Read Tails of Wonder and Imagination by Ellen Datlow Lewis Carroll A.R. Morlan Neil Gaiman Charles de Lint Michael Marshall Smith Ray Vukcevich Jeffrey Ford Online


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 about cats.From legendary editor Ellen Datlow comes Tails of Wonder and Imagination, showcasing forty cat tales by some of today’s most popular authors. With uncollWhat 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 about cats.From 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King, Carol Emshwiller, Tanith Lee, Peter S. Beagle, Elizabeth Hand, Dennis Danvers, and Theodora Goss and a previously unpublished story by Susanna Clarke, plus feline-centric fiction by Neil Gaiman, Kelly Link, George R.R. Martin, Lucius Shepard, Joyce Carol Oates, Graham Joyce,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....

Title : Tails of Wonder and Imagination
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ISBN : 9781597801706
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 500 Pages
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Tails of Wonder and Imagination Reviews

  • Stephen Arvidson
    2019-04-29 05:52

    What is it about cats that captures our hearts and enslaves us through their furry charm? Award-winning anthologist Ellen Datlow showcases that unanswerable question with an assortment of 41 stories devoted to felines of myriad sorts—where cats are both the heroes and the villains, mythical and domestic, feral and cuddly, and so forth. Enclosed in this anthology christened Tails of Wonder and Imagination are works by some of the most accomplished writers of the last century, both known and new, from literary giants like Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Neil Gaiman, and George R.R. Martin, to obscure writers from as far across the pond as Australia and the U.K. Each selected tail—er, rather tale—comes with a respective author bio and brief background info. In Tails of Wonder and Imagination, Datlow has rather broadly defined the term "cat", bestowing readers with everything from saber-toothed tigers resurrected by crazed scientists, to mythical manticores, jaguars, tigers, sphinxes, and of course, your common housecats.Peppered throughout this thick book are some magical realist tales, many of which explore the strange, mystical bonds that form between humans and animals; namely, A.R. Morlan’s evocative “No Heaven Will Not Ever Heaven Be…” and Neil Gaiman’s “The Price”. In the latter tale, a father learns that the stray cat his family has adopted is protecting their home from something demonic, and that his family’s happiness is somehow directly dependent on the cat’s ability to defend them from it. This ghost story of sorts is both wrenching and eerily wonderful; readers’ hearts will bleed for the altruistic feline enduring such heavy responsibility and punishment. David Sandner’s “Old Foss is the Name of His Cat” is another fine example. Inspired by “The Jumblies,” a classic nursery rhyme from Edward Lear, Sandner aptly depicts the story of an elderly Englishman who has lost his Jumbly love, as told from the perspective of his exasperated and obese cat. Although it sounds surreal and is, this story succeeds as a meditation on forms of consciousness, the recognition of the unreal, and the spurning of painful truths.“Not Waving” by Michael Marshall Smith features a contemporary London setting and a cat-friendly narrator, Mark, a work-at-home computer graphics designer unhappily married to Nancy, a dynamic go-getter corporate-climber who hates cats. Events come to a crisis when Mark falls in love with responding-in-kind Alice, a motorbike messenger with a tremendous interest in computers and a mysterious, mystical connection to the local stray feline population and one in particular whose presence near the protagonist's house makes Nancy exceedingly nervous and irritated. With wit and irony, the development of Mark and Alice's relationship gets beautifully described, as does the parallel deterioration of Mark's marriage to Nancy. A sense of foreboding builds effectively, leading to the fate of this triangle, the resolution of Mark and Nancy's difficulties coming at a cost made more shockingly gruesome by hints and indirection in the story's powerful and gut-wrenching conclusion.“The White Cat” by Joyce Carol Oates—which revolves around an elderly bourgeoisie man, his younger wife, and their evil white cat—is one of those terrific stories where the plot may not be as it seems, and its interpretation can be adapted to the reader’s suppositions. Mr. Julius Muir, a newlywed struggling with feelings of distance with his new bride, is convinced their Persian cat, Miranda, is to blame for the discord. Mr. Muir finally comes up with a plan to get rid of Miranda, forgetting that age-old proverb about cats and nine lives. It’s a tale in the same tradition of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat"—but with notable differences.Fair warning: many of these tales are not for cozy cat lovers seeking a literary stroll down Ragamuffin Lane. Take for instance, Ray Vukcevich’s two-page vignette, “Catch”, in which a pair of scientists resoles their ailing marriage even as they torture cats to death by repeatedly throwing them around the lab. And that’s merely the beginning. Upon reaching the final page of this book, readers will have encountered stories wherein cats are strangled, skinned, burned alive, gassed, struck down by cars, and slaughtered in a dozen horrific ways.Some of these short tales have little or nothing to do with furry felines. In Jeffrey Ford’s “The Manticore Spell”, a wizard's apprentice glimpses eternity in the form of a legendary creature. In “Candia”, a brilliantly eerie tale eloquently penned by the late Graham Joyce, a young narrator on holiday in Candia (Greece) reconnects with a former colleague outside a bar only to learn what it means to be literally trapped in a town. If West Nile and Zika weren't bad enough, Nicholas Royle’s “Mbo” will give you yet another reason to be wary of mosquitoes. Lastly, “Something Better Than Death” by Australian writer Lucy Sussex is a modern retelling and amusing analysis of the Grimm fairy tale about The Musicians of Bremen.Many of the unspooled yarns comprising Tails of Wonder and Imagination are haunting, bleak, jarring, and at times unpleasant; still, this collection isn’t without its duds. In Michael Bishop’s “Life Regarded as a Jigsaw Puzzle of Highly Lustrous Cats”, written in second-person, we’re invited to consider the level of responsibility we concede for maintaining relationships. Feline style is redefined in Peter S. Beagle’s gentle allegory, “Gordon, the Self-Made Cat”, wherein a mouse with no desire to play the traditional role of bait attends cat school and earns the respect of his fellow cat peers.Consequences reign for many—whether it’s the rather obvious result of rescuing a genetically cloned sabertooth tiger in Mary A. Turzillo’s “Pride", of not letting your girlfriend down easily in Reggie Oliver’s “Puss-Cat”, or the less obvious consequence of owning a priceless glass sculpture that’s been imbued with madness in Nancy Etchemendy’s “Cat in Glass”. Most of Datlow’s selections possess supernatural undertones, which is fitting since cats have long been endowed with a sense of mysticism. Shape-shifting, for instance, is a recurring motif in this volume featuring stories of otherworldly beings that morph between animal and human not always of their own free will, that are transformed as a result of a curse or enchantment, or that are both human and animal yet wholly neither. For example, in Lucius Shepard’s “The Jaguar Hunter”, a disenfranchised Honduran man reluctantly agrees to hunt a notorious man-killing jaguar in order to settle a debt; but when he encounters a mysterious woman whom he perceives to be a soul mate, he soon realizes that she and the black jaguar are one and the same. In a rare, uncollected short story by Stephen King titled “The Night of the Tiger”, wherein a circus roustabout finds himself caught in the middle of a mysterious feud between a pair of big-cat trainers, King insinuates real animals into the texture of the macabre.John Kessel’s “Every Angel Is Terrifying”, a sequel of sorts to Flannery O'Connor's “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, is a realistic tale of escaped murderers but with a mildly fantastic twist, stands on its own as a brilliant meditation on botched redemption.The final story, “The Puma” by Theodora Goss, is a fascinating spin on H.G. Wells’ classic The Island of Dr. Moreau. Compelling and well-wrought, the narrative flows smoothly from a conversation between Edward Pendrick and the now-civilized Puma-Woman amidst an English garden to the foregone savagery of men and beasts on the island, and back again. Alive with sensory detail, riveting tension, and social commentary, this derivative tale is thought-provoking in its own right as well as a fitting homage to one of Wells’ timeless masterpieces. Goss’ seamless prose captures a deeper meaning of the original story that hints at our own bleak future.As can be expected from any anthology of this size, not all of the stories are winners and some are markedly more engrossing and well-written than others. Despite the uneven quality of the stories, Datlow succeeds in bringing together a vibrant array of stories, but Tails of Wonder and Imagination isn’t meant to be consumed in one sitting. Reading this book in one go would be too disjointed and overwhelming—but the contents are worth dipping into here and there, perhaps in between helpings of other books (this reviewer took three months to finish the book and in that time had read 6 or 7 books). The presented tales are strong and varied enough in genre, setting, and writing style to keep this 460-page tome from feeling one-dimensional; and there’s something in here for everyone, even if you don’t consider yourself a “cat-person.”

