Wonders of the Invisible World ★★★★☆

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Title: Wonders of the Invisible World
Author: Patricia McKillip
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 276
Words: 98.5K

  • “Introduction” by Charles de Lint
  • “Wonders of the Invisible World” (from Full Spectrum 5, Aug. 1995) – a researcher goes back in time to record Cotton Mather’s religious visions, finding his ravings not what they expected.
  • “Out of the Woods” (from Flights: Extreme Visions of Fantasy, Jun. 2004) – a reflection on how magic is often missed by those searching for it.
  • “The Kelpie” (from The Fair Folk, Jan. 2005) – a story of courtship and obsession illustrating the overlap between life and art.
  • “Hunter’s Moon” (from The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest, May 2002) – a seductive, chilling encounter with the dangers of Faerie.
  • “Oak Hill” (from The Essential Bordertown, Aug. 1998) – an ugly young woman on the way to Bordertown is trapped in a terrifying cityscape known as Oak Hill, and explores it in search of magic.
  • “The Fortune-Teller” (from The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales, Jun. 2007) – a young woman thieves a pack of strange cards from an unconscious roadside fortune-teller.
  • “Jack O’Lantern” (from Firebirds Rising: An Anthology of Original Science Fiction and Fantasy, Apr. 2006) – a young girl struggling with the impending marriage of her sister seeks out magic during a picnic, fearing it will her last chance before she grows up.
  • “Knight of the Well” (from A Book of Wizards, May 2008) – a society built around the veneration of water finds that element inexplicably rejecting them.
  • “Naming Day” (from Wizards: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy, May 2007) – a teenage witch who cannot decide on her magical name is compelled to chase after an imp during the titular Naming Day Ceremony.
  • “Byndley” (from Firebirds: An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction, Sep. 2003) – a man who once escaped the world of faerie seeks to return that which he stole.
  • “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” (from A Wolf at the Door and Other Retold Fairy Tales, Jul. 2000) – a macabre retelling of a traditional fairy tale.
  • “Undine” (from The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm, Jun. 2004) – a water spirit falls victim to her own prey.
  • “Xmas Cruise” (from Christmas Forever, Nov. 1993) – a surreal tale that follows two couples aboard an environmentalism cruise.
  • “A Gift to Be Simple” (from Not of Woman Born, Mar. 1999) – a fictional pseudo-Christian religious faction realize that their numbers are dwindling and decide to take drastic action.
  • “The Old Woman and the Storm” (from Imaginary Lands, Dec. 1985) – an allegory.
  • “The Doorkeeper of Khaat” (from Full Spectrum 2, Apr. 1989) – a science fiction tale regarding two alien species with very different cultures, and the poet who attempts to cross that divide in search of meaning and art.
  • “What Inspires Me: Guest of Honor Speech at WisCon 28, 2004”
My Thoughts:

I was sure that when I read Harrowing the Dragon last year that that was my last McKillip read until I started the cycle again. I’m not even sure how I stumbled across this book of her short stories but stumble I did and so I have one final McKillip to read and review.

McKillip is an odd duck when it comes to short stories. Some of them are so fantastic that you wonder why she doesn’t stick with the format. Then you read some others and are like “Oh, that is why”. Some of these just ended, like she’d taken a butcher’s knife to the story. It was very disconcerting. Others, you could see the same genius flitting about the story that she exhibits when writing her novels.

I did enjoy the final chapter where she talks about her life and writing. Now, as many of you know, I am firmly of the camp of “Authors are not People” so I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading her recollections. I do need to track this down in hardcover and get a copy for my collection.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

46 thoughts on “Wonders of the Invisible World ★★★★☆

    1. Had issues with one of my reusable blocks and it turns out the theme I was using (dusk to dawn) had been retired back in ’15 and I had been coasting along avoiding accidents left and right. So I changed themes. I’d expect to see little changes as I poke around to see what’s what.

      That IS a mermaid on the cover. Your keen male gaze has seen well! hahahahaa.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I tried to see Dr Bookstooge but apparently he’d gone out of business? Poor guy. Some hulking green fellow seems to have taken over his place.

          I don’t know. I’m not real good at authenticating pictures and telling if they’ve been photoshopped or not.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. If you had read yesterday’s post more carefully, instead of dissing Lucky Charms and Lepreconns, you’d have noticed that Dr Lord Bookstodge is no more. He was replaced by The Bookstooge. I even added an extra space in that post to act as a commemoration as a Moment of Silence. Because you and I are very good about being silent. As our comment boxes show.

              I had a closer look and I think you are right. That is not a real mermaid.
              It’s a real fairy.

