Friday 1 November 2013

Unnatural Creatures by Neil Gaiman

Unnatural Creatures is a collection of short stories about the fantastical things that exist only in our minds—collected and introduced by beloved New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman.

The sixteen stories gathered by Gaiman, winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, range from the whimsical to the terrifying. The magical creatures range from werewolves to sunbirds to beings never before classified. E. Nesbit, Diana Wynne Jones, Gahan Wilson, and other literary luminaries contribute to the anthology.

I don't read anthologies very often but I do enjoy them. Something about a collection of short stories is so easy to read, and ones written and picked out by Neil Gaiman must be good!

I'm not going to talk about all sixteen stories, I'm just going to highlight some of them. The one's I really liked and would like to talk about. So first one was Blob by Gahan Wilson. It isn't actually called Blob, it's title is actually a picture of a squiggly line but I'm gonna call it Blob. This tells of a dark ink blot on the tablecloth that moves and grows. I really liked this one, it was easy to read and very entertaining. Next is Sunbird by Neil Gaiman, a story about a group of people that ate every living thing and had run out of animals to try. They go on the hunt for a Sunbird to eat, which is supposed to be simply delicious. This reminded me of Queen Victoria's club in Pirates! In An Adventure with Scientists which was odd but I still really enjoyed it. Then there was The Flight of the Horse by Larry Niven, where a man goes back in time to find a horse, from a future where no such creature still exists. It seems he goes back a bit too far and the animal he finds is a bit different than the one in the pictures. I loved this one, how it was both science-fictional and mystical. 

Another sort of mystical one was The Manticore, the Mermaid, and Me by Megan Kurashige. The story itself was quite weird but fantastical enough for me to be intrigued. But really, I liked it for the mixing of animals, like sewing together a monkey and a fish to make a fake mermaid, and the behind-the-scenes at the Natural History Museum. The Smile on the Face, by Nalo Hopkinson was more modern than the rest, where a girl swallows a cherry pit and goes to a party. She gets groped in a cupboard and turns into something amazing. Sounds weird, I know, but I really liked this one, with its blend of magic and folklore in the modern world. And finally, Come Lady Death by Peter S. Beagle. A rich and bored Lady in London invites Death to a ball, who turns out to be a beautiful young woman. I'm not entirely sure why I liked this one so much, maybe just because I am fascinated by Death, but it sure wasn't because I liked the Lady what's-her-face, because she was awful. 

All sixteen tales had an original twist on the mystical and science fiction, which I loved. Although I didn't love all of them, they were all enjoyable for one reason or another. Some for the amazing creatures, some for the incredulous characters, and some because Death featured!

Published 23rd April 2013 by Harper Collins.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not generally a huge fan of short stories, but I do find myself always enjoying them when Neil Gaiman writes them...