Man Made Monsters by Andrea L. Rogers

By Erika Fitzpatrick

Following one Cherokee family across the generations, this folklore-infused short story collection starts with an unexpected and gory run-in with vampires in 1839 and ends with a horde of zombies in 2039. Running the gamut from mysteriously magical to lightly haunting to downright terrifying, Man Made Monsters, opens a new window is packed with all the classic creatures paranormal fans know and love. But, as often as not, these supernatural and folkloric beings are there to lend a helping hand, while the most chilling villains are human, like the classmate-turned-serial-killer targeting indigenous high school girls and the eerily two-faced nurse with a murderous past. As implied by the title, the true horrors in these tales are often rooted not in ghosts, werewolves, and the like, but rather in the generational trauma and violence brought on by people.

While each story can stand alone, it’s well worth reading from cover to cover. Readers will enjoy recognizing the handful of characters who make reappearances across the stories and tracing the threads connecting the stories, with the help of the family trees provided at the front of the book. Each story is accompanied by an illustration by Cherokee language technologist and artist Jeff Edwards, who incorporates Cherokee words into his art. While there are, of course, plenty of thrills and chills to appease dedicated horror fans, readers who normally shy away from the genre will likely also find something to interest them, if they’re brave enough to give it a chance. With compelling characters, beautiful art, heart-wrenching depictions of relatable, real-life struggles, and a window into Cherokee culture, language, and folklore, Man Made Monsters has a little something for everyone.