Title/Author: Glitter and Mayhem. (ARC).
Genre: Sci/Fi, Fantasy, UF.
Publisher: Apex Publications.
Source: I received this book from the publisher for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review.
Favorite Quote: Be certain of what you want, and be more certain still of what you are willing to pay. ~Morain from With Her Hundred Miles to Hell.
Synopsis: Welcome to Glitter & Mayhem, the most glamorous party in the multiverse.
Step behind the velvet rope of these fabulous Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror tales of roller rinks, nightclubs, glam aliens, party monsters, drugs, sex, glitter, and debauchery.
Dance through nightclubs, roller derby with cryptids and aliens, be seduced by otherworldly creatures, and ingest cocktails that will alter your existence forever. Your hosts are the Hugo Award-winning editors John Klima (Electric Velocipede) and Lynne M. Thomas (Apex Magazine), and the Hugo-nominated editor Michael Damian Thomas (Apex Magazine).
Join glittery authors Christopher Barzak (One for Sorrow) and Daryl Gregory (Pandemonium) on the dance floor, drink cocktails with Maria Dahvana Headley (Queen of Kings: A Novel of Cleopatra, the Vampire) and Tim Pratt (Marla Mason series), and skate with Seanan McGuire (InCryptid series), Diana Rowland (Kara Gillian series), and Maurice Broaddus (The Knights of Breton Court series). The fantastic Amber Benson gets the party started with her floor-rattling introduction (Calliope Reaper-Jones series).
We’re waiting. ~Goodreads.
My Thoughts: An anthology of stories with the theme of disco, roller derby and magic? I'm there! Intrigued further by an introduction from Amber Benson and stories penned by Seanan McGuire, Caitlin Kiernan and Diana Rowland (to just name a few) I jumped at the chance to read this.
The stories are a delightful escape into fantastical places that include outer space, fairy worlds, existential domains, and discos, which are at times a mixture of each. Amber Benson's lyrical and insightful foreward brings excitement and anticipation to the stories ahead.
The collection starts out with a rollicking rendition of the 12 Dancing Princesses with characters I could relate to as they ventured out of their confined life to sample an exciting nightlife. The story made me feel that I may have run into one of the Princesses dancing and drinking the night away.
Apex Jump features a rollerderby team who gets to play another team, in a very "cosmic" location. With Her Hundred Miles to Hell dreams, fantasies and what you'd pay for them to come true are tested. The characters from Bad Dream Girl popped off the page and not only provided me with a greater understanding of roller derby, but also a great story about Annie Thompson aka "Final Girl."
Sooner than Gold is about a man who has a rather unfortunate deal going that he's trying to get out of and Subterraneans is a dark tale about drugs and addiction with a twist. The Minotaur Girls is a standout because it sucked me in from the start. A beautifully written story of dreams, fantasies and realities. I still think about this one. It's about being wanted, and feeling special. The premise, a club that *everyone* is dying to get into, but once you do, it can be more treacherous than you realized. I love the slang of the story. "That's so glitter!" is something that is awesome and magical and if something is "unglitter" it's not cool at all. I find myself using the phrases in my head. Maybe it will catch on in pop culture. Such and Such said to So and So is a brilliant piece. It reads like a hard boiled mystery, yet the writing is ethereal. Imagine if cocktails became people and then personified their ingredients. It felt like a metaphore for drinking and indulgence.
Horror fans may appreciate Bess the Landlord's Daughter. I didn't really know what was going on as I reading (but I still loved it) and I had to keep reading and try to figure out the mystery. Who *were* these characters? It's intriguing and haunting and maybe others will figure out the ending, but I was surprised. Inside Hides the Monster is another dark tale about a Siren. I loved this one because not only is the writing lovely and filled with pretty similes, but I feel sorry for the sea creature, Lygeia. She is powerful and helpless at the same time. It's a great thriller and kept me on the edge of my seat.
Blood and Sequins is Diana Rowland's offering of two cops who are into costuming and enter a Halloween contest. Unfortunately, something is going down that night in the club they are in and they have to intervene. All That Fairy Tale Crap is told in Cinderella's point of view. But this Cindy is irreverant and crass and wants to express her opinions on the state and mindset of fairy tales and princesses. It's an FU to stereotypes with both middle fingers raised high, or maybe it's just a dissection on how folklore and cultures change.
There are several more stories to explore in this anthology and with any collection, I enjoyed some more than others. The ones with a heavy sci-fi flavor with existentialism thrown in weren't my favorites but mostly, this is a collection of gems. Even the stories that I didn't love had strong characters and were well written with strong plots, clever twists and characters that pop off the page. Also, I learned a lot about rollerderby.
To Wrap it Up: Glitter and Mayhem made want to grab a pair of roller skates, turn up some music and go out into the night looking for adventure and magic.