Wonderland: An Anthology edited by Paul Kane & Marie O’Regan

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This book has a wide selection of authors all writing fabulous short stories from the source material of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

Many of these writers are the go to scribes for anthologies recently and they don’t disappoint providing the reader with a wide array of fantasy, horror and dark brooding fiction. I found the poems at the beginning and the end an interesting addition and I would have liked more scattered throughout the book, but this is a personal preference.

The first story by Robert Shearman is very weird (we expect nothing less from the great man of weird fiction), confusing and sad. I’m not sure if I liked or understood it, maybe I wasn’t supposed too as its Alice’s story after all – but his prose is delectable and it was a great way to kick off the collection.

The second story within the collection ‘There Were No Birds to Fly‘ by M R Carey, reminded me a little of ‘The day of the Triffids’ with gruesome consequences – we know he loves weaving a strange tale and echo horror obviously ‘The Girl With All The Gifts’ showcased this terrifically. And this story had the same readability to it, gripping and tension filled It had me gripped until the very bitter end.

I also found ‘How to be a Treacle Queen‘ by Cat Rambo interesting and light hearted, a nice change of pace within the anthology – but Alison Littlewood’s ‘Eat Me, Drink Me‘ deserves a special mention, as I expected, it was beautifully weird and dark and twisted to its very black core – a marvellous piece of fiction. And lastly I did enjoy ‘Good Dog, Alice’ by Juliet Marillier, a light-hearted story with a dark undercurrent, as are many within this stunningly crisp collection.

All the narratives in this anthology have some relation to Alice in Wonderland and her subsequent adventures, so as you would expect the result is that it offers a wide selection of well written short stories from a host of immeasurably talented writers. Most are unusual, and more than a little bizarre, but it makes for an interesting and refreshing anthology – offering a different slant on all things ‘Alice & the White Rabbit’.

I’m not entirely sure why you would set out to produce such a collection, as the original is wonderfully strange, but I’m glad they did! Anyone who likes fantasy fiction I’m sure, will enjoy this selection of unusual wonderful tales, however lovers of Lewis Carroll’s original, may find it all a bit too much, the prudes!

Wonderland: An Anthology is published by Titan Books and is available here.

Paul Kane

Paul Kane is the award-winning author of over 70 books, including Alone (In the Dark), Touching the Flame, FunnyBones, Signs of Life, The Lazarus Condition, Peripheral Visions, The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy, RED, Of Darkness and Light, The Gemini Factor and the bestselling Arrowhead trilogy of novels (Arrowhead, Broken Arrow and Arrowland). He is a respected anthologist, editing collections such as Beyond Rue Morgue, Hell-Bound Hearts and Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell.

Marie O’Regan

Marie O’Regan is a British Fantasy Award-nominated writer and editor of horror and dark fantasy fiction. Her anthologies include Mirror Mere, Hellbound Hearts, The Mammoth Book of Body Horror, Carnivale: Dark Tales From the Fairground and The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women. She is Co-Chair of the UK chapter of the Horror Writers’ Association.

Writers

Angela Slatter, James Lovegrove, Alison Littlewood, Cavan Scott, Laura Mauro, Lilith Saintcrow, Genevieve Cogman, Jonathan Green, Jane Yolen, L.L. McKinney, George Mann, M. R. Carey, Rio Youers, Catriona Ward, Robert Shearman, Juliet Marillier, Cat Rambo & Mark Chadbourn

Reviewed by Amanda Brightman

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