Ellen Klages’ enjoyable WICKED WONDERS is full of fantastic surprises

For the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, Don Waters praises Ellen Klages’ WICKED WONDERS.

Young children dash throughout Ellen Klages’ genre-bending collection, WICKED WONDERS. Some have mischievous personalities, sure, but her wide-eyed characters are relatively innocent. That doesn’t mean profound events don’t befall them. One 11-year-old girl bicycles around her neighborhood bidding goodbye to everything familiar before her family boards a flight to Mars.

“We’re achieving humankind’s greatest dream,” she says.

Klages’ use of mostly youngster narrators — a difficult technique — allows the reader to revisit childhood, especially when she conjures in us feelings of wonder. Artifacts of youth are everywhere: fairy tales, secret passageways, curiosities in the woods. Klages also leans on classic Americana, playing up penny arcades, soda fountains and summer camps.

The reader never knows what fantastic surprise may come next. Enthusiasts of genre fiction — fantasy, science fiction, metafiction — will delight in these 14 strong tales. And given these strange days, Klages’ magical realms are a welcome respite in a world desperately in need of the empathy and imagination of children.

Photo: Scott R. Kline

LIFE WITHIN THE PAGES enjoys the collection.

This novel was unique and full of fun short stories that held my attention all the way through. I was very surprised by it and didn’t know how much I would come to enjoy the collection presented within its pages. I found this book while searching on NetGalley and was very happy that I was given the chance to review it because it was completely worth the read.

YOU MAY SAY I’M A READER declares the Elizabeth Story cover as one of the best of May.

For more info on WICKED WONDERS, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover design by Elizabeth Story