Tails of Wonder and Imagination
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Tails of Wonder and Imagination

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  146 ratings  ·  33 reviews
From legendary editor Ellen Datlow, Tails of Wonder collects the best of the last thirty years of science fiction and fantasy stories about cats.
Paperback, 464 pages
Published January 26th 2010 by Night Shade Books (first published March 1st 2001)
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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...more
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 tal...more
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 ca...more
Not a bad collection, though a little uneven. With stories and excerpts from well-known names such as George R. R. Martin, Joyce Carol Oates and Neil Gaiman, as well as lesser-known authors, this is sure to provide entertainment for cat lovers everywhere (and would make a great gift, as well). The editor has used a loose definition of "cats," to include sphinxes, jaguars, etc, and covers both sci-fi, fantasy and horror, keeping the pages from becoming too cat-obsessed and promising enjoyment for...more
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...more
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 sto...more
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...more
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.

T.L. Bodine
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 th...more
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...more
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 Burg...more
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 gravy...love 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...more
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...more
Cynthia Armistead
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...more
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 sa...more
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 K...more
Aug 10, 2014 Res rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: sff
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...more
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...more
There were enough stories in this collection that I really enjoyed that made it worth reading. Some were duds, but that's always the case with short story collections from dozens of authors.
Sadly, despite some well-known authors included in this anthology, I found it generally bland and many of the stories poorly constructed or disturbing in their handling of the cat "protagonist."

A few stories stood out from the rest, particularly:
The Puma - Theodora Goss (a follow-up to The Island of Dr. Moreau)
Coyote Peyote - Carole Nelson Douglas
While I enjoyed some of the stories in this anthology, I felt that it was lacking in a cohesive theme. The stories range all over, from cats to sphinxes to pumas and so on. An anthology about "cats" seems to broad a theme. None of the stories particularly stood out to me, although I enjoyed many of them.
Not a book for cat-lovers, or those who don't like their horror bleak and stomach-turning. I'm sure there are some more good stories in here that I'm not familiar with, but I'm not willing to risk another try after having encountered one that now, two days later, is still making my stomach churn.
Grahm Eberhardt
An uneven collection (unsurprising, given the sheer number of stories) but mostly entertaining. I quite liked the unofficial sequels to A Good Man Is Hard To Find and Dr. Moreau. There are a handful of tales here I can envision revisiting someday.
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.
Kat Orphanides
Note to self if considering re-reading: some of these involve death and unpleasantness happening to cats. Including what may be the best story in the book, come to think of it.
Barring a few stories, this is NOT a book for cat lovers. Unless by "lover" you mean you have this unresolved thing for demonic/mutilated/ghost/evil cats.
any cat lover would go gaga for these stories. the idea of cat or feline can take many forms in these stories. not all of them are scary.
Cat lovers, rejoice! A fine collection of SF/fantasy tales featuring felines in all shapes and forms.
Apr 14, 2011 Rachel rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
I didn't realize this was an anthology of stories about cats. I cannot stand cats.
Got bored. Don't know if I'll ever finish this. Meh. Not worth the money paid. Oh well.
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Ellen Datlow has been an award-winning editor of short science fiction, fantasy, and horror for over twentyfive years.

She is editor of the Best Horror of the Year and has edited or co-edited a large number of award-winning original anthologies. Her most recent are Supernatural Noir, Naked City, Blood and Other Cravings, The Beastly Bride, Teeth, Trolls Eye View, and After (the last three with Ter...more
More about Ellen Datlow...
Snow White, Blood Red Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy (Riverside Series) (The Dresden Files #10.9) The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm Lovecraft Unbound Black Heart, Ivory Bones

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