Valente (Space Opera, 2018, etc.) collects her fablelike short works of fantasy, science fiction, and science fantasy.
Several stories previously published as contributions to themed anthologies illustrate Valente's fearless experimentation in other authors' universes, including Lewis Carroll's Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (a historic meeting between the muses for both Alice and Peter Pan), H.P. Lovecraft's Elder Gods (a group of surly Young—only about 5,000 years old or so—Gods get tired of waiting for the apocalypse), and Stanislaw Lem's Cyberiad (a community of unusual machines "live" in an isolated valley). There's also a really disturbing modern riff on the already unsettling fairy tale "The Girl Without Hands," in which the devil is represented by a drug dealer, as well as an amusing yet chilling entry for the Robots vs. Fairies anthology involving a rebellion against the humans that's launched at a WWE–style wrestling match between the programmatically restrained robots and the enslaved fae. These stories tend to be somewhat more plot-driven and easier to parse than some of Valente's originally sourced works, which are lovely but often inscrutable pieces, possessing their own mysterious dream logic. Their strength is in the images and moods they conjure up, although they occasionally border on the twee. It's perhaps inadvisable to seek literal meaning in a story about a young woman whose torso is a tower that serves as a shelter for an invading force. Most tales rely more on building a world than establishing a plot, such as the one where a man's consciousness is copied into a satellite guidance system or a world where conflict is settled by poison feasts rather than all-out war. Valente loves poetic language, and overanalysis would ruin what she's crafted here. Just how much substance there is in these soap bubbles, though, is perhaps difficult to assess.
Let the stories wash over you and just go with it.