High-quality speculative fiction from Tachyon Publications (short reviews)

Written by / Reviews

All of the books featured on this page have been published by Tachyon Publications. Tachyon Publications is an independent press specialising in speculative fiction.

Information about the books:

Ellen Klages: Wicked Wonders (May 2017):

The award-winning author of The Green Glass Sea returns with smart and subversive new tales

A rebellious child identifies with Maleficent instead of Sleeping Beauty. Best friends Anna and Corry share one last morning on Earth. A solitary woman inherits a penny arcade haunted by a beautiful stranger. A prep-school student requires more than luck when playing dice with a faerie. Ladies who lunch - dividing one last bite of dessert - delve into new dimensions of quantum politeness. At summer camp, a young girl discovers the heartbreak of forbidden love.

Whether on a habitat on Mars or in a boardinghouse in London, discover Ellen Klages’ wicked, wondrous adventures full of cheeky wit, empathy, and courage.

James Morrow: The Asylum of Dr. Caligari (June 2017):

If you think today’s profiteers are diabolical, blink again…

It is the summer of 1914. As the world teeters on the brink of the Great War, a callow American painter, Francis Wyndham, arrives at a renowned European insane asylum, where he begins offering art therapy under the auspices of Alessandro Caligari - sinister psychiatrist, maniacal artist, alleged sorcerer.

Determined to turn the impending cataclysm to his financial advantage, Dr. Caligari will - for a price - allow governments to parade their troops past his masterpiece: a painting so mesmerizing it can incite entire regiments to rush headlong into battle.

As the doctor’s outrageous scheme becomes a reality, Francis joins with his brilliant, spider-obsessed student, Ilona Wessels, and a band of lunatic saboteurs to thwart the mercenary magic.

By radically reimagining the most famous of all German Expressionist silent films, satirist James Morrow has wrought a timely tale that is by turns funny and erotic, tender and bayonet-sharp - but ultimately The Asylum of Dr. Caligari emerges as a love letter to that mysterious, indispensible thing called art.

The New Voices of Fantasy (edited by Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman, July 2017):

Eugene Fisher, Brooke Bolander, Amal El-Mohtar, Maria Dahvana Headley, Max Gladstone, Ben Loory, Carmen Maria Machado, Usman T. Malik, Sarah Pinsker, Hannu Rajaniemi, Adam Ehrlich Sachs, Sofia Samatar, Kelly Sandoval, Chris Tarry, A. C. Wise, Alyssa Wong, JY Yang, E. Lily Yu

What would you do if a tornado wanted you to be its Valentine? Or if a haunted spacesuit banged on your door? When is the ideal time to turn into a tiger? Would you post a supernatural portal on Craigslist?

In these nineteen stories, the enfants terribles of fantasy have entered the building - a love-starved, ambulatory skyscraper. The New Voices of Fantasy tethers some of the fastest-rising talents of the last five years. Their tales were hand-picked by the legendary Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn) and genre expert Jacob Weisman (The Treasury of the Fantastic).

So go ahead, join the Communist revolution of the honeybees. The new kids got your back.

Patricia A. McKillip: The Forgotten Beasts of Eld:

Young Sybel, the heiress of powerful wizards, needs the company of no-one outside her gates. In her exquisite stone mansion, she is attended by exotic, magical beasts: Riddle-master Cyrin the boar; the treasure-starved dragon Gyld; Gules the Lyon, tawny master of the Southern Deserts; Ter, the fiercely vengeful falcon; Moriah, feline Lady of the Night. Sybel only lacks the mysterious Liralen, which continues to elude her most powerful enchantments.

But when a soldier bearing an infant arrives, Sybel discovers that the world of man and magic is full of love and deceit - and the possibility of more power than she can imagine.

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is one of the true classics of fantasy.

Peter S. Beagle: The Overneath (November 2017):

New short fiction from the beloved author of The Last Unicorn

An odd couple patrols a county full of mythological beasts and ornery locals. A familiar youngster from the world of The Last Unicorn is gifted in magic but terrible at spell-casting. A seemingly incorruptible judge meets his match in a mysterious thief who steals his heart. Two old friends discover that the Overneath goes anywhere, including locations better left unvisited.

Lyrical, witty, and insightful, The Overneath is Peter S. Beagle’s much-anticipated return to the short form. In these uniquely beautiful and wholly original tales Beagle once again proves himself a master of the imagination.

Jane Yolen: The Emerald Circus (November 2017):

Where is Wendy? Leading a labor strike against the Lost Boys, of course.

A Scottish academic unearths ancient evil in a fishing village. Edgar Allan Poe’s young bride is beguiled by a most unusual bird. Dorothy, lifted from Kansas, returns as a gymnastic sophisticate. Emily Dickinson dwells in possibility and sails away in a starship made of light. Alice’s wicked nemesis has jaws and claws but really needs a sense of humor.

In Jane Yolen’s first full collection in more than ten years discover new and uncollected tales of beloved characters, literary legends, and much more. Enter the Emerald Circus and be astonished by the transformations within.


Ellen Klages: Wicked Wonders

- A wonderfully inventive, imaginative and original short story collection that contains exceptionally good stories. This collection demonstrates the author's writing skills in a perfect way and lets readers wonder at her range of imagination.

- "The Education of a Witch" is one of the finest examples of how to write intriguing and thought-provoking speculative fiction for adults, because it has a fascinating protagonist and plenty of inventiveness. It also has a wonderfully whimsical and rebellious feel to it that I found intriguing. It's a story about Lizzy, who is an untidy and intelligent child. When Lizzy sees Sleeping Beauty, she becomes enchanted by Maleficent and thinks how beautiful she is and how tragic her death is... In my opinion, this story alone makes Wicked Wonders a must-read collection.

- I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this collection, because each of the stories is excellent (there are no bad stories). If you enjoy reading fascinating, witty and thought-provoking short stories and expect richly-drawn characters from your stories, this collection should be on your reading list.

- Ellen Klages is clearly one of the most interesting authors working in the field of speculative fiction, because her stories are something different.

James Morrow: The Asylum of Dr. Caligari

- The Asylum of Dr. Caligari is an interesting novella, because the author uses the infamous and insane hypnotist Dr. Caligari from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (original German title: Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, 1920) in a fresh way. In this novella, Dr. Caligari is a psychiatrist who runs his own asylum in Germany as World War I approaches.

- I was positively surprised by this novella, because it was unlike anything I've recently read due to the author's idea of using a cult horror film as a basis for his story. This story was an extremely entertaining reading experience for me, because I'm a long-time horror fan who appreciates originality, inventiveness and satirical elements.

- I liked the author's writing style, and I enjoyed reading about how he used insightful and sharp dialogues in his narrative. In my opinion, the author's way of using of satirical elements feels charmingly fresh. There's something in his writing style that slightly reminds me of Brendan Connell.

The New Voices of Fantasy (edited by Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman)

- The New Voices of Fantasy wonderfully showcases the talents of many new authors who have gradually become famous for their stories and are on the brink of becoming established and respected authors. The authors featured in this anthology are: Alyssa Wong, Sofia Samatar, Brooke Bolander, Sarah Pinsker, Max Gladstone, Ursula Vernon, E. Lily Yu, A. C. Wise, Maria Dahvana Headley, Hannu Rajaniemi, Chris Tarry, Kelly Sandoval, JY Yang, Ben Loory, Amal El-Mohtar, Adam Ehrlich Sachs, Eugene Fischer, Carmen Maria Machado and Usman T. Malik.

- Here are a few examples of what's in store for readers who begin to read this anthology: "Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers" by Alyssa Wong is a satisfyingly original, visceral and memorable story that will please horror and dark fantasy readers. "A Kiss with Teeth" by Max Gladstone is great fun for those who love vampire stories, because it tells of Vlad and his problems with modern life. "Selkie Stories Are for Losers" by Sofia Samatar is also a real gem, because it's something different and brings unexpected freshness to selkie stories. "The Practical Witch's Guide to Acquiring Real Estate" by A. C. Wise is an amusing and short guide-book that is intended for witches who want to acquire a real estate.

- Because I'm a Finn, I was delighted to see Hannu Rajaniemi included in The New Voices of Fantasy, because his stories are fascinating and original. His story, "The Haunting of Apollo A7LB", is one of the highlights in this anthology.

- This anthology is without any kind of doubt one of the best anthologies of the year, because it contains excellent stories that demonstrate the writing skills of many authors. In my opinion, this anthology is essential reading material for everybody who loves well written speculative fiction. No matter what your taste in speculative fiction is, you'll find something to love in this anthology, because the stories demonstrate how diverse and inventive speculative fiction can be at its best.

Patricia A. McKillip: The Forgotten Beasts of Eld

- Patricia A. McKillip's The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is one of my all-time favourite fantasy novels. It's an eloquent and beautifully written fantasy novel that is one of the best fantasy novels ever written.

- One of the reasons why I love and adore this novel is the author's stunningly beautiful prose. The prose is so descriptive, elegant and delicate that it immediately charms those who enjoy beautifully written fantasy tales.

- I like the author's way of exploring isolation, because she writes about it in an exceptionally good way.

- The cover image by Thomas Canty does justice to the beauty of the story.

- To be short, this novel is an absolute delight that deserves to be read. (If you haven't yet had an opportunity to acquaint yourself with the magic of Patricia A. McKillip, I strongy urge you to read this novel.)

Peter S. Beagle: The Overneath

- The Overneath contains excellent and well written short stories from the author who has become famous for The Last Unicorn (he has also written other exceptionally intriguing works of speculative fiction, including Summerlong and In Calabria).

- If you're a fan of Peter S. Beagle, I'm sure that you'll find this collection intriguing, because all of the stories are good. If you're a newcomer to the author's fiction, this collection serves as an excellent entry point to his stories.

- "The Queen Who Could Not Walk" is one of the highlights in this collection, because it has a charmingly fairy tale-like atmosphere. It has a timeless feel to it that is missing from many new speculative fiction stories. I think that "Schmendrick Alone" will be of interest to everybody who has read The Last Unicorn, because it's an interesting short story.

- I find these stories excellent, because they're wonderfully written and feature intriguing happenings. It's great that this collection has something for everybody (the stories range from fantasy fiction to steampunk fiction and there's enough magic and wonders to satisty the needs of many fantasy readers).

Jane Yolen: The Emerald Circus

- The Emerald Circus is a marvellous and entertaining short story collection featuring re-tellings and transformations of well-known stories. Each of the stories has plenty of entertainment values to those who are familiar with classic fantasy stories, fairy tales, myths and legends.

- "The Gift of the Magicians" is an excellent example of the author's imagination and impeccable writing style. It's a charmingly original and fresh take on Beauty and the Beast, because it's something totally different. The ending is brilliantly inventive and will surprise readers, because the story suddenly takes a twisted and unexpected turn.

- I enjoy the author's prose and writing style, because she writes excellent prose and knows how to keep up the reader's interest. She effortlessly creates a magical atmosphere that enhances the reading experience and highlights the happenings.

If you're in need of quality speculative fiction, you can't wrong by reading the above mentioned works, because each of them is worth reading. You'd be a fool to miss these brightly sparkling gems of fresh and imaginative speculative fiction, because they have something for everybody. Please, take a look at them and let yourself be entertained by good fiction and wonderful prose.