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Wonders of the Invisible World Paperback – September 26, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“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

"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

“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.”

“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.”

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.”

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

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

“In all the stories in Wonders of the Invisible World, McKillip evokes the glamour of Faerie through lush language and crystal-clear imagery . . . she creates gem-like tales that bring the timeless magic of the fae alive for her readers.”

About 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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tachyon Publications; First Edition edition (September 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616960876
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616960872
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #686,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The major fault of Patricia McKillip's most recent offering is that it's a short story collection cobbled together from a wide range of previously published works (with, if I'm not mistaken, only one original work making the cut). Fans of McKillio's well-developed, well-written, and wonderfully concise worlds will likely rejoice at this - this is a collection of diverse short stories. It should be incredible, right? Unfortunately, readers may be a little disappointed. But only a little.

"Wonders of the Invisible World" has some wonderful stories. Really, some truly wonderful stories: "The Kelpie", an old fashioned story with an interesting focus on art and artists; "Jack O'Lantern", a short and sweet children's tale that stands well on its own; "Naming Day", which is surprising and different and a tiny bit incomplete (in the right sort of way). But on the other hand, there are entirely forgettable stories too, ones I could hardly remember having read just a few days later: "Oak Hill", "The Fortune Teller"... these are neither memorable, nor are they particularly impressive upon reread.

Part of the problem, as I mentioned, is because "Wonders of the Invisible World" is a collection of stories spanning almost three decades. Certain themes, ideas and even similarities in names crop up repeatedly. Water is the major theme, appearing in no less than four stories, and though it is the most deftly handled theme and storyline, it's still a bit much for a single collection read in one go. "Wonders of the Invisible World" should probably be read in pieces to avoid this problem and emphasize the strength of the good stories, however the weaker stories (including the first one, which I didn't particularly like) will then leave a longer-lasting impact as well...
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Format: Paperback
An anthology of sixteen short stories about fey, magic, and fairytales with an introduction by Charles de Lindt and an essay on what inspires McKillip.

My Take
This was a mixed bag of huh-what and wonderful. Sadly, McKillip says she has come to the end of this type of fey story. If she is, then she's gone out with a whisper and not a bang.

The Stories
"Wonders of the Invisible World" is time traveling science fiction with a researcher wanting Cotton Mather's emotions. It's a quick blip into two worlds: the future and the close of the Salem witch trials. I certainly do understand why Nici feels as she does at the end, even if it is rather vague.

"Out of the Woods" is an atmospheric old-timey story that parallels our own age of materialism with a wife working outside the home while having to still do the cooking and cleaning while her husband is out working and drinking. A very unsatisfying story that never concluded.

"Kelpie" was amazing. Okay, yeah, I'm prejudiced. There was a Pre-Raphaelite feel to the artists and their lifestyles---I'm probably being influenced by the cover art! I love the world into which McKillip took us, spending time creating a world of working and playing artists. The set-up with the wicked, self-centered Bram Wilding and his attacks on Emma's thoughts. Ned Bonham's protective stance as he tries to give her room. Followed by the denouement at Ned's country house.

Definitely one of my favorites in this collection.

"Hunter's Moon" left me hanging with the innuendo at the end. And hoping that McKillip will follow up on the Hunters. It's really Dawn's adventure with her little brother along for the ride with their father and Uncle Ridley. They're out hunting deer while Dawn is with a Hunter.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wonders of the Invisible World (2012) is a Fantasy collection. It contains sixteen stories, a speech and an introduction.

- "Introduction" (2012) by Charles de Lint describes his experiences with the author.

- "Wonders of the Invisible World" (Full Spectrum, 1995) takes a researcher to meet and record fanatics.

- "Out of the Woods" (Flights, 2004) follows a woman who becomes aware of faery.

- "The Kelpie" (The Fair Folk, 2005) draws a talented -- but self-centered -- artist into one final imposition.

- "Hunter's Moon" (Green Man Tales, 2002) exposes the Chase family to a surprise.

- "Oak Hill" (The Essential Borderlands, 1998) teaches a girl that her mother is right.

- "The Fortune Teller" (The Coyote Road, 2007) convinces a thief to change her ways.

- "Jack O'Lantern" (Firebirds Rising, 2006) presents questions on the nature of fox fire.

- "Knight of the Well" (Book of Wizards, 2012) brings a knight to Luminum for the dedication of a foundation.

- "Naming Day" (Wizards, 2007) takes a young magician out chasing an imp on her special day.

- "Byndley" (Firebirds, 2003) returns a wizard to the boundaries of Faery with a task.

- "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" (Wolf at the Door, 2000) solves a problem for the king.

- "Undine" (Faery Reel, 2004) inserts a water sprite into an ecological conflict.

- "Xmas Cruise" (Christmas Forever, 1993) involves two couples in an ecology themed cruise to Antarctic waters.

- "A Gift To Be Simple" (Not of Woman Born, 1999) divulges the innovative way a Shaker community recovers their energy.
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