July 25, 2012 Review 0

The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities: Exhibits, Oddities, Images, and Stories from Top Authors and Artists


edited by Ann VanderMeer

Genre: Steampunk | Excerpt: No
Book Trailer: No
Reviewed by: Kristina | Source: Publisher

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (July 12, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0062004751
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062004758


Good – A fun read with minor flaws. Maybe read an excerpt before buying.


The death of Dr. Thackery T. Lambshead in 2003 at his house in Wimpering-on-the-Brook, England, revealed an astonishing discovery: the remains of a remarkable 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 stories.

Thus, in keeping with the bold spirit exemplified by Dr. Lambshead and his exploits, we are now proud to present highlights from the doctor’s cabinet, reconstructed not only through visual representations but also through exciting stories of intrigue and adventure by a carefully selected group of popular artists and acclaimed, bestselling fantasy authors.  Including contributions from Alan Moore, Lev Grossman, Mike Mignola, China Miéville, Cherie Priest, Carrie Vaughn, Greg Broadmore, Naomi Novik, Garth Nix, Michael Moorcock , Holly Black, Jeffrey Ford, Ted Chiang, and many more.


THE THACKERTY T. LAMSHEAD CABINET OF CURIOSITIES is a unique compilation of bizarre object illustrations and stories about the fictional Dr. Lambshead’s collection of knick knacks, relics, and devices  found in his massive cabinet. I was amazed at the detailed yet fictional history of Dr. Lambshead and his cabinet provided in the introduction. What follows this elaborate introduction is a massive and varied collection of stories about the cabinet and its oddities from a wealth of great, popular authors.  I loved the variety in the stories and the truly weird steampunk objects each author was able to create.

I  liked that the anthology was split into sections with chapters either detailing specific objects from the closet or chapters written by various authors that were inspired by the cabinet. While I enjoyed the concept and effort put into this anthology there were definitely hits and misses. The stories that didn’t work had too much information. Charles Yu’s Book of Categories which describes the contents of a mysterious book in outline form, had a really confusing structure and so much information about what the book looked like that it actually was an effort to finish.

Some of the chapters were amusing stories of really weird objects and encounters with the cabinet. A favorite of mine was Dacy’s Patent Automatic Nanny by Ted Chiang because I liked the weird  effect the Automatic Nanny had on the life of the child it watched over.  Relic by Jeffrey Ford was an interesting story about the life of a holy relic and the priest who watches over it. I liked how Relic played on the mythic quality a mysterious or holy object can obtain over the years when in actuality the origin of that object is quite plain. Carrie Vaughn’s Threads tells a tale of some strange behavioral changes that occur within a certain range of Dr. Lambshead’s house. I liked this one due to the amusing twist at the end and the hilarious effects that happen in Doctor Lambshed’s house.

THE THACKERY T. LAMBSHEAD CABINET OF CURIOSITIES is a wonderfully intricate compilation of stories about a cabinet’s steampunk oddities. I will definately be going back to this anthology to re-read some of the stories and admire the amazing illustrations.

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