The Monster Hunter Files – edited by Larry Correia and Bryan Thomas Schmidt – anthology review

"The Monster Hunter Files" edited by Larry Correia and Bryan Thomas Schmidt.
“The Monster Hunter Files” edited by Larry Correia and Bryan Thomas Schmidt.
I’ve been a fan of Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International series for several years now. I’m also a huge fan of anthologies, and especially anthologies put together by Bryan Thomas Schmidt, so when The Monster Hunter Files was announced, I was very excited.

All of the stories were awesome in this anthology. There were only a couple that had little niggly bits that didn’t quite click with me. Those were very minor, however, and not enough to lower my enjoyment significantly. Picking four or five to discuss here was difficult, but my favorites were “A Knight of the Enchanted Forest” by Jessica Day George, “The Bride” by Brad R. Torgersen, “Thistle” by Larry Correia, “The Dead Yard” by Maurice Broaddus, and “Huffman Strikes Back” by Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Julie Frost.

Since they were first introduced, I loved the idea of the trailer park elves. Jessica Day George took this idea and ran to places I didn’t know existed in her story, “A Knight of the Enchanted Forest”. The main character, Glad, caught my interest immediately. How she befriends the elves is awesome, and she has more than one connection to the fae (I’ll save that for you to find out when you read it). I laughed multiple times while reading this story, perhaps because I have some understanding of trailer parks in the south, but mostly because George created such a fun character.

Owen and Milo make appearances in Correia’s “Thistle”. This one introduced a monster I had never encountered before in any mythology. The story kept me guessing right up to the end. It could have been easily slotted into any of the novels as one of the call-outs received by MHI. It’ll be interested to see how (or if) it plays into the upcoming main stories in the series.

“The Bride” offers so many possibilities and potential hooks. Torgersen usually writes space opera and science fiction (of which I am a fan), so writing for The Monster Hunter Files is a bit outside of that. He does a wonderful job, however. Having Benjamin Franklin as a main character mad it fun, and Torgersen brought the character to life. This is another story where I wonder if it might play somehow into the next two books in the main series. Possibilities, possibilities!

I should have known that Frost would be involved with a werewolf story in The Monster Hunter Files. It only makes sense. Co-written with Schmidt, “Huffman Strikes Back” tells the story of Cecil Huffman’s brother, Glen. Huffman, as you may remember, was in the very first scene of the very first book in this series. He’s how Owen got introduced to the world of MHI. I loved the backstory details woven in with the present-day story. Schmidt and Frost crafted a standout story here. I loved it!

In “The Dead Yard”, we go to the beautiful island of Jamaica, the home of some of Trip’s ancestors. Broaddus gave us a glimpse into Trip’s history and told a very exciting story at the same time. I enjoy reading stories set in places I’ve never been, as it allows me to get a brief taste of them. Yes, I know this is fiction, but the island mythology is fascinating.

As I wrote in the beginning, The Monster Hunter Files is a wonderful anthology. Anyone already familiar with the series should really enjoy it, and anyone unfamiliar with it can use this to get a taste of the series. I’ll be enjoying this one multiple times in the future. I highly recommend it. I hope this becomes a regular anthology series as I would love to see more short stories.

Contents:
    “Thistle” by Larry Correia
    “Small Problems” by Jim Butcher
    “Darkness Under the Mountain” by Mike Kupari
    “A Knight of the Enchanted Forest” by Jessica Day George
    “The Manticore Sanction” by John C. Wright
    “The Dead Yard” by Maurice Broaddus
    “The Bride” by Brad R. Torgersen
    “She Bitch, Killer of Kits” by Faith Hunter
    “Mr. Natural” by Jody Lynn Nye
    “Sons of the Fathers” by Quincy J. Allen
    “The Troll Factory” by Alex Shvartsman
    “Keep Kaiju Weird” by Kim May
    “The Gift” by Steve Diamond
    “The Case of the Ghastly Specter” by John Ringo
    “Huffman Strikes Back” by Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Julie Frost
    “Hunter Born” by Sarah A. Hoyt
    “Hitler’s Dog” by Jonathan Mayberry

Release Date: October 3, 2017 (USA)
ISBNs: 1481482750 (9781481482752)
Publisher: Baen Books
Language: English

MySF Rating: Five point zero stars
Family Friendliness: 80%

Content:

Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (occasional social drinking and smoking)
Language: 2 (some stronger, deity, frequent mild)
Sexuality: 1 (mild innuendo)
Violence: 3 (some brutal violence, monster fighting, some graphic descriptions, death)

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