Oh, so that’s why I’ve been seeing Alice so often lately: it’s the 150th anniversary.
I hate to admit it – but I’ve never been entirely enamored of Alice. It’s another childhood classic that I somehow never read, like The Wizard of Oz – just never had a copy, or something.
The call for entries seems to have specified that there be a young main character named Alice, a white rabbit, and a fall. Another theme running through a lot of the stories is that parents can be perilous, unreliable, sometimes dangerous. As with all collections of stories by various author, there is a wild variety of style, quality, and subject matter, but the variety of things done with the basic elements in this baker’s dozen of stories is pretty impressive.
I just wish I liked Alice in Wonderland more. I should, I suppose; I’d like to; I don’t. Oh well. Happily, I have more than enough enthusiasms without Alice.
Alice, Through the Wormhole – Charlotte Bennardo – Alice in space, in a trippy chase after stolen tea, which is more than just tea. Meh; kind of clever, but kind of annoying – ***
They Call Me Alice – C. Lee McKenzie – blend of Chinese mythology, young adult romance, and Alice; really kind of lovely. Though it focused more on the Chinese mythology than on Alice; the heroine could have been called anything, and the rabbit had no relation to Wonderland. Still, it fits well enough, and had an affect on me. ****
Alice, Last of the Bleeding Hearts – David Turnbull – I wasn’t thrilled with this one; where the last story’s connection to AinW seemed distant, here it felt forced, a science fiction story hammered into an Alice mold. Flaws in the narration showed up here – unless the text actually read “soldiering iron” twice? I wasn’t enamored of this version of the Cheshire Cat; I wasn’t impressed with the intelligence of the “last of the bleeding hearts” (announcing her weapons to the Red Queen? Wouldn’t they be more effective as surprises? And Alice knows how to play chess but wonders at the knights moving in “an odd, L-shaped manner”? ** Meh.
The Watchmaker’s Ball – Christine Norris – Here the narrator used a very nice British accent, fitting the Alice-contemporary setting. It was an interesting idea (except how did that mechanic know to give a warning?), interestingly executed – fun. ****
Rabbit Fever – Jackie Horsfall – I don’t know. I just don’t know. I like the concept of an Alice from another time period, but she seemed a little too prescient. I didn’t love it. **
Mustang Alice – Medeia Sharif – My initial comment was simply “oh you have got to be kidding”. It’s not often I DNF a short story – but I skipped most of this one after Alice stole the car. Nope. (If it had been a Volkswagen Rabbit, now…) *
White Is a Human Construct – Laura Lascarso – Read with a Southern accent – very good and rather intense story of abuse and madness and what it takes to get out of both. I liked what was not said as much as what was. *****
Alice and Her Shadow – Tom Luke – Told in the second person present tense: “None of the streetlamps are working, and your shadow is beginning to worry you.” – NICE. I didn’t like it – it’s a very disturbing story – but I appreciated it to pieces. Creepy as all hell. And in light of a recent (possible)(unconfirmed)(oh please no) major character death on The Walking Dead and how Damon Lindelof, producer of other shows, talked about it … story arcs and taking the show in a direction and that sort of thing. Yeah. *shiver* ****
Alice in Wilderland – Jessica Bayliss YA love story – which should have annoyed me, to be honest – but my initial reaction was “NICE”. ****
The Aviary – Crystal Schubert – “ok” love the idea of rescuing someone who doesn’t want to be rescued “kids” “my life on hold” Oh, I really don’t care about the inside of her belly button. I really don’t. “her ribbon arms” I get selfishness, but while she was off enjoying her love nest her family was dying. **
Broken Tethers – Holly Odell – Chick talks to herself a whole hell of a lot. I mean, I do too, but not in text. As such. Was this supposed to be funny? **
Undercover Alice – Jennifer Moore – Aussie (why?) Cute enough story, but not great. ***
Follow the Steam Rabbit – Liam Hogan – parachute? Not awful; not great. ***
The book is introduced as having “dazzling silhouette pieces for the interior title page of each Alice tale” – not exactly a plus to the audible book listener; it’s a shame that line isn’t deleted from the audio edition.
This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com.
ETA: It took a remarkably long time to get on Goodreads to post a review there. And come to find out three of the authors and both editors involved in this book not only reviewed it but gave it five stars. The first word that comes to mind on that subject is ‘tacky’ – but it’s worse than that. It’s drastically skewing the rating of a book which not so many people have reviewed. It’s worse than getting family and friends to rate and review – they would have fewer horses in the race. I *was* giving this three stars, as a rough average of my opinion of the stories. Under the circumstances, I feel the rating needs a bit of realistic balancing out. Pity.
My rating is balanced by those of:
With just a couple of exceptions, this was not a good experience.