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Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories

(Cookie Cutter Superhero-Verse #0.5 - Cookie Cutter Superhero)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  526 ratings  ·  106 reviews
What do a disabled superhero, a time-traveling Chinese-American figure skater, and a transgendered animal shifter have in common? They're all stars of Kaleidoscope stories! Kaleidoscope collects fun, edgy, meditative, and hopeful YA science fiction and fantasy with diverse leads. These twenty original stories tell of scary futures, magical adventures, and the joys and hear ...more
ebook, 450 pages
Published August 2014 by Twelfth Planet Press
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Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Kaleidoscope is one of the best anthologies I have read for a very long time. It's not just the concept, which is both necessary and overdue; it's not just the stories, which are engaging and beautiful and thoughtful and brilliant; it's not just the way the authors explore science fiction and fantasy from perspectives all too frequently unseen in fiction; it's all of these things, and that it seems so natural. In this anthology, every story takes a character (or two or three) who is often "other ...more
Sherwood Smith
Not only does this anthology meet its goal of presenting stories with diverse settings, cultural backgrounds, and sexuality/gender/identities but it’s entertaining, and furthermore, I think that the teens it’s aimed at would enjoy it—which is not always the case with “issues” books marketed to teens.

I’ve begun a lot of anthologies that make similar claims, to be bludgeoned by Message fiction, earnest but grim, often depressing in its cautionary finger-shaking. Unfortunately, no doubt because I
Francesca Forrest
May 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This review duplicates what I wrote on LJ

I’ve just finished Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories. This excellent collection succeeds in every possible way: not only does it fulfill its mission to deliver fantasy stories with diverse protagonists (along many axes of diversity: ethnic, geographical, physical and mental status, sexual orientation, and gender,** written by equally diverse authors, but it also delivers diversity of mood, tone, and style. The stories are all ex
Aug 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, own
Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories seeks to fill an underrepresented niche, specified right there in the title. When I was a young adult, I read some anthologies of short stories, but as far as I can remember, they were about cis, straight, white, able-bodied, neurotypical people. Every story in Kaleidoscope features characters who break from that "default" type, and, more importantly, the protagonist falls in the spectrum of diversity. One thing that sets Kaleidoscope ...more
Aug 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-freebie
Another Levar Burton Reads Podcast offering. I didn’t quite get or enjoy this one. I am 100% with the character who said “Bullsh*t!” re: the Power.

3 stars.
Sep 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I started reading this anthology waaaaaay back (so far back I can't even remember when) and then in the middle of reading I totally forgot that I owned it and so I took a good few months 'off' before rediscovering it and continuing with the stories. What I enjoyed most about this was that the title is explicit and the content follows the title really well, this DOES have diverse characters and SFF stories in YA and I really, really enjoyed seeing them and seeing such a range of people, character ...more
Sep 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Cookie Cutter Superhero— Tansy Rayner Roberts— 5/5
A teenage girl is chosen by the lottery to be a new superhero. She's worried about what this means. Will she be disliked because her presence removes the popular Astra? Because of course, there can only be one girl on the team at a time. Will she miss too much school? What will her teammates treat her like? And will the superhero machine "fix" her handless arm?

This one is fabulous. I read it and then went around shoving the book at people. "Read
S.B. Wright
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I can’t remember at which point I forgot that this collection was diverse YA and just plain enjoyed the read. I’d backed this particular project out of a belief in the publishing team, the writers they managed to bring on board and the idea that a diverse world is a better world.

So I am biased, but bias can only get you so far if the product is lacking. Thankfully (though I can’t say I honestly doubted the editorial team) Kaleidoscope, is not lacking, far from it. Sure there were stories that we
Tsana Dolichva
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios is a crowd-funded anthology that does what it says in the tag line.

It's an incredibly strong anthology, filled with thoughtful and creative stories. The stories cover a wide range of diverse characters, with diveristy stemming from race, gender, chronic/mental illness and disability. I was pleasantly surprised to see several stories deal with characters who fit into more than one of those labe
Sep 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cookie Cutter Superhero by Tansy Rayner Roberts: 5/5
This felt like the opening chapter to a long excellent superhero book that I would like to read.

