Thursday, January 17, 2019

Robots vs. Fairies, edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe

★★★★☆ Recommended

(Mixed) Not stories about robots fighting against fairies but rather a set of nine robot-themed stories interleaved with nine fairy-themed stories with the reader to judge which is the victor. (103,935 words; Time: 5h:46m)

"Robots vs. Fairies," edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe, published on by .

Review: 2018.135 (A Word for Authors)

Bet on the Fairies

I recommended 5 of the 18 stories (average would be 3) and recommended against 2 (average would be 4), so this is an extremely strong anthology. Of the recommendations, 3 were for "Team Fairy" and 2 were for "Team Robot," whereas all the stories recommended against were robot stories, so the victory has to go to the fairies.

The Judge Was Biased!

The robots had an inherent disadvantage in this contest because I have a strong background in AI and thus very little tolerance for "emotional AI" stories. A different judge might well award the victory to the robots.

Lots of Variety

There are lots of allusions here: two of the stories are retellings of Pinocchio, one retells "A Midsummer Night's Dream," another retells "The Tempest," and there'a Peter Pan pastiche. Settings range from the 1800s up to a post-human future, although most are set in or near the present day. Most are in our world, but a few are in alternate realities where fairies are part of daily life. It's a good mix.


Quality Time,” by Ken Liu offers a very realistic description of an enthusiastic new employee at a big high-tech firm who tries really hard to deliver useful robots for the home, but who loses sight of the human factor.

In “Murmured Under the Moon,” by Tim Pratt, a human librarian who commutes from Oakland to Faerie comes to work one day to find her library being looted by forces supposedly loyal to her employer.

Just Another Love Song,” by Kat Howard, introduces us to a banshee who works in New York City. She's never used the negative side of her power, and she's nervous to attempt it--even when she needs to confront someone who's been kidnapping fae all over the city.

Sound and Fury,” by Mary Robinette Kowal, tells how a diplomatic mission involving a gigantic robot, a really unreasonable diplomat, and a reluctant chief engineer went spectacularly wrong.

Second to the Left, and Straight On,” by Jim C. Hines, takes us back to the world of Peter Pan where some Neverland residents trapped on our Earth are causing all kinds of trouble.

Other Reviews: Search Web,
Dominik Parisien Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB
Navah Wolfe Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB

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