I'm reading quicker that I can review at the moment so time for a catch-up post. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore was one of those random spots on Amazon, cheap to download and then added to the three million already on there. (At least this year I have been reading some of them...)
Menace of the Monster: Classic Tales of Creatures from Beyond - edited by Mike Ashley was a freebie in exchange for a review from the British Library. It's my 22nd. book for Bev's Mount TBR 2020.
Monsters have always been with us according to Mike Ashley in his 30 page introduction to this anthology, and they come in all shapes and sizes, not to mention varieties. I was a bit thrown by the first story in the volume which was The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells in the form of a short story. I couldn't think why on earth you would want to do that: read the whole book! It's worth it! The second story, The Cloud Men by Owen Oliver cheered me up though, aliens in the form of strange shaped clouds invade Earth, this was weird and imaginative and well written. After that the stories varied a bit. There was a dragon-like bird terrorising London after being released from the Arctic ice (I kid you not), an invasion of giant ants coming from underground (much more likely), a tale that seemed to revolve around Scott and Amundsen in the Antarctic which had me completely baffled, one based on King Kong which I've never been a fan of and so on. Favourite stories included Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft which I've read before but always bears rereading and Discord in Scarlett by A.E. van Vogt about a spaceship that unwittingly picks up an alien passenger on its hull; very well written and full of suspense but it never fails to amuse me that these sci-fi writers from the 40s, 50s and 60s could imagine anything and everything in the universe except the concept of women going into space with the men. Also good, The Monster from Nowhere by Nelson S. Bond about a lost expedition to Peru coming home with a creature from another dimension (as you do), Resident Physician by James White about a hospital in space that caters for all alien life (this is a series apparently so I must investigate it) and The Witness by Eric Frank Russell, a thought provoking story that sees an alien put on trial for trying to claim asylum on Earth, I liked the ending to that one. This was quite a patchy anthology, some of the stories didn't appeal at all or worse, confused me. Others were terrific and for me that's what anthologies are all about, a way to discover new authors to explore by sampling a little of their work. Although this collection didn't completely work for me I am a fan of these British Library anthologies and love getting them through the mail.