              Liked by 1 person

                1. I was Dr of Everything. So pretty much what JB thinks she is, I actually was. But I realized it was too limiting, so I decided to go the eponymous “The” route. You watch, if PrZ Joey B doesn’t start going by “The JB” I’ll eat my hat. He is always copying me.

                  No fairies? What kind of blind, anti-scyenze fringe nut yob are you? EVERYBODY believes in fairies. Some girl at the UN wrote a report so they must be real. She even used real numbers, like 1, 5 and even a fraction 1/4. It doesn’t get more real than that!

                  Liked by 2 people

                  1. What, is Joe Biden your president now, I thought it was the guy with the horns and the furry hat…must try and keep track.

                    The UN may believe in fairies but I don’t. Elves, goblins, all nonsense. Not round these parts. No mythical creatures expect Nessie…

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. He’s been confirmed as Prez, so lawfully, he is the President. And unlike the immature nevertrumpers who spent 4years defiantly declaring #notmypresident, we’re not like that. JB IS our president, even if we don’t like it one bit. But we acknowledge it.

                      Oh come on, who doesn’t believe in Nessie? Even the Notorious Psychic G believes in Nessie! Now, if the President of the EU writes a memo in 4/10 boom rave tempo acknowledging Nessie, THEN I’ll be impressed.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. I’m beginning to wonder if you’re in the same party as the mad guys I see on CNN…and we’re not in the EU, so Nessie is not under EU law. Who would even dare to suggest our national monster isn’t real? Give me names!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. The Communist News Network probably does consider me of the same ilk as the guys who ran into the House.

                      Then I demand to see a memorandum from Lucky the Lepreconn in 3/7 Scottish Boom Wave tempo! As for names, how about PrZ Joey B? I have NEVER heard him say he thinks Nessie is real. His silence on the issue is damning on the world stage.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. I’ll be publishing an actual picture of Nessie in the next few days. Don’t need Joe to say she’s real or not, doesn’t change my reality!
                      Trying to remember who was posting ‘not my president’ back in November…who was that? Alex? Fraggle?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    5. Well, if you can get that pix signed by Lucky, I’ll be glad to sell it on ebay for you.

                      Probably was them. Since they’re not Americans, I would hope neither Trump nor Biden would be their President. We have enough problems without trying to handle you guys as well!

                      Liked by 1 person

    1. or magazines. SFF has a long history with anthologies and magazines being a tried and true way of an author supporting themselves. It makes collections like a necessity, as there is no way I’d ever be able to track down all of those publications just for the one McKillip story in them 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I like this new, wider theme you got going. It looks more 21st century. Good on you, Mr. Bookstooge.

    As far as the reading, this one looks very interesting, indeed. So, this is fiction stories mixed with bio information?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Like I told Ol’10, one of my reusable blocks had issues and because my theme was retired, the wp team was all “shrug, not our problem”. So I changed the theme and voila, the block worked just fine. I hate forced obsolescence. I had 2 I was waffling between and this won because of the menus at the top without any fiddling.

      It isn’t a mix but sharply defined. The last chapter/story is her speech at some con where she goes over her history as a writer. It was quite interesting as she does an admirable job of working in all the highlights of her extensive history.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yep, the title of the book was taken from the first story, which is based on that idea. She doesn’t even try to be balanced in showing anything about Mather. In this, he’s a raving lunatic who is going to doom all rational humans because of his religious mania. I’ve run across that idea enough from non-historians that I pretty much shrug it off now.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Great that you found a new-to-you McKillip book. An introduction by Charles de Lint? Wow, there’s a name from the past. I went through a phase of reading some of his books years ago. They were hit and miss, but I did enjoy some of them. I like reading author’s recollections, so that last chapter sounds good to me. Must read more McKillip!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just went looking and you know what? I’ve never read a thing by DeLint. I’ve heard the name a lot, so maybe that is why I felt like I had 😀

      If you like the musings of authors, that speech by McKillip will definitely hit the sweet spot for you. And yes, you DO need to read McKillip. At least find out if she is for you or not 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I do enjoy learning about authors and their creative processes: the most memorable instances I can recall are the personal bits shared by GRR Martin at the beginning of the various sections in his Dreamsongs collections, and those by Stephen King in his book “On Writing”. I guess authors are *people* for me… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. if you do end up trying these, after them try her other short story collection, Harrowing the Dragon. That is much more indicative of her full novels and if you like this AND Harrowing, you’ll like her stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I was looking around and hoping it came in hardcover. It’s only in paperback, ebook or audio. So now I have to decide just how much I really want to own a physical copy since I have the ebook :-/


    1. Hahahahaa! You have no idea how happy I was to discover this.
      The only downside is that I discovered it was not released in hardcover so now I have to decide just how bad I want a papercopy.


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