  • Nathan Burgoine
    2019-04-24 03:14

    I wanted to like this as a whole much more than I did. It's not that any of the individual stories themselves weren't strong - in fact, I'm sure I'd have more likely rated more stories four- or five-stars, but as a whole there was a whole lot less "wonder" and "imagination" as there was "murder" and "death." This is likely in part due to my love of cats. I'm a cat-guy (our ending up with a dog rather than a cat notwithstanding). A significant portion of these stories had people who definitely weren't. Fine, that's understandable, and variety is important - but animals getting mistreated disturbs the heck out of me, and that seemed to pop up quite a bit, too. Did I want nothing but tales that were upbeat and happy and loving? No. But maybe a couple more would have been nice. It reminds me of a story one of my editors tells about putting out a call for a romance collection and getting dozens of stories about death. One or two, sure. The whole collection? No.These are all good stories. Some of them I really enjoyed - 'The Poet and the Inkmaker's Daughter,' by Elizabeth Hand was brilliant, as was 'Healing Benjamin' by Dennis Danvers. But unlike many anthologies, I was putting this one down a lot between stories - as a whole, there was a relentless darkness to it that I just wasn't expecting from the blurb. It says this book has "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." I guess I should have really emphasized that last bit - there are few.That said, I've really enjoyed the Night Shade Books anthologies - including this one - and I'm definitely going to look for more.

  • Laurie
    2019-04-22 02:51

    This is a collection fantasy/horror stories that involve cats, some forty ‘tails’, many by well known authors- Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates, Charles de Lint, Stephen King, Kelly Link, and Susanna Clarke among others. But this is *not* an anthology for cat lovers, or at least not for those with soft hearts. These are dark stories all, not light-hearted fantasies where the noble young cat discovers he’s a prince and goes on adventures. In a rather uneven collection, cats meet dire fates at times. They are thrown, throttled, starved, beaten, run over and consumed. Many of these stories I did not enjoy reading. Most are well crafted, though; it’s my revulsion at the depiction of violence against felines that gave me such a problem with the stories. Datlow has expanded the definition of ‘cat’ to include other members of the feline family: lions, tigers and pumas; a couple of mythical ones, the sphinx and the manticore; and some made up for the occasion. To me, these were easier to read-the bigger cats hold their own against humans better. Decent dark fantasy, but don’t give this to someone whose cats are their ‘children’.

  • Athena
    2019-04-28 01:05

    A collection of short stories on the general theme of cats edited by the immensely talented Ellen Datlow. Sadly, aside from a handful of stories by well-known authors who don't have to publish at every opportunity (Neil Gaiman, Catherynne Valente, etc.), this collection was rather mediocre overall. I found only about 5 or 6 (out of 41) stories really worth reading, and ended up not finishing a number of stories that went rather too predictably into "here's your shock" horror territory.

