Patricia A. McKillip's Dreams of Distant Shores was published by Tachyon Publications in June 2016.

Information about Patricia A. McKillip:

Patricia A. McKillip is the bestselling author of more than thirty much-beloved fantasy novels, including The Riddle-Master of Hed, Harpist in the Wind, and The Sorceress and the Cygnet. She has received the World Fantasy Award for The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, Ombria in Shadow, and Solstice Wood, for which she also received the Mythopoeic Award. McKillip has also received the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2015, three of her novels are being collected in the prestigious SF Gateway Omnibus series. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Information about Dreams of Distant Shores:

Featuring three brand-new stories and an original introduction by Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn.

Bestselling author Patricia A. McKillip (The Riddle-Master of Hed) is one of the most lyrical writers gracing the fantasy genre. With the debut of her newest work, Dreams of Distant Shores is a true ode to her many talents. Within these pages you will find a youthful artist possessed by both his painting and his muse and seductive travelers from the sea enrapturing distant lovers. The statue of a mermaid comes suddenly to life, and two friends are transfixed by a haunted estate.

Fans of McKillip's ethereal fiction will find much to delight them; those lucky enough to be discovering her work will find much to enchant them.


As many fantasy readers are aware of, Patricia A. McKillip is one of the best and most talented authors of lyrical fantasy fiction ever to grace the field of speculative fiction. Her beautifully written stories have the power to transport readers temporarily to another place where magic is real.

Dreams of Distants Shores is a remarkable collection for fans of Patricia A. McKillip, because it's everything that her fans have come to expect from her. It's also a fantastic introduction to newcomers who have never read anything by her.

I've personally loved Patricia A. McKillip's novels and stories ever since I first read The Riddle-Master of Hed. It convinced me of her writing skills, because she wrote fluent prose and the story was good. I consider her to be an excellent storyteller whose novels deserve to be read and praised, because they have depth, style and wit. I'm glad that I had an opportunity to read this wonderful collection, because it contains excellent stories.

Dreams of Distants Shores contains an essay and seven stories, three of which have not been published previously:

- Weird
- Mer (original to this collection)
- The Gorgon in the Cupboard
- Which Witch
- Edith and Henry Go Motoring (original to this collection)
- Alien (original to this collection)
- Something Rich and Strange
- Writing High Fantasy (essay, original to this collection)

These versatile stories form a stunning collection that is a testament to the author's ability to write spellbinding fantasy fiction. Each of the stories emphasises her strenghts as a fantasy writer and lets readers marvel at her imagination.

What's in common for these stories is the author's lyrical prose, evocative imagery and flight of imagination. Her writing style emphasises the fantastical nature of the stories in a charming way and brings out the best in them.

Some of these stories have a compellingly dream-like and mythological feel to them. I found this irresistible, because I'm drawn to stories that evoke a sense of something otherworldly and strange.

Here's a bit more information about the stories and my thoughts about them:


- In this story, a man and a woman are in a bathroom and tell each other stories about what kind of strange happenings they've encountered in their own lives.
- This story grows steadily towards an intriguing ending.


- A story about a witch who is convinced by a goddess to take her place for a hundred years. Afterwards she creeps into the heart of a carved wooden female shape - a mermaid - and brings her to life.
- An excellent and well-told story with charming quirkiness.

The Gorgon in the Cupboard:

- In this story, a struggling painter, Harry, finds new inspiration from two different sources: his former model and a talking Medusa painting.
- A fascinating and insightful story with good prose.

Which Witch:

- A charmingly light story about a group of witches who have formed a band.
- An amusing and fluently told story.

Edith and Henry Go Motoring:

- A story about a wife, who goes on a motor ride with his friend, Harry, along with the chaffeur. When they come to a toll bridge and meet the toll-taker, things take a turn for the weird, because the toll is half of what they bring back from the other side.
- An excellent and charmingly written fantasy story.


- A story about a grandmother who refuses to participate in the family reunion. Because she has got herself sucked up into the bowels of an alien spaceship and thoroughly examined, she is waiting for the aliens to come back for her.
- A quirky and amusing story that will delight readers.

Something Rich and Strange:

- An excellent story about an artist, Megan, who lives with her boyfriend, Jonah. When Megan meets a man called Adam Fin and Jonah is intrigued by a singing woman, things become intriguing.
- I loved this story, because it was a perfectly written fantasy story for adults.
- Attentive readers will notice that this story has an underlying ecological and environmental message.

Although I enjoyed all of the above mentioned stories, "Something Rich and Strange" was my personal favourite. It contained such excellent characterisation and charmingly strange happenings that I was deeply impressed by it. It was something different and wonderfully captivating.

I also enjoyed 'Mer' and 'Edith and Henry Go Motoring', because they're amazing stories. Both of them are marvellously imaginative and contain intriguing happenings.

The essay, "Writing High Fantasy" is interesting and worth reading, because Patricia A. McKillip writes about how and why she has written high fantasy. It was interesting for me to read about what she wrote about her own novels, because I gained new insight into her works.

In my opinion, Patricia A. McKillip's approach to modern high fantasy feels refreshing and invigorating, because she writes high fantasy in a modern way. It's great that she doesn't lose sight of the fact the roots of modern fantasy fiction lie in classic fantasy fiction. She seems to be aware of the fact that in order to write successful modern fantasy it's important to combine modern and classic elements in a fresh way (she's one of the few authors who fully succeed in this).

I love the way the author blurs the line between realism and fantasy, because she plunges her readers into the middle of fantastical happenings with ease and confidence. Her beautiful prose emphasises the captivatingly strange atmosphere of the stories and makes them a joy to read. In this collection, good prose meets sparkling imagination in a powerful way.

I found it charming that there was a bit Rhys Hughes-like atmosphere in some of the stories. Because I've always been fascinated by beautifully written and well-told quirky stories, the quirkiness of the stories appealed to me.

Patricia A. McKillip's Dreams of Distant Shores is a stunningly beautiful and magnificent short story collection filled with excellent high fantasy. It's a perfect example of what lyrical fantasy authors are capable of achieving in modern fantasy fiction, because each of the stories is captivating and offers something new to readers. If you're a fan of lyrical fantasy fiction and love well written modern high fantasy, you're in for a delicious treat when you delve into the magical contents of this collection.

Highly recommended!

Discuss this article in the forums (0 replies).