Tag Archives: Wordplay

From the Catalogue of the Pavilion of the Uncanny and Marvellous, Scheduled for Premiere at the Great Exhibition (Before the Fire) by Genevieve Valentine

Overview
Image result for queen victoria's book of spells ellen datlow book cover

Title: From the Catalogue of the Pavilion of the Uncanny and Marvellous, Scheduled for Premiere at the Great Exhibition (Before the Fire)
Author: Genevieve Valentine
In: Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, GaslampWordplay
Dates read: 4th July 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: Even with the losses, however, the Exhibition turned enough profit to finance construction of the Victoria and Albert Museum itself.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

A collection of notes, letters and quotes that tell of the Pavilion of the Uncanny and Marvellous.

Thoughts

This was a bit of a weird read. Not in a horrifying or negative manner, but in a, I’m going to read this again and again to see what pops out. It’s fascinating, fun and a perfect mix of reality and fantasy. The unique structure of this story is what I love the most about this story though. It is different, fun and gives an entirely different flow to the storyline than any other short story that I have read recently.

There aren’t many stories that I struggle to see the overarching storyline… a mass of exposure tends to make things more and more predictable. But, because this short story has such a unique and completely alien format to what I’m used to, I’m still not sure I’ve fully grasped what was happening. Which I loved. It not only means that this is a story I’ll enjoy reading again, it was also a challenge. And who doesn’t love a good challenge?

 <- The Fairy Enterprise ReviewThe Memory Book Review ->
Image source: Amazon

The Acid Test by Livia Llewellyn

Overview
Image result for black feathers ellen datlow book cover

Title: The Acid Test
Author: Livia Llewellyn
In: Black Feathers (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Horror, Wordplay
Dates read: 27th April 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Pegasus Books Ltd.
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Outside in the hallway, the telephone rings over and over, crying out like a hungry abandoned bird, while beside me the radio on my headstand cackles with the news, and sometimes in the low afternoon light I think I see a faint movement behind its grooved surface, as if the machine is struggling to free itself from the invisible information pouring in and extruding out of the black plastic and metal of its captive brain.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

A tripped out journey through thoughts, misconceptions and the world around us.

Thoughts

I’ve never done acid. But I imagine that the tripped out experience is a lot like this story. Incredibly confusing, unreal and tangentially jumpy. With lots and lots of long, run on sentences.

I didn’t necessarily love this short story. It was very clever and intriguing. But it was also so convoluted and tripped out that I’m not entirely sure what the point and storyline of this tale was. Actually, I turned the last page and just really didn’t know what I had just read at all. It was all very, very confusing.

 <- A Little Bird Told Me ReviewThe Crow Palace Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Mad Hatters and March Hares edited by Ellen Datlow

Overview
Image result for mad hatters and march hares ellen datlow book cover

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.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
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 ->
Image source: Bookdepository

The Flame After the Candle by Catherynne M. Valente

Overview
Image result for mad hatters and march hares ellen datlow book cover

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.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
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 ->
Image source: Bookdepository

A Comfort, One Way by Genevieve Valentine

Overview
Image result for mad hatters and march hares ellen datlow book cover

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.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
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 ->
Image source: Bookdepository

Worrity, Worrity by Andy Duncan

Overview
Image result for mad hatters and march hares ellen datlow book cover

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.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
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 ->
Image source: Bookdepository

Sentence Like a Saturday by Seanan McGuire

Overview
Image result for mad hatters and march hares ellen datlow book cover

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.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
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 ->
Image source: Bookdepository

In Memory of a Summer’s Day by Matthew Kressel

Overview
Image result for mad hatters and march hares ellen datlow book cover

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?

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
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 ->
Image source: Bookdepository

Lily-White & the Thief of Lesser Night by C. S. E. Cooney

Overview
Image result for mad hatters and march hares ellen datlow book cover

Title: Lily-White & the Thief of Lesser Night
Author: C. S. E. Cooney
In: Mad Hatters and March Hares (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: AdventureFamilyWordplay
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: I’ll make sure of it – if I have to conjure one up myself!

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

Lily-White and her sister Ruby-Red have some unusual gifts and a talent for mayhem. When someone starts attacking the Cheshires, they find out how they can embrace this and find a bit of adventure of their own…

Thoughts

I felt like this short story was a kind of prequel to the rivalry that seems to feature throughout many of the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland retellings. At a young age, sisters Lily-White and Ruby-Red already have an intense rivalry. And although they get along famously within this story, there are the seeds of discord in all of their interactions… and on completing this story, there was kind of an uncomfortable feeling that lingered, making you think of the future of the two queens…

As an origins story, this not only covers the beginning of tensions between the sisters – but why there is just one Cheshire cat, and how the vorpal sword came about. I love how Cooney is able to build upon the ideas that are laid out in Carroll’s work, but still make it entirely his own. The complex wordplay is still there, as is the tripped out and intense worldbuilding and this great sense of wonder. I look forward to reading this story again and again and again, just like the stories that inspired this short story.

 <- My Own Invention ReviewConjoined Review ->
Image source: Bookdepository

My Own Invention by Delia Sherman

Overview
Image result for mad hatters and march hares ellen datlow book cover

Title: My Own Invention
Author: Delia Sherman
In: Mad Hatters and March Hares (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, Wordplay
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: There is always an Alice in the seventh square.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

The knight from the chessboard has another Alice to watch, and there is a lot of wordplay while he does so.

Thoughts

One of the things that I love about Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is the incredibly insane wordplay. The fact that nothing quite makes sense and you feel like you’re on an intense trip. Well, Sherman captures that feeling perfectly in her short story, My Own Invention. It probably didn’t help that I had had a few glasses of wine when I read this story…

This tale almost takes a tiny snippet of Through the Looking-Glass and embellishes it with the experiences of the knight. The words are still twisted upon one another, and there are a few comments about there is always an Alice (implying that there are many). Like the original Carroll tale, I’m not really 100% sure what even happened in this… but I loved every minute of it!

 <- Gentle Alice ReviewLily-White & the Thief of Lesser Night Review ->
Image source: Bookdepository