  • Laura Cunha
    2019-04-23 03:12ão, esse foi o livro que escolhi para o desafio literário de agosto, que consistia em ler um conto por dia. Só que por ser um livro comprado no kindle, eu não tinha a menor ideia de que ele tinha mais de 600 páginas!Resultado: demorei muito mais do que o esperado para ler, ainda mais porque li no esquema um conto por dia antes de dormir. O que também não foi lá muito certinho, porque alguns contos na verdade eram mais novelas ou romances do que contos, de tão grandes.Fora o pequeno problema de organização, a seleção de obras de histórias relacionadas a felinos de Ellen Datlow é de tirar o chapéu. Entre autores maravilhosos e famosos, como Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Susanna Clarke e outros, as histórias são em sua maioria fabulosas, com poucas ficando como medianas. Além disso, o livro é exatamente o que a organizadora promete: extremamente variado. Tem ficção científica, terror, fantasia, história de detetive, contos sobre o dia a dia (tem até um que realmente é baseado em fatos reais), mitologia... enfim, variedade é que não falta.Portanto, é um livro que não se cansa de ler, e como a média de qualidade dos trabalhos é muito alta, também não dá vontade de pular nada no caminho. São 39 histórias que realmente valem a pena ler. Ficarei de olho para outros livros organizados pela Ellen, ela tem bom gosto!

  • Hazel
    2019-05-16 01:48

    I've been reading this Christmas present on and off for over two months and have now forgotten the details of the first few stories. Ooops! As you'd expect in any large anthology, the quality, style and tone all very considerably. I was surprised, however, to find myself enjoying many of these. I don't like Ray Vukcevich's unpleasant Catch, but I remember it. Kelly Link's Catskin reminds me of There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby: Scary Fairy Tales, a superior fairy tale anthology. I loved Michaela Roessner's story about Schrodinger's long-suffering cat, and Peter S. Beagle's upwardly mobile Gordon, the Self-Made Cat, and half a dozen others, including the feline shamus of Las Vegas who solves a mystery for Coyote. :-)

  • Greymalkin
    2019-05-07 08:00

    WOW. One of the best anthologies I've ever read. Every story was at least good or interesting or had something to recommend it, and some of the stories were really wonderful. Heartbreaking, beautiful, funny, quirky... amazing. I was a little concerned at how exhausting a huge book of 40 cat-centric stories could be, but they were all so different from eachother. Datlow is an amazing editor to pull this together.Warning for some readers. If you are a true cat lover and cannot stand the idea of cats being abused, hurt, demonized, or other even worse things, you should avoid this book and not be traumatized like some of the other reviewers have been. I personally loved the gamut of cat portrayals. It really showed the complicated relationship humans have with cats.

