Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities” as Want to Read:
The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities

(Thackery T. Lambshead)

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  659 ratings  ·  93 reviews
You’ll be astonished by what you’ll find in The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities. Editors Ann and Jeff Vandermeer have gathered together a spectacular array of exhibits, oddities, images, and stories by some of the most renowned and bestselling writers and artists in speculative and graphic fiction, including Ted Chiang, Mike Mignola (creator of Hellboy), China ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published July 12th 2011 by Harper Voyager (first published July 1st 2011)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  659 ratings  ·  93 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities
This book was very interesting and had some nice imaginative pictures. If you like things of the odd, then this book might be right up your alley.
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a monster that shames but does not shamble, that bites but does not shit, that writhes but does not grasp.

This anthology succeeded as a perfect diversion. Premise is simple: fictional scholar/collector travels the world assembling the merely odd and the paranormally affected. Nothing too ghastly. Just weird. I bought it for the heavy-hitters, Moore, Chiang, Negarestani and especially Miéville, and they did not disappoint. Most of these collections are typically hit-and-miss, this one was
Orrin Grey
Aug 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mignola
I've had this fabulous tome for awhile now, and probably still haven't finished reading it, not really. This is not because of a defect in the book, but is rather because it is, as the editors say in the introduction (quoting Oscar Wilde), "a browsing experience, to dip into and to savor, rather than take a wild carriage ride through." And that's exactly how I've been approaching the book, reading an entry here and an entry there, not reading it from cover to cover. And I think it works best ...more
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of speculative fiction, clever storytelling
Book Info: Genre: Satire/speculative shorts
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Those who enjoy speculative fiction and clever storytelling

My Thoughts: I learned about cabinets of curiosities from reading the Pendergast novels by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. One of the novels is actually titled The Cabinet of Curiosities and it explains what these are. Basically, a cabinet of curiosities is a private collection of interesting and odd things, which were quite popular in the 19th century.
5/6 - This book is wacky. And I mean WACKY with a capital W!! It's like a 'choose your own adventure' books crossed with a non-fiction full of footnotes. Every paragraph or so I'm flicking to the contents to find the page number for the correct section that further describes the occult item that was just mentioned in passing in the main body of the text.

If you go by the page numbers I'm only up to page 23, but if you go by the number of pages I've actually read it'd be more like 33. I've had to
Steven Cole
Aug 03, 2011 rated it liked it
I really liked the *idea* behind this book. And I really liked what Ann VenderMeer wrote about the book on John Scalzi's blog, "Whatever". I really wanted to get a kick out of how this thing was done. But aside from a few fun stories, I felt really let down.

Here's the basic premise: Thackery T. Lambshead has a collection of eclectic oddities that he stores in his mansion in some ill-specified cabinet. Each of the contributors to the "Cabinet of Curiosities" anthology contributed words or artwork
JG (The Introverted Reader)
This is an odd collection. I labored my way through the first section, which read like a catalog of museum items, fittingly enough. I'll be honest though--after a couple of those types of stories, I was bored and ready to move on to something different. One of the later stories in that section was pretty horrifying though. That one will stay with me for a while.

I finally got to the second section, which contained stories about the house and collection, and found myself interested. Life
I got this anthology to read the piece by Ted Chiang. I was interrupted by another book, an inter-library loan, that arrived the day after I started Thackery Lambshead. It was a quick read and I got back to this one a few days later. I found myself unable to sit and read for long, arising at the smallest interruption. Before I had reached a quarter of the way through, it was obvious that I had no interest in finishing the book. I can't say why, really. I just had no interest. The stories, little ...more
Chelsea Jennings
Apr 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very unique book. Fiction written as though it were non-fiction. Lots of big words and references to history, culture, physics, you name it-the book incorporated knowledge from all arenas and fields. I spent a lot of time looking up words and researching things and places I wasn't familiar with. I enjoy that learning experience. If you are a polymath this would be a funny and amusing read for you. If you're not, you will need to spend time finding definitions and background info. Although I ...more
Sep 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in weird fiction
How do you describe a book so strange and unique it defies genre? The Cabinet of Curiosities is like no other book. Probably closest to steampunk, that doesn't even begin to describe it. The illegitimate child of Monty Python and Umberto Eco.

Full of contributions from dozens of artists and authors, it's "entries" vary from stories inspired by, to descriptions of the items contained (or formerly residing, or related to) in the Cabinet, a sort of organic museum itself that defies description,
Douglas Summers-Stay
Jan 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: borgesian, fantasy
A group of science fiction authors made up Dr. Lambshead, an eccentric collector of the bizarre and macabre, and wrote a series of pseudo-scholarly essays describing items in his collection. It's a genre I really like but is pretty sparsely populated: fiction in the form of nonfiction. A lot of it is playing with the uncanny, things that are almost, but not quite, human; or straddle the line between animate and inanimate.
I don't know whether I've read the whole book, it's the sort of thing that
Weird shit A sprawling museum of impossible things, of magical and mechanical oddities straddling the real. The postmodern enthusiast with a fantastical imagination will find much to wonder at. The objects are as fascinating as the stories created around them, drawn from an arensal of speculative subgenres: clockwork inventions, Tesla's dabblings, modern sculpture, artefacts of mysterious possibly occult origin, and others too weird for any adequate explanation. I liked the latter-most best, ...more
Oct 03, 2018 rated it liked it
I got to page 170 of this book and then decided to set it aside. It's a very creative idea; the whole book is about a fake man name Lambshead and his curiosities. It's written like a non-fiction book. I wasn’t a huge fan of Vandermeer’s “City of Saints and Madmen” either and I didn’t realize this book was related to that one (which it is).

