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Monsters

A Companion

Series:

Edited By Simon Bacon

What are Monsters?

Monsters are everywhere, from cyberbullies online to vampires onscreen: the twenty-first century is a monstrous age. The root of the word «monster» means «omen» or «warning», and if monsters frighten us, it’s because they are here to warn us about something amiss in ourselves and in our society. Humanity has given birth to these monsters, and they grow and change with us, carrying the scars of their birth with them.

This collection of original and accessible essays looks at a variety of contemporary monsters from literature, film, television, music and the internet within their respective historical and cultural contexts. Beginning with a critical introduction that explores the concept of the monster in the work of Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Jack Halberstam, Elaine Showalter and more, the book takes a broad approach to the monster, including not only classic slasher films, serial killers (Bates Motel), the living dead (Game of Thrones) and aliens (District 9), but also hyper-contemporary examples like clones (Orphan Black), cyberbullies (Cyberbully), viral outbreaks (The Strain) and celebrities (Lady Gaga). Gender and culture are especially emphasized in the volume, with essays on the role of gender and sexuality in defining the monster (AHS Apocalypse) and global monsters (Cleverman, La Llorona).

This compact guide to the monster in contemporary culture will be useful to teachers, students and fans looking to expand their understanding of this important cultural figure.

Simon Bacon has edited books on various subjects including Undead Memory: Vampires and Human Memory in Popular Culture (2014) and Growing Up with Vampires: Essays on the Undead in Children’s Media (2018), both with Katarzyna Bronk, and Gothic: A Reader (2018), Horror: A Companion (2019), and Transmedia: A Companion (forthcoming). He has published the monographs Becoming Vampire: Difference and the Vampire in Popular Culture (2016), Dracula as Absolute Other: The Troubling and Distracting Specter of Stoker’s Vampire on Screen (2019), and Eco-Vampires: The Vampire as Environmentalist and Undead Eco-activist (2020) and is currently working on Invasion of Vampires From Another World: The Cinematic Alien Progeny of War of the Worlds and Dracula.