  • Izlinda
    2019-04-20 05:51

    May 14, 2010: Edit! Done with this book!Sometime early May: I'm going to be...ambitious and try to review all the short stories in this anthology. There are 40 stories though, so I may fall off midway. I'm only on story #17 now...All the stories in this book are reprints of short stories focusing on cats, so there was nothing originally written for this anthology. I've read a few of the short stories present in this anthology and there are definition familiar names and authors. Prior to each story there's a little blurb about each author and how they came up with the story's idea.1. "Through the Looking Glass" (excerpt) - Lewis Carroll Funny. I started this anthology after watching the film Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Alan Rickman. (Totally overhyped.) This was way back in March, during Spring Break. Well, damn, I've been bad at reading this book... Argh, need to focus on this review. Right. Well, I was unable to separate myself from the movie (which may be based on Lewis Carroll's book but he didn't have any input on how it was done) while reading the story. I also didn't like it was an excerpt of a bigger story... The excerpt was mostly monologue by Alice and monologues tend to make me glaze eyed.2. "No Heaven Will Not Ever Heaven Be..." - A.R. MorlanThis story reminded me of the numerous cats/kittens calendars out there. (Not surprising.) The end of the story could be a little disturbing, but I found it a little sweet. 3. "The Price" - Neil GaimanI've already read this story. I remember upon the first time I read it I went "Whoa." The blurb says this story is "a lovely mystical, powerful, and moving tale that Gaiman admits is also more or less true." I did find the story mystical. It plays upon the power or mystery of the black cat without making the black cat too whimsical or stereotyped. I like the last line, because it makes the narrator more believable to me.4. "Dark Eyes, Faith, and Devotion" - Charles de LintCharles de Lint is a name I’m familiar. I think I’ve some of his short stories in other anthologies, though have yet to pick up on his own anthologies or books. I really liked this story. It builds up the narrator’s character well, and Luisa. Sometimes I get annoyed or peeved when a first-person perspective can run over into too inner monologue, but this one didn’t do that so much.5. "Not Waving" - Michael Marshall SmithI’m not familiar with Smith, but this story was just…wow. It’s powerful, and believable. It also shows that relationships are not clear-cut, as much as we’d like it to be. (Though the cheating was still wrong. Someone deserves the respect of knowing if their partner cheated on them – it doesn’t matter if it didn’t go all the way to sex.) Relationships are not logical – emotions can’t be weighed and we can’t know ahead of time what the benefits of an action would be. I was rooting for what the narrator decided to give up, but another part understood why he chose he did. I really wish I could discuss this story with someone else, because I’d like to know what others thought. It’s a sad story, but powerful. I wonder if the narrator found happiness in the relationship the end of the story presents, or if it was only “I am content.” (I personally find a difference between “being content” and “being happy.”)6. "Catch" - Ray Vukcevich Oh, my God. This story. I wasn’t sure if I should be horrified for what the cats went through or just going “WTF?” The juxtaposition of the narrator’s job with his wife and the problem he currently has with his wife was neatly done. Still…this is a very WTF story. I’d like for Vukcevich (an unknown author) to continue on about this universe and how the preposterous profession Desmond and Lucy are in come to be! I could totally see how Desmond would be blind to what he did wrong. He equates their baby with the cats, and doesn’t think just because the baby is his, (and a human) it’s anything different from past cat encounters he and his wife have had. Damn, it is hard to write this review without spoilers! This is another story I’d like to talk about with someone because my interpretation could be wrong, and I could be wrong in agreeing with Lucy’s reaction to what Desmond did… 7. "The Manticore Spell" - Jeffrey FordI’ve already read this story in another anthology and I believe I wasn’t particularly impressed with it then. I remember taking a big break from the book after this story. :-S I was busy with other things to read, and schoolwork, but it’s disappointing to know I was easily turned off from the anthology because of one story I was unimpressed with.8. "Catskin" - Kelly LinkI’ve read of Kelly Link’s work in other anthologies. This story impressed me. It is definitely…original. The narrator’s aside comments to the reader weren’t as annoying as it could have been, so kudos to Link. Her interpretation of what a cat is original, that’s for sure. And what witches are, too. At first I was intrigued about the universe the story was based in, and was interested in reading more stories centered there. Upon a second thought, I think this story was enough. Not in a bad way “enough” but that it’s a good peak and anything more might not as good as this story. (Like sequels that really suck after the first movie. Sequels that were made only because the first one made a lot of money at the box office though critically and plot-wise they are quite horrible. *cough*piratesofthecaribbean*cough*)9. "Mieze Correct an Incomplete Representation of Reality" - Michaela RoessnerI had to giggle while reading this story. I learned about Schrödinger’s Cat paradox a few years ago so the story actually made sense. Congrats to Roessner for writing a thought-provoking story.10. "Guardians" - George R. R. MartinGeorge R. R. Martin is an author I’ve heard a lot about. I bought the first book in his Games and Thrones series a few years ago upon someone’s recommendation but never started it… Eventually I gave it away because it was just taking up space and if I was serious about reading it, I could always borrow it from the public library. I approached this story with open curiosity. Reading it reminded me of Asimov’sFoundation where Trader Hober Mallow solves a Seldon Crisis with his knowledge of economics and trade, which seems at odds with what the crisis is about. In Martin’s story, Haviland Tuf is an ecological engineer and a specialist in biological warfare and he intends to solve a problem on the world of Namor of sea monsters. The solution and cause of the sea monsters is unexpected. The inclusion of cats in this story is peripheral though important. You don’t really see it until Tuf chooses to release that information. 11. "Life Regarded as a Jigsaw Puzzle of Highly Lustrous Cats" - Michael BishopI really didn’t understand this story… And that is all I can say…12. "Gordon, the Self-Made Cat" - Peter S. BeagleI’ve heard of Beagle, and I’ve read the limited first draft edition of his The Last Unicorn . I haven’t read any of his other books, however. I think I’ve read some of his short stories in other anthologies. I really enjoyed this short story. It’s whimsical but also serious in the underlying message. It’s a little disappointing how Gordon’s life ended up, but it’s very realistic of how stories passes through a closed society and how sometimes if the majority believe in something/feel something, the truth isn’t enough to change the mind.13. "The Jaguar Hunter" - Lucius ShepardI’ve read a few of Shepard’s short stories, including one in a ghost anthology. It scared the beejesus out of me, I’ll say that. It took me several pauses to finish it. This story filled me with ambivalence. I like the mythos present but it seemed a little too strong in the sentiment that modern inventions and the modern lifestyle is inherently evil. That seems a little one-sided to me. But I did like the jaguar and how it figured in the story. :) 14. "Arthur's Lion" - Tanith LeeGenerally I’m really fond of Tanith Lee’s short stories and storytelling skills. This story had an interesting premise, for sure. I can absolutely see the picture that scared Arthur into his nightmares about the lion. How the narrator turned it around so Arthur would no longer be scared and be driven by the lion was really innovative.15. "Pride" - Mary A. TurzilloTurzillo is an unknown author but I absolutely loved this story. I found it deep and complex. The relationships between all three characters are believable and while brief (compared to a novella or a novel), I felt for all of them. It also briefly touches on bioethics and humane treatment on experimented animals. It didn’t go far in that direction, but I think that would have diverted the story from what it intended to do. I think this story was one of the better ones for showing the magic and strength and awe humans feel when looking at/touching/thinking about felines.16. "The Burglar Takes a Cat" - Lawrence BlockCarolyn has a whole bunch of responses and arguments against taking care of rats in other ways than a cat… A lot of it is about how inhumane poison is, or traps or yadda yadda. And yet…she thinks it’s perfectly a-okay to de-claw a cat. Correct me if I’m wrong, but…isn’t de-clawing like snipping off a bone and not a fingernail? WTF, mate. Granted this short story was written in 1994 so maybe back then they didn’t know that. Anyway, this story is an excerpt from a Blocks’ novel The Burglar Who Traded Ted Williams. This short story doesn’t expand on the background of the burglar part, but I did enjoy Carolyn’s rhetoric about “a Woman With Cats.” Haha, I can actually see that in our society. Heh. Overall, it was a cute excerpt and I liked it better than the beginning excerpt from Carroll’s novel. 17. "The White Cat" - Joyce Carol OatesI’ve heard of Oates but have yet to read her writings. Well, I definitely wouldn’t tell people who like cats to read this story since it begins with Mr. Muir planning to kill Miranda, the cat he gave his wife as a gift. And his various attempts to do so. Well, I wouldn’t recommend this story for people who get angry or hurt about people hurting cats/pets. So…yeah… 18. "Returns" - Jack KetchumAh, this was a pretty sad short story. :( It’s another story I wouldn’t recommend for people who don’t like cats being hurt, harmed or euthanized.19. "Puss-Cat" - Reggie OliverI’m not entirely sure of the ending but it didn’t detract me from liking the story. I generally don’t like the narrative style of someone retelling an event like it’s a one-sided conversation, or an interview, but it worked well in this case.20. "Cat in Glass" - Nancy TechemendyStrange…I got the feeling of déjà vu during a paragraph near the end of this story, yet I don’t recognize the overall story at all. This one…the father’s note confused me…until I reread it and…oh, dear… Did she… OH. Damn. Well…that’s just…wow, sad… (in the unfortunate way).21. "Coyote Peyote" - Carole Nelson DouglasWell, damn, I really really like this story. An aspect of it is pretty damn horrific, but it ended strongly so kudos. 22. "The Poet and the Inkmaker's Daughter" - Elizabeth HandI far prefer Elizabeth Hand as a short story writer than a novel writer. (Though to be fair, I’ve only read one of her novels.) I really loved this story. The take on a Japanese myth is very sweet and simple. Its simplicity is fitting and, yeah, one of the stories I really love.23. "The Night of the Tiger" - Stephen KingMmm, nice build up. I liked the believability of the narrator’s tone and fear of Mr. Indrasil and his -_- about Mr. Legere. The last line, though, I found so predictable it just…deflated the story for me. Sorry, Stephen King, this story was promising but it went “pfffft.” 24. "Every Angel is Terrifying" - John KesselI was a little lost at the beginning of this story, because Kessel says “ ‘The cat was the only survivor of the family in Flannery O’Connor’s harrowing short story ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find,’ so it was natural for me to carry it along into this story.” Well, okay…that just made me a little more treipidatous about reading the story, in case the author wasn’t smooth enough and I felt I had to read O’Connor’s short story in order to make sense of this story. This story dips high and low. It is definitely a memorable short story, for some thoughts Railroad has during the story that repulsed me, and for the ending. I’m not sure what I think happened. 25. "Candia" - Graham JoyceThis is one of the slightly more creepy tales in this anthology, while also a bit sad, too. 26. "Mbo" - Nicholas RoyleYeah…this is one of the more graphic stories in this anthology. A little daunting, and it makes me more wary about mosquitoes…27. "Bean Bag Cats (R)" - Edward BryantThe format of this story are memos sent between two people. I went “:-O” when I read what product they were going to advertise/make. Well, I’ve heard people make complaints about their cats pertaining to the selected features mentioned in this story. 28. "Antiquities" - John CrowleyI’ve heard of this author before. Someone gifted me his novel Little, Big but unfortunately it had to be left in Asia before I could finish it. (All my books made my luggage too heavy for flying.) This story mentioned Bastet in a sidenote, and I thought the overall feel of the story was very different from the others. 29. "The Manticore's Tale" - Catherynne M. ValenteI’ve read this book this short story is excerpted from. (Valente’s first The Orphan’s Tale book). Makes me miss the two books, but they’re packed up in storage. :( I’m biased in thinking this short story is good, though it feels a bit empty without the other stories and layers from The Orphan’s Tale: In the Night Garden. The Manticore’s tale of her birth is richer when interspersed with other characters’ stories.30. "In Carnation" - Nancy SpringerWow, this story is just splendid. At first I was a little put off by the cat character, but then realized that was just who she was. Or what she was… As I read more into the story I grew more awed by the depth of the characters and story. I really, really love this story.31. "Old Foss is the Name of His Cat" - David Sandner I felt déjà vu when reading this story. Ah! I just Googled it. It’s from the first Clockwork Phoenix book. Yes, I still found this story confusing the second time reading… 32. "A Safe Place to Be" - Carol EmshwillerThis story I found a bit bewildering. It started off well, but as it went on, I felt myself going “okay…gotcha…seems repetitive…” It was a ho-hum short story in my mind. 33. "Nine Lives to Live" - Sharyn McCrumbDanby’s reincarnation! Oh, I like this story, for all the plot points towards an impending death. Hee. I love this story for its simple and unpretentious tone.34. "Tiger Kill" - Kaaron WarnerSo, this story was very disturbing to me. It’s not for those who are for animal rights, and female rights, though those are the point of the story according to the pre-story blurb from the author about the story. I was very unnerved reading it, and was glad I read it in a safe place (the public library during afternoon hours).35. "Something Better than Death" - Lucy SussexIt’s a tour story… Frankly, I found it dull to read. 36. "Dominion" - Christine LucasIt’s a story about the origin of cats! This is another story I really enjoyed reading. :D37. "Tiger in the Snow" - Daniel Wynn BarberI had to re-read the ending in order to understand the story. It’s a little sad, and it reminded me of an earlier story in this anthology, “Cat in Glass.”38. "The Dweller in High Places" - Susanna ClarkeSphinx story!! The riddle was really cute at the end. 39. "Healing Benjamin" - Dennis DanversWow, just wow. I really loved this story. The build-up is well done in this story, and I had hopes for a different outcome, but the ending is very fitting and it comes in a full circle.40. "The Puma" - Theodora GossI’ve read Theodora Goss before, in her collection of short stories. I think I would have enjoyed this story more if I had read The Island of Dr. Moreau. Though the story picks up afterwards, I still felt a little lost. The premise of this story was intriguing and the ending goal. I think “Healing Benjamin” would have been a stronger ending to the anthology.

