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A Memoir, a Movie, an Obsession
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Ander Monson
In his first memoir, Ander Monson guides readers through a scene-by-scene exploration of the 1987 film Predator, which he has watched 146 times. Some fighters might not have time to bleed, but Monson has the patience to consider their adventure, one frame at a time. He turns his obsession into a lens through which he poignantly examines his own life, formed by mainstream, White, male American culture. Between scenes, Monson delves deeply into his adolescence in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Riyadh, his role as a father and the loss of his own mother, and his friendships with men bound by the troubled camaraderie depicted in action and sci-fi blockbusters. Along with excursions into the conflicted pleasures of cosplay and first-person shooters, he imagines himself beside the poet and memoirist Paul Monette, who wrote the novelization of the movie while his partner was dying of AIDS.

A sincere and playful book that lovingly dissects the film, Predator also offers questions and critiques of masculinity, fandom, and their interrelation with acts of mass violence. In a stirring reversal, one chapter exposes Monson through the Predator’s heat-seeking vision, asking him, “What do you know about the workings of the hidden world?” As Monson brings us into the brilliant depths of the film and its universe, the hunt begins.

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A searching memoir of a life lived in the flicker of an action film, by the author of I Will Take the Answer

About the Author

Ander  Monson
Credit: Aidan Avery
Ander Monson is the author of Letter to a Future Lover; Vanishing Point, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Neck Deep and Other Predicaments. He edits DIAGRAM and the New Michigan Press. He lives in Tucson, where he teaches at the University of Arizona.
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Upcoming Events

VIRTUAL: Ander Monson presents PREDATOR: the Final Script Table Read

Diagram in Nacodoches, TXview map
This live zoom table read of the Predator (1987) final script will feature Steph Brown, Katie Dublinski, Valyntina Grenier, Raquel Gutiérrez, Jane Miller, Ander Monson, Athena Monson, Manuel Muñoz, Laura CJ Owen, Elena Passarello, Katie Jean Shinkle, and Nicole Walker. Parts have been assigned randomly (with two exceptions). Will this motley crew come together as team to perform the movie Predator in celebration of Ander's recent book Predator: a Memoir, a Movie, an Obsession? Or will they be picked off one by one in the jungle? This event is free and open to the public. Click here for more details and to register



  • “Fair warning for 2023: If I run into you and I know you like movies, I'm going to ask you if you've read this brilliant book.”—Erin Keane, Salon's “Favorite Books of 2022”
  • “The novelist and critic weaves together scene-by-scene commentary on the 1987 sci-fi horror film ‘Predator’ with personal recollections and musings as he contemplates masculinity, fandom and their relationship to violence.”New York Times Book Review
  • “In a country where incomprehensible, violent tragedies are becoming commonplace, Monson finds clarity processing the new American way against the backdrop of his favorite movie. . . . Monson finds a cracking pace that imbues [Predator] with an improbable resonance, at once lowbrow and mesmerizingly cogent. . . . An unlikely treatise on manhood with the charm of a late-night movie marathon.”Kirkus
  • “Written in loose-jointed yet elegant prose that guiltily savors Predator’s pleasures, Monson’s subtle, twisty appreciations and critiques . . . transform the movie into a penetrating commentary on the contradictions of manhood. Movie buffs will want to snap this up.”—Publishers Weekly
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