with, I recommend reading the excellent Ace by Angela Chen. It was that book that, for the first time, presented me with information about the experience of asexuality, by an asexual person; it is extremely illuminating for someone not asexual.

The attentive have noticed my rating lacks a star despite my laudatory comments. This is not due to its sexual challenge to the allo overculture. It is due to the frankly peculiar pacing, too slow then zooming through character-building opportunities; it's due to the amount of body horror exceeding my personal limits; it's due to my very old-fashioned purseylipped response to the amount of lying Shesheshen does to Homily, that never causes any comment or evokes any sense of betrayal, nor causes Homily to require some assurance that she *can* trust Shesheshen.

Also I kept reading her name as "Hominy" and, considering she was being assessed as a meal by Shesheshen, it made me giggle most immaturely.

None of my minor crotchets should stop you from getting this deeply affecting and very peculiar story into your eyeholes. Soonest.
… (mais)
richardderus | 2 outras críticas | Apr 4, 2024 |
Shesheshen is a monster who eats people. When monster hunters nearly kill her, she falls into the lap of a woman that she first wants to lay eggs in, then wants to keep alive (though she’s still fine with eating other people). Lots of squishy body parts are involved; the monster’s eye view of human society is funny (as the object of Shesheshen’s affections keeps saying). But they both have to survive the legacy of past abuses. Good if you are ok with body horror and unrepentant murder, at least of the deserving.… (mais)
rivkat | 2 outras críticas | Jan 19, 2024 |
This is a sweet story about an open house for a haunted house that is lonely and desperately wants someone to buy it. There’s a little irony in that the one likely buyer hosts a podcast for skeptics, but mostly it’s a story about holding on to the memories of those you’ve lost. Lovely.
crankybookwyrm | 3 outras críticas | Nov 28, 2023 |


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