Unnatural Creatures by Neil Gaiman

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Unnatural Creatures by Neil Gaiman

Category: Short Stories
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Great fun and fantastical, this is a collection of short stories chosen by Neil Gaiman and includes a new story from the man himself. Everyone involved has given their work free to benefit Dave Eggers' literacy charity, 826dc so it's both fun to read and a virtuous choice!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 480 Date: February 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1408845466

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I wished I could visit a Museum of Unnatural History, but even so, I was glad there wasn't one... If someone actually caught a werewolf, or a dragon, if they tamed a manticore or stabled a unicorn, put them in bottles, dissected them, then they could be only one thing, and they would no longer live in the shadowy places between the things I knew and the world of the impossible, which was, I was certain, the only place that mattered.

So says Neil Gaiman in the introduction to this anthology of sixteen unnatural creatures (to capitalise or not to capitalise, that is the question). It's a collection of tales from various authors, not Gaiman himself, although he does write an introduction to each one. You'll find griffins, sunbirds, manticores, unicorns. You'll find old stories. You'll find young stories. But everything you find will be impossible. I loved them. They're all great fun and utterly fantastical. Some work slightly better than others but that's to be expected in an anthology of this kind. And you will probably choose different favourites than mine. But here are a couple of my own highlights:

Fans of Gaiman should note that Sunbird is a new story from the man himself. Neil first came across the sunbird in the works of the wonderful E Nesbit but he has written the story in the style of American author RA Lafferty. Members of the Epicurean Society have eaten every type of animal on Earth. Or have they? It's delightful!

The Sage of Theare is by a personal favourite of mine, the much missed Diana Wynne Jones. It features Chrestomanci, the magic enforcer from Charmed Life, and dragons you cannot see. Anything by Wynne Jones is always a treat and I think this is my favourite of all in Unnatural Creatures.

This is an anthology for all fans of the fantastical and anyone who likes tales of the unexpected. Some have twists at the end and others twist all the way through. Each is a great read and a little pocket of imagination to enjoy. Better still, everyone involved has given their work free to benefit Dave Eggers' literacy charity, 826dc so it's both fun to read and a virtuous choice! What more could you want?

If you enjoy short stories, you could also try Tales of Death and Dementia by Edgar Allan Poe and Gris Grimly, The Ribbajack and Other Curious Yarns by Brian Jacques, and - of course - M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman.

Buy Unnatural Creatures by Neil Gaiman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Unnatural Creatures by Neil Gaiman at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Unnatural Creatures by Neil Gaiman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Unnatural Creatures by Neil Gaiman at Amazon.com.


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