  • Annie
    2019-05-08 02:54

    Tails of Wonder and Imagination is an anthology of short stories by various writers. I picked it up because one of the stories is by Susanna Clarke, who wrote Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Also included are Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, George RR Martin, Joyce Carol Oates and many others, of course. I thought, due to the name, that the stories would be of the more fantastical nature, but some of them are just scary, or disturbing. The Gaiman story, called "The Price", was haunting, it has stuck with me. Some were interesting, and some were just gruesome. I love cats, and the stories in which cats were tortured and killed were upsetting. One of the stories, "Returns", simply broke my heart. Among the sadness and horror, there are some delightful, even funny stories, like the one about Schrödinger’s Cat. All in all, if you're a cat lover, you might not like to read this book because it will make you sad and angry, but some of the tales shine.

  • Gordon
    2019-05-13 05:09

    I almost dropped this random book after the first few stories - horror is not really my thing - but am glad I didn't. There was plenty left to get my teeth into (as it were) and a couple of real gems, with the story about Schrodinger's cat top of the list.

  • Sandy
    2019-05-15 03:50

    I love speculative fiction of all kinds, and I adore cats; you'd think this would be a slam dunk; some of the stories were really good, but overall the collection dragged, and seemed *really* long, and some of the stories were just not good at all. On balance, I'm glad I read it.

  • Leslie Fuller
    2019-05-02 04:09

    Kept picking up and putting this down. Some stories were great and some were not. I love cats, but after a while even I was getting a bit tired of the theme because there are many stories in this collection. It was easier to read for a while and leave it for days and go off and read something else.

