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Wonderland Blog Tour – Book Review

Good morning and welcome to my spot on the blog tour for this anthology of work inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. 
I think most people are somewhat familiar with the original stories. My first introduction to Alice, I’m fairly sure, was via the Disney animated film, and to be honest I’m not convinced if I’ve even fully read the original stories. I really must rectify that soon (would love a MinaLima to design an edition btw). The genre bending children’s fantasy, has definite horrific aspects and many a joke has been made about what Carroll was on when he wrote these tales. They are a true classic, and have been a springboard for many a spin off or retelling both on film, and on the page. 
The majority of the works in this anthology are short stories although these are bookended by two poems by Jane Yolen. The second of which I preferred. Some of the tales may be better appreciated by people who are familiar with the originals but despite this most can stand alone. 
I was only familiar with 3 of the 20 names associated and so I had the pleasure of being introduced to other authors, some of whose other work I am now likely to seek out as a result. 
There is something for everyone in here, but as with most short story collections perhaps not everything will be for everyone. Stories that although are well written, don’t quite make that connection. There’s historical, contemporary and futuristic tales in fantasy, science fiction, horror, historical and more. Topics such as capitalism and child abuse are discovered. Not be shelved in the children’s section next to the original. And most of the characters from Hatter to Cheshire, The Jabberwock, and even the more obscure Walrus, appear in one form or another across these tales. For me there were many more hits than misses and I will mention a few of the hits next. 
First up is the author I was most familiar with – MR Carey with There Were No Birds to Fly. The tonal similarity with his other works was apparent. That apocalyptic creepiness. Oddly this was the least recognisable in terms of its connection to the original, until the very end. Carey shows that being inspired by something can still lead to a highly original story. 
Next was Genevieve Cogman. I was aware of her and have her Invisible Library series waiting on my TBR. Her tale The White Queen’s Pawn had a wry and dark humour, and a be careful what you wish for moral. I definitely plan to bump her tales up the list. 
And the stand out for me was Cavan Scott’s Dream Girl. I won’t mention the genre as that is sort of a spoiler in itself but it was perfection. It reminded me of  the Wizard of Oz/Wicked retelling and I would love to be able to read a longer work based on what this becomes at the end of the story. 
Thank you to Titan for the gifted review copy and to editors Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane for bringing this together. Do check out the rest of the blog tour stops to see which stories stood out to everyone else. 

Kibo*

We still see stars shine

when they are gone. So we can

see you in your dark.

.

A patch of clear floor,

in a crowded, messy room 

clears space in my mind.

.

You may feel alone

but orbiting you are those

who can pull you close. 

.

Galaxies form from

words on a page, opening 

up more world to me. 

.

A shout, the void hears.

Fall onto a black hole and

friction makes you shine. 

.

One small step for most

is a massive leap for some.

Cheer ev-er-y inch. 

.

Astronauts need teams

to stay safe in the expanse 

of space. There’s as much

.

unexplored in our

brains. Humanity wants to

find others like us.

.

‘Living with’ is a 

mantra for alien thoughts 

that invade. Come in

.

Peace not pieces, pick

up the flag. I was here. We

shall live together. 

.

*nickname for the Japanese Science module on the ISS. Means hope.

Written back in April – shared tonight to remind myself whilst struggling. 

Stories for Homes Volume 2 – Blog Tour 

This second anthology of short stories, flash fiction and poetry on the theme home is published in support of Shelter. This edition is dedicated to those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire and the foreword talks about the impact of Brexit on feelings of home especially for migrants. 

Personally I feel, having talked to friends who feel similarly, that even British natives have had their sense of home pulled away by the animosity over Brexit. That feeling of safety, of thinking you know what people around you are like, has been undermined. 

With that being said the stories contained within the book offer snapshots into sense of home and belonging. For me I find it difficult to read a whole book of short pieces in one sitting and so this will be a book for me to dip into in waiting rooms and spare 5 minutes. 

The first entries out of 55 range from a brief snapshot of a moment of routine which captures the sense of being at home with another person (TED BONHAM – The Life This Is) to fighting systems that can prevent you finding a, or feeling at, home (MICHELE SHELDON Monsters) and the whimsical tale of, I assume a homeless woman, who shares the little she has and lets a seagull take up residence on her head ( SHARON BENNETT – Seagull). 

The voice and palpable sense of longing drew me into the story of a woman returning home after a jail sentence by LEIGH FORBES (Coming Home). And I also picked out the following story, from later on in the book, to read based on its title. ISABEL COSTELLO’s A Place to Paint Yellow explores whether home is a person, a place or a feeling and what happens when those things change or are lost. Its protagonist being an obese woman also examines feeling at home in your own skin.

Shelter, the charity which Stories for Homes supports, cites three main criteria for housing: safety, stability, affordability. The UK is currently failing its citizens on every point. Volume one raised over £3,000. Buy this book to help them help others. It’s available as an e-book with bonus online content here – http://storiesforhomes.wordpress.com/
 

Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, said: “Stories give our imaginations a home. It’s good to see them helping to give people shelter in the real world, too…” reflecting the connection between the immediacy of housing crisis and the stories people tell about their lives around and within it.

Here’s a 6 word story I wrote as part of a challenge last September. 


Do check out the rest of the blogs promoting the book to see which entry felt most like home to them.


I received a copy of this ebook for the purposes of review. Opinions are my own. 

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