Tag Archives: Mad Hatters and March Hares

Mad Hatters and March Hares edited by Ellen Datlow

Overview
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Title: Mad Hatters and March Hares
Author: Ellen Datlow, Kris Dikeman, Delia Sherman, C. S. E. Cooney, Jane Yolen, Priya Sharma, Richard Bowes, Stephen Graham Jones, Jeffrey Ford, Angela Slatter, Matthew Kressel, Seanan McGuire, Andy Duncan, Kaaron Warren, Ysabeau S. Wilce, Genevieve Valentine, Catherynne M. Valente & Katherine Vaz
In: Mad Hatters and March Hares (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Retellings, Short story collections, Wordplay
Dates read: 22nd December 2018 – 29th March 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Beyond it were the cells.

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Synopsis

From Master Anthologist Ellen Datlow comes an all-original book of weird tales inspired by the strangeness of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.

Between the hallucinogenic, weird, imaginative wordplay and the brilliant mathematical puzzles and social satire, Alice has been read, enjoyed, and savored by every generation since its publication. Datlow asked seventeen of the most brilliant and acclaimed writers working today to dream up stories inspired by all the strange events and surreal characters found in Wonderland.

Thoughts

I began my obsession with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in childhood, but kind of forgot about it until the last year – when I finally got around to reading the original story! And then my obsession began to take a bit of a turn for the… well, obsessive… so I bought this collection as soon as I found it. And opened the page within days of receiving it.

This collection takes all of the many aspects of Alice in Wonderland and turns them around and around until your dizzy. From cute poems, to horrific ideals about Alis and retellings of particular aspects of the original. This collection of short stories and poems has it all. And it is just impossible to put down!

My only piece of advice with this amazing collection is to maybe not read these tales when you’ve been drinking. I tried a few times and it just makes you feel incredibly tripped out. And confused. And just not really sure where reality is situated… kind of like the original.

 <- Children of the Fang ReviewGentle Alice Review ->
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Run, Rabbit, Run by Jane Yolen

Overview
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Title: Run, Rabbit, Run
Author: Jane Yolen
In: Mad Hatters and March Hares (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Poetry
Dates read: 29th March 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: when the dogs caught his scent.

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Synopsis

Why must the rabbit run? How does he truly work into the world of Alice?

Thoughts

This isn’t one of my favourite poems. It isn’t one of those that sticks with me. But it was a fun and interesting journey. A great way to finish a fantastic collection. Easy, and engaging without making me think too hard.

I loved that the Mad Hatters and March Hares collection both started and ended with a poem. Both are light and funny. Interesting. A great way to think about a classic in an entirely different way.

The rabbit is such an iconic aspect of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and you can understand completely why he caught Yolen’s attention. What a great way to finish such a fun journey… I just don’t have the words beyond that.

<- Moon, and Memory, and MuchnessThe Monstrous ->

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Moon, and Memory, and Muchness by Katherine Vaz

Overview
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Title: Moon, and Memory, and Muchness
Author: Katherine Vaz
In: Mad Hatters and March Hares (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Family, Horror
Dates read: 29th March 2019
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: It’s itself, with its own intensifications.

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Synopsis

Alicia was lost to her years ago, but in the world she’s created of Wonderland, her mother might be able to find her replacement. But at what cost?

Thoughts

This was both an incredibly sad and an incredibly creepy short story. Which kind of matches with the whole Alice in Wonderland theme. It’s a bit of a creepy story when you really think about some of the things that have happened. It’s definitely nostalgic, and more than a little sad at moments. Especially when Alice is looking for her muchness. A bit like the woman in this story.

I can think of nothing worse than raising and loving a child, only for her to be taken away from you way too early. Especially in a quite horrific and dreadful manner. Which meant that I had so much sympathy for the lead voice throughout this story. The fact that what she eventually decided to do was somewhat horrible and something I could never conceive of, yet, I still felt sympathy for her… well, it made this into one powerful story.