  • Ted
    2019-05-20 01:14

    7/27/2017 audible version

  • Faye
    2019-05-10 03:49

    Read: August 2015Tails of Wonder and Imagination is a mammoth anthology featuring a wide range of different authors, and of genres ranging from fantasy, to contemporary, to science-fiction, fairy tales, romance... pretty much every story you could ever want to read if you like cats :) All of them have been printed before in different anthologies or magazines but there are so many stories that for every one you have read before there are five new-to-you stories. Some of the stories were first published in the 1970s while others are as recent as 2009.I picked it up because I had the vague idea that one of my favourite authors Seanan McGuire had a story featured here. As it turned out I was wrong but there were stories from really prominent writers like Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, George RR Martin and Joyce Carol Oates to name a few. I hesitated between giving this book 3 or 4 stars but in the end settled on 3 stars because there were a lot of filler stories here; I think Datlow should have been more selective over the stories she included and left out some of the ones that were only tenuously linked to cats. If this had been done, it would have been an easy 4 star book.Through the Looking Glass (excerpt) - Lewis Carroll - 4/5No Heaven Will Not Ever Heaven Be... - A.R. Morlan - 5/5 FAVOURITEThe Price - Neil Gaiman - 4/5Dark Eyes, Faith and Devotion - Charles de Lint - 4/5Not Waving - Michael Marshall Smith - 5/5Catch - Ray Vukcevitch - 1/5 *horrible pointless story of animal abuse - to be avoided!*The Manticore Spell - Jeffrey Ford - 4.5/5Catskin - Kelly Link – 2/5Mieze Corrects an Incomplete Representation of Reality - Michaela Roessner - 1/5Guardians - George RR Martin – 4/5Life Regarded as a Jigsaw Puzzle of Highly Lustrous Cats - Michael Bishop - DNFGordon, the Self-Made Cat - Peter S. Beagle – 3.5/5The Jaguar Hunter - Lucius Shepherd – 2.5/5Arthur's Lion - Tanith Lee – 3/5Pride - Mary A. Turzillo – 3/5The Burglar takes a Cat - Lawrence Block – 4/5The White Cat - Joyce Carol Oates – 4/5Returns - Jack Ketchum – 3.5/5Puss-Cat - Reggie Oliver – 3/5Cat in Glass - Nancy Etchemendy – 3/5Coyote Peyote - Carole Nelson Douglas - DNFThe Poet and the Inkmaker's Daughter - Elizabeth Hand – 4.5/5The Night of the Tiger - Stephen King – 4/5Every Angel is Terrifying - John Kessel – 4/5Candia - Graham Joyce – 4/5Mbo - Nicholas Royle – 3/5Bean Bag Cats - Edward Bryant – 3.5/5Antiquities - John Crowley – 4.5/5The Manticore's Tale - Catherynne M. Valente – 3/5In Carnation - Nancy Springer – 3/5Old Foss is the Name of his Cat - David Sandner – 4/5A Safe Place to Be - Carol Emshwiller – 3/5Nine Lives to Live - Sharyn McCrumb – 4/5Tiger Kill - Kaaron Warren – 3/5Something Better than Death - Lucy Sussex – 4/5Dominion - Christine Lucas – 3.5/5Tiger in the Snow - Daniel Wynn Barber – 3/5The Dweller in High Places - Susanna Clarke – 5/5 FAVOURITEThe Puma - Theodora Goss – 3/5Healing Benjamin - Dennis Danvers – 4.5/5

  • T.L. Bodine
    2019-04-30 06:00

    I'd probably call this a 4.5, but only because I've been completely blown away from Datlow anthologies in the past, and this one wasn't *quite* as good. Which is not to say it wasn't great, only that she's set the bar quite high for herself. This is an anthology about cats: House cats, big cats, mythological cats. There are sphynxes and manticores alongside tigers and lions. Some of the cats have speaking roles. Others are side characters or serve only as catalysts of a greater story. Many of the best stories aren't about cats at all, but rather about people -- which is, of course, the mark of any great fiction. This is a hefty volume, and there's something for everyone in it. Of course, not every reader will enjoy every story, but it's hard to imagine a reader who wouldn't enjoy at least a few of these tales. They range across a wide array of genres and styles, and some were both charming and haunting. A few of my favorites in the bunch: "Catskin" by Kelly Link, which struck the perfect balance between absurdity and poignance. "Guardians" by George R.R. Martin. I'd never ready any of his sci-fi, and I found this tale delightful and amusing even if it did run a bit long. It had a fine moral, too. "Arthur's lion" by Tanith Lee. It's a bit less poetic than some of her work, but has that same Victorian sensibility that underlies many of her stories. It's something of a Gothic, and appropriately haunting. "The White Cat" by Joyce Carol Oates, which may have been one of the best stories in the entire collection. Disturbing and beautiful all at once, and a bittersweet, open-ended conclusion that will haunt you. "Cat in Glass" by Nancy Etchemendy, which revealed its true genius in the very end. "Healing Benjamin" by Dennis Danvers, which managed to be both hilarious and heart-breakingly sadAs you can see, there's a lot to love in this book. I would highly recommend it to anthology lovers. One thing that I will warn you about: As other reviewers have noted, not every story is particularly happy or charitable toward cats. If you're sensitive about animal abuse to the point that you can't read stories where unfortunate things happen to cats, you're better off skipping this one in favor of something more sentimental.

  • Alice
    2019-05-07 04:53

    While this collection has several delightful stories in it, it also has an awful lot of stories about cats being tortured, mistreated, or killed, and it was upsetting to read. The one story with a meaningful cat death made me cry like my own cat had died.Here are the highlights:"No Heaven Will Not Ever Heaven Be..." is about an artist who painted ads, and incorporated in all the cats he'd loved."The Price" is a Neil Gaiman story about a cat showing up to deal with an otherworldly pest problem."Dark Eyes, Faith, and Devotion" by Charles de Lint is about a cabbie with a criminal record going on a rescue mission for a kitten."Gordon, the Self-Made Cat" by Peter S. Beagle is about a mouse who goes to cat school. It's still adorable, though I've read it several times, now."The Burglar Takes a Cat" is about a bookstore owner and retired thief being talked into having a cat, though he doesn't consider himself a cat person."Coyote Peyote" by Carole Nelson Douglas is a short story about Midnight Louie, the feline PI."The Poet and the Inkmaker's Daughter" is a fable about a matchmaking red bobtailed cat."The Manticore's Tale" is a fun fairy tale about a manticore kidnapped as a kitten, then befriended by a young girl who needs to escape."Nine Lives to Live" by Sharyn McCrumb is a revenge tale about a man who gets his wish and comes back as a cat."Dominion" is a creation myth where Eden's serpent creates cats out of clay and juice from fruit from the Tree of Knowledge."Healing Benjamin" is the aforementioned story that made me cry. It was lovely, but upsetting.The trouble with rating anthologies is the uneven quality. The above stories deserve 4 or 5 stars. The stories I haven't mentioned, though, are what stuck with me when I chose the overall rating.

