If you’re reading this review on Goodreads you can note that I’ve listed my favorite book as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and readers of my blog may recall that I often mention how much I like short fiction so it should come as no surprise that I was eager to read this collection of short stories.
But one of the other things I’ve noted is that anthologies, even those from a stalwart editor such as Ellen Datlow, have such a mixed bag of stories that, while they might have something for everyone, they also have something that everyone will dislike.
This book started out on a really great note. The first couple of stories really felt like they belonged to the ‘Alice’ universe. They captured the heart of the Lewis Carroll stories. But as we get further into the book we get more pieces that are quite disconnected to the Alice stories. Stories about Dodgson or about a different version of Alice having PTSD-type flashbacks to Wonderland could still maintain a sense of the Wonderland stories, but they don’t.
This is a hard book to review because of the real variety of stories (variety in content and in quality). It’s not a book that I would recommend – it’s just not strong enough, even though I really enjoyed, “My Own Invention”; “Lily-White & The Thief of Lesser Night” and “Worrity, Worrity”. Most of the others aren’t bad, but just don’t generate any strong reactions one way or the other. The last two stories however, “Moon, Memory, Muchness” and “Run, Rabbit, Run” drag the collection down.
This anthology is a disappointment.
This volume contains the following:
“My Own Invention” by Delia Sherman
“Lily-White & The Thief of Lesser Night” by C.S.E. Cooney
“Conjoined” by Jane Yolen
“Mercury” by Priya Sharma
“Some Kind of Wonderland” by Richard Bowes
“Alis” by Stephen Graham Jones
“All the King’s Men” by Jeffrey Ford
“Run, Rabbit” by Angela Slatter
“In Memory of a Summer’s Day” by Matthew Kressel
“Sentence Like a Saturday” by Seanan McGuire
“Worrity, Worrity” by Andy Duncan
“Eating the Alice Cake” by Kaaron Warren
“The Queen of Hats” by Ysabeau Wilce
“A Comfort, One Way” by Genevieve Valentine
“The Flame After the Candle” by Catherynne M. Valente
“Moon, Memory, Muchness” by Katherine Vaz
“Run, Rabbit, Run” by Jane Yolen
Looking for a good book? Mad Hatters and March Hares, edited by Ellen Datlow is a disappointing and forgettable collection of stories using Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as a springboard.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, though Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Mad Hatters and March Hares
editor: Ellen Datlow
publisher: Tor Books
paperback, 336 pages