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Wicked Wonders

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  378 ratings  ·  120 reviews
The Scott O'Dell award-winning author of The Green Glass Sea returns with her second collection: a new decade of lyrical stories with vintage flair.

Inside of these critically-acclaimed tales are memorable characters who are smart, subversive, and singular. A rebellious child identifies with wicked Maleficent instead of Sleeping Beauty. Best friends Anna and Corry share a l
Paperback, 284 pages
Published May 16th 2017 by Tachyon Publications
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3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  378 ratings  ·  120 reviews

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Pouting Always
May 29, 2017 rated it liked it
A collection of short stories with whimsical story lines. The first story is about Lizzie who sees Sleeping Beauty with her parents at a drive in and sympathizes with Maleficent, much to everyone else's chagrin. The second one is about Corrine spending her last night in town with her best friend Anna before her family is sent into space forever. The third one is about Annabel and Midge who meet up at a cafe to share a brownie which they continuously split up more and more. The fourth tale is abo ...more
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-shelf, fantasy, sci-fi, ya
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC!

I've never read Ellen Klages before, but I can definitely say that she has a talent for understated and richly-drawn character tales.

These aren't meant to blow you away with reveals, but they are subtle and powerful explorations of youth (mostly) and they're definitely good for nostalgia.

A great deal of them will have slight magical twists, but I've got the impression that they're mostly nostalgic histories of Americana. It's mild and slightly subversive and the k
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
This short fiction collection was just published May 9, 2017. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:

In Wicked Wonders (2017), Ellen Klages has assembled an impressive collection of her short stories. Although almost all of these stories have been previously published (the sole exception is “Woodsmoke”), most of them appeared in anthologies and are unlikely to be familiar to most readers. These fourteen stories run the gamut from non-fiction (“The Scary Ham”) to straight fiction (“Hey, Presto
If you think short stories are not for you, read this book.

From the first page I was instantly immersed in the magical and vibrant worlds of Wicked Wonders. The author has this amazing talent of writing short stories that leave you with enough closure to feel satisfied, but also include an intriguing enough premise to have you musing and daydreaming about the stories for weeks on end! Only a master storyteller could make glimpses of other worlds feel so complete.

I also really enjoyed the end ch
These 15 collected stories marvelously reveal the wonder and possibilities of our imagination during childhood. A couple are realistic portrayals of special moments in a girl’s life, which the author admits in the afterword are autobiographical. The one that captivated me brings to life the freedom, adventure, and special friendships that arise at summer camp. In another, a preschooler, faced with the competition of a newborn sibling, gets a needed sense of empowerment through the choice of a wi ...more
Ellen Klages is one of my favourite authors of short fiction, for the very simple reason that Ellen Klages makes me believe in magic.

Each and every story here has magic running through it (not excluding, and perhaps especially the nonfiction piece about the scary ham). There's the more literal magic called up in Caligo Lane, where origami folds much more than just paper - and if you're wanting more from that world, definitely have a look at Passing Strange, which takes place in the same univers
Ann (Inky)
"I am a writer, and writers are magpies. 'Ooh! Shiny' Some of those shinies are distractions, but others are just the right size or shape for me to add to the jumble of flotsam and fragments that I am slowly building into a mental nest where I will - I hope - hatch a story."

Oh, Ellen Klages, you have hatched the most beautiful and diverse collection of stories! No two are alike -- I don't think two of the stories are even set in the same decade, as they range from the 1940's to the far off fut
Book Riot Community
Amazing oddities and fantastic flights of fancy dominate this fabulous collection of tales. A haunted penny arcade, faeries, and rebellious children are just part of the fun in these clever stories. Klages has been putting out incredible work for years and years – most recently The Green Glass Sea – and it would be wonderful to see her get a bigger audience and more recognition.

Backlist bump: You Have Never Been Here by Mary Rickert

Tune in to our weekly podcast dedicated to all things new books,
Anita Reads
This is a collection of 14 short stories by Ellen Klages. This collection is speculative fiction, but I’ll categorize a lot of them as magical realism.
Ellen Klage’s writing is absolutely beautiful, and I’d recommend this collection for that alone, but my average of this collection evens to about 3.17 rounded down to 3 stars. Below you can see my ratings of the individual stories and a brief sentence of my thoughts on the story.

The Education of a Witch ★★★★.5
This was the story of a young girl who
Robert 'Rev. Bob'
Apr 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2017
A few minutes ago, I finished this, the first dead-tree book I've read in what seems like (but cannot possibly be) years. By way of disclaimer, this is one of three physical books I received recently for review purposes, and in fairness, I probably would have passed right over it in a store. After all, judging by the cover, it looks very much unlike my usual fare.

That would have been a grave error.

Not because the labeling is deceptive, or because the tales fit into my usual wheelhouse; neither i
I've never read Ellen Klages before, not that I can remember, but the short stories collected here are so good! I'm surprised I haven't come across her before. The stories I liked best captured what it feels like to be a child. My favorite of these is the very first piece--"The Education of a Witch"--about a little girl who identifies with Maleficent more than Sleeping Beauty. I also enjoyed "Woodsmoke," about two girls at summer camp.

Overall, Klages stories are grounded in realism, with hints o
Received to review via Tachyon

I was really interested to read more of Klages’ work after reading Passing Strange. I think I’ve read one or two short stories before — one of the stories in here was definitely familiar — but I hadn’t consciously connected the author to them, if that makes any sense. Klages is a careful writer, as her afterword shows: she moves the words around until they’re just right, pays attention to pace and rhythm and all of that. It works: her stories are all readable and al
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ellen Klages is one of those authors whose name sounds vaguely familiar but I'm not entirely sure if I've ever read anything by her before. But this was really lovely and I'm definitely going to search out some more of her work.

Several of these had that mid-century, small town America vibe that felt a little reminiscent of Ray Bradbury at times - but with more strong female roles and less ickyness.

My hands down favorite is "Goodnight Moons" - the story of a long term expedition to Mars, with a
Debbie Notkin
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ellen is a friend, and I'm also a fan of her work, but I haven't tracked down her short stories over the years, so it was great to have so many of them in one place.

Just about all of the stories are good and some are excellent. Reading so many of them together makes it crystal clear that Ellen is doing something quite different from most