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

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3.62  ·  Rating details ·  363 ratings  ·  31 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
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Paperback, 404 pages
Published November 5th 2002 by Eos (first published 1998)
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Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  363 ratings  ·  31 reviews


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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.

Contents:

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
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Marquise
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
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David
These titles were copied from Althea Ann's excellent review.

Liked:
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
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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.
Juushika
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. ...more
Marsha
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
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Laura
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.
Bridgett
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."
Johanna
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Consistently excellent, sexy stories with few exceptions.
Cozette
Aug 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Great collection with surprising characters.
Asaria
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
Dec 30, 2019 marked it as up-next  ·  review of another edition
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
Kei
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.
Johanna
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
One of the poorest collections Datlow and Windling have ever edited. Do not recommend.
Stefanie
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, ...more
Kimberly
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
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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
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SmokingMirror
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
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John
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
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Jen
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... :)
Lali
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.
MissingNorth
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: have
Fantastic collection of erotic tales by excellent authors (not a clunker amongst them) cultivated by Terri Windling (the supreme of Urban Fantasy) and Ellen Datlow (of Omni fiction fame).

None of the twenty-two tales trod upon another; each are fresh and differently faceted, covering the spectrum of genres while perfectly maintaining the deamon lover theme.
Rebekah
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
Cindywho
Sep 03, 2007 rated it liked it
I picked my way through over a month or so through this collection of stories. They were intense, most were erotic and some were creepy, but none were bad. It was nice to find some old and new favorite authors like Delia Sherman, Pat Murphy, Kelly Eskridge and Neil Gaiman. (June 15, 2006)
Stacy
Mar 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
This is a great collection of erotic stories by some terrific authors. Some of the authors I was already familiar with, some not. Definitely steamy - not for the younger kids.
Doranna Durgin
Jul 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Not all of this work was to my taste, but a wonderful consistency of beautifully written and affecting stories.
Jeanette
so far the title is proving to be the most luring part of the book...but that could be because of my pain medication!
Shalini Nemo
Dec 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I thought this would be about lovers of different species or dimensions working their way through their relationships. Did not expect overt erotica. Stopped after a few stories.
Amy
Jul 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great collection of short stories, including the tales "Taking Loup" by Bruce Glassco and "Wolfed" by Tanith Lee.
Jenn
Dec 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
I gave it 4 because of the stories I did like.
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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
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“She tasted the day he lost his first job. She tasted the morning he had awakened, still drunk, in his car, in the middle of a cornfield, and, terrified, had sworn off the bottle for ever. She knee his real name. She remembered the name that had once been tattooed on his arm and knew why it could be there no longer. She tasted the color of his eyes from the inside, and shivered at the nightmare he had in which he was forced to carry spiny fish in his mouth, and from which he woke, choking, night after night. She savored the hungers in food and fiction, and discovered a dark sky when he was a small boy and he had stared up at the stars and wondered at their vastness and immensity, that even he had forgotten.” 4 likes
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