  • Ahimsa
    2019-04-23 05:02

    Okay, I have admit that I had no idea this book was about cats when I bought it. I saw that Datlow had edited it, and the TOC had tons of great writers. Only on the way home did I realized I had inadvertently purchased feline fiction. (Note: There are cats on the cover, Tales is spelled "tails" and the O in wonder has a cat in it. The cover also states, in small print, "Cat Stories By." So it's not a misleading theme at all, just one that I completely missed.)I like cats, quite a bit as it turns out, but I don't love them the way that cat-lovers do. So it was with a bit trepidation that I cracked this open.I needn't have worried. There are a handful of stories by "cat-lovers' and they're predictably terrible. They're also mercifully short. There are also stories by "name" authors that were included for sales and are quite rubbish but there aren't too many of them.Most of the stories included are improbably and repeatedly excellent; a by-product, no doubt, of nearly all the authors being multiple award winners. "Not Waving," by Michael Marshall Smith was haunting and bleak and all kinds of incredible. Jeffrey Ford's "Manticore Spell" was another great inclusion, as were "The White Cat," "Puss Boots," and the story by Peter S Beagle. By the most memorable, in an utter mind-funk way, was Kelly Link's contribution. Rarely has my mind felt so violated by a story, but it was mostly in a good way.In short, the owners of the titular tails are incidental, in a way. This is an anthology with a higher amount of well-crafted, truly great stories than most I have read. Purrhaps you'll love it too!

  • Leslie
    2019-04-21 04:13

    Okay first of all this book is a really long book. But that's a good thing because after all it is a collection of stories not just one story. I did read the reviews of this book before I got it and I had some concerns but I also knew that quite a few of the authors were really top-notch excellent amazing authors. I'm glad I followed my instinct instead of the reviews! If you want the kind of person who is not into anthologies and collections of stories then this definitely is not for you but if you even like that little bit or if you have a fondness for cats then this definitely is worth the investment of time and energy to read it.I will admit that some of the stories really were not my cup of tea and they were not all that impressive. That being said I can only say out of the many many many many many many many stories in this book there may have been three or four there were like that. And again that's my preference not necessarily what other people would think.There were some stories that really opened my mind and were very Grimm-like. Some were very endearing, some were fantastical, there were other stories that were more sci-fi, admittedly more than one that brought a tear to my eye and a few that were a bit gross, but don't let that stop you from picking up this book and adding it to your collection!The nice thing about anthology books like this is that you can put it aside for a little bit and come back and not really have to remember where you were at unless you stop in the middle of the story. I wholeheartedly recommend this is good brain candy!

  • Laura
    2019-05-20 01:52

    When I got this book from the library, I had no idea it was a collection of stories about cats. I just have had favorable reads from previous Datlow short story collections. As I am a self-described crazy cat lady, imagine my pleasant surprise when I found out these were about cats. Joy!I read the first few stories and found them charming and engaging. I especially liked the one by Neil Gaiman, which I had read before, but remembered still as a haunting and powerful one. It still was the second time around.However, continuing on with successive stories, I was shocked to read themes about eating cats, and then torturing cats. They were horrible and profoundly disturbing. I didn't want to try any other of the stories, for fear I might read something worse.If this wasn't a library book, I would tear it to shreds and then burn it. And this comes from someone who believes all knowledge is worth having and in the freedom of speech. But the worthless use of cruelty (and not even in a very good storyline!) is disgusting to me. I wasn't expecting all the stories to be happy, but reading two awfully written (and awfully themed) stories in a row was too much.Ms. Datlow has soured my years-long interest in her editing skills and interest in her public radio show. I think I might get rid of (meaning dispose of so no one can further discover her books) the collections I have previously bought.

  • Alison C
    2019-05-18 04:15

    "Tails of Wonder and Imagination" is an anthology of previously published fantasy stories featuring various types of felines, ranging from 1977 to 2009, with a brief excerpt from Lewis Carroll’s "Through the Looking Glass" thrown in for good measure. Editor Ellen Datlow is well-known for her many anthologies in the realm of fantasy, dark fantasy and outright horror, and a few of her choices here (such as Edward Bryant’s “Bean Bag Cats” and Kaaron Warren’s “Tiger Kill”) are just too gruesome for me; the majority of stories, however, are quite delightful, touching and/or beautiful. Some of the older stories are by writers such as Stephen King and George R. R. Martin, but there are plenty of 21st Century tales as well, by the likes of Neil Gaiman, Susanna Clarke, Kelly Link and Sharyn McCrumb. As with any anthology of short stories, each individual reader will undoubtedly have his/her favourites; mine include Lucius Shepard’s “The Jaguar Hunter,” Lawrence Block’s “The Burglar Takes a Cat,” Catherynne M. Valente’s “The Manticore’s Tale” (an origin story) and the final story in the book, the novella “The Puma” by Theodora Goss. Not one of these stories is absolutely essential reading (well, except for maybe the Lewis Carroll excerpt), but most all of them are entertaining and well worth checking out. Recommended.

