Short story anthology, written by Jane Yolen and published in 2017 by Tachyon Publications. The book is part of a three-book series (so far) that includes 2018's "How to Fracture a Fairy Tale" and 2020's "The Midnight Circus."
Jane Yolen's long writing career has seen her creating hundreds of classic works of fantasy, science fiction, children's fiction, poetry, and more. Here she combines many of these interests and styles into a new collection of tales taking inspiration from the well-loved stories we read as kids, then spins them off in new, exciting directions.
Some of Yolen's stories in this book include:
- Andersen's Witch -- A boy from an impoverished family makes a deal to improve his future and the world around him -- but what happens when it's time to pay the witch?
- Lost Girls -- A girl is kidnapped from her world and forced to toil as a kitchen slave for an immortal swashbuckling brat. Can she lead her fellow servants to freedom through the power of a union?
- Blown Away -- A girl is whisked away to new adventures during a tornado -- but what happens to the family she's left behind, and how will they react when she returns?
- The Jewel in the Toad Queen's Crown -- The strange and magical friendship between Queen Victoria and Benjamin Disraeli is explored.
- The Confession of Brother Blaise -- A dying monk reveals the genesis of an Arthurian legend.
- Rabbit Hole -- An elderly Alice plans one final trip to Wonderland.
- Sister Emily's Lightship -- An isolated poet discovers truth and art from beyond the stars.
On top of that, there's a lengthy and glorious appendix on "Story Notes and Poems," which includes some extra details about how each tale was created and a poem to go with each story. Extra value!
There are very few perfect anthologies, even by master writers, but this book seems notable by how few outright clunkers there are. And the less-great stories are certainly drowned out by the colossal volume of amazing ones, including the wonderfully funny (and character-stuffed) "Lost Girls," the lyrical "Sister Emily's Lightship," the sumptuous "Evian Steel," and the heart-stoppingly glorious "Blown Away."
If you enjoy clever, humorous, and often beautiful stories, this one's for you. Go pick it up.