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Queen Victoria's Book of Spells: An…
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Queen Victoria's Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy (2013)

by Ellen Datlow (Editor), Terri Windling (Editor)

Other authors: Dale Bailey (Contributor), Elizabeth Bear (Contributor), James P. Blaylock (Contributor), Jeffrey Ford (Contributor), Theodora Goss (Contributor)14 more, Leanna Renee Hieber (Contributor), Kathe Koja (Contributor), Ellen Kushner (Contributor), Tanith Lee (Contributor), Gregory Maguire (Contributor), Maureen McHugh (Contributor), Veronica Schanoes (Contributor), Delia Sherman (Contributor), Caroline Stevermer (Contributor), Catherynne M. Valente (Contributor), Genevieve Valentine (Contributor), Kaaron Warren (Contributor), Elizabeth Wein (Contributor), Jane Yolen (Contributor)

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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Great collection of evocative and wide-ranging stories though they all hew well within the scope of a magical Victorian Age. My favorite of the stories remains the titular (and opening) story of the collection, though your mileage may vary. ( )
  SESchend | Sep 6, 2017 |
I received this anthology at World Fantasy Con in 2014 and had it signed by editor Ellen Datlow. Though this was one of my favorite acquisitions there, it ended up buried in my to-read pile. What a shame, because wow, this book is a treasure. Not only does it capture the essence of gaslamp fantasy by showing the diversity of the subgenre, but the stories are GOOD. I had two stories that I didn't really connect with, but the others were above-average and full of wow. My absolute favorites wee "The Governess" by Elizabeth Bear, "Charged" by Leanna Renee Hieber, "Phosphorous" by Veronica Schanoes (which made me teary-eyed at the end). ( )
  ladycato | Jun 30, 2017 |
There's a lot of variety to the stories here, and while many of the stories didn't make any particular impression on me, the collection as a whole offered an impressive spread of what can amount to gaslamp literature, and the writing was consistently lovely, if not always so engaging as I might have preferred. The array of authors does offer a great opportunity for readers to discover new writers, and I imagine that any fantasy-reading reader will find at least a few authors whose other pieces they'll want to search out--I certainly did.

So although this collection as a whole didn't make a great impression on me, there were some gems here that I just fell in love with, and I'm glad to have read the collection. My favorites included: "Queen Victoria's Book of Spells" by Delia Sherman (title story), "The Governess" by Elizabeth Bear, "The Unwanted Women of Surrey" by Kaaron Warren, "Charged" by Leanna Renee Hieber, "Phosphorous" by Veronica Schanoes, and "The Vital Importance of the Superficial" by Ellen Kushner and Caroline Stevermer. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Dec 8, 2016 |
“From the Catalogue of the Pavilion of the Uncanny and Marvelous, Scheduled for Premiere at the Great Exhibition (Before the Fire)” by Genevieve Valentine:
5/5. I loved it. A story told through documents and letters, it was tantalizing and mysterious but also satisfying.
“Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells” by Delia Sherman:
5/5. I loved it. A modern-day scholar re-analyzes the diaries of Victoria, with magic. I got the cold chills when I finished.
“For the Briar Rose” by Elizabeth Wein:
4/5. The protagonist's father is working on a series of paintings about Sleeping Beauty, while the protagonist herself is waiting for her life to start. A little confusing, but I liked it.
“The Governess” by Elizabeth Bear:
3/5. VERY DARK, BEAR, WHY YOU DO THIS TO ME ALWAYS. It was also depressingly unoriginal. BUT I STILL LOVE YOU BEAR. 3/5.
“The Unwanted Women of Surrey” by Kaaron Warren: 4/5. REALLY FREAKY. And chilling. It follows the shenanigans of a bunch of wives locked up for “mental illness.”
“Charged” by Leanna Renee Hieber: 4/5. Overwritten (almost purple prose), but still a nice little backstory for a character who can control electricity. Fits into this anthology very well.
“We Without Us Were Shadows” by Catherynne M. Valente: 4/5. At first I was all, “Ugh Bronte fanfiction” but then it was breaking all the walls between history and story and reality and daydreams and it was FABULOUS.
“The Vital Importance of the Superficial” by Ellen Kushner and Caroline Stevermer: 5/5. An epistolary tale, with lots of magic, propriety, and putting together of tiny clues to make a story. LOVED IT.
“The Jewel in the Toad Queen’s Crown” by Jane Yolen: 3/5. This was like Victoria/Disraeli fanfiction except Victoria is idiotic and, I don’t know, the story was just meh.
“Their Monstrous Minds” by Tanith Lee: 3/5. In the same story vein as Frankenstein, this was fairly preachy and unoriginal, with characters I didn’t even like.