The Seventh Day of the Seventh Moon by Ken Liu: 5/5
I haven't heard the "fairy tale" at the heart of this story before so I'm not sure if it's "real" or made up for this story. But it feels like a reimagining/retelling/subversion of a fairy tale I haven't heard before, and it's very well done at making the ordinary feel magical.

The Legend Trap by Sean
Chrysten Lofton
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.0 ⭐ “الحقيقة حول البوم معقدة”
* Spoilers*




On Season 2, Episode 14 of Sticher podcast's LeVar Burton Reads, we’re gifted with The Truth About Owls by Amal El-Mohtar.

My last few reviews have been lengthy, but I’m going to keep this one short for two reasons. One, because I think that’d be more in style with this author, who speaks in short, brisk prose. And two, because this story is incredibly self explanatory.

I don’t like the flavor-description presented by Goodreads for this story, bec
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
...The art of editing a good anthology is to select the stories and present them in such a way that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Krasnostein and Rios would probably have been able to achieve that effect if they had chosen to narrow the theme down just a little bit. Kaleidoscope is so diverse, that apart from showing what is possible in Young Adult fiction, it does not quite achieve that synergy. What I do very much appreciate in this anthology is the fact that the authors do not ...more
Sidsel Pedersen
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
“Cookie Cutter Superhero” by Tansy Rayner Roberts and it was wonderful. I really would love to read more in that universe. I want more of our main character! She is wonderful. Read my full review:

“Seventh Day of the Seventh Moon” by aka Ken Liu which was really touching. It actually somehow took me by surprise when the fantastical element showed up because I was enjoying the story so much by that point

"“The Legend Trap” by Sean Williams: I am not a partic
Rich in Color
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Review Copy: From Publisher

Science-fiction and fantasy are my favorite genres, but I’ve been painfully aware of how few people like me survived an apocalypse, let alone got to be the main character. So it comes as no surprise that I did a mental fist pump when I came across “A Note From the Editors” in Kaleidoscope:

“…in some ways this is a purely selfish drive: we want to see ourselves reflected in the stories we read. But it’s not limited to that; we also want everyone else to have the chance t
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
In the story "The Truth About Owls", school-age Anisa is an immigrant from Lebanon whose family now lives in Glasgow, who is fascinated by owls. She processes her anxiety about her father who still travels to his family's war-torn region and the memories she has of home by studying predatory owls. While she briefly rejects her family's background and Arabic language, by the end she is starting to accept her heritage and becomes more comfortable with herself. This was an engaging short story abou ...more
Amal El-Mohtar
Sep 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Full disclosure: I have a story in this, and finished reading the book on the last train leaving Gretna Green after witnessing the elopement of one of its editors. I am in no way impartial. But I have excellent taste.

I haven't the time just now to review this as I'd like, but it's SO AMAZING. I laughed, I cried, I furrowed my brow, I recoiled in horror. It's been fascinating to read reviews of the book and see which stories that worked for me didn't work for others and vice versa, which I think
Mar 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Listened via LeVar Burton Reads podcast. (#14)

This one did not draw me into the world as #13 did, perhaps from something missing in the presentation of the story. Then beyond that, the end felt rushed making it seem like an incomplete story. Most of LeVar's picks do an impressive job of being a contained short, but this one seemed to want to be not necessarily a full novel, but at least a short chapter book.
Australian stories from this anthology are entered into the Aurealis Awards in 2014, of which Stephanie is a judge. A review for them will be added once the judging period has finished.


I make no secret of the fact that I am a huge fan of the work that Twelfth Planet Press has been putting out over the last few years. So when the crowdfunding compaign for a YA anthology, Kaleidoscope, was announced, I was already on board.

And then I read what Twelfth Planet Press were aiming with, and I could
Betsy Gant
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this short story. It greatly exceeded my expectations. I look forward to reading more by this author.
One of the most buzzed about anthologies of 2014 was Twelfth Planet Press’ kickstarted title Kaleidoscope. Edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios, Kaleidoscope collects twenty YA stories around the theme of diversity. Diversity of gender, of sexuality, of origin, ability, and race; it’s all present in Kaleidoscope. The result is a wonderful book filled with wonderful stories, some of them funny, some scary, some heart-breaking, but all of them engaging and emotionally touching. None of the s ...more
Jun 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Declaring my connections: the publisher and half the editors of this anthology, Alisa Krasnostein, is a Galactic Suburbian with me; so is the author of the first story, Tansy Rayner Roberts.