This isn't the kind of book you sit down and read, but rather a good coffee table book that you pick up now and then and read a bit of. It's intriguing, odd,
Barbara ★
I admit to having difficulty with this book. It's fiction but is presented as non-fiction which totally threw me little mind. There were a few stories I enjoyed but the majority were just too strange for my tastes. Not something I would recommend to anyone.
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting frame premise and very good epistolary stories
Jan 28, 2012 marked it as to-read
"The Singing Fish" by Amal El-Mohtar is just wonderful. Now I want this book.
Dr. Thackery T. Lambshead led an interesting life as everyone knows. A lot has been said about his cabinet since his death almost 15 years ago, though no one has gone far enough as to gather as many stories, accounts, and articles about the doctor and his things as Ann and Jeff Vandermeer have in this collection. Dozens of sci-fi and fantasy artists and writers contributed to this compilation and it stands as a fun and enlightening testament to the life and work of this great man.

While the
Sandi Dickenson
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Amusing. Unbelievable imagination in creating gadgets of all sorts.

One that captured my interest in particular was a robotic nanny built in 1903. Milk went in the head and was dispersed through a nipple in a metal shaped breast. Metal arms held and rocked the baby as lullabies played.
A child raised was raised on it in late 1920's by his father. In early 1930's he was deemed mentally feebile (after he was removed from the mechanical nanny and transferred to his father's care). 1945 research
Horror DNA
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gabino-iglesias
The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities is an eye-pleasing hardback tome that hits the scales at 320 pages and contains contributions by a mind-blowing array of writers and artists. The project, which comes on the heels of the success of The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases, achieves a very nice balance between stories, essays, academic journal articles, museum catalog entries and first-rate art. Since not all segments of the book shine equally, ...more
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was okay, not great. The writing was cute but there was nothing really wonderful in this that would make me want to read it again or purchase it.
A nice premise, but the writing does not live up to the idea.
Feb 08, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Anthology written as if it were a nonfiction account of a person and his odd collection of random items, and stories associated with it. Amazingly creative idea, plodding and agonizingly boring execution.
Jo Stevens
Apr 06, 2018 rated it did not like it
The only thing that would have made this book even remotely interesting would be if the curiosities had been real. However they are not and they are written about in the most boring of ways. I don't think I'll read anymore like this.
G.L. Francis
Loved the illustrations as much as the fantastic stories & 'history' surrounding the mysterious Lambshead exhibits.
Charles Crain
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite the collection of weird fiction. It was a nice, short anthology. If you are looking for a sampling of style for authors you have not read before, this would be a nice and quick introduction.
Jun 08, 2017 rated it liked it
This book started out really strong with some very interesting stories, but at the halfway mark I lost interest.
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Out of dozens of pieces, there were only a few I really enjoyed. My favourite was the gallows-horse.

The theme of cataloguing strange objects led to what felt like a writing exercise, and while it's fun to read familiar author's attempts at a piece in the theme, it was by and large meh to me.
Sep 29, 2016 rated it liked it
It's a shame I have an electronic copy for a physical copy is mandatory to appreciate the encyclopedic nature of this amazing anthology.

As any anthology, when the story is good, it's bewildering. When the story is average, it drags the whole concept with it.

So there's a little bit of both, no surprise there.

Yet, the overall concept, the fictional conceit and the stories that work make this a must have book.
Aug 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all Steampunks and people interested in weird fiction
The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities is by far the strangest collection of tales I have thus far laid my hands on. It is also one of the most fascinating.

Where to start? This whole book is one complete piece of art, within and without. The hardcover is beautifully designed and a gem in every bookshelf. The stories,tales, artwork, photographs inside are entertaining, inspiering and sometimes rather haunting. The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities: Exhibits, Oddities, Images,
All Things Urban Fantasy
Review Courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

THE THACKERTY T. LAMSHEAD CABINET OF CURIOSITIES is a unique compilation of bizarre object illustrations and stories about the fictional Dr. Lambshead’s collection of knick knacks, relics, and devices found in his massive cabinet. I was amazed at the detailed yet fictional history of Dr. Lambshead and his cabinet provided in the introduction. What follows this elaborate introduction is a massive and varied collection of stories about the cabinet and its
Aug 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2011
Thackery T. Lambshead. I didn't read reviews of this, but what I'd seen of it at various bookstores and events, I knew I wanted to read it. The concept of a cabinet of curiosities and the stories behind the items thrilled me, not only because I love a good story, but also because I am intrigued by unique and random items. Ripley's Believe It or Not stories were some of my favorite childhood reading and I expected something similar. However, I didn't realize that there isn't actually a Thackery ...more
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories
  • The Long Way Down (Daniel Faust, #1)
  • Siege and Sacrifice (Numina #3)
  • Myths and Mortals (Numina #2)
  • Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction
  • Windswept (Windswept, #1)
  • The Color of Distance
  • Video Night
  • The Pandora Directive
  • Singularity Sky (Eschaton, #1)
  • Atlanta Burns (Atlanta Burns #1)
  • The Harvest Cycle
  • Beyond the Door
  • Blood Society
  • Hillary: Tail of the Dog (Hillary, #1)
  • The Jigsaw Man
  • Fear the Abyss
  • Haunted (David Ash, #1)
See similar books…
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

Other books in the series

Thackery T. Lambshead (2 books)
  • The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases