Classics Mutilated by Jeff Conner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is an anthology of mash-up fiction: where two works of literature meet, or a historical figure meets a mythological one, or ... it's a great concept, rife with ideas even with the restrictions of the public domain. Unfortunately, it also gets three stars from me solely for three stories, each of which were excellent: Anne-Droid of Green Gables (Lezli Robyn), Death Stopped For Miss Dickinson (Kristine Kathryn Rusch) and Twilight of the Gods (Chris Ryall). The rest of the stories, for me, ranged from mildly amusing to forgettable to poorly executed.
Many of the stories seem to be simply bizarre for the sake of it. Maybe that was because they were drawing on aspects of their respective classics that I'm not familiar with, but I think that even in an anthology of mash-up, the heart of the story shouldn't depend on this familiarity. For instance, Twilight of the Gods invokes a specific modern tale, but even if you missed that reference, it is still rollicking good fun. I also thought it was odd that an anthology with such broad possibilities would have two stories involving a drug-addled rock star battling dark magic. Neither of them, to me, were so compelling that both had to be included.
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