A griffin, a werewolf, a sunbird…
These are just some of the fantastical creatures you’ll encounter within these pages. From the cokcatoucan, whose laugh rearranges an entire kingdom, to the roving shapeless Beast that lurks in a forest, herein is a collection of rare and magnificent species. Each one will thrill, delight, and quite possibly unnerve you.
Selected by master storyteller Neil Gaiman, the sixteen stories in this menagerie will introduce you to a host of strange, wondrous beings that have never existed anyplace but in the richness of the imagination.
I enjoy reading short stories because without requesting a large investment of time of concentration they can take you anywhere. And in an anthology, you get a whole book filled with different worlds. In short stories, plots are carefully controlled, and worlds and characters must be built quickly and the story starts immediately.
I liked all sixteen of the stories in this anthology; there wasn’t one odd one one out that I disliked. They were all distinct and unique, but worked extremely well as a whole.
(unpronounceable title ) by Gahan Wilson: Art enhances this quite horrific story. I enjoyed the build-up to the final line and use of dialogue.
The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees by E. Lily Yu: A story with serious undertones and a message that begs contemplation. I liked the slower, laid-back pacing and formal language of this one.
The Griffin and the Minor Canon by Frank R. Stockton: The oldest story in the book, it is a bittersweet tale about fear and selfishness and their opposites.
Ozioma the Wicked by Nnedi Okorafor: This one is about a brave girl with a big heart. I enjoyed the mythology and lessons in this modern day myth.
Sunbird by Neil Gaiman: A very interesting and very unique story with perfect use of foreshadowing. It was fun to read and ends on a delightfully ominous note.
The Sage of Theare by Dianna Wynne Jones: Part mythology part sci-fi/fantasy, it is a tale of fate and the necessity for progress. It has a surprising twist near the end and leaves behind interesting questions.
Gabriel-Ernest by Saki: Saki writes a chilling were-wolf story that is short but affecting.
The Cockatoucan; or, Great-Aunt Willoughby: I really enjoyed this fantastical tale in a beautifully imagined world about making the ordinary extraordinary.
Moveable Beast by Maria Dahvana Headley: This was a strange story about letting sleeping dogs lie. Or should I say sleeping beasts.
The Flight of the Horse by Larry Niven: Set in the future, Svetz travels back in time to collect animal specimens. But is that really a horse he finds?
Prismatica: Homage a James Thurber by Samuel R. Delaney: An epic fantasy adventure with a colourful twist. I had a great time reading it.
The Manticore, the Mermaid and Me by Megan Kurashige: This one was a favourite for me and it’s about the blurred line between real and fake, living and dead. It was creepy and crazy and is a very simple yet effective story.
The Compleat Werewolf by Anthony Boucher: The longest story in this anthology, The Compleat Werewolf is a funny, cinematic tale.
The Smile on the Face by Nalo Hopkinson: This one is about what it means to be a teenager and how to find your inner monster.
Or All the Seas with Oysters by Avram Davidson: This one was quirky and unexpectedly freaky. What are those paperclips and hangers doing when we’re not looking?
Come Lady Death by Peter S. Beagle: The final story in the anthology was a melancholy tale that reflects on both life and death. It is a memorable tale and a thought provoking one too.
Love short stories? Read this anthology!