I’ve never one-clicked a book faster than when I found out about Robots vs Fairies. The only thing better than an anthology of stories trying to prove that either fairies or robots are the rightful masters of humanity is such an anthology that happens to feature work by some of your favorite authors and others you’ve had your eye on.
I expected a delightful romp, and this book did not disappoint. It kicks things right off with an entertaining intro by editors Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe. The first story, Build Me a Wonderland by Seanan McGuire, is sure to please anyone who shares Seanan’s love of Disney parks.
What surprised me was the broad range that these stories covered. Sarah Gailey’s Bread and Milk and Salt is downright horrifying. Just Another Love Song by Kat Howard was the feminist faerie manifesto I didn’t know I needed. Three Robots Experience Objects Left Behind From the Era of Humans for the First Time by John Scalzi felt like a loving ode to those “Medieval Monks Invent” features on The Toast. And Alyssa Wong’s “All The Time We’ve Left to Spend” was a heartbreaker.
No matter what emotion you’re looking to feel in a given day, Robots vs Fairies probably has a story for you.
Normally, I find the author notes in anthologies a little unnecessary, but in this case, each author declares their allegiance to Team Robot or Team Fairy, and states their reasons why. I felt like this gave me deeper insight into the creative process and made me like certain authors even more when I found out they were drawing inspiration from some of my favorite sources.
In case you were wondering, I’m firmly on Team Fairy. I mean, don’t get me wrong, robots are cool. And I’ve already gotten into the practice of thanking the unintelligent robots I encounter (such as the little monorail who brings me custom rolls at the conveyor belt sushi restaurant), so they’ll hopefully think fondly of me when the singularity happens and they rise up to crush humanity. But I’ve always been fascinated by faeries, and if any of them want to take me away to a faerie mound and let a few hundred years pass by, I’m ready. I’ve got my bags packed and everything.
One can see this as a war between science fiction and fantasy, but a closer look shows that it’s a beautiful marriage of the two genres. Many of the stories feature both fairies and robots, from clever tinker fae building robots, to a robot that takes the form of Pinocchio’s Blue Fairy. The different interpretations of both faerie kind and robotic progress were really entertaining and showed the vast power of human imagination. Hopefully, when either robots or fairies take over the world, they’ll show mercy on these clever authors.
Pros: More good stories than you can shake a stick at.
Cons: A few of the stories fell flat for me.
Conclusion: C’mon. You already knew when you saw the cover whether this was for you or not. I promise it’s even better than it looks.
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