Our world is populated by billions of fantastic creatures, among them humans. But think about trying to expand our knowledge of fantastic creatures beyond the earth. Imagine anoher time, another place, where all kinds of fabulous new creatures roam.

The authors of the stories in this volume did just that. And their imaginings have lent us eyes to see new things. Ann McCaffrey, so loved for her “dragon” books that have enchanted adults and children alike, is represented here with the story of the littlest dragonboy. Harry Harrison takes us to a newly settled part of the galaxy where unusual happenings demand investigation by the P.I.G. patrol. A plague of bees, a visit from Dracula, and much, much more have been invented for us, providing a veritable feast of future and fantasy worlds.

What is the purpose of stretching our imaginations to see fantastic new creatures? To be entertained, of course, but also to expand the limits of our world and to develop greaer insight into the universe of which we, insignificant fantastic creatures though we are, are a part.

A slim anthology of eight stories centered around strange or bizarre life-forms. It would appear to be aimed at a slightly younger audience than most of Asimov’s anthologies, judging by the nature and number of stories.

It’s a bit disappointing, too—science fiction has a much better selection of fantastic creatures to pick from than are showcased here. (Why no Stanley G. Weinbaum, to name one extremely classic example?) Indeed, many of the stories are very slight—Will H. Gray’s “Bees from Borneo,” for example, is interesting but unengaging, as are several of the other stories.

Definitely among the lesser of the Asimov-edited anthologies.

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