Wonderland: An Anthology by Marie O Regan and Paul Kane

8/10 A really enjoyable collection which includes stories to suit everyone’s tastes

Wonderland: An Anthology, edited by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane

Wonderland is an anthology of nineteen short stories inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. These stories are from many well-known writers and range in tone from prose to poetry. Each story draws their initial idea from Alice and Wonderland and yet, it is the way that these authors take these stories that leads us to even stranger and curious worlds.

Some of these stories focus on growing up and remembering who you are or who you were, these include: About Time, by George Mann, which focuses on Lucy, a girl who has found that she doesn’t have time to visit Wonderland any more. But to be able to say goodbye has to solve a problem during one last adventure in Wonderland. Eat Me, Drink Me by Alison Littlewood is a dark tale of being told you need to grow up, but not being ready to do so. Sometimes you realise too late that the opportunity you are given involves growing up. Although you may not understand the consequences of doing so or knowing what will change when you do.

There are also lots of very different tales about either losing or finding your identity, these range from There Were no Birds to Fly, by M. R. Carey whereas the story goes on the characters learn who the monsters really are. Black Kitty, by Catriona Ward, is about two sisters who are identical twins, but one twin is as innocent as snow, while the other sees herself as more villainous, neither understanding the true danger they are in. In Six Impossible Things, by Mark Chadbourn, a girl called Alice meets the Cheshire Cat, but can’t remember if she knows him or not. The Cat asks her to join him to play a game, but she finds more than she bargained for.

Some of my favourite stories in this collection are: Smoke ‘em’ if you got ‘em, by Angela Slatter and The White Queen’s Pawn, by Genevieve Cogman. In the first story, a version of Alice is hunting for Rabbit. Rabbit's business is to find children and ship them off to Wonderland, where they will be used as entertainment. Alice is relentless in her mission and knows that she will finally have retribution when she catches him. In the second story, there is the clear message of being careful about what you wish for as you might just find out too late that it isn’t what you want at all.  

This is a really enjoyable collection which includes stories to suit everyone’s tastes. I also found that these stories are immensely re-readable which was a nice surprise. So if you loved Alice’s adventures as a child, let the authors in this anthology take you on a trip into their own imaginations.

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