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Tails of Wonder and Imagination: Cat Stories

by Ellen Datlow (Editor)

Other authors: Daniel Wynn Barber (Contributor), Peter S. Beagle (Contributor), Michael Bishop (Contributor), Lawrence Block (Contributor), Edward Bryant (Contributor)35 more, Lewis Carroll (Contributor), Susanna Clarke (Contributor), John Crowley (Contributor), Dennis Danvers (Contributor), Charles de Lint (Contributor), Carole Nelson Douglas (Contributor), Carol Emshwiller (Contributor), Nancy Etchemendy (Contributor), Jeffrey Ford (Contributor), Neil Gaiman (Contributor), Theodora Goss (Contributor), Elizabeth Hand (Contributor), Graham Joyce (Contributor), John Kessel (Contributor), Jack Ketchum (Contributor), Stephen King (Contributor), Tanith Lee (Contributor), Kelly Link (Contributor), Christine Lucas (Contributor), George R.R. Martin (Contributor), Sharyn McCrumb (Contributor), A.R. Morlan (Contributor), Joyce Carol Oates (Contributor), Reggie Oliver (Contributor), Michaela Roessner (Contributor), Nicholas Royle (Contributor), David Sandner (Contributor), Lucius Shepard (Contributor), Michael Marshall Smith (Contributor), Nancy Springer (Contributor), Lucy Sussex (Contributor), Mary Turzillo (Contributor), Catherynne M. Valente (Contributor), Ray Vukcevich (Contributor), Kaaron Warren (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2217124,655 (3.46)2
Cats are the heroes, villains, mythical creatures, domestic, and wild, in these 40 stories.

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» See also 2 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
- "Through the Looking Glass (excerpt)" by Lewis Carroll. Alice's kittens play with yarn. It's an underappreciated passage from one of my favorite books, but it feels like filler in this context. B (Good).

- "No Heaven Will Not Ever Heaven Be" by A.R. Morlan. A photographer meets an old billboard painter. It's a literary character study, with a Twilight Zone ending that doesn't really connect. C (Indifferent).

- "The Price" by Neil Gaiman. An outdoor cat has been fighting something. I've read this before. I think it works better in this context than in a Gaiman anthology. B+ (Very good).

- "Dark Eyes, Faith, and Devotion" by Charles de Lint. A woman needs to steal a cat from an ex with magic. The ex-con narrator/protagonist has a refreshingly practical reaction to witchcraft. B (Good).

- "Not Waving" by Michael Marshall Smith. A man with an unhappy girlfriend befriends an attractive motorcycle courier. Aww, this poor man feels bad about his affair. D (Bad).

- "Catch" by Ray Vukcevich. A couple tosses cats for a living. What? D (Bad).

- "The Manticore Spell" by Jeffrey Ford. A wizard has a connection to a dangerous beast. I like the way magic seems to work in this world, but the story does not work. C (Indifferent).

- "Catskin" by Kelly Link. A fairytale witch's orphaned son is raised by revenge incarnated as a cat. This story is completely insane. A (Great).

- "Mieze Corrects an Incomplete Representation of Reality" by Michaela Roessner. Schrodinger's cat observes quantum reality to it's own ends. This concept might have worked well as a tweet. D (Bad).

- "Guardians" by George R.R. Martin. An ocean planet is plagued by sea monsters. This story feels like it's from the 1950's, except if it were it would be 75% shorter. C- (Meh).

- "Life Regarded as a Jigsaw Puzzle of Highly Lustrous Cats" by Michael Bishop. A schizophrenic is interrogated by having memories induced. It's basically a character portrait, but way too high-concept to have no story arc. C- (Meh).

- "Gordon, the Self-Made Cat" by Peter S. Beagle. A mouse goes to Cat School. Cute idea, not executed particularly well. C+ (Okay).

- "The Jaguar Hunter" by Lucius Shepard. A South American Indian is hired to hunt a magic jaguar. Oh, great, a white guy writing about how civilization is causing Indians to lose their magic. D (Bad).

- "Arthur's Lion" by Tanith Lee. A timid man is menaced by a lion nightmare. This feels like it's from the 19th Century, like a Sherlock Holmes story that ends just before Holmes shows up. C+ (Okay).

- "Pride" by Mary A. Turzillo. A teenager rescues a cloned saber-toothed tiger kitten. This feels extremely well-researched, from a number of angles. B (Good).

- "The Burglar Takes a Cat" by Lawrence Block. A bookshop owner is tricked into adopting a cat. This is an excerpt from a novel with, apparently, lots of banter. B (Good).

- "The White Cat" by Joyce Carol Oates. A rich man has difficulty murdering his wife's cat. I don't get it. D (Bad).

- "Returns" by Jack Ketchum. A ghost's dirtbag wife isn't taking care of his cat. How dare you make me cry with a 5-page short story! B (Good).

- "Puss-Cat" by Reggie Oliver. A womanizing stage actor hates cats. Rambling and pointless, and not just because the narrator is literally drunk. D (Bad).

- "Cat in Glass" by Nancy Etchemendy. A woman believes a dadaist cat sculpture is evil. It's like they took an outline for an okay story, then flushed out the wrong details; I don't even know what this sculpture looks like. C (Indifferent).

- "Coyote Peyote" by Carole Nelson Douglas. A cat detective investigates dead coyotes. The attempt at hard-boiled detective wit is cringe-inducing, but the story works fine. It's a badly-needed change of tone from the other stories. C+ (Okay).

- "The Poet and the Inkmaker's Daughter" by Elizabeth Hand. A poet meets an inkmaker's daughter. A white woman writes a "Japanese folktale." What the hell? F (Terrible).

- "The Night of the Tiger" by Stephen King. An evil lion tamer has a nemesis. Good atmosphere. C+ (Okay).

- "Every Angel Is Terrifying" by John Kessel. A sequel to Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man Is Hard to Find." I haven't read the original, but I'm confident I'd like this even less if I had. F (Terrible).

- "Candia" by Graham Joyce. A man is seduced by a cat woman. What the hell was that? F (Terrible).

- "Mbo" by Nicholas Royle. A journalist looks into a wave of disappearing white people in Zanzibar. The bad guy is genuinely terrifying, which is a shame since he's wasted on this Africans Are Sinister BS story. D (Bad).

- "Bean Bag Cats" by Edward Bryant. A dystopian marketing email exchange. It's probably meant to be funny or cutting, but is just gross. D (Bad).

- "Antiquities" by John Crowley. The men of a farming town are seduced by a cat woman. The only interesting thing in this story is the twist, which is spoiled by the introduction. D (Bad).

- "The Manticore's Tale" by Catherynne M. Valente. A manticore is captured for a Princess's menagerie. It's like an outline for an entire fantasy novel, in 5 pages. C (Indifferent).

- "In Carnation" by Nancy Springer. An ancient goddess starts her ninth life at a mid-century carnival. It's unfortunate that this story repeats so many tropes found earlier in this book; it's probably better than it seems in this context. C+ (Okay).

- "Old Foss Is the Name of His Cat" by David Sander. Edward Lear's cat tries to save him from nonsense creatures. This is interesting and sad. I don't know what I would think of it if I were familiar with Lear's work. B (Good).

- "A Safe Place to Be" by Carol Emshwiller. An old woman is convinced a disaster is coming. It's mostly heavy-handed social commentary, but Emshwiller is a good enough writer to get away with it. C+ (Okay).

- "Nine Lives to Live" by Sharyn McCrumb. A murdered man comes back as a cat. The premise doesn't make sense, but it's not bad if you can get past that. C+ (Okay).

- "Tiger Kill" by Kaaron Warren. Rich people have a repulsive dinner party. I wish I could unread this. F (Terrible).

- "Something Better than Death" by Lucy Sussex. A jetlagged woman conflates reality with a fairy tale she just read. This story's not for me, but it very effectively does what it sets out to do. C+ (Okay).

- "Dominion" by Christine Lucas. The serpent in Eden creates housecats. Cute. B (Good).

- "Tiger in the Snow" by Daniel Wynn Barber. A boy is irrationally afraid that a tiger is following him home. Novel and direct. B (Good).

- "The Dweller in High Places" by Susanna Clarke. A girl meets the Sphynx in the attic of her school. The premise and tone are fun; the plot is not great. B (Good).

- "Healing Benjamin" by Dennis Danvers. A man's pet cat is immortal. Funny and weird and sad. B+ (Very good).

- "The Puma" by Theodora Goss. A sequel to The Island of Doctor Moreau. Yeah, nobody was asking for more Moreau. D (Bad).

(May 2023) ( )
  comfypants | May 22, 2023 |
I only read "The Night of the Tiger" by Stephen King from this collection. It was okay, sort of weird and fantasy-based. Traveling carnival, the big cats, and a newbie roustabout. The end is a bit vague and, for me, unsatisfying. But, I'm a Stephen King fan, and I like to read as much of his works as I can! ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Sep 7, 2020 |
"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. ( )
  thefirstalicat | Apr 19, 2016 |
Most of the stories were very boring or downright bizarre. If you love cats, maybe skip this anthology. There is a lot of abuse and killing of cats. I forced myself to finish this book. There were only 2 stories I actually liked in this. ( )
  lesindy | Nov 1, 2014 |
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? ( )
  BellaMiaow | May 29, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Datlow, EllenEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barber, Daniel WynnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beagle, Peter S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bishop, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Block, LawrenceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bryant, EdwardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carroll, LewisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Clarke, SusannaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Crowley, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Danvers, DennisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
de Lint, CharlesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Douglas, Carole NelsonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Emshwiller, CarolContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Etchemendy, NancyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ford, JeffreyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, NeilContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goss, TheodoraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hand, ElizabethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Joyce, GrahamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kessel, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ketchum, JackContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
King, StephenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lee, TanithContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Link, KellyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lucas, ChristineContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Martin, George R.R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McCrumb, SharynContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Morlan, A.R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Oates, Joyce CarolContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Oliver, ReggieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Roessner, MichaelaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Royle, NicholasContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sandner, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shepard, LuciusContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, Michael MarshallContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Springer, NancyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sussex, LucyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Turzillo, MaryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Valente, Catherynne M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vukcevich, RayContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Warren, KaaronContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ench, CatskaContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ench, CoryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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(Introduction by Ellen Datlow): What is it about cats?
One thing was certain, that the white kitten had nothing to do with it -- it was the black kitten's fault entirely.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Cats are the heroes, villains, mythical creatures, domestic, and wild, in these 40 stories.

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Book description
Collects the following stories:
Introduction by Ellen Datlow
Through the Looking Glass (exceprt) by Lewis Carroll
"No Heaven Will Not Ever Heaven Be ..." by A. R. Morlan
"The Price" by Neil Gaiman
"Dark Eyes, Faith and Devotion" by Charles de Lint
"Not Waving" by Michael Marshall Smith
"Catch" by Ray Vukcevich
"The Manticore Spell" by Jeffrey Ford
"Catskin" by Kelly Link
"Mieze Corrects and Incomplete Representation of Reality" by Michaela Rossner
"Guardians" by George R. R. Martin
"Life Regarded as a Jigsaw Puzzle of Highly Lustrous Cats" by Michael Bishop
"Gordon, the Self-Made Cat" by Peter Beagle
"The Jaguar Hunter" by Lucius Shepard
"Arthur's Lion" by Tanith Lee
"Pride" by Mary A. Turzillo
"The Burglar Takes a Cat" by Lawrence Block
"The White Cat" by Joyce Carol Oates
"Returns" by Jack Ketchum
"Puss-Cat" by Reggie Oliver
"Cat in Glass" by Nancy Etchemendy
"Coyote Peyote" by Carle Nelson Douglas
"The Poet and the Inkmaker's Daughter" by Elizabeth Hand
"The Night of the Tiger" by Stephen King
"Every Angel is Terrifying" by John Kessel
"Candia" by Graham Joyce
"Mbo" by Nicholas Royle
"Bean Bag Cats®" by Edward Bryant
"Antiquities" by John Crowley
"The Manticore's Tale" by Catherynne M. Valente
"In Carnation" by Nancy Springer
"Old Foss is the Name of His Cat" by David Sandner
"A Safe Place to Be" by Carol Emshwiller
"Nine Lives to Live" by Sharyn McCrumb
"Tiger Kill" by Kaaron Warren
"Something Better than Death" by Lucy Sussex
"Dominion" by Chirstine Lucas"
"Tiger in the Snow" by Daniel Wynn Barber
"The Dweller in High Places" by Susanna Clarke
"Healing Benjamin" by Dennis Danvers
"The Puma" by Theodora Goss
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