DNFs (I'm a bad anthology reader so there's always a few of these):
“The Fairy Enterprise” by Jeffrey Ford
“The Memory Book” by Maureen McHugh
“La Reine D’Enfer” by Kathe Koja
“Smithfield” by James P. Blaylock
“Mr. Splitfoot” by Dale Bailey
“Phosphorus” by Veronica Schanoes
“A Few Twigs He Left Behind” by Gregory Maguire
“Estella Saves the Village” by Theodora Goss ( )
  Stebahnree | Mar 13, 2016 |
“From the Catalogue of the Pavilion of the Uncanny and Marvelous, Scheduled for Premiere at the Great Exhibition (Before the Fire)” by Genevieve Valentine:
5/5. I loved it. A story told through documents and letters, it was tantalizing and mysterious but also satisfying.
“Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells” by Delia Sherman:
5/5. I loved it. A modern-day scholar re-analyzes the diaries of Victoria, with magic. I got the cold chills when I finished.
“For the Briar Rose” by Elizabeth Wein:
4/5. The protagonist's father is working on a series of paintings about Sleeping Beauty, while the protagonist herself is waiting for her life to start. A little confusing, but I liked it.
“The Governess” by Elizabeth Bear:
3/5. VERY DARK, BEAR, WHY YOU DO THIS TO ME ALWAYS. It was also depressingly unoriginal. BUT I STILL LOVE YOU BEAR. 3/5.
“The Unwanted Women of Surrey” by Kaaron Warren: 4/5. REALLY FREAKY. And chilling. It follows the shenanigans of a bunch of wives locked up for “mental illness.”
“Charged” by Leanna Renee Hieber: 4/5. Overwritten (almost purple prose), but still a nice little backstory for a character who can control electricity. Fits into this anthology very well.
“We Without Us Were Shadows” by Catherynne M. Valente: 4/5. At first I was all, “Ugh Bronte fanfiction” but then it was breaking all the walls between history and story and reality and daydreams and it was FABULOUS.
“The Vital Importance of the Superficial” by Ellen Kushner and Caroline Stevermer: 5/5. An epistolary tale, with lots of magic, propriety, and putting together of tiny clues to make a story. LOVED IT.
“The Jewel in the Toad Queen’s Crown” by Jane Yolen: 3/5. This was like Victoria/Disraeli fanfiction except Victoria is idiotic and, I don’t know, the story was just meh.
“Their Monstrous Minds” by Tanith Lee: 3/5. In the same story vein as Frankenstein, this was fairly preachy and unoriginal, with characters I didn’t even like.

