Wonders of the Invisible World [NOOK Book]

Overview

Stylistically rooted in fairy tale and mythology, imperceptible landscapes are explored in these opulent stories from a beloved fantasy icon. There are princesses dancing with dead suitors, a knight in love with an official of exotic lineage, and fortune’s fool stealing into the present instead of the future. In one mesmerizing tale, a time-traveling angel is forbidden to intervene in Cotton Mather’s religious ravings, while another narrative finds a wizard seduced in his youth by the Faerie Queen and returning ...
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Wonders of the Invisible World

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Overview

Stylistically rooted in fairy tale and mythology, imperceptible landscapes are explored in these opulent stories from a beloved fantasy icon. There are princesses dancing with dead suitors, a knight in love with an official of exotic lineage, and fortune’s fool stealing into the present instead of the future. In one mesmerizing tale, a time-traveling angel is forbidden to intervene in Cotton Mather’s religious ravings, while another narrative finds a wizard seduced in his youth by the Faerie Queen and returning the treasure that is rightfully hers. Bewitching, bittersweet, and deeply intoxicating, this collection draws elements from the fables of history and re-creates them in startlingly magical ways.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Endlessly astonishing and impressive fantasist McKillip (The Bards of Bone Plain) travels the shadowy twilight realm between worlds and returns with the raw stuff of dreams. An angel grapples with deceit and conspiracies while recording Cotton Mather's ravings in the title piece. "Out of the Woods" muses on how those searching for magic often miss it. "The Kelpie" examines love and the primal overlap between life and art. An adolescent encounters dangerous Faerie in the chilling and seductive "Hunter's Moon," and a water spirit falls victim to her prey in "Undine." Reshaping ancient archetypes to show us hidden aspects of ourselves and the world around us, these modern myths are timely and timeless, retaining the cosmic resonance of folklore while addressing the struggles embodied in achingly realized spirits, gods, and humans who endure tragic flaws and sudden epiphanies. With a tremendous range encompassing the terror of "Jack O'Lantern" and the poignant allegory of "The Old Woman and the Storm," McKillip charts the wild unknown in all its pathos and danger. Agent: Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

“Endlessly astonishing and impressive fantasist McKillip (The Bards of Bone Plain) travels the shadowy twilight realm between worlds and returns with the raw stuff of dreams.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Mesmerizing.... Any collection of McKillip’s short stories will be a valuable asset to any library and a joy to her many fans.”
Library Journal, starred review

“Anybody who loves fantasy—not just for what most fantasy does, but for what the genre is really capable of—should definitely pick this book up. It’s like a perfect encapsulation of fantasy writing at its most brave and beautiful.”
io9.com

“A casket full of wonders. I think each one is my favorite, until I read the next. McKillip has the true Mythopoeic imagination. Here lies the border between our world and that of Faerie.”
—P. C. Hodgell, author of the Kencyrath series

“This brilliant new collection puts on display the audacity, the warmth, the intelligence, and depth of [McKillip’s] huge and magnificent talent.”
—Peter Straub, author of Ghost Story and A Dark Matter

“The lively and enchanting stories in Wonders of the Invisible World certainly deserve all the accolades I can summon.”
—Paul Goat Allen, Barnes&Noble.com

“I loved all the stories in this collection, and if I still have to tell you to try this out, well, you haven’t been reading my review.... Patricia Mckillip is a master at what she does. Strongly recommended.”
Locus

Wonders of the Invisible World is a wonderful collection of stories full of wit and insight wrapped in beautiful, effortless prose. McKillip’s ability to convey so much in so few words is impressive, as is her ability with storytelling, characterization, and thematic elements.”
Fantasy Café

“This is one to dip into, savour, and place on that special shelf for books to be cherished.”
Starburst

“...she’s still one of the best fantasy writers out there.”
Green Man Review

“Exquisitely written with destinations beyond your imaginings!”
My Shelf Confessions

"McKillip's is the first name that comes to mind when I'm asked whom I read myself."
Peter S. Beagle, author, The Last Unicorn

Library Journal
A researcher goes back in time to visit Cotton Mather and finds the preacher's visions are not what he expected in the title story of McKillip's (The Bards of Bone Plain) latest collection of mesmerizing short fiction. From the deliciously macabre retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" to the elegant story of courtship and obsession depicted in "The Kelpie," the 16 stories collected here display the author's talent for creating tales both delicately beautiful and heartbreakingly cruel. The text of her Guest of Honor speech at WisCon 2004, included within, offers valuable insight into the mind of the writer. VERDICT Any collection of McKillip's short stories will be a valuable asset to any library and a joy to her many fans.
The Barnes & Noble Review

The year 2013 marks the fortieth anniversary of the publication of Patricia McKillip's first novel. And while she has turned out a large number of award-winning books since then, an incredible and ever-burgeoning moonfleet of assured and distinctive fantasies, she's had only one prior short-story collection, Harrowing the Dragon, from 2005. So the arrival of another such volume, relatively soon after its predecessor, is an occasion to be marked with many celebrations. The lively and enchanting stories in Wonders of the Invisible World certainly deserve all the accolades I can summon.

