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The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities

(Thackery T. Lambshead)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  692 ratings  ·  99 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)
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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.
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 thi ...more
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
Oct 13, 2020 rated it liked it

Personal highlights:
"Dacey's Patent Automatic Nanny" by Ted Chiang
"Lot 558: Shadow of My Nephew by Wells, Charlotte" by Holly Black
"A Short History of Dunkelblau's Meistergarten" by Tad Williams
"Shamalung (The Diminutions)" by Michael Moorcock
"Pulvadmonitor: The Dust's Warning" by China Miéville
"The Thing in the Jar" by Michael Cisco
"A Key to the Castleblakeney Key" by Caitlín R. Kiernan
"1972: The Lichenologist's Visit" by Ekaterina Sedia
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. Wh
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
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 enjo ...more
JG (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 interven
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, lit
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
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, sho ...more
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
Chris Browning
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was ok
I’m being generous with those two stars. This really rubbed me up the wrong way with a panoply of writers and artists I otherwise really like and respect mistaking playful for self indulgence. It’s so slight and daft that the stories have no tension whatsoever. It’s all undercut by the general sense of a mutual admirers all dicking about and writing the slightest pieces imaginable and thinking it will do. Moorcock almost acquits himself, Moore falls to pieces utterly after a rather lovely initia ...more
Jun 24, 2020 marked it as maybe-one-day
I've only added this book because there are contributions from Naomi Novik, Holly Black and Garth Nix. The other contributions may be good but I'm particularly interested in reading the above three. If anyone knows where I can read them separately, let me know. ...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, b
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.
Jan 28, 2012 marked it as to-read
"The Singing Fish" by Amal El-Mohtar is just wonderful. Now I want this book. ...more
Oct 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
This book was a waste of my time. If I wasn't so against the simple action of burning books, I would burn this one. ...more
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting frame premise and very good epistolary stories
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.
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 famou
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 stu
Chrystal Hays
Jan 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
One has to be very much in a whimsical sort of mood when reading this book.
It's fanciful detail and basic premise are not made abundantly clear.
"Threads" by Carrie Vaughn is my favorite of the short stories.
The section entitled A Brief Catalog of Other Items is probably the next that is very pleasing and delightful to me.
Understand that much of this tome is documentary in nature.
It's very much a mixed bag.
As has been the case since childhood, discrepancies between text and illustration irk
Sep 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
I became interested in this book after reading a short story by Ted Chiang in his anthology "Exhalation" which was also included in this collection. Chiang's piece is indeed intelligent, quirky and weird (as most of his work is), and I was hoping the rest of the Cabinet could be as well. Sadly, I didn't find the other stories as good or interesting as Chiang's. Don't get me wrong, the premise is enticing and the stories are well written, by some sci-fi, fantasy and weird powerhouses such as Mièv ...more
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, we' ...more
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. ...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.
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

It took me a few pages but once I really started reading it I was hooked since there’s not much that surprises me from reading so many books from so many genres and authors. The more unpredictable the better and a good plot and subject as well.
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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

Other books in the series

Thackery T. Lambshead (2 books)
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