Trenchcoats, Towers, and Trolls: Cyberpunk Fairy Tales by Edited by Rhonda Parrish

Trenchcoats, Towers, and Trolls: Cyberpunk Fairy Tales by Edited by Rhonda Parrish
Publisher: World Weaver Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, LGBTQ, Contemporary, Historical
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

What do you get when you take the high tech/low life settings of cyberpunk and sprinkle them with the magic and possibilities of fairy tales? Trolls under teleportation bridges, masquerades held in virtual reality, princely avatars, giants and dwarves alongside hackers and androids. From retellings of traditional tales such as Rumpelstiltskin, in which a young woman is tasked with writing code instead of spinning gold, to original tales like the changeling-inspired story of a formless machine intelligence that hijacks human bodies, these cyberpunk fairy tales form a unique collection that is sure to satisfy connoisseurs of both genres.

Original stories from Thomas Badlan, Suzanne Church, Beth Goder, Sarah Van Goethem, Nicola Kapron, V.F. LeSann, Angus McIntyre, Wendy Nikel, Ana Sun, Michael Teasdale, Alena Van Arendonk and Laura VanArendonk Baugh.

Everyone should have a chance to live happily ever after.

In “***********SK.IN,” a young woman named Sam must write an impossible sequence of code for some old computer chips in order to avoid a jail sentence that will lead the authorities to discover a secret she must keep hidden at any cost. She was such an intelligent and resourceful character. As soon as I met her, I earnestly began hoping she’d find a way to slip out of the clutches of those who wished to harm her. This feeling only intensified as she continued to face more obstacles in her path. I couldn’t stop reading until I’d learned her fate!

Nara discovered a tiny seedling in a neighborhood where no plants had grown in a few generations in “Neon Green in D Minor.” I was mesmerized by the dirty place she’d grown up in and how the seedling had managed to sprout when so little sunlight fell on anyone or anything who lived there. The only thing better than that scene was figuring out which fairy tale this was based on. The author’s outdid themselves with their creativity.

Giants were a slowly dying breed in “Firewalls and Firewort,” but Mave wasn’t about to stop searching for a way to save her people. I admired her courage, especially given the cruelty and bigotry that was so often a part of her interactions with humans. Every story in this book was excellent, but this was the one I’d be most excited to revisit in the form of a sequel if the author ever decides to write one. While I was satisfied with how everything ended up, there were so many portions of giant society that could be explored in greater detail in the future.

This is the final instalment of a series of anthologies. It can be read as a standalone work.

Trenchcoats, Towers, and Trolls: Cyberpunk Fairy Tales was utterly perfect.

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