I'm a lucky person because I'm white, and straight. I'm marginalised in fiction because I'm a woman who reads science fiction. I'm one of those female readers who long ago learned the trick of imagining myself with the fellas in the books I was reading - courtesy of all those Biggles books, mostly, and all th
Stuff I Read - Kaleidoscope ed. Alina Krasnostein and Julia Rios Review

Amusingly enough, I actually read one of the stories in this collection, "The Truth About Owls" by Amal El-Mohtar, at Strange Horizons just a few days before I got to it in the collection. So it was a timely read for me, I guess. It's a great story. Indeed, most of the stories in this collection are great, delivering on the promise of diverse speculative fiction. It also features mostly YA protagonists, which was another grea
Constance Burris
If you are an author or reader wondering why diversity is such a big deal and how you can incorporate diverse characters and themes into their stories, this is the book for you.

In the books I've read, I've been a white male, a white woman, a black man, and I am black woman, but in Kaleidoscope I was in a wheelchair, autistic, OCD, a young gay dude having to endure aversion therapy, and a young girl born without a hand. Kaleidoscope blew open my universe.

“Celebration” by Sean Eads: A facility for
S.E. Smith
An absolutely stellar collection of diverse speculative fiction that will take you from one end of the universe to the other, with a lot of great authors, totally varied writing, and something for everyone. I love anthologies for the ability to dip in and out of stories, and Kaleidoscope is no exception.
Rarely do I read an anthology where there is but one (maybe two? not, probably just one) story that seems a bit weaker than the rest. And that's probably just because the rest are so strong. This is a fabulous anthology, recommended for all ages. ...more
Miriam Mulcahy
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really fantastic anthology, I loved nearly all the stories and even the ones I didn't love were well written and interesting. ...more
Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)
Kaleidoscope is an anthology of diverse contemporary YA fantasy and science fiction stories that are fun, edgy, meditative, and feature diverse leads. These twenty original stories tell of scary futures, magical adventures, and the joys and heartbreaks of teenage life.

This anthology was funded by Pozible back in October of 2013 where they stated 'too often popular culture and media defaults to a very narrow cross section of the world's populace. We believe that people of all kinds want to see th
Amy Aelleah
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
Scroll down to read new reviews because I finished this book!

[original review]
And, yes, even though this is a DNF, I still rated the book because I rated the stories I actually finished.

DNF - PG 119


Because someone said that the cruelty in the next story was very, very similar to animal cruelty and I just can't with that. Also, I didn't actually LIKE any of the stories I did read. So, yeah. Let's take a look at the stories I did finish though, and the beginning of my review before it went off
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Comments in <20 words:
Different young voices surprisingly not huge turnoff; so naturally diverse. Some should be full novel!

List of short stories:
* Cookie Cutter Superhero (by Tansy Rayner Roberts)
* The Seventh Day of the Seventh Moon (by Ken Liu)
* The Legend Trap (by Sean Williams)
* End of Service (by Gabriela Lee)
* Chupacabra's Song (by Jim C. Hines)
* The Day the God Died (by Alena McNamara)
* Signature (by Faith Mudge)
* The Lovely Duckling (by Tim Susman)
* Kiss and Kiss and Kiss and Tell (by
Jan 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Cookie Cutter Superhero by Tansy Rayner Roberts 3 stars
Seventh Day of the Seventh Moon by Ken Lui 2 Stars
The Legend Trap by Sean Williams 2.5 stars
End of Service by Gabriela Lee 3.25 stars
Chupacabra’s Song by Jim C. Hines 3.5 stars
The Day the God Died by Alena McNamara 3.25 stars
Signature by Faith Mudge 4 stars
The Lovely Duckling by Tim Susman 3.5 Stars
Kiss and Kiss and Kiss and Tell by E. C. Myers 3.25 stars
Vanilla by Dirk Flinthart 2 stars
Careful Magic by Karen Healey 4 Stars
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Editor and publisher at independent Twelfth Planet Press, creative publishing PhD candidate and recently retired environmental engineer. She is cohost of the twice Hugo nominated Galactic Suburbia Podcast team (

In 2011, she won the World Fantasy Award for her work at Twelfth Planet Press. She was the Executive Editor and founder of the review website Aussie Specfic in Fo

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