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Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers: Magical Tales of Love and Seduction
     

Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers: Magical Tales of Love and Seduction

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by Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling, Storm Constantine, Delia Sherman, Joyce Carol Oates
 

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A dangerously seductive collection of tales that—like the sirens themselves—are impossible to resist
Sensuality mingles with fantasy in this sultry anthology starring fairies, sphinxes, werewolves, and other beings by masterful storytellers including Joyce Carol Oates, Neil Gaiman, Jane Yolen, Ellen Kushner, and more. Sirens and Other Daemon

Overview

A dangerously seductive collection of tales that—like the sirens themselves—are impossible to resist
Sensuality mingles with fantasy in this sultry anthology starring fairies, sphinxes, werewolves, and other beings by masterful storytellers including Joyce Carol Oates, Neil Gaiman, Jane Yolen, Ellen Kushner, and more. Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers features a vampire who falls in love with her human prey, an updated Red Riding Hood fantasy, an unsuspecting young man who innocently joins in seductive faerie revelry, and a cat goddess made human. Alluring and charismatic, this collection from master editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling will stimulate more than just your imagination. This ebook features illustrated biographies of Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, including rare photos from the editors’ personal collections.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781453273241
Publisher:
Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Publication date:
09/11/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
312
Sales rank:
343,589
File size:
11 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

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Read an Excerpt

My Lady of the Hearth

Storm Constantine



The most beautiful women in the world have a cat-like quality. They slink, they purr; claws sheathed in silken fur. In the privacy of their summer gardens, in the green depths of forests, I believe they shed themselves of their attire, even to their human flesh, and stretch their bodies to the sun and their secret deity. She, the Queen of Cats, is Pu-ryah, daughter of the Eye of the Sun; who both roars the vengeance of the solar fire and blesses the hearth of the home. Given that the goddess, and by association her children, has so many aspects, is it any wonder that men have ever been perplexed by the subtleties of females and felines? Yet even as we fear them, we adore them.

When I was young I had a wife, and she was a true daughter of Pu-ryah. It began in this way.

When my father died, I inherited the family seat on the edge of the city, its numerous staff, and a sizable fortune. The estate earned money for me, administered by the capable hands of its managers, and I was free to pursue whatever interests I desired. My mother, whom I barely remembered (for she died when I was very young), had bequeathed her beauty to me: I was not an ill-favored man. Yet despite these privileges, joy of the heart eluded me. I despaired of ever finding a mate. Thirty years old, and romance had always turned sour on me. I spent much of my time painting, and portraits of a dozen lost loves adorned the walls of my home; their cold eyes stared down at me with disdain, their lips forever smiling. It had come to the point where I scorned the goddess of love; she must haveblighted me at birth.

It was not long past my thirtieth birthday and, following the celebrations, my latest beloved, Delphina Corcos, had sent her maid to me with a letter, which advised me she had taken herself off to a distant temple, where she vowed to serve the Blind Eunuch of Chastity for eternity. Her decision had been swayed by a dream of brutish masculinity, in which I figured in some way-I forget the details now.

The banners of my birthday fete still adorned my halls, and I tore them down myself, in full sight of the servants, ranting against the whims of all women, to whom the security of love seemed to mean little at all. The letter in all its brevity was lost amid the debris. I dare say some maid picked it up in order to laugh at my loss with her female colleagues.

Still hot with grief and rage, I locked myself in my private rooms and here sat contemplating my hurts, with the light of summer shuttered away at the windows. Women: demonesses all! I heard the feet of servants patter past my doors, their whispers. Later, my steward would be sent to me by the housekeeper, and then, after hearing his careful inquiries as to my state of mind, I might consider reappearing in the house for dinner. Until then, I intended to surrender myself entirely to the indulgence of bitterness.

In the gloom, my little cat, Simew, came daintily to my side, rubbing her sleek fur against my legs, offering a gentle purr of condolence. She was a beautiful creature, a gift from a paramour some three years previously. Her fur was golden, each hair tipped with black along her flanks and spine, while her belly was a deep, rich amber. She was sleek and neat, loved by all in the house for her fastidiousness and affectionate nature. Now, I lifted her onto my lap, and leaned down to press my cheek against her warm flank. "Ali, Simmi, my sweet angel," I crooned. "You are always faithful, offering love without condition. I would be lucky to find a mistress as accommodating as you."

Simew gazed up at me, kneading my robes with her paws, blinking in the way that cats show us their affection. She could not speak, yet I felt her sympathy for me. I resolved then that my time with women was done. There was much to be thankful for: my health, my inheritance, and the love of a loyal cat. Though her life would be shorter than mine, her daughters and their children might be my companions until the day I died. Many men had less than this. Simew leaned against my chest, pressing her head into my hand, purring rapturously. It seemed she said to me, "My lord, what need have we of sharp-tongued interlopers? We have each other."

Cheered at once, I put Simew down carefully on the floor and went to throw my shutters wide, surprising a couple of servants who were stationed beyond the window, apparently in the act of gathering flowers. I smiled at them and cried, "Listen for my sorrow all you like. You'll not hear it."

Embarrassed, the two prostrated themselves, quaking. I picked up my cat and strode to the doors. "Come, Simew, why waste time on lamenting? I shall begin a new painting." Together, we went to my studio.

I decided I would paint a likeness of Simew, in gratitude for the comfort she had given me. It would have pride of place in my gallery of women. I arranged the cat on a crimson cushion, and for a while she was content to sit there, one leg raised like a mast as she set about grooming her soft belly. Then, she became bored, jumped from her bed and began crying out her ennui. I had made only a few preliminary sketches, but could not be angry with her. While she explored the room, clambering from table to shelf, I ignored the sounds of falling pots and smashing vases, and concentrated on my new work. It would be Pu-ryah I would paint; a lissom, cat-headed woman. Simew's face would be the model...

Meet the Author

Ellen Datlow, an acclaimed science fiction and fantasy editor, was born and raised in New York City. She has been a short story and book editor for more than thirty years and has edited or coedited several critically acclaimed anthologies of speculative fiction, including the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror series and Black Thorn, White Rose (1994) with Terri Windling. Datlow has received numerous honors, including multiple Shirley Jackson, Bram Stoker, Hugo, Locus, and World Fantasy Awards, and Life Achievement Awards from the Horror Writers Association and the World Fantasy Association, to name just a few. She resides in New York.   Terri Windling is a writer and editor of science fiction and fantasy, an essayist on the mythic arts, and a visual artist. She is the author of the bestselling books The Wood Wife (1996) and The Essential Bordertown (1999). Windling has co-edited many collections with renowned editor Ellen Datlow, including the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror series. Windling has received multiple awards for fantasy and science fiction literature, including the Science Fiction Writers of America’s Solstice Award for outstanding contributions to the speculative fiction field and the Bram Stoker Award. Windling is also a visual artist whose mythic-themed work has appeared across the United States and Europe. She currently resides in Arizona and Devon, England. 
Terri Windling is a writer and editor of science fiction and fantasy, an essayist on the mythic arts, and a visual artist. She is the author of the bestselling books The Wood Wife (1996) and The Essential Bordertown (1999). Windling has co-edited many collections with renowned editor Ellen Datlow, including the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror series. Windling has received multiple awards for fantasy and science fiction literature, including the Science Fiction Writers of America’s Solstice Award for outstanding contributions to the speculative fiction field and the Bram Stoker Award. Windling is also a visual artist whose mythic-themed work has appeared across the United States and Europe. She currently resides in Arizona and Devon, England.

Joyce Carol Oates is the author of over seventy books encompassing novels, poetry, criticism, story collections, plays, and essays. Her novel Them won the National Book Award in Fiction in 1970. Oates has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters for more than three decades and currently holds the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professorship at Princeton University. 
 
Michael Swanwick has received the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, and Theodore Sturgeon awards for his work. His short fiction has appeared in Omni, Penthouse, Asimov’s, High Times, and numerous other publications, and many pieces have been reprinted in best-of-the-year anthologies. He has written nine novels, among them In the Drift, Stations of the Tide, the New York Times Notable Book The Iron Dragon’s Daughter, Jack Faust, and, most recently, Chasing the Phoenix. Swanwick lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Marianne Porter, and their son, Sean.
 
Elizabeth Wein (b. 1964) is an author of young adult novels and short stories. After growing up in New York City; England; Jamaica; and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, she attended Yale University and received her doctorate in folklore at the University of Pennsylvania. While in Philadelphia, Wein learned to ring church bells in the English style known as change ringing, and in 1991, she met her future husband, Tim, at a bell-ringers’ dinner-dance. She and Tim are also private pilots who have flown all over the world. She lives with Tim and their two children in Scotland. 
Pat Murphy has won numerous awards for her thoughtful, literary science fiction and fantasy writing, including two Nebula Awards, the Philip K. Dick Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Seiun Award, and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. She has published eight novels and many short stories. Her works include Rachel in Love; The Falling Woman; The City, Not Long After; Nadya; and Adventures in Time and Space with Max Merriwell, a novel that Publishers Weekly called the “cerebral equivalent of a roller-coaster ride.” Her children’s novel, The Wild Girls, received a Christopher Award in 2008.

In addition to writing fiction, Pat writes about science for children and adults. She has authored three science books for adults and more than fifteen science activity books for children. Her science writings have been honored with the American Institute of Physics Science Communication Award, the Science Books and Films Prize for Excellence in Science Books, the Pirelli INTERNETional Award for environmental publishing, and an award from Good Housekeeping.

In 1991, with writer Karen Fowler, Pat cofounded the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, an annual literary prize for science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender roles. This award is funded by grassroots efforts that include auctions and bake sales, harnessing the power of chocolate chip cookies in an ongoing effort to change the world.

Pat enjoys looking for and making trouble. Her favorite color is ultraviolet. Her favorite book is whichever one she is working on right now. 
Jane Yolen is a novelist, poet, fantasist, journalist, songwriter, storyteller, folklorist, and children’s book author who has written more than three hundred books. Her accolades include the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Awards, the Kerlan Award, two Christopher Awards, and six honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Born and raised in New York City, the mother of three and the grandmother of six, Yolen lives in Massachusetts and St. Andrews, Scotland.   

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