Monstrous Little Voices edited by David Thomas Moore
Moore has collected five new stories, as the subtitle says, New Tales From Shakespeare’s Fantasy World.. These tales recount further developments, ever afters, and more details from characters we know from Shakespeare, including Miranda, Prospero, Viola, Benedict, and the fairies from Oberon and Titania’s court. These adventures occur in nearly fantastical Italy of Shakespeare’s plays, as well as the forests and fairy courts. Other characters and events have no source in the originals, but make sense in this fantasy world.
This is no academic treatis, nor is it a fawning homage. These are carefully crafted, inspired stories. If you know and love of Shakespeare, you can enjoy these tales all the more. But they can be enjoyed on their own.
The stories are different in style but linked by a theme, and some of the characters appear in several stories. (The afterword notes that W. S. himself borrowed and put some characters in apparently unrelated plays.) The stories are nicely done, respectifully riffing off the spirit of the bard, but not senselessly copying the original. Naturally, these stories speak to our own times, with plots and personalities that might or might not be understandable to William S. But again, they are appropriate and respectful to the original genius.
I gather that Abaddon Books is part of “Rebellion”, a video game maker. Perhaps this pedigree can be discerned in the connected story themes, and mixture of canonical Shakespearian characters, non-canonical characters, the combination of canonical quotes and inspired stylistically appropriate language and structure.
A good read.
- David Thomas Moore, ed. Monstrous Little Voices: New Tales From Shakespeare’s Fantasy World. Abbadan: Oxford, 2016.
Sunday Book Reviews