Alice Redux

Book Review by Willard Manus

"Alice! Alice! Alice! We never seem to tire or get enough of Alice, our muse, our little girl in distress, our nineteenth century doppelganger. The trappings and images of Wonderland continue to fascinate us--the portmanteau language, the characters who act as if they're figments of the universal dream world--and never seem to fade despite darker, often sinister, possibilities. We loved the book as children and many of us carry that love into an adulthood that seems increasingly Wonderland-like in terms of surreality and absurdity. Yet nothing is sacred in the literary world, not even Alice of the Wonderland frock, and the writers in this anthology blend fiction with fact and speculation so that the fictional Alice and the other Alice, the real Alice, perform a shadowy arabesque worthy of the puzzles, games, and amusements of Wonderland's creator."

Richard Peabody, editor of ALICE REDUX (and the publisher of Paycock Press and Gargoyle Magazine), explains that the anthology contains "about one-third reprints and two-thirds new works written expressly for this volume. The writers include some of the serious fiction world's biggest names writing alongside fantasy and Sci-Fi writers, poets stretching out into fictional territory, plus several of today's cutting-edge experimental gunslingers. The work is provocative, with seemingly every base covered, lots of food for thought and imaginative fun, as the authors 'gyre and gimbel' with Carroll's muse, characters, times and persons to discover truths and unravel riddles personal and profound, silly and sensational.

"Victoria Popkin integrates the actual novel into a brutal story about child abuse and escapism, Katie Roiphe looks at that abuse from Mrs. Liddell's point of view, and Beth Bachmann has Dodgson contemplate his actions in light of today's child pornography rulings."

ALICE REDUX is every bit as provocative and imaginative as Peabody claims it us, a trip down the Looking Glass that's almost as captivating and rewarding as the one in Alice in Wonderland.