“The Little Mermaid” Hans Christian Andersen

“While her sisters showed delight at the wonderful things which they obtained from the wrecks of vessels, she cared only for her pretty flowers, red like the sun, and a beautiful marble statue…”

“The Snow Queen” Hans Christian Andersen

“Many a winter’s night she flies through the streets of the town, and peeps in at the windows; and they then freeze in so wondrous a manner that they look like flowers…”

“Bloodchild” Octavia E. Butler

“My last night of childhood began with a visit home. T’Gatoi’s sisters had given us two sterile eggs. T’Gatoi gave one to my mother, brother, and sisters. She insisted that I eat the other one alone…”

“The Lady of the House of Love” Angela Carter

“At last the revenants became so troublesome the peasants abandoned the village and it fell solely to the possession of subtle and vindictive inhabitants who manifest their presence by shadows that fall almost imperceptibly awry…”

“Seventy-two Letters” Ted Chiang

“As he looked closer, he realized that what he thought were bubbles were actually the interstices of a glistening latticework. The froth consisted of homunculi: tiny seminal foetuses…”

“Poltarnees, Beholder of Ocean” Lord Dunsany

Toldees, Mondath, Arizim, these are the Inner Lands, the lands whose sentinels upon their borders do not behold the sea. Beyond them to the east there lies a desert, for ever untroubled by man: all yellow it is, and spotted with shadows of stones, and Death is in it, like a leopard lying in the sun…”

“The Celestial Omnibus” E. M. Forster

“There were two strange things about this signpost: firstly, it pointed up a blank alley, and, secondly, it had painted on it in faded characters, the words, ‘To Heaven’…”

“England under the White Witch” Theodora Goss

“In the end, the Empress took London more easily than anyone could have imagined. She had already taken Manchester, Birmingham, Oxford. We had heard how effective her magic could be against the remnants of our Home Forces…”

“The Rapid Advance of Sorrow” Theodora Goss

“I sit in one of the cafés in Szent Endre, writing this letter to you, István, not knowing if I will be alive tomorrow, not knowing if this café will be here, with its circular green chairs and cups of espresso…”

“The Mezzotint” M. R. James

“In the middle of the lawn in front of the unknown house there was a figure where no figure had been at five o’clock that afternoon. It was crawling on all fours towards the house, and it was muffled in a strange black garment with a white cross on the back…”

“The Faerie Handbag” Kelly Link

“Grandmother Zofia said it was a family heirloom. She said that it was over two hundred years old. She said that when she died, I had to look after it. Be its guardian. She said that it would be my responsibility…”

“The Specialist’s Hat” Kelly Link

“‘When you’re dead,’ the babysitter snaps, ‘it’s always very cold and damp, and you have to be very, very quiet or else the Specialist will get you…’”

“The Golden Key” George MacDonald

“One evening, in summer, he went into his own room, and stood at the lattice-window, and gazed into the forest which fringed the outskirts of Fairyland. It came close up to his great-aunt’s garden, and, indeed, sent some straggling trees into it…”

“The Great God Pan” Arthur Machen

“You may think this all strange nonsense; it may be strange, but it is true, and the ancients knew what lifting the veil means. They called it seeing the god Pan…”

“The Tell-Tale Heart” Edgar Allan Poe

“There came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I knew that sound well, too. It was the beating of the old man’s heart…”

“The Fall of the House of Usher” Edgar Allan Poe

“I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country, and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher…”

“The Masque of the Red Death” Edgar Allan Poe

“It was towards the close of the fifth or sixth month of his seclusion, and while the pestilence raged most furiously abroad, that the Prince Prospero entertained his thousand friends at a masked ball of the most unusual magnificence…”

“The Queen of Spades” Alexander Pushkin

“As he stared at the card it seemed to him that the queen winked one eye at him mockingly…”

“Selkie Stories Are for Losers” Sofia Samatar

“I hate selkie stories. They’re always about how you went up to the attic to look for a book, and you found a disgusting old coat and brought it downstairs between finger and thumb and said ‘What’s this?”, and you never saw your mom again…”

“Palimpsest” (the original story) Catherynne M. Valente

“I sought out the dream-city on all those skins. What were plain, yellow-lined streets next to Seraphim? What was my time-clock stamping out its inane days next to the jeweled factory of Casimira? How could any touch equal the seizures of feeling in my dreams, in which each gesture was a quartet…?

“The Radiant Car Thy Sparrows Drew” Catherynne M. Valente (basis for the novel Radiant)

“Shall we never be able to glide back up the stream of Time, and peep into the old home, and gaze on the old faces? Perhaps when the phonograph and the kinesigraph are perfected, and some future worker has solved the problem of colour photography, our descendants will be able to deceive themselves with something very like it: but it will be but a barren husk: a soulless phantasm and nothing more…”

“Dradin, in Love” Jeff VanderMeer

“Dradin, in love, beneath the window of his love, staring up at her while crowds surge and seethe around him, bumping and bruising him all unawares in their rough-clothed, bright-rouged thousands.” 

“Three Days in a Border Town” Jeff VanderMeer

“The border town, as many of them did, manifested itself to you at the end of a second week in the desert. It began as a trickle of silver light off imagined metal, a suggestion of a curved sheen…”

“The Country of the Blind” H. G. Wells 

“Three hundred miles and more from Chimborazo, one hundred from the snows of Cotopaxi, in the wildest wastes of Ecuador’s Andes, there lies that mysterious mountain valley, cut off from the world of men, the Country of the Blind. Long years ago that valley lay so far open to the world that men might come at last through frightful gorges and over an icy pass into its equable meadows…”

“The Fisherman and His Soul” Oscar Wilde

“He tugged at the thin ropes, and nearer and nearer came the circle of flat corks, and the net rose at last to the top of the water. But no fish at all was in it, nor any monster or thing of horror, but only a little Mermaid lying fast asleep…”