There is a moment from the original that sticks with me in this rendition. One that I want to return to… the treatment of the dormouse by the mad hatter and march hare. I don’t remember it being this horrific, but when compared to the attack on a young girl… it becomes something which certainly inspires a little horror.

 <- The Flame After the Candle ReviewRun, Rabbit, Run Review ->
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The Flame After the Candle by Catherynne M. Valente

Overview
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Title: The Flame After the Candle
Author: Catherynne M. Valente
In: Mad Hatters and March Hares (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fantasy, Wordplay
Dates read: 22nd March 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Everyone liked the pig screaming about its mother.

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Synopsis

Olive has visited Wonderland and finds that things aren’t all as they ought to be. Meanwhile, Mrs Hargreaves and Peter are sitting down for a dinner and reminiscing on the pasts that were stolen, but never should have been.

Thoughts

This is a bit of a jumpy short story. Which is pretty typical for a tale from Mad Hatters and March Hares if I’m being truly honest with myself. But, it felt kind of jumpier and more confusing than some of the other stories that I had read. Not to say that it was bad… but it did take me a little more to understand what I was reading than usual. I actually read through this twice… just because there was not one, but two different storylines to try and get my damn head around.

Although I liked the storyline about Olive, it was the secondary tale that really caught my attention. The parallels drawn between Peter Pan and Alice were ones that I had never even considered. But they were really powerful and potent in their own way. And now, when I finally get the time to read Peter Pan, I’m going to be drawing those connecting lines the entire time.

 <- A Comfort, One Way ReviewMoon, and Memory, and Muchness Review ->
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A Comfort, One Way by Genevieve Valentine

Overview
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Title: A Comfort, One Way
Author: Genevieve Valentine
In: Mad Hatters and March Hares (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Wordplay
Dates read: 12th March 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Mary Anns show up at the door a little sooner; they don’t eat cakes and cordials that are just lying around.

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Synopsis

We all know what happens to Alice, but what about the girls who are left behind? What about the duchess?

Thoughts

I loved the idea of a Mary Ann in the Alice world. This idea that every young girl who enters the world of Wonderland is a Mary Ann or an Alice and that there are defining moments which classify them as one or the other. It gives a great alternate point of view to the world which is a little less rushed and insane, and a little calmer and more deeply thought out.

I’ve never really thought much about the duchess in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. She’s just yet another quite absurd and, well, creepy character that shows up in this calamity of crazy. But, now when I reread it, I’m going to pay far more attention to this one moment. After all, the backstory that this short tale provides makes me think about her in a whole new light.

 <- The Queen of Hats ReviewThe Flame After the Candle Review ->
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The Queen of Hats by Ysabeau S. Wilce

Overview
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Title: The Queen of Hats
Author: Ysabeau S. Wilce
In: Mad Hatters and March Hares (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fantasy
Dates read: 7th March 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Where am I going to find actors out here?

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Synopsis

The little tamale girl seems to be going on the adventure of a lifetime. And performing in a play to boot.

Thoughts

I loved the jumpiness of this story. Each mini chapter (about a page each) a completely new and different adventure. Each almost its own story. Something that is really reminiscent of the original Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

This short story takes you on a kind of whirlwind adventure that culminates in that famous moment of “off with your head”. I’m not entirely sure if the off with your head bit gets followed through with… but I kind of like to imagine that it does. Because that’s where my head is at at the moment… that, and it just feels a fitting end to a jumpy story. It seems entirely like fantasy, until the moment that somebody’s head gets taken off… it seems like a great ending.

 <- Eating the Alice Cake ReviewA Comfort, One Way Review ->
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Eating the Alice Cake by Kaaron Warren

Overview
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Title: Eating the Alice Cake
Author: Kaaron Warren
In: Mad Hatters and March Hares (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fantasy
Dates read: 7th March 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: For my uncle’s wine.

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Synopsis

The Mock Turtle keeps reminding Alice of her horrible past. But, what if it’s something that she doesn’t want to think about?

Thoughts

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is twisted. No matter which way you look at it, there is a lot of twisty-ness to the original story. This Alice in Wonderland story is twisted too. Just in a more… disturbing way.

