From Publishers Weekly
The current spate of themed, written-to-order anthologies leaves us awash in mediocrity; Fantastic Alice, in which 17 authors rework material by Lewis Carroll, is only a partial exception. Only Bruce Holland Rogers in the touching "A Common Night"-the best story here, despite an unconvincing close-illuminates what he borrows. He makes intriguing connections between Carroll and Emily Dickinson, and his verse is impressively clever. Several stories bring Carrollian characters to the real world; the best is Peter Crowther's eerie, disturbing "Conundrums to Guess," in which the Red Queen shows up (with an ax), but it's undeveloped and rushed. Lawrence Watt-Evans, Jane M. Lindskold and Esther M. Friesner bring to reality the Cheshire Cat, the Dormouse and the Duchess's pig-baby, respectively, with some cleverness and imagination. Most of the stories that put characters into versions of Carroll's worlds, though, fail to one degree or another. The late Roger Zelazny contributes turgid and violent mythopoeia, Janet Pack a whimsy-slaying and sloppy "It was all a dream-or was it?" cliche; Mickey Zucker Reichert's and Connie Hirsch's takeoffs are flat-footed and laborious. While the writing here is generally professional and there is some cleverness throughout, too often we feel we're seeing an old-time star spliced into a low-budget remake.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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