Tag Archives: Alisa Krasnostein

Retro Review: Kaleidoscope (2014)

Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories

ISBN: 978-1-922101-11-2

August 2014, Twelfth Planet Press

Alisa Krasnostein & Julia Rios (eds.)

Kaleidoscope is one of the best anthologies I have read for a very long time. It’s not just the concept, which is both necessary and overdue; it’s not just the stories, which are engaging and beautiful and thoughtful and brilliant; it’s not just the way the authors explore science fiction and fantasy from perspectives all too frequently unseen in fiction; it’s all of these things, and that it seems so natural. In this anthology, every story takes a character (or two or three) who is often “othered” in fiction (and life), and makes their differences a part of the story. Readers will see themselves, they will see their friends, they will see their families, their cultures, their religious beliefs, their sexuality, their physical and mental states and they will see them as normal, as okay, as special. Not othered. Important and relevant and very very good, Kaleidoscope offers a powerful message to our society about difference, and about what we, as readers, want (and need) to see in our stories.

Some pieces, such as Tansy Rayner Roberts’ “Cookie Cutter Superhero”, offer a biting commentary on popular culture, couched in humour and teen spirit; others, such as “Seventh Day of the Seventh Moon” by Ken Liu, take a gentler approach, examining first love with a fantasical twist. Some stories shade darker, as with “The Legend Trap” by Sean Williams (set in his Twinmaker universe, an added bonus for fans) and “Kiss and Kiss and Kiss and Tell” by E.C. Myers; still others take a familiar trope and turn it sideways, like Faith Mudge’s “Signature” and “The Lovely Duckling” by Tim Susman. Some of my favourite works in the book were those that embedded the story in the protagonist’s nature, like the magic of Jim C. Hines’ “Chupacabra’s Song” and Karen Healey’s astonishingly good “Careful Magic”. There are so many wonderful stories in the pages of Kaleidoscope that every reader will find a favourite (or two or three), and every reader, teen or adult, will find at least one that speaks to them in deeper ways.

This review was first published at FableCroft on June 18, 2014.

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Very exciting news!

Thanks to the magic of Twitter, we knew almost as soon as it was announced that my good friend and colleague (in indie press) Alisa Krasnostein won the World (WORLD!!!) Fantasy Special Award – Non-professional in San Diego (presented at World Fantasy Con) for her work at Twelfth Planet Press. The World Fantasy Awards are annual, international awards given to authors and artists who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in the field of fantasy and are considered among the most prestigious in the speculative fiction genre.

I’m SO excited for Alisa – this backs up from the international award win Twelfth Planet Press had at the WSFA Small Press Award last year, with Tansy Rayner Roberts’ “Siren Beat”, and TPP is just going from strength to strength. Alisa works so hard for her press, producing beautiful, brilliant books and nurturing creative talent in Australia. Well done Alisa!!

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