Discover this creepy, charming monster-slaying fantasy romance—from the perspective of the monster—by Nebula Award-winning debut author John Wiswell
Shesheshen has made a mistake fatal to all monsters: she's fallen in love.
Shesheshen is a shapeshifter, who happily resides as an amorphous lump at the bottom of a ruined manor. When her rest is interrupted by hunters intent on murdering her, she constructs a body from the remains of past meals: a metal chain for a backbone, borrowed bones for limbs, and a bear trap as an extra mouth.
However, the hunters chase Shesheshen out of her home and off a cliff. Badly hurt, she’s found and nursed back to health by Homily, a warm-hearted human, who has mistaken Shesheshen as a fellow human. Homily is kind and nurturing and would make an excellent co-parent: an ideal place to lay Shesheshen’s eggs so their young could devour Homily from the inside out. But as they grow close, she realizes humans don’t think about love that way.
Shesheshen hates keeping her identity secret from Homily, but just as she’s about to confess, Homily reveals why she’s in the area: she’s hunting a shapeshifting monster that supposedly cursed her family. Has Shesheshen seen it anywhere?
Eating her girlfriend isn’t an option. Shesheshen didn’t curse anyone, but to give herself and Homily a chance at happiness, she has to figure out why Homily’s twisted family thinks she did. As the hunt for the monster becomes increasingly deadly, Shesheshen must unearth the truth quickly, or soon both of their lives will be at risk.
And the bigger challenge remains: surviving her toxic in-laws long enough to learn to build a life with, rather than in, the love of her life.
About the Author
John Wiswell is a disabled writer who lives where New York keeps all its trees. He won the 2021 Nebula Award for Short Fiction for his story, "Open House on Haunted Hill," and the 2022 Locus Award for Best Novelette for "That Story Isn't The Story." He has also been a finalist for the Hugo Award, British Fantasy Award, and World Fantasy Award. His fiction has appeared in Uncanny Magazine, Tor.com, the LeVar Burton Reads podcast, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Diabolical Plots, and other fine venues. His debut novel, Someone You Can Build a Nest In, will be published by DAW Books in April 2024. He can be found making too many puns and discussing craft on his Substack, johnwiswell.substack.com.
“A beautiful monster story with a heart, Wiswell treats his outcasts as heroes. He is an author the world desperately needs.” —J.R. Dawson, author of The First Bright Thing
“Someone to Build a Nest In is charming, horrifying, sweet, and funny—everything I could have wanted from John Wiswell's debut novel and more! With the perfect blend of humor and darkness, it’s a wholly fresh take on a monster story.” —A.C. Wise, author of Hooked
“Someone You Can Build a Nest In is the future of fantasy: a fairy tale with boundaries, an imaginative world created in the shape of collective values rather than the boring old id, a portal to a place you've really never seen before instead of just a princess in a different outfit. This novel is going to change the entire genre.” —Meg Elison, Hugo and Locus award-winning author of The Book of the Unnamed Midwife
Praise for John Wiswell:
“Refreshing to read about heroes who aren’t invincible.... D.I.Y. made me yearn for more.” —Long and Short Reviews
“Just the right amount of creepiness and wistfulness combined.” —Science Fiction Short Story Reviews
“Give me more warm-hearted stories about homes in search of a family, things who communicate their love in the only ways they have, and parents whose hearts go supernova and break at the same time as they watch their children.” —nerds of a feather, flock together
“Wiswell takes us on a technology-filled exploration of the nature of love. Alternately sweet, scientific, and sad, this story is an exquisite orchestration of emotions that never becomes sappy or trite.” —SFF Reviews