(re)Visions: Alice is a collection of retellings of the childrens classic.
(re)Visions: Alice is the first in a planned series in the (re)Visions line, which is devoted to exploring the lasting legacy of classic works of speculative fiction on our genres and on our lives. In each book in the series, four authors will tackle a classic work of imaginative fiction, and give it their own spin; along with each of these novellas will also be the original work. In this first entry, Lewis Carroll’s timeless classic, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is presented, along with four modern pieces based on his work.
Here’s a summary of each of the novellas in Alice:
What Aelister Found Here
By Kaye Chazan
It is 1888, and Aelister has never felt at home, not even in his own skin. Now that he’s been expelled from school, he sees no reason to stick around his house in Warwickshire, so he runs away to another world altogether: London. The city is a maze of heat and rain, where a murderer stalks the streets of Whitechapel and a Crown Prince flouts his mother’s laws, and Aelister soon finds himself dealt into a series of deadly games—ones that put his life, and far more, on the line. And while London may not be the wonderland Aelister expected to find, he is far from the only person in the city looking for that very place.
House of Cards
By Amanda Ching
There’s Alice, who fell down a rabbit hole and had an adventure. Then there’s the Queen of Hearts, who loses her temper quite frequently. But before that, there was Mary Ann, a servant pressed past patience, past duty. As all three hurtle toward an inevitable meeting, a creature has broken from its coffin and is even now tunneling to meet them. When the deck is stacked like this, even the strongest foundation could crumble.
By Hilary Thomas
In the city they call Wonderland, the Queen calls the shots. If she doesn’t like the way you’re playing the game, she’ll give you the axe. Permanently. Jack Knave is an investigator, a man of many talents, an occasional blade for The Crown; and he’s the best at what he does. He knows every face in the city, every move they make, every connection.
When a mysterious woman shows up in town, Jack is sure she’s not just here for the tourism. But the more he digs, the less he knows. Finding the answers means getting close to her, but she’s not the only one with secrets. Somebody’s been stealing from the Queen, and it looks like Jack’s taking the fall. Alice could seal his fate with a word—or not. With no options left, and the odds stacked against him, Jack must make a desperate gamble to survive. Whether his luck holds out or he’s left out to dry, one thing’s for certain: he can’t afford to lose his head.
The World in a Thimble
By C.A. Young
Toby Fitzsimmons hates the creepy sculpture of Alice on display in his gallery, but when it drops him into Wonderland for real, he’s not prepared for what he finds. From real living furniture to scoutmasters and cowboys to coyotes who really do go everywhere, Toby finds himself in a Wonderland that’s more deadly, and much more American, than the one he remembers reading about as a boy. At the heart of it all is the Catmistress, who rules over the city’s dark alleys and knows the secret of the Cheshire trick. In this strange new world, Toby will need all the help he can get to find his way home. Before that, though, he’ll have to find a way to keep from losing himself. Wonderland, it seems, changes everything it touches. And then there’s the thing in the sewers…
I really, really enjoyed this. Collections can be hard to review, but this was great.
We start with the original Alice in Wonderland. Obviously, we all know the story, but it had been years since I last read it and disneys version had slowly replaced it in my imagination. Rediscovering the original was a delight.
What Aliester Found Here is a gender-swapped, urban fantasy version of the Alice tales, combining elements from both Wonderland and Throught the Looking Glass into a unique and wonderful tale. The writing was top notch, the characterisation was excellent, and though it went slowly at times, it was a great read.
House of Cards was a darker, more bizarre retelling. The time jumped around all over the place, fitting the confused nature of the narrative. The secret at the heart was as nasty as any reader could wish, though I thought it was a little cliche and obvious.
Knave was glorious, a retelling set in a modern crime syndicate. Pitch perfect and refreshing amongst more straight-forwardly ‘magical’ tales.
The World in a Thimble was perhaps my least favourite, which shouldn’t be taken to mean ‘bad’, jsut ‘not amazing’. The idea was nice, but I felt like it had been done before, many times, by better writers. Still a nice finish to the collection, though.
A good collection, and worth a shot for people especially into Alice and her story.
4 out of 5.
Provided free through Netgalley.
- Odd Books: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (manbehindthecurtain.ie)
- Chazan, Ching, Thomas, Young – (re) Visions: Alice (sffbookreview.wordpress.com)
- Revisiting Wonderland (studiolightblue.com)