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The Bestiary

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  79 ratings  ·  17 reviews
A modern bestiary of made-up fantastical creatures organized from A to Z, along with an ampersand and an invisible letter, featuring some of the best and most respected fantasists from around the world, including Karen Lord, Dexter Palmer, Brian Evenson, China Mieville, Felix Gilman, Catherynne M. Valente, Rikki Ducornet, and Karin Lowachee.

Hardcover, 280 pages
Published March 1st 2016 by Centipede Press (first published August 1st 2015)
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Average rating 3.77  · 
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Oct 13, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: pause
once upon a time i spent a lot of money on this book. i should probably read it.

&: Ampersand - Karin Lowachee
A: The Auricle - Gio Clairval
B: Bartleby’s Typewriter - Corey Redekop
C: The Counsellor Crow - Karen Lord
D: Daydreamer by Proxy - Dexter Palmer
E: Enkantong-bato - Dean Francis Alfar
F: The Figmon - Michael Cisco
G: The Guest - Brian Conn
H: Hadrian’s Sparrikan - Stephen Graham Jones
I: Ible - Brian Evenson
J: Jason Bug - Joseph Nigg
K: The Karmantid - Karen Heuler
L: The Liwat’ang Yawa and the Li


007 - Introduction by Jeff VanderMeer
013 - "&: Ampersand" by Karin Lowachee
024 - "A: The Auricle" by Gio Clairval
033 - "B: Bartleby’s Typewriter" by Corey Redekop
043 - "C: The Counsellor Crow" by Karen Lord
053 - "D: Daydreamer by Proxy" by Dexter Palmer
065 - "E: Enkantong-bato" by Dean Francis Alfar
071 - "F: The Figmon" by Michael Cisco
081 - "G: The Guest" by Brian Conn
089 - "H: Hadrian’s Sparrikan" by Stephen Graham Jones
099 - "I: Ible" by Brian Evenson
107 - "J: Jason Bug" by Joseph Ni
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
It has that rare "one more potato chip" quality that I long for in anthologies.
I read this book primarily because Karin Lowachee contributed to it and her Warchild series are my favorite books in the world. Also, as a ecology major and all around nerd, I thought the idea of a fantasy bestiary sounded awesome. Unfortunately, I feel like it failed to live up to my expectations. The whole book had a strange tone to it-dark for the sole purpose of being dark (excluding Lowachee's story, which read more like an actual naturalist observation-well written, but not all that exciti ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Stealing Karl's contents list so I can comment on the stories:

007 - Introduction by Jeff VanderMeer
013 - "&: Ampersand" by Karin Lowachee
024 - "A: The Auricle" by Gio Clairval
033 - "B: Bartleby’s Typewriter" by Corey Redekop
043 - "C: The Counsellor Crow" by Karen Lord
053 - "D: Daydreamer by Proxy" by Dexter Palmer
065 - "E: Enkantong-bato" by Dean Francis Alfar
071 - "F: The Figmon" by Michael Cisco
081 - "G: The Guest" by Brian Conn
089 - "H: Hadrian’s Sparrikan" by Stephen Graham Jones
099 - "I: Ib
Dec 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Conceptually brilliant, Ann VanderMeer has curated a top-notch collection of some of the strangest creatures you've never heard of, described and codified by some of the best of the best in this weird world. Some entries are more successful than others - the ones that veer too far into the structurally-weird lose the playfulness of the prompt and are ultimately forgettable, while the ones that hew closest to the expected form tend to be the most memorable - but the whole thing is a delight for l ...more
Dayna Smith
A bestiary is a collection of descriptions of animals, usually fantastical ones. Bestiaries trace their origins to Ancient Greece, but rose to popularity in the Middle Ages. VanderMeer has drawn together quite a collection of authors to create entries for this little volume. The beasts are indeed fantastical, some hilariously so, and the illustrations are beautifully drawn. A wonderful way to fill a couple of hours of your time.
I'd like to preface this review by saying that if you're thinking of getting the book, spring for the hardcover/physical edition; the ebook doesn't include the pictures. Plus, as I type this, it's massively discounted on Amazon.

I was only interested in this book for the Valente short story, but ultimately I'm glad I picked it up. Not every story was a winner, very few were actually memorable to me, but I had enough fun to justify the read. I had no quarrel with the entries that just detailed the
David Macpherson
Aug 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a slow read. It took me a yaer of off and on reading to get through this, but it was worth it for the most part. IT had nearly 30 short stories about fantastical creatures. Some of the pieces didn't work, but the ones that did were wonderful. The Library Bear story written by Valente was amazing. And there were a few others, like the one about the carrion birds that can force people to go to war so there can be more dead bodies to feast upon, was almost as good. IT was a nice book to sl ...more
Oct 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthologies
Not every story in this is flawless, of course, but there are really only one or two stumbles, and them only minor ones. Even then, the whole conceit of the collection is something I find so fascinating--how much of my childhood was spent making my own bestiaries?--that I couldn't help but devour this with utter delight.

Really wish I had the hardcopy edition, as it's apparently got illustrations--by China Miéville!--but it's unfortunately too rich for my blood.
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fascinating concept for a collection, and a fun read for any fan of exercises with stretching bizarre ideas as far as the imagination might allow. With the episodic nature of the entries, coupled with the fantastic illustrations, I was reminded of the classic (original edition of) "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" trilogy. Dexter Palmer's entry for "D" is worth the price of admission alone, but I found myself smiling often throughout.
Jun 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A collection of wonderful beasts for the modern fears.
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The quality of these stories varies, but the best are amazing -- I loved the ones by Dexter Palmer and Karin Tidbeck, for example. This book is also a beautiful artifact.
Dan'l Danehy-oakes
Oct 10, 2018 rated it liked it
What a peculiar little book.

It is a series of 28 descriptions of various imaginary beasts, ranging from the silly to the chilling to the just plain out-there.

Yes, 28. One for each letter of the alphabet, plus one for "&" and one for " ".

Plus, bonus! brief beasts after each main beast, most of which are riffs on the name of the writer of the main beast.

As one would expect, a few specific not-exactly-stories stand out for me. "Bartleby's Typewriter", by Corey Redekop, is a parable on the negativ
Molly Ison
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
It seemed like a great idea by an editor whose other anthologies I've enjoyed and with stories by authors whose other works I've enjoyed, but it's no coincidence that it took me so long to read. Perhaps the format was too constrained, for almost every story began to take on a mindnumbing sameness, regardless of how different in detail.
Dan Schuna
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wildly varying quality but the vast majority of entries are well worth the time. Dexter Palmer's Daydreamer By Proxy is now one of my all time favorite pieces of fiction.
Oct 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: artwork, fantasy, horror
It was alright not the best I’ve seen. The binding and book production is amazing.
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Ann VanderMeer is an American publisher and editor, and the second female editor of the horror magazine Weird Tales. She is the founder of Buzzcity Press.

Her work as Fiction Editor of Weird Tales won a Hugo Award. Work from her press and related periodicals has won the British Fantasy Award, the International Rhysling Award, and appeared in several year's best anthologies. Ann was also the founder

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Last year, Buzzfeed culture writer Anne Helen Petersen struck a chord with her viral article “How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation.”...
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