The Mock Turtle always seemed like something that was a little dour and depressing. Something that highlights everything that you don’t like about yourself. So a short story that focuses on this aspect of the original made me really quite happy. The fact that the depressing moments in Alice’s life aren’t so nice… well, that made me less happy.

I thought that the end of this story was kind of incredibly… cruel. Which worked well with the theme. After all, it’s a twisted version of Alice’s Wonderland and the Mock Turtle. And it ends kind of twisted too.

 <- Worrity, Worrity ReviewThe Queen of Hats Review ->
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Worrity, Worrity by Andy Duncan

Overview
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Title: Worrity, Worrity
Author: Andy Duncan
In: Mad Hatters and March Hares (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Wordplay
Dates read: 22nd February 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: As the highest-ranking person in attendance, surely the Right Hon. Arthur James Balfour, MP, DL, Leader of the House of Commons, signalled that the end was near.

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Synopsis

A jumpy little story that follows James Balfour through different stages in his life.

Thoughts

This was my least favourite of the short stories in Mad Hatters and March Hares. Yet it followed the jumpiness of the original story far better than any other tale in this collection. Each section of this tale jumps from one perspective to another. With the same man as the central character. I think. I’m actually not 100% sure. And there were wasps. Lots of wasps.

Alright, I really didn’t follow this story very well at all. It took me a few tries at Alice in Wonderland to follow that too. Although, I loved the imagery and the storyline in that from the very beginning. This short story on the other hand… there wasn’t enough of the imagery and vibrant colours to this storyline and so I found it a lot harder to be drawn in.

 <- Sentence Like a Saturday ReviewEating the Alice Cake Review ->
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Sentence Like a Saturday by Seanan McGuire

Overview
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Title: Sentence Like a Saturday
Author: Seanan McGuire
In: Mad Hatters and March Hares (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fantasy, Wordplay
Dates read: 18th February 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: “- just a little girl.

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Synopsis

When a small child travels down the path to Wonderland, they have to swap places… Kitty finds herself in a whole new riddle and body. Once a Cheshire, and now a little girl. So why is a sentence like a Saturday?

Thoughts

This is my second Seanan McGuire short story (the first being The Mathematical Inevitability of Corvids) and it is just as twisted! In a less sick, going to kill someone way. But in a twisting of words and riddling kind of way. After finishing each paragraph I would take a deep breath. Just because the way the sentences stream into one another was so intensely done that I wouldn’t breathe. It almost worked like one whole sentence.

I’ve never been insanely into riddles, yet this story (and many of the others in this collection) have made me think that there is a need to ignite this interest. After all, the entire story read like a riddle. And I couldn’t tear my eyes off of it.

I loved the ending of this tale. It was both sad and sweet. Perfect and tragic. It certainly bought a tear to my eye as I turned the last page, and that’s something that I always enjoy and appreciate.

 <- In Memory of a Summer’s Day ReviewWorrity, Worrity Review ->
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In Memory of a Summer’s Day by Matthew Kressel

Overview
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Title: In Memory of a Summer’s Day
Author: Matthew Kressel
In: Mad Hatters and March Hares (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fantasy, Wordplay
Dates read: 28th January 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Can we play with them, forever and ever?

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Synopsis

Tours to Wonderland aren’t quite what one would expect… and they can leave you a little bit twisted and turned around. Whether you are a guest or a tour guide.

Thoughts

I don’t know if I’d ever willingly go on a tour through Wonderland. There just seems to be far too much that can, and will, go wrong. And this short story reinforces that idea. I definitely only ever want to read about Alice’s adventures… the real place just seems far too dangerous and bizarre.

Although this short story isn’t as heavy on the wordplay as some of the others in this collection, it is still kind of twisting and turning in the way it tells the narrative. Kind of like the original journey through wonderland… it is kind of hard to keep track of what exactly is happening and where they are. Yet, there are all of the hallmarks that everyone remembers from the original. Including Alice. Which was kind of sad…

 <- Run, Rabbit ReviewSentence Like a Saturday Review ->
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