Book Review: Cautionary Tales by Piers Anthony


cautionary talesIt has been years since I read Piers Anthony, so reading “Cautionary Tales” was like meeting an old friend.

As described, the book is “a collection of controversial stories and essays that fearlessly push the boundaries and then shamelessly step over them”. And though it was worded like a warning, that description actually made me smile because that actually describes the Piers Anthony that I know.

If you’re a Piers Anthony fan, then you would have read the “Incarnations of Immortality” series. Groundbreaking on its own rights, this fantasy series discussed death, time, fate, war, nature, evil and good and up to now is one of my favorite fantasy series.

And though “Cautionary Tales” is nowhere near “Incarnations of Immortality” in terms of message and story, “Cautionary Tales” is a definitive work of Piers Anthony wherein as a reader; you get a glimpse on how the author’s mind works.

As a longtime fan, I’ve always wondered where Piers Anthony gets his ideas. Aside from “Incarnations of Immortality,” I also loved “Xanth” though I stopped reading after Book 15 – “The Color of Her Panties.”

Then there are “Battle Circle”, a three-book series and “Apprentice Adept”, a seven-book series, both of which I finished reading and loved.

Going back to “Cautionary Tales”, this anthology will not be among my favorite works of Piers Anthony. I don’t recommend this as a starter book for readers who have never read Piers Anthony before. New readers are better off reading Xanth, Battle Circle, Apprentice Adept or Incarnations of Immortality first.

I see “Cautionary Tales” as a good book for fans like me to get reacquainted with a favorite author. This is Piers Anthony we are talking about after all.

The book is under the category “Erotica” which was a surprise for me. Nevertheless, this book is Rated M for Mature due to subject matter.


From fantasy and SF master Piers Anthony, a collection of controversial stories and essays that fearlessly push the boundaries and then shamelessly step over them

Readers, beware: The stories, essays, reflections, opinions, and wildly imaginative flights of fancy contained herein may shock, rattle, delight, and surprise you. Piers Anthony—multiple New York Times–bestselling author, much-beloved creator of the popular Xanth universe, and one of the most unabashedly original writers currently operating in the science fiction and fantasy arena—now offers up a one-of-a-kind collection of his most fearless writings, for the pleasure of those unafraid to enter where angels fear to tread.

Tackling unusual subjects and challenging social and religious mores, Anthony refuses to be restrained as he explores the strange and the taboo. From the May–December romance of a damaged Romeo and his shockingly young Juliet (though she is no younger than Shakespeare’s) to a woman’s valiant struggle against a grossly aberrant sexual demon, these cautionary tales are not for the faint of heart. They can be troubling, startling, and disturbing, but they are never dull. And readers, be further warned: In the uniquely inventive mind of Piers Anthony, absolutely nothing is sacred—not childhood, marriage, love, religion, sex . . . not even Xanth.