  • Teresa
    2019-05-12 08:05

    A most amazing collection of feline inspired stories, I found several that will stick with me for a long time. Guardians by George R.R. Martin (I had just read The Game of Thrones, so finding this long/short story of his was just Haviland Tuf and his kittens, the Ark and especially the powers of kitten Dax), Not Waving by Michael Marshall Smith...ewww, all my jokes about "meow, meow" at the Chinese buffet came back to haunt me by the end of the "tail", No Heaven Will Not Ever Heaven A. R. Morlan, those Katz kittens painted on barns as chewing tobacco ads really captured my imagination (as ad-painted barns are a common sight in Mid-Missouri) with the old artist telling his story and the photographer's perspective, I was nearly crying when I came to the end. So many of these stories were dark and sad...Catch by Ray Vukcevich would definitely NOT fall in the "cat-lovers" version of a "cat tail" anthology.

  • Just_ann_now
    2019-05-05 05:53

    Although many well-known authors like Charles De Lint, Neil Gaiman, and George R.R. Martin are featured, I particularly enjoyed the selections from rising stars in short fiction: Elizabeth Hand's retelling of a traditional fairy tale "The Poet and the Inkmaker's Daughter", the psychological thriller "Every Angel is Terrifying" by John Kessell, and Carol Eshmiller's unsettling "A Safe Place To Be." I was thrilled to see Christine Lucas included - I've been a fan of her writing for years - and her sassy "Dominion" made me chortle with glee.Though the book itself is a bit hefty (over 400 pages) to be tucked into a purse or backback, most of the stories are short enough to provide engaging lunchtime entertainment or brighten a commute. And although all felines are tricksters, not all tricksters are felines; if you enjoyed this, you might also like Ms. Datlow's trickster tales anthology, The Coyote Road.

  • Ryan
    2019-04-20 01:03

    Tails is a collection of fantasy stories where cats play a central role - for the most part. Cat stories are very different from dog stories. I never get the sense that the cat NEEDS his/her human in the way a dog does, and that anything the cat does FOR the human is done with an intentional choice and not simple devotion or love. I'd read Neil Gaiman's story "The Price" before, but enjoyed it again. Cats probably protect us far more than we know but they prefer to keep quiet about it. "The Burglar Takes a Cat" was fun and silly (the humans were, not the cat - even with a silly name, they could not make the cat silly) - I think all real bookstores should have cats. "The White Cat" was darker than other stories by that name - weird dark, but my son had just done a project on the author so it was timely. A missing story (possibly due to age or origin, but still a good addition to cat stories) from the collection: Agatha Christie's "The Strange Case of Sir Arthur Carmichael".

  • Cyn Armistead
    2019-04-21 06:09

    I finished it, but I didn't read every story. I couldn't. This is not a collection for cat-lovers, and I am an unabashed ailurophile. I appreciated the introductions, as the helped me avoid some stories, and I regret reading others—most particularly "Not Waving" by Michael Marshall Smith. It was a very well-written story, showing first-hand knowledge of bulimia and the way it can twist those who have it and those who love them. I was nauseated, though, and hated the twist even though I knew how it would end.I strongly recommend that people who seek out every cat-related collection avoid this tome. If, however, you simply enjoy good writing, go for it. Datlow has, as always, selected fine pieces, every one. I didn't find one piece that rang false. I would have chosen a darker title, as I found less of wonder than the macabre, but what do I know?

  • astried
    2019-05-04 07:14

    I noticed that putting a book in Currently Reading shelf doomed it to oblivion. I'd promptly stop to read it. There are some stories I haven't read but for now I don't really feel like continuing. Am cleaning the shelf and will not put other books in it lest I'll jink the readability... -------------------------------I realized that I don't have much patience for spaceship and alien kind of fantasy stories. I'm still reading slowly through the book, some I like very much and read it slowly to savour, others got simply a skim.Stories I like:- Arthur's Lion- Pride- Catskin- No Heaven Will Not Ever Heaven Be..- Not Waving- The Manticore Spell- The Burglar Takes a Cat

  • H.N.
    2019-05-01 03:58

    I'll pretty much read any anthology that Ellen Datlow (with or without Terri Windling) edits. I picked this up just so I could read the Susanna Clarke, Ray Vukcevich and Kelly Link stories (three of my fave!), not intending to read the whole thing - but I did. The quality was a little uneven, but there were some real gems here, like Theodora Goss's "The Puma", "The Manticore Spell" by Jeffrey Ford (which I've read before, but was pleased to encounter again), "Every Angel is Terrifying" by John Kessel, "A Safe Place to Be" by Carol Emshwiller, and especially "Old Foss is the Name of His Cat", by David Sandner.

  • Res
    2019-04-22 23:46

    Fantasy stories on a cat theme, mostly mediocre with a few standouts. I quite enjoyed Neil Gaiman's "The Price," Kelly Link's "Catskin," Catherynne Valente's "The Manticore's Tale," and Susanna Clarke's "The Dweller in High Places." I bought this as an ebook to read on my iphone while in an airplane. This resulted in my actually finishing a lot more stories than I otherwise would have, just because there was no easy way to skip ahead to the next story. But those four were really the only ones I would read again.

  • Michelle
    2019-05-15 03:07

    Putting this one aside for now. It doesn't seem to be much of a book for cat, or animal, lovers though. There are at least two stories that seem to revolve around animal testing and animal abuse. I just don't need these images in my head. I read for enjoyment not to be disturbed for days on end by images of cats undergoing barbaric "testing" ... I can get enough of that from reality. A few of the stories I've read so far where good and fit more in the genre of what I thought I was getting in to ... sci fi/fantasy.

  • Tribetta
    2019-04-25 03:12

    A mix of highs and lowsI'm a fan of anthologies and cats, so I thought this would be a good match. A majority of the stories were really striking and engaging. I will say a few did lose me and hard to keep my focus. I will still recommend this book to any cat lover or lover of short stories.

  • John
    2019-05-04 00:11

    There's some very good material here, specifically "The Price," "Gordon the Self-Made Cat," "Returns," "Nine Lives to Live," "Tiger in the Snow," and especially "Healing Benjamin" but the rest are either mundane or muddled. The Unreliable Narrator seems to have morphed into the Incomprehensible Narrator in many of these stories.