Recommend fantasy short story with familiars

I’ve been looking for fantasy short stories with familiars* in them. They don’t need to be completely traditional familiars, and they certainly don’t need to be called familiars. Any recommendations will be appreciated.

I’d ask for novels, but I’m not sure I have the time to go through a bunch of novels. Thanks ahead of time.

  • animals or animal-like beings that are magically attached to a person

Welllllllll… it’s not a short story, but it’s got a totally awesome familiar in it, so I am breaking your rules right here in post #1. Lirael, by Garth Nix. Middle book of a trilogy, but you could skip the first one without missing too much; its protagonist is Lirael’s (the protagonist of the latter two books) mother, and takes place probably 15-16 years before the latter two books. Really, seriously, one of the bestest familiars ever. If you can find the time, it’s worth the read. Only downside (aside from not being a short story) is a rather annoying, emo, whiny secondary protagonist. Grit your teeth and trudge through his chapters to get back to Lirael and the Disreputable Dog. :smiley:

Also gonna break your rules, but then relent and follow them. His Dark Materials, by Phillip Pullman, assigns a familiar (or “daemon”) to every human character. More or less. If you won’t read this astonishingly good series, though, he’s written a novella, Lyra’s Oxford, that’s set in the same world.

Mercedes Lackey’s Tarma and Kethry stories often involve Warrl, a wolf-like familiar. The stories appeared in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword & Sorceress anthologies, and were also merged into the novel Oathbound. The novel also describes Warrl’s summoning, which is rather amusing and only referenced indirectly in the short stories, I believe.

Sabriell and Lirael are half-sisters, not mother and daughter.

But yes, the Disreputable Dog is an amazing familiar character.

In “A Wizard of Earthsea” Sparrowhawk has a pet that he magically attracts. That’s a short novel, not a short story though.

Well, if you want to hunt down the Endless Quest books (choose your own adventure style) for a change of pace, there’s Revenge of the Rainbow Dragons and The Pillars of Pentegarn; both feature a boy named Jaimie who is a sorcerer’s apprentice and has a fox, and owl, and a tree as talking familiars.

Lawmonkey, how could I resist a character named Disreputable Dog? And the library had it on CD, which will make it easier to fit around things.

Left Hand of Dorkness, you are totally right about His Dark Materials. I’ve read them, but haven’t read Lyra’s Oxford. So I’ll look for that. The local library doesn’t have it, but they might be able to get it by interlibrary loan.

Balance, the online card catalog wasn’t cooperative at first, but I’ve put in a request for Oathbound.

Lemur866, it’s been awhile since I read WoE. I think I’m going to have to put it on the back burner for now. It keeps coming up, though, so it’s only a matter of time.

Cuckoorex, I wouldn’t have thought to try a choose your adventure book. I’ll add those to the list.

Thanks, everyone. This should keep me off of the streets for awhile.

The Harry Potter anthology taught us that familiars can be little more than annoying pets.

“Operation Chaos” by Poul Anderson is a collection of related short stories with a familiar in it…

This trilogy also has Mogget, who isn’t really a familiar but is magically bound to the main family of the series and usually appears in the form of a sarcastic white cat.

I put the request in.

In T H White’s SWORD AND THE STONE (first part of THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING), Merlyn has an owl named Archimedes. He appears in Chapter III:

I don’t think he plays a role in the rest of the book, although in the Disney movie, he takes Wart out as bird.

Derp. You’re right, of course. Lirael/Abhorsen still stand on their own pretty well, though.

Yes–but isn’t he rather limited in Lirael/Abhorsen, due to something that happened at the end of Sabriel? That said, you’re right, and there you go: Mogget is a fine reason to read Sabriel if you want familiar-ish critters. :smiley:

A very different new writer, Lauren Beukes, Zoo City. Won’t even attempt to describe or summarize. Similar in feel to a mix of China Mieville and Raymond Chandler. But lots of familiars.