Patricia A. McKillip’s DREAMS OF DISTANT SHORES just cannot be missed

The impending release of Patricia A. McKillip’s new collection DREAMS OF DISTANT SHORES generates excitement.

Patricia A. McKillip at Westercon 64 in the Fairmont San Jose Hotel on Saturday 2 July 2011 (Wikimedia Commons)

TOR.COM runs an excerpt from the short story “Mer,” which appears in the collection and includes the book in their Fiction Affliction: June Releases in Fantasy.

John DeNardo of KIRKUS mentions the title in his essay “Science Fiction & Fantasy Mixtape

In this short fiction collection, readers get to see the true power of the written word. Patricia A. McKillip, author of the fantasy classic The Riddle-Master of Hed, delivers a handful of immersive stories depicting worlds that ignite the imagination. Stories contained in this collection include a statue of a mermaid that suddenly comes to life, a young artist who becomes possessed by his paintings, friends who become overly-fascinated by a haunted estate, and many more


This is a compilation of short stories, which was a refreshing pace to read for me. I could easily pick it up in the middle of my hectic day, read a quick fantasy, and get back to work after I had finished the story. The stories are the quintessential escape for the lunch hour. Warning side effect of these stories: I did find myself daydreaming for most of the day after reading just small pieces. These are the types of fantasies that open you to the fae and just don’t let go immediately. I felt like I had become part of the wind and words, floating around waiting to be reality.

No two stories focused on the same characters or places, or time for that matter, but there were some common themes that could tie all the stories together. Pure fantasy and fae mysticism. We meet witches, gorgons, sea deities, and mermaids. Humans and imagination blend until you aren’t sure which are there in front of you. The words are lyrics that just sweep you away in the siren’s song. Overall, most of the stories seem to have some pull to the sea. I have not read that many sea-faring fantasies in my day, but these ones would be sure to compete with the best.


I have not read many compilations, but this one just cannot be missed.

Clare O’Beara at FRESH FICTION reviews the collection.

Those who know Patricia McKillip from her ‘Riddle Master of Hed’ trilogy and ‘The Forgotten Beasts of Eld’ will be rejoicing at the thought of another fantasy book. DREAMS OF DISTANT SHORES is a collection of her shorter modern stories, some of which have appeared in fantasy magazines or anthologies, some of which are new. We don’t get to visit a high fantasy world, but our own world seems rich and strange in this light.


Perhaps my favourite for its rich descriptive writing is the novella Something Rich And Strange which focuses on a seashore, a beachcombing girl and a fossil-hunting lad. At the last, author Patricia A. McKillip provides an insight into how she has written fantasy, selecting a hero, a heroine and a lurking evil from among her works. She refers to Jungian theory that all characters in a dream are aspects of the dreamer; so all evil in a story is an unfaced aspect of the hero’s personality, to be vanquished by becoming one’s true self. Peter S. Beagle contributes an afterword as a longtime fan of the fantasy genre and this author’s works.

While this collection won’t replace my preferred novels by Patricia A. McKillip as a new favourite, it’s always good to see variety from an author we think we know well. DREAMS OF DISTANT SHORES will deserve a place in the collections of modern fantasy fans.

At TRUE REVIEW, Andrew Andrews enjoyed the volume, especially the cover.

I am an absolute pushover for alternative fantasy, speculative fantasy, elaborate fantasy, or just plain fantasy single-author collections.

Especially with a fantastic cover by Thomas Canty. This is one of the best book covers I have ever been privileged to see.

And the stories aren’t bad either.

For more info on DREAMS OF DISTANT SHORES, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover by Thomas Canty