McKillip's creations can be grouped into several different modes, each of which presents unique pleasures. First come stories set in recognizable, consensus-reality milieus, where the fantastical is something of an intrusion or manifestation of grace. The opening, titular story, a rare dystopian science fiction outing, falls glancingly into that bucket, although the technological apparatus is anomalous in her oeuvre. Next up is "The Kelpie," which concerns a group of Victorian or Edwardian bohemians whose obsessions with the stranger fringes of art lead to a dire encounter for one woman. A brother and sister encounter woodland guardians while visiting an uncle in "Hunter's Moon." A runaway teen finds her dreamed-of magical home in "Oak Hill." Art features again in "Jack O'Lantern," where an impending marriage is to be commemorated by a painting whose uncanny subject becomes all too real. Finally, "Naming Day" is a Harry Potter pastiche, while "Xmas Cruise" finds eerie doings aboard a "Rediscover Gaia" tourist expedition.

Most in line with her novels are those stories that occupy Tolkien-level "subcreations," worlds with independent existences from ours. "Out of the Woods" concerns the discontents of a village housewife who goes to work for a fledgling magician. In an urban setting, "The Fortune-Teller" charts a female pickpocket's epiphany. The longest and most complex tale in this category is "Knight of the Well," almost Wodehousian or Topperesque in its depiction of water sprites and the humans who attend them. And a magician makes the mistake of stealing a trinket from the Queen of Faerie in "Byndley."

Lastly are a few stories that most resemble fables or fairy tales, such as "The Twelve Dancing Princess" and "The Old Woman and the Storm."

This spectrum of narratives allows McKillip a real chance to stretch. She can evoke the eldritch melancholy of Yeats and Dunsany ("Out of the Woods"); the humor of E. Nesbit ("Knight of the Well"); or the layered magic realism of John Crowley ("The Kelpie"). Her prose is always restrained and subtle, allowing evocative metaphors to flash intermittently, like patches of sunlight in the forest. McKillip employs restraint and delicacy rather than melodrama, imparting greater resonance and power to these concise yet deep fantasies than is contained in any average trilogy.

Author of several acclaimed novels and story collections, including Fractal Paisleys, Little Doors, and Neutrino Drag, Paul Di Filippo was nominated for a Sturgeon Award, a Hugo Award, and a World Fantasy Award — all in a single year. William Gibson has called his work "spooky, haunting, and hilarious." His reviews have appeared in The Washington Post, Science Fiction Weekly, Asimov's Magazine, andThe San Francisco Chronicle.

Reviewer: Paul Di Filippo

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781616961015
  • Publisher: Tachyon Publications
  • Publication date: 10/1/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 450,233
  • File size: 575 KB

Meet the Author

Patricia A. McKillip is the author of more than 30 fantasy novels including Harpist in the Wind, The Riddle Master of Hed, and The Sorceress and the Cygnet. She has received the Locus Award, the World Fantasy Award three times, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award twice, and her short fiction has been anthologized in multiple volumes including Full Spectrum, The Green Man: Tales from the Mystic Forest, and The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. She lives in North Bend, Oregon.

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Table of Contents


Wonders of the Invisible World
Out of the Woods
The Kelpie
Hunter’s Moon
Oak Hill
The Fortune-Teller
Jack O’Lantern
Knight of the Well
Naming Day
Byndley
The Twelve Dancing Princesses
Undine
Xmas Cruise
A Gift to Be Simple
The Old Woman and the Storm
The Doorkeeper of Khaat
What Inspires Me: Guest of Honor Speech at WisCon (2004)
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 22, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    fun read

    As always Patricia A. McKillip has presented a delightful book. Short stories that won't keep you up all night.

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  • Posted October 18, 2012

    Out of the Ordinary

    This isn’t the sort of book I would pick up in my own short-sightedness; it’s also the sort of magical realism I truly enjoy. It’s the magic burbling up from the timeless wells deep under the earth. It’s the magic just below the surface of a painting or a pool. It’s the unseen magic of the ordinary that is more believable than the scientific explanation of a phenomenon. It’s the ancient magic of youth. It’s the magic of creation and curses. It’s the magic just beyond our view, and I’m glad to have caught a glimpse of it.

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