DNFs (I'm a bad anthology reader so there's always a few of these):
“The Fairy Enterprise” by Jeffrey Ford
“The Memory Book” by Maureen McHugh
“La Reine D’Enfer” by Kathe Koja
“Smithfield” by James P. Blaylock
“Mr. Splitfoot” by Dale Bailey
“Phosphorus” by Veronica Schanoes
“A Few Twigs He Left Behind” by Gregory Maguire
“Estella Saves the Village” by Theodora Goss ( )
  Stebahnree | Mar 13, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Queen Victoria provided the people of the world with many reasons not to love her, historians included; in fact, nostalgia and fondness don't support historiography, they hamstring it. On some level, this holds a mirror to the anthology as a whole, fascinating and finely written and edited as it is. Queen Victoria's Book of Spells speaks with voices that love the nineteenth century, and love it with nuance and complexity, but perhaps a bit too well.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Datlow, EllenEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Windling, TerriEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bailey, DaleContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bear, ElizabethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blaylock, James P.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ford, JeffreyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goss, TheodoraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hieber, Leanna ReneeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Koja, KatheContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kushner, EllenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lee, TanithContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Maguire, GregoryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McHugh, MaureenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schanoes, VeronicaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sherman, DeliaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stevermer, CarolineContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Valente, Catherynne M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Valentine, GenevieveContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Warren, KaaronContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wein, ElizabethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yolen, JaneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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To the Faery Godmothers of Chagford:
Carol Amos, Elizabeth-June Baldry, Hazel Brown,
Wendy Froud, and Marja Lee
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Preface:  Welcome to Queen Victoria's Book of Spells, a book of all-new tales of Gaslamp Fantasy, or stories set in a a magical version of nineteenth-century England.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
"Gaslamp Fantasy," or historical fantasy set in a magical version of the nineteenth century, has long been popular with readers and writers alike. A number of wonderful fantasy novels, including Stardust by Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, and The Prestige by Christopher Priest, owe their inspiration to works by nineteenth-century writers ranging from Jane Austen, the Brontës, and George Meredith to Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, and William Morris. And, of course, the entire steampunk genre and subculture owes more than a little to literature inspired by this period.
Queen Victoria's Book of Spells is an anthology for everyone who loves these works of neo-Victorian fiction, and wishes to explore the wide variety of ways that modern fantasists are using nineteenth-century settings, characters, and themes. These approaches stretch from steampunk fiction to the Austen-and-Trollope inspired works that some critics call Fantasy of Manners, all of which fit under the larger umbrella of Gaslamp Fantasy. The result is eighteen stories by experts from the fantasy, horror, mainstream, and young adult fields, including both bestselling writers and exciting new talents such as Elizabeth Bear, James Blaylock, Jeffrey Ford, Ellen Kushner, Tanith Lee, Gregory Maguire, Delia Sherman, and Catherynne M. Valente, who present a bewitching vision of a nineteenth century invested (or cursed!) with magic.
A Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Book of 2013
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765332272, Paperback)

“Gaslamp Fantasy,” or historical fantasy set in a magical version of the nineteenth century, has long been popular with readers and writers alike. A number of wonderful fantasy novels, including Stardust by Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, and The Prestige by Christopher Priest, owe their inspiration to works by nineteenth-century writers ranging from Jane Austen, the Brontës, and George Meredith to Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, and William Morris. And, of course, the entire steampunk genre and subculture owes more than a little to literature inspired by this period.

Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells is an anthology for everyone who loves these works of neo-Victorian fiction, and wishes to explore the wide variety of ways that modern fantasists are using nineteenth-century settings, characters, and themes. These approaches stretch from steampunk fiction to the Austen-and-Trollope inspired works that some critics call Fantasy of Manners, all of which fit under the larger umbrella of Gaslamp Fantasy. The result is eighteen stories by experts from the fantasy, horror, mainstream, and young adult fields, including both bestselling writers and exciting new talents such as Elizabeth Bear, James Blaylock, Jeffrey Ford, Ellen Kushner, Tanith Lee, Gregory Maguire, Delia Sherman, and Catherynne M. Valente, who present a bewitching vision of a nineteenth century invested (or cursed!) with magic.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:13 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

""Gaslamp Fantasy," or historical fantasy set in a magical version of the nineteenth century, has long been popular with readers and writers alike. A number of wonderful fantasy novels, including Stardust by Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, and The Prestige by Christopher Priest, owe their inspiration to works by nineteenth-century writers ranging from Jane Austen, the Brontë's, and George Meredith to Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, and William Morris. And, of course, the entire steampunk genre and subculture owes more than a little to literature inspired by this period. Queen Victoria's Book of Spells is an anthology for everyone who loves these works of neo-Victorian fiction, and wishes to explore the wide variety of ways that modern fantasists are using nineteenth-century settings, characters, and themes. These approaches stretch from steampunk fiction to the Austen-and-Trollope inspired works that some critics call Fantasy of Manners, all of which fit under the larger umbrella of Gaslamp Fantasy. The result is eighteen stories by experts from the fantasy, horror, mainstream, and young adult fields, including both bestselling writers and exciting new talents such as Elizabeth Bear, James Blaylock, Jeffrey Ford, Ellen Kushner, Tanith Lee, Gregory Maguire, Delia Sherman, and Catherynne M. Valente, who present a bewitching vision of a nineteenth century invested (or cursed!) with magic"--… (more)

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