This science fiction/fantasy anthology delivers on its promise to reimagine the baddest fairy-tale baddies of them all: dragons and witches.
These 10 distinct stories explore themes of humanity, honor, loyalty, and identity while staying true to the book’s purpose: an exploration of the question “are bad guys always bad?” Susan Bianculli and Ariane Felix give witches the sci-fi treatment in “Technological Magic” and “The Witch and the Hunter,” respectively. Joy Preble’s “A Very Baba Yaga Halloween” reveals the eponymous character’s origins in flashbacks as the Bone Mother prepares for All Hallow’s Eve. Sarah Lyn Eaton’s Jamaican witches use earth magic to help an ancestor’s trapped soul pass on in “The Fragrant Feast.” In “Some Like It Hot,” by Mari Mancusi, a young were-dragon just wants her first kiss, but the fact that she shifts out of human form when she’s turned on is a bit of an obstacle. Maybe the sexy son of Satan’s sous chef can help her out. Kath Boyd Marsh’s “The Pendragon Crystal” puts a fiery spin on the Arthurian legend, with the king and his family imagined as dragons forced into exile, disguised as humans. Readers who prefer short stories over longer works will find entertainment within the pages, and the collection may also be useful for discussions about the differences between fantasy and science fiction and the places in which the two genres meet.
An entertaining change of pace. (Science fiction/fantasy anthology. 12-16)