Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tails of Wonder and Imagination edited by Ellen Datlow

About the book: What is it about the cat that captivates the creative imagination? No other creature has inspired so many authors to take pen to page. Mystery, horror, science fiction, and fantasy stories have all been written aobut cats.

From the legendary editor ellen Datlow comes Tails of Wonder and Imagination, showcasing forty cat tales by some of today's most popular authors. With uncollected stories by Stephen King, Carol Emshwiller, Tanith Lee, Peter S. Beagle, Elizabeth Hand, Dennis Danvers, and Theodora Goss and a previously unpublished story by Susanna Clarke, plus feline-centric fiction by Neil Gaiman, Kelly Link, George R.R. Martin, Lucius Shepard, Joyce Carol Oates, Graham Joyce, Catherynne M. Valente, Michael Marshall Smith, and Many others.

Tails of wonder and Imagination features more than 200,000 words of stories in which cats are heroes and stories in which they're villains; tales of domestic cats, tigers, lions, mythical part-cat beings, people transformed into cats, cats transformed into people. And yes, even a few cute cats.

My thoughts: I chose this book of short stories for two reasons: I like stories about cats and I needed a short story collection for one of my challenges. For the most part I enjoyed this book. It was mostly fantasy with a healthy number of stories falling into dark fantasy and horror. The scariest was Cat in Glass by Nancy Etchemendy. Only two of the stories got me smiling and those were: Gordon, the Self-Made Cat by Peter S. Beagle and The Burglar Takes a Cat by Lawrence Block. One of the cat series I follow is about Midnight Louie and is written by Carole Nelson Douglas so I was happy to see a short Midnight Louie here. One of my favorites was the retelling of a Japanese fairy story called The Poet and the Inkmaker's Daughter by Elizabeth Hand.

I did not like that so many of the stories included the cats coming to some kind of harm. My recommendation will be to those of you who enjoy reading fantasy. I have to say that I love the cover!

Rating: B

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