Review: The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities ed. by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer

The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities: Exhibits, Oddities, Images & Stories from Top Authors & Artists ed. by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer
Publisher: Harper Voyager (July 2011)
Source: From Publisher for review

After the death of Dr. Thackery T. Lambshead at his house in Wimpering-on-the-Brook, England, a remarkable discovery was unearthed: the remains of an astonishing cabinet of curiosities. Many of these artifacts, curios, and wonders related to anecdotes and stories in the doctor’s personal journals. Others, when shown to the doctor’s friends, elicited further tales from a life like no other.

Thus, in keeping with the bold spirit exemplified by Dr. Lambs head and his exploits, we now proudly present highlights from the doctor’s cabinet, reconstructed not only through visual representations but also through exciting stories of intrigue and adventure.

A carefully selected group of popular artists and acclaimed, bestselling authors has been assembled to bring this cabinet of curiosities to life.

I was so excited when I received this book for review! It’s only lately that I’ve begun to warm to anthologies, and I often look upon them to discover an author’s work that I’m not familiar with, with a minimum of commitment. Cabinet of Curiosities gave me that, and much, much more! The anthology is based upon the (fictional) story of Thackery T. Lambshead (1900-2003), a mad doctor of sorts, and his odd and vast assortment of relics, knick knacks, medical paraphernalia, steampunk devices, and much more, supposedly uncovered beneath his estate. The book begins with background on Lambshead and the myth and mystery that surrounds the man.

The story behind each item is covered by a different author, with names such as Carrie Vaughn, Cherie Priest, Garth Nix, Lev Grossman, Holly Black contributing, along with a star studded list of others. Among the highlights is Carrie Vaughn’s “Threads”, covering the story behind a medieval tapestry, Lev Grossman’s “Sir Ranulph Wykeham-Rackham, GBE, a.k.a. Roboticus the All-Knowing”, about the ravaged body of an adventuring dandy that’s rebuilt into a modern, robotic marvel, “Lord Dunsany’s Teapot” by Naomi Novik, and “Shamalung (The Diminutions)” by Michael Moorcock. Expertly compiled, filled with illustrations and pictures that will thrill every steampunk/fantasy fan, great writing from some of the top authors in the fantasy genre today, and brimming with Victorian sensibility and wit,”Cabinet of Curiosities” kept me occupied for hours and is a must for every Steampunk/Fantasy collection. For lovers of all things odd, this book is a gem!
Note: I urge you to splurge and get a hardcover copy if you can. I have a feeling the ebook wouldn’t do it justice.

*If this seems like it might be your cup of tea, you might also try The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases.

Contributing authors: Kelly Barnhill, Will Hindmarch, Ted Chiang, Carrie Vaughn, Garth Nix, Jeffrey Ford, Naomi Novik, Holly Black, Tad Williams, Cherie Priest, Lev Grossman, Michael Moorcock, China Mieville, Helen Oyeyemi, Reza Nagarestani, Michael Cisco, Amal El-Mohtar, Stepan Chapman, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Jay Lake, Charles Yu, Alan Moore, N.K. Jemisin, Rachel Swirsky, Mur Lafferty, Ekaterina Sedia, Brian Evenson, S.J. Chambers, Gio Clairval

**Purchase Thackery T. Lambshead’s Cabinet of Curiosities**
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  1. that was such a fun book to read! and a brilliant idea for putting an anthology together. I hope the Vandermeers do more like this.

    some of my favorites were The Very Shoe, the crazy Rachel Swirsky story-confession-note-thing, and the Charles Yu entry. I can’t even call some of these stories because some of them were other things.

  2. Wow, what a unique take on an anthology. I love it. I am definitely adding this to my wishlist. This is bound to be a PC game LOL! Great review hon, thank you 🙂

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