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September 16, 2019

Wonderland: An Anthology edited by Marie O'Regan & Paul Kane ~ a Review

by MK French

There are eighteen brand new stories by well-known authors, including M.R. Carey, Genevieve Cogman and Catriona Ward. Poems by the wonderful Jane Yolen also bookend this volume. These are all different approaches to the Alice in Wonderland mythos, including horror renderings. Horror style Wonderland is actually very fascinating because most people think of only Jabberwocky as it's written. Here, we can have a post-apocalyptic atmosphere, alien and changing constantly every time you look at it. This is a little more like the American McGee Alice games, just off of normal to be eerie and bizarre.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

September 2019; Titan Books ; 978-1789091489
ebook, print (384 pages); fantasy
The opening story, "Wonders Never Cease" has as its opening line "It should go without saying, but not all the Alices survived." It's a chilling start, bringing to mind some aspects of the Resident Evil movie franchise. Other than that, what we have is a Rashomon-style telling and retelling of a story, spinning down with surreal twists until we're almost back at the beginning all over again. I particularly like Genevieve Cogman's "The White Queen's Pawn," because I always love stories that shift reality just a bit. This takes a real Charles Dodgson and Alice, years after his book was published, and gives an alternate explanation as to why it had been written in the first place.

"Dream Girl" by Cavan Scott starts off as an apocalyptic Wonderland, with characters and part of the land itself disappearing piece by piece. By the end, we have an explanation for the entire story, which inverts the entire genre into a new one. (Telling would be spoiling, and it's worth the read!) Juliet Marillier's "Good Dog, Alice!" gives a young girl the chance to save herself from a potentially dire fate, and pulls in Marillier's expertise with the time period and details of the house. I'm not a fan of Westerns, but Angela Slatter's "Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em" is very well done, transporting Alice to Arizona as she chases the Hare and helps the locals. Laura Mauro's "The Night Parade" brings Alice to Osaka as Airi, searching for a lost child amidst the shrines and torii. The Night Parade refers to the procession of yokai moving between worlds, and any humans looking at them would die. In spite of the dangers, Airi hopes to save the child and bring her back to Osaka, dodging yokai with clues from the bakeneko, a cat demon.

These are wonderful and imaginative stories, with a variety of genres to satisfy every fan of Wonderland.

Buy Wonderland at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband and three young children. 

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