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Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers: Magical Tales of Love and Seduction

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  392 ratings  ·  39 reviews
A stunning anthology of sensuous short fiction and magical erotica explores the seductive world of mysterious, mythic sirens--men and women--who draw readers into a forbidden zone of fantasy and desire, in works by Jane Yolen, Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Swanwick, Tanith Lee, and other outstanding writers

A Wife of Acorn, Leaf, and Rain • (1998) • short story by Dave Smeds
Paperback, 404 pages
Published November 5th 2002 by Eos (first published 1998)
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Average rating 3.63  · 
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Althea Ann
Nov 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'll pretty much buy anything Datlow and Windling edit. It's always bound to be good stuff.

Anyway, the theme here is sexy/erotic fantasy.


Introduction by Terri Windling
In the same basic format as all of Windling's intro, it gives a quick history and folklore-centered background of erotica in traditional tales.

My Lady of the Hearth [Magravandias Chronicles] by Storm Constantine
Unlucky in love, a wealthy young man prays to the cat goddess... and his housecat is transformed into the shap
3 stars--I liked the book. Although I think this is one of Datlow's weakest collections, the strength of my favorite story ("The Eye of the Storm" by Kelley Eskridge) made me glad to have read this book. Individual ratings follow.

My Lady of the Hearth by Storm Constantine: 2 stars.
The Faerie Cony-catcher by Delia Sherman: 3 stars.
Broke Heart Blues by Joyce Carol Oates: 1 star. No real story structure or ending.
Wolfed by Tanith Lee: 3 stars.
Ashes on Her Lips by Edward Bryant: 2 stars.
Mirrors by G
Disappointing anthology, I'd not have expected one by Datlow & Windling to be this mediocre as I'd generally found the previous ones good, or at least containing a few short stories I enjoyed.

This one has 22 short stories and poems with the common theme of relationships between a non-human/supernatural character and a human one. Summed up like that, it sounds like the editors were going for an anthology of Beauty and the Beast stories like what they attempted with their anthology The Beastly Bri
These titles were copied from Althea Ann's excellent review.

1. My Lady of the Hearth by Storm Constantine
4. Wolfed by Tanith Lee
8. No Human Hands to Touch by Elizabeth E. Wein
10. In the Season of Rains by Ellen Steiber
12. A Wife of Acorn, Leaf, and Rain by Dave Smeds
13. Tastings by Neil Gaiman
14. The Sweet of Bitter Bark and Burning Clove by Doris Egan
16. The Eye of the Storm by Kelley Eskridge
21. Persephone or, Why the Winters Seem to Be Getting Longer by Wendy Froud
22. Taking Loup by Br
Oct 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
solid collection. A few stories fell flat but some were terrific. I enjoyed it
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Quite a wide range of what's interpreted as either "powerful woman" or "seduction" in this anthology, but sometimes that works. I enjoyed the range and felt that overall the stories were quite strong. The one that blew me away most was The Eye of the Storm by Kelley Eskridge, and I was devastated to find that the piece from her was not from a longer novel, nor has she written much else. Other highlights: Wolfed by Tanith Lee, No Human Hands to Touch by Elizabeth Wein, Tastings by Neil Gaiman, He ...more
Beverly Diehl
Loaned to me by a friend, I did not know what to expect - and that's what I got. This collection of 22 short stories, some by very famous authors, goes from very sexy to creepy to thought-bending. I liked some of the stories a lot, and some of them, not so much. Not a bad way to sample these authors and see if you might like their longer works. ...more
22 stories that combine fantasy with erotica by exploring seductive, magical, unearthly lovers and romances. Datlow and Windling, especially in combination, are accomplished anthologists, but this is the closest I've come to disappointed with their work. For one, only three stories feature queer relationships (two others have them in background roles); the heteronormativity is toxic and uncreative, a particular oversight in a collection of strange love. (Compare to something like Caitlín R. Kier ...more
Jan 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
While this is clearly a collection of erotic stories, it is the creativeness of the stories that garners attention in this collection. I would consider this a queer collection; even the stories between a man and a woman hold something quite out of the ordinary.

Probably the most memorable story for me is "Attachments" by Pat Murphy, which centers on conjoined twins, specifically Chang and Eng Bunker.

While I usually lose interest or momentum in the middle of collections, this one I have turned b
Mar 20, 2011 rated it liked it
I have always enjoyed the story collections of Datlow and Windling.

These stories are sultry and erotic and very well written. I was pleasantly surprised to find one by Neil Gaiman, a favorite author of mine.
Aug 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Great collection with surprising characters.
Sep 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
More erotic than the books I usually read, but I still liked the collection. My favorite story was "The Light That Passes Through You." ...more
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Consistently excellent, sexy stories with few exceptions.
Jan 17, 2021 added it
I really enjoyed the introduction. The first story was alright, but the second gave me a headache. I'll come back to this when I've got more time. ...more
This collection isn’t quite toe curling, it isn’t quite horrific, but a nice mix between the two. It makes you think about the weirdness of sexuality. And the uniqueness of those things that go bump in the night. And thrive upon our sexual, deepest, darkest desires. I was honestly expecting this to be a little more of an uncomfortable read. However, mostly, I just found it intriguing.

This is a great collection of some very familiar authors, and some very new authors. It was a good way to depart
Ronald Wise
Sep 28, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A stimulating anthology of twenty-two short stories which, as a whole, touches on many aspects of human sexuality. There is some very well-written erotica in this collection. In many of the stories the sexual mechanics are per se the main feature with a touch of the unusual, supernatural or otherwise. The better stories tended to focus on the less physical aspects – obsessive desire, suspended reason, and the horror of insatiability.

My favorite contribution was Joyce Carol Oates’ “Broke Heart Bl
1,5 -> 1
Did I know it's an anthology full of erotic retellings of fairy tales? To a certain extent. Usually, I can get through this kind of books if there is at least some resemblance of plot or the descriptions of doing the do are utterly hilarious (In the end I'm Jin-ping-Mei and de Sade reader survivor!). Most are simple smuts without any saving grace, but I liked one or two stories.
Meredith, Empress of the Sock Puppet Army
Note to self:

Contains Wolfed by Tanith Lee.

I'd also like to read:

No Human Hands to Touch by Elizabeth E. Wein

Tastings by Neil Gaiman

Persephone or, Why the Winters Seem to Be Getting Longer by Wendy Froud

Taking Loup by Bruce Glassco
Jul 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
I liked most of the stories which is rare for me in collections. Especially enjoyed Tastings by Neil Gaiman (also in his Smoke and Mirrors collection), The Sweet of Bitter Bark and Burning Clove by Doris Egan and Taking Loup by Bruce Glassco.
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
I was so psyched to see a Datlow/Windling short story compilation that I hadn't read that I didn't stop to consider the subject matter.

Through no fault of its own, I couldn't make it through this.
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
One of the poorest collections Datlow and Windling have ever edited. Do not recommend.
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
A decent anthology of romance novel short stories. Rather more furry-adjacent stuff than I anticipated.
i only read some of the stories. not the entire book.
As with most anthologies there were a few really great stories and a few duds with the rest being mostly enjoyable.

My Lady of the Hearth by Storm Constantine | 3 stars (***) Interesting concept.
The Faerie Cony-catcher by Delia Sherman | 3 stars (***) Loved the twist at the end!
Broke Heart Blues by Joyce Carol Oates | 2 stars (**) Disjointed and forgettable. Meh.
Wolfed by Tanith Lee | 3 stars (***) A fun take on Little Red Riding Hood
Ashes on Her Lips by Edward Bryant | 2 stars (**) A bit squicky
Dharia Scarab
May 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
Not very many good stories in this book. I skipped a number of them.

Since I don't normally write reviews unless I have something specific to say, here's the break down of how I rate my books...

1 star... This book was bad, so bad I may have given up and skipped to the end. I will avoid this author like the plague in the future.

2 stars... This book was not very good, and I won't be reading any more from the author.

3 stars... This book was ok, but I won't go out of my way to read more, But if I fin
1.0 Tanith Lee "Wolfed" For me this story was so bad that I wondered if Tanith meant it to be that way. Instead of her usual narrative skill and erotic style, "Wolfed" is mechanical in treatment of subject matter. It's smarmy, an adjective I never would have associated with Tanith Lee.

5.0 The Elizabeth Wein story is amazing, an Arthurian story filled with pain and eroticism and the unexpected. It really took me aback when I first read it. This anthology is very uneven, but it gets 3 rather than
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
More a comment than a review:

I rated this book so highly because I tend to read a lot of anthologies of short stories and I expect to only really like a small number of the stories within a book. However, I either loved or at least really liked 90% of the stories within this book, something very hard for me to find. If someone told me you are moving but can only take three possessions, even if I can replace anything, this book is one of them: I wouldn't take the chance of not being able to repl
Aug 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: vampire lovers, succubi, mermaids
I was expected to be far more titillated by this than I actually was. Pretty decent, but nothing to get the loins fired up. For a book of erotic tales, I felt like there could be more in-depth descriptions of the... you know... sex! But it was more focused on the magic and emotional stuff, which is fine. I guess I must look elsewhere if I want something more erotic, but not like, raunchy and tacky. That's a fine line to tread... :) ...more
Apr 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
This rating is mostly for one particular story - The Eye of the Storm by Kelley Eskridge - which I have fallen head over heels in love with for no obvious reason. Aside from the polyamory and the genderqueerness and the general explosion of LGBT+ glory all over the supposedly standard medieval fantasy setting, that is. I am only distraught that there is no novel (series, opus, canon, tie in everything) with these characters. Gyah.
Best Stories:

The House of Nine Doors by Ellen Kushner
Persephone by Wendy Froud (B+)--Very true to the myth. The shortness of the story was mirrored by the amount of time it would have taken to eat the six pomegranate seeds nicely. It surprised me because it was a complete story in only 2 pages
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Ellen Datlow has been editing science fiction, fantasy, and horror short fiction for forty years as fiction editor of OMNI Magazine and editor of Event Horizon and SCIFICTION. She currently acquires short stories and novellas for In addition, she has edited about one hundred science fiction, fantasy, and horror anthologies, including the annual The Best Horror of the Year series, The Doll ...more

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