Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century

Kim Fu (The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore) sheds an uncanny light on the emotional dissonance of modern life in Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, her strange and fantastic first collection of short stories.

In "Pre-Simulation Consultation XF007867," the operator of a service that renders lifelike simulations based on a customer's input warns a prospective client that indulging in certain fantasies could lead to dangerous consequences. This concise opening story serves handily as a thematic overture for what follows: the unsettled (and often unsettling) boundary between reality and fantasy is a perpetual fascination of Fu across these 12 stories, as are the dark and strange expressions that desire finds through technology and art. Longlisted for the Giller Prize, Fu embraces the sorts of high-concept premises native to the weird fringes of science fiction and horror, deftly magnifying the strangeness of everyday anxieties. --Theo Henderson, bookseller at Ravenna Third Place Books in Seattle, Wash.

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