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Wonders of the Invisible World

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  815 Ratings  ·  122 Reviews
Stylistically rooted in fairy tale and mythology, imperceptible landscapes are explored in these opulent stories from a beloved fantasy icon. There are princesses dancing with dead suitors, a knight in love with an official of exotic lineage, and fortune’s fool stealing into the present instead of the future. In one mesmerizing tale, a time-traveling angel is forbidden to ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 26th 2012 by Tachyon Publications (first published January 1st 2012)
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Magic Kingdom for Sale—Sold! by Terry BrooksThe Wayfarer Redemption by Sara DouglassRhapsody by Elizabeth HaydonGate of Darkness, Circle of Light by Tanya HuffWonders of the Invisible World by Patricia A. McKillip
Fantasy Underdogs
5th out of 123 books — 18 voters
Smoke and Mirrors by Neil GaimanFragile Things by Neil GaimanThe Martian Chronicles by Ray BradburyHeroika 1 by Janet E. MorrisThe Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories by Susanna Clarke
Best Fantasy Short Story Collections
78th out of 347 books — 277 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,767)
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Jan 19, 2015 Algernon rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
The story that gives the title (and opens) this collection is a bit atypical for the author, as it includes time travel. Future scientists go back to the past in order to study and understand our ancestors. The destination is the house of a preacher from Salem, introducing one of the recurrent themes of the collection: the oppression of women through history by men who are afraid of granting them equal status:

He lay in the dim lights and fluttering shadows, in the long, long night of history, w
Dec 22, 2015 Kinga rated it really liked it
Shelves: random
I was reading the story called ‘Xmas Cruise’ while on the bus going to a party. It was about an Antarctic cruise and I thought it was quite a theme for this collection, as there already was a story about an Arctic cruise. But then I remembered Atwood mentioned she thought of many stories for this collection while on an Arctic cruise, so it made sense. And much later I realised I wasn’t reading Atwood’s ‘Stone Mattress’. In fact I had finished ‘Stone Mattress’ about a month before and then I marv ...more
Of all Patricia McKillip's writings, perhaps this one is the most accessible. The short stories seem to have a different tone to her longer works -- something less poetic, more matter of fact. It's a great collection: pretty much all of the stories are strong, and each one contains a whole world -- and each world is so very different from the next. There are some which are more like her novels, and oddly they seem to be ones which people who're fans of her novels like less, based on the review. ...more
Jubilation Lee
So what we’ve got here is a collection of mostly-fantasy short stories that left me shaking my fist at the sky and howling, “Dammit Patricia McKillip, must you be so awesome?”

Because she just writes so. goddamn. well. and every story is crammed full of the kind of detail that made me fall in love with Riddlemaster, and I plowed through the entire book in an embarrassingly short time.

I personally wasn’t 100% sold on a few of them, including “The Kelpie,” which everyone else on Goodreads seems to
I have read Patricia Mckillip’s novels before, I am certain of that but for some reason, I did not remember just how fantastic her world weaving and wordsmithery really are. Wonders of the Invisible World satisfies on so many levels that had I the time, I would have reviewed each story in the anthology because each story deserves careful, individual attention. As it is, unfortunately, I do not have the time so I shall focus on a few favourites.

“Wonders of the Invisible World”

This story is a fant
I enjoy McKillip's novels a great deal, but I regret to say that at least based on this collection, her writing simply doesn't work for me at short story length. What I like about McKillip's work is the way the numinous slowly creeps up on you through the accumulation of little details, leaving you in the end with a whole greater than its parts. But that's difficult to do in a few thousand words. I was left with the sense that almost every story in here felt like it desperately needed more room ...more
M.C. Hana
Dec 13, 2012 M.C. Hana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I inaugurated my new tablet with a library download of this anthology before I buy my traditional hardcopy version.

Patricia McKillip is one of the few writers whose works I will buy off the shelf, no questions asked. While good old J.R.R. Tolkien might have instigated my fantasy reading at age 10, McKillip set it in stone half a decade later. 'The Forgotten Beasts of Eld' was the first paperback I ordered and paid for by myself. The 'Riddlemaster' trilogy made me begin thinking about writing. 'T
Mar 07, 2013 Yune rated it liked it
McKillip's earlier works remain among my steadfast favorites, and I was happy to pick up her prior collection of short stories, Harrowing the Dragon, and devour it. Unfortunately, the first story in this one started with a time-traveler posing as an angel in front of Cotton Mather. It's difficult to think of a less interesting premise (from my perspective), and I ended up neglecting this book for months.

I have to say that McKillip's shorter fiction strikes me as more literary than her novels, wh
Dec 02, 2014 Kogiopsis rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
I've never read anything by Patricia McKillip, so when the chance came to get this on Kindle (cheaply? free? I honestly can't remember which) I pounced, because I keep hearing good things about her work and it seemed like a good place to start - or at least, everyone was praising it as being representative of her work, so surely it would be a fitting sampler.

If it is - well, I just don't think her work is for me. The thing about this collection was that the writing was lovely, the concepts inter
Nov 18, 2014 Ellie rated it liked it
Augh, why am I rating authors I like so poorly? This is the second in a row!

Patricia McKillip is my favorite author. Hands down, absolutely. Her novels are amazing. But I don't think I like her short stories. I remember not enjoying Harrowing the Dragon, either.

The problem is resolution. Many of these focus on the world building, the lyrical prose, the words. You get an interesting situation, a hint of a world, a complex dilemma... and then an alarming number of them just end, abruptly, without
Althea Ann
Nov 17, 2013 Althea Ann rated it it was amazing
I forgot my book at work, and needed to buy something for the commute home. If I'm going to pay full price for something, it's going to have to be in support of an author I love: thus, this book.

Excellent, excellent stories - but I was disappointed, a bit, that I'd read most of them before. There's no previously-unpublished material here, except for the transcript of a speech McKillip gave at a con.

Wonders of the Invisible World - A bit of a strange choice for an opener, as it's a bit atypical o
Apr 10, 2015 Metaphorosis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 2015-rev

( 4 / 1-5 stars )

A collection of short stories, often with a more real-world feel than McKillip's usual.

"This is not at all what I expected the unexpected to be like." I don't like everything Patricia McKillip has ever written. I was straight out bored by The Forgotten Beasts of Eld,and didn't care much for her Moon Flashor Cygnetduologies. But I've loved pretty much everything else she's written. I was taken aback recently to encounter someone who didn't care for The Riddlemaster of Hed.

Jun 02, 2014 Margaret rated it liked it
Mckillip's prose is undeniably strong. She's a poetic writer, and most of these short stories display that kind of lyrical prose that I can get lost in. Her strongest pieces, for me, are those told from everyday characters, the ones in the background. Like "Out of the Woods," told from the pov of a woman asked to clean a wizard's cottage. Another unique story from the collection is "The Old Woman and the Storm," a very short, poetic piece about love and storytelling. Many of the pieces were urba ...more
Jan 02, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing
I was thrilled when I found out there was a new Patricia McKillip book recently released; then mildly disappointed when I found out it was a collection of previously published short stories. Not that I had read any of the stories yet, but generally, I enjoy McKillip's novels more than her short stories.

Much to my surprise, the stories in Wonders of the Invisible World were truly wonders, and rose to the heights of some of McKillip's best writing. This gifted artist paints literary landscapes ac
Tabitha (Pabkins)
Exquisitely written with destinations beyond your imagining!

Patricia A. McKillip is a master of the written word! Wonders of the Invisible World is my first foray into her delightful imagination and it will not be the last! I am a lover of short stories. In my mind it takes as much skill if not more to write a successfully engaging short story then to write a novel. This is because the short has so few words within it to paint pictures and make you fall in love with it’s world and characters. Te
Kathy Davie
Dec 03, 2012 Kathy Davie rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
An anthology of sixteen short stories about fey, magic, and fairytales with an introduction by Charles de Lindt and an essay on what inspires McKillip.

My Take
This was a mixed bag of huh-what and wonderful. Sadly, McKillip says she has come to the end of this type of fey story. If she is, then she's gone out with a whisper and not a bang.

The Stories
"Wonders of the Invisible World" is time traveling science fiction with a researcher wanting Cotton Mather's emotions. It's a quick blip into two worl
Kasey Jane
Jan 02, 2013 Kasey Jane rated it it was ok
This book reads like a Pre-Raphaelite painting.

(view spoiler)
Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)
‘Wonders of the Invisible World’ by Patricia A. McKellip is a collection of 16 stories, started by an introduction by Charles de Lint and completed by a short of ‘What Inspires Me’, a Guest of Honour speech given at WisCon 2004.

With the first piece and the collection itself named for a book written by Cotton Mather in 1693, it ties the short story nicely to reality and adds a taste of science fiction, a fitting start to the collection.

From there we see a woman taken in by magic, and how painters
Grace Troxel
Dec 17, 2013 Grace Troxel rated it it was amazing
Mini-Review: "Wonders of the Invisible World" by Patricia A. McKillip

Wonders of the Invisible World is a collection of short stories by one of my favorite authors. As in her full-length novels, Patricia McKillip's language is exquisite. She uses a poetic and ethereal tone that left me more and more enchanted with every page I turned. Wonders of the Invisible World is a bit different from Patricia McKillip's usual style. Many of the tales in this collection explore darker themes than her novels,
Dec 21, 2013 Ubiquitousbastard rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I really like Patricia McKillip, but I was sort of underwhelmed by this book of short stories. I'm very aware of what a short story is supposed to be in literature, sometimes they're a bit more like poetry than they are novels since there is a lot of interpretation and symbolism. However, that is my least favorite aspect of short stories and I usually prefer the type that are a bit more like small, contained pieces of a story. I also wasn't super into the message of most of (all of?) the stories ...more
Mary Miller
Feb 26, 2013 Mary Miller rated it really liked it
I usually don't read short story collections. They are often uneven in quality and I prefer a longer format. But Patricia McKillip is an author I particularly admire, so I gave her recent story collection a read.
As I expected, the quality of the stories varies quite a bit. Some held my interest and made me yearn to read more, while a few are less than enchanting. But, o the ones that sing! I was particularly taken by "The Knight of the Well", one of the longer stories. It has a mystical underpin
Rachel Welton
Feb 19, 2014 Rachel Welton rated it really liked it
My relationship with Patricia McKillip has always been a bit odd. There are those moments where her infatuation with movement, color, and adjectives fly so far away from actual linear prose, I feel that she's going into fairyland and I can't follow. Other times, I underestimate her entirely, because the stories she writes are so entirely, exactly like wandering around the landscape of my own mind-- the sort of stories I would write if I could write stories-- that I'm both satisfied and faintly b ...more
Dec 18, 2012 Libby rated it it was amazing
Reading this book was like swimming with dolphins or finding a rainbow in your garden. The sense of wonder, the poetry of McKillip's sentences, the beautiful sense of stories still untold, all just sweep me away from the mundane world. I always grab her books at the first chance. This one did not disappoint. I particularly liked The Kelpie and Knight of the Well, but you will find your own jewels here. So---what are you dawdling for? Go grab it for yourself and ride the tide to Faerie!
K.V. Johansen
Jun 01, 2013 K.V. Johansen rated it it was amazing
McKillip's writing is always beautiful and lyrical, and though in every short story collection there will be stories that appeal more than others. This shows quite a range of settings and characters. My favourite was "The Kelpie", about a young woman artist in a pre-Raphaelite-like group of painters, who is pursued by an aggressive fellow-painter and whose near-fatal encounter with folkloric water creatures transforms her art. It was a perfect short story, balanced and complete.
Jan 31, 2014 meeners rated it liked it
3.5 stars. patricia mckillip is one of many authors whom i first encountered (and fell in love with) as a child; i think i've read almost every single one of her books since then, and of all the authors i've known and loved i think it's her prose - lyrical, elliptical, sumptuously magical - that i have most often wished to emulate myself. the older i get, the more bothered i am with certain fantasy presuppositions (why are 99% of your characters white, patricia mckillip?????), but there's certai ...more
Jan 15, 2016 Alana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually read short stories. But I am on a quest to read all of Patricia A. McKillip's books and this was on the list (and available as an e-book from the library to read on my new Kindle, yay).

I really loved it. Obviously, I am already a McKillip fan, but this book was beautifully varied and rich. There were so many different kinds of stories, most of them around the theme of water, and of course most of them were about women, mostly fantasy but some sci-fi as well. I don't know how she
Oct 29, 2012 Suzanna rated it really liked it
Patricia McKillip is one of my favorite writers of fantasy. Many of the stories in this collection, written over the last decade or so, were previously published in YA anthologies; none are original to Wonders of the Invisible World, though nearly all were well worth re-reading for me. I hope she has another novel on the way.
Nov 05, 2013 Mei rated it really liked it
I really like her books, and this collection was no exception. Patricia McKillip and Peter Beagle are two writers who for me put the faery in fairy tale. Reading her work is always a pleasure and always makes you feel like there is a little more magic in the day, and a little more magic in the world as a result. Lovely.
Beverly J.
Apr 30, 2013 Beverly J. rated it really liked it
This one was all over the map. Some I liked, some I disliked. Some were meh, and then there were one or two that absolutely took my breath away. McKillip is a reckoning force in Fantasy.
R.L. Stedman
Aug 08, 2014 R.L. Stedman rated it really liked it
I love Mckillip's writing and to find this on kindle was so great. There's hardly any of her works available digitally through kindle so i have to order them from the States and they take ages to come. This work is a series of short stories, ranging from present day to her classic fantasy style. I enjoyed them, although to be honest, I do like her longer works, where I can kind of immerse myself in her long and lyrical sentence structures. She writes in such beautiful phrasing that one has to ta ...more
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Patricia Anne McKillip is an American author of fantasy and science fiction novels, distinguished by lyrical, delicate prose and careful attention to detail and characterization. She is a past winner of the World Fantasy Award and Locus Award, and she lives in Oregon. Most of her recent novels have cover paintings by Kinuko Y. Craft. She is married to David Lunde, a poet.

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“Research the imagination. It was as obsolete as the appendix in most adults, except for those in whom, like the appendix, it became inflamed for no reason.” 0 likes
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