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Imaginary Lands (Damar)

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  502 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
It was on a ferry ride to Manhattan that the idea for this anthology was conceived: Sometimes the ground the characters of a story walk on is no more than that; but sometimes the landscape is a character in its own right. Nine writers, including James P. Blaylock, Peter Dickinson, Patricia A. McKillip, P C Hodgell and the editor, Robin McKinley, have written stories where ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 26th 1987 by Julia MacRae (first published 1985)
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Althea Ann
Imaginary Lands - Robin McKinley, ed.

I expected to like this anthology a lot more than I did. Many of the authors are ones that I greatly like and respect; and a couple of the entries were excellent - but others fell a bit flat, to me.

• James P. Blaylock. Paper Dragons. 1985
This story had a bit too much of the classic 'tall tale' to it for my taste. Those who enjoy that sort of thing may love it, but it just wasn't for me.

• Patricia A. McKillip. The Old Woman and the Storm. 1985
This was
Apr 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I really struggled through this anthology. I picked it up because of McKinley's name on the cover. I love Robin McKinley, but this book makes me embarrased for her and several of the authors who contributed. Some of the stories felt like they were just trying so hard to make the setting of the story the focal point that the actual story was completely lost or irrelevant. Most of them did not include enough character development to make the characters matter to the reader and very few of them hel ...more
Maureen E
Nov 10, 2008 rated it liked it
edited by Robin McKinley

This the second time I've read this anthology. Oddly enough, I think I liked it more this time around. There were still a few stories I wasn't as wild about. But "Flight" by Peter Dickinson, "The Old Woman and the Storm" by Patricia McKillip, and "The Stone Fey" by Robin McKinley herself were all, in my opinion, excellent. They were also, interestingly enough, the stories which I felt best fulfilled the stated mission of the book: "the stories...must have a particularly s
Jun 14, 2008 rated it liked it
A collection of stories . . . some are good. Not a super-strong collection.
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Mixed bag as all anthologies are. Best three were The Big Rock Candy Mountain, Tam Lin, The Stone Fey. All three slightly eerie, with BRCM more modern and Tam Lin a bittersweet ending. Stone Fey best of the bunch. Honourable mention for Flight which had an interesting central idea that faded in and out of focus due to the conceit that it was a historical narrative over centuries.
Selah Pike
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars for Robin McKinley's The Stone Fey, aka the reason i bought this book.
Apr 24, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this collection of short stories which had a particular focus on setting.

James P Blaylock, Paper Dragons - this is an odd steam punk story about a man who watches his neighbour's attempt to build a mechanical dragon, and gets caught up in the stories about a famous vivisector who combines animal parts and machinery to create new creatures; also, his other neighbour is an observer of sea life.
Patricia A. McKillip, The Old Woman and the Storm - an allegory set in prehistoric times, about
Stephen Case
Nov 24, 2013 rated it liked it
My wife brought this anthology home because it was edited by her favorite author. I've never been enthralled by McKinley myself, but I recognized several of the authors in this collection and decided to give it a chance. Also, my wife made the task easier by marking those stories she felt were particularly enjoyable. So, my caveat to this review is that I've actually only read 5/9ths of the entire volume.

The highpoint for me was "Flight" by Peter Dickinson, which was quite wonderful. It was a we
Jul 03, 2010 rated it liked it
A story collection, Robin McKinley edited and contributed one story (The Stone Fey, which is also available separately).

It wasn't really great. I think I was expecting stories more like Robin's but they weren't really. A couple were the weird, surreal stories that seem to think themselves cool or highly literary when they leave the reader going "Huh? Was that based on half an odd dream, or what?" that you find in fantasy collections but never make it as books. I wouldn't have considered it a gre
Feb 25, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantastical
On the whole, I was a little disappointed by this short story collection; I had high expectations of an anthology, edited by McKinley, but none of the stories other than McKinley's own "The Stone Fey" particularly resonated with me. And if you want to read "The Stone Fey", I'd recommend the stand-alone illustrated version.

Still three stars, though. A disappointing McKinley collection is still better than most collections.
Unit of Raine
Nov 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
Blah. Wasn't really in the mood. I mainly chose this book for the Darian short story. And it was poorly written. Which hasn't inspired me to read any of the other stories in the collection. Thank goodness for library books ...
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
None of the stories in here were very appealing to me. Though some of them might appeal to other readers, or even to me in a different mood. I mainly got this from the library because I was mildly surprised that Robin McKinley had edited an anthology.
Jul 19, 2016 rated it liked it
I really read this book to read McKinley's short story about Damar which was SO intriguing and had such a solid, original ending. The other stories were good and, from a teaching perspective, had excellent descriptive paragraphs/"snapshots" to use for instruction.
Nov 29, 2007 rated it liked it
So the story in this anthology that has haunted me forever is for some reason "The Big Rock Candy Mountain." I don't even remember what the story was about fully except that it was an underground land where everything was coated with salt crystals, including a man and a horse.
Aug 18, 2008 rated it liked it
I may have read this when it came out -- many of the stories were familiar, although not the one I liked best, by Robert Westall.
Mar 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Books like this are great for finding new authors and new "worlds." I'm already making a list of existing lands that I would like to futher explore!
Jul 13, 2009 rated it liked it
"The Stone Fey" is enchanting as always. The rest of the short stories were just okay.
Lisa Rathbun
Not one I want my kids to read until they're older. Very well written, very interesting, they pull you in completely.
Lucianna Mee
Feb 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
An anthology of short stories by various writers.
A nice collection of fantasy stories (and SF?--not sure), edited by McKinley.
Sep 22, 2011 rated it liked it
I didn't enjoy most of these stories, but a couple of them were enjoyable.
Dec 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
If you read nothing else in here, read Peter Dickinson's contribution. You don't know irony until you've read "Flight." Dryly hilarious, in a pseudo-dry-as-dust-history kind of way.
Oct 16, 2011 rated it liked it
I didn't know that this book existed but randomly ran across it in the library. Short story collection compiled by Robin McKinley from 1986. I enjoyed it but probably won't read it again.
I thought I would enjoy this more than I did.
Sheri Larsen
rated it really liked it
Feb 19, 2010
rated it really liked it
Sep 10, 2007
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Dec 14, 2011
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May 02, 2010
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Born in her mother's hometown of Warren, Ohio, Robin McKinley grew up an only child with a father in the United States Navy. She moved around frequently as a child and read copiously; she credits this background with the inspiration for her stories.

Her passion for reading was one of the most constant things in her childhood, so she began to remember events, places, and time periods by what books
More about Robin McKinley...

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Damar (4 books)
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“It doesn't matter if I'm only to be gone four days, as in this case; I take six months' supply of reading material everywhere. Anyone who needs further explication of this eccentricity can find it usefully set out in the first pages of W. Somerset Maugham's story "The Book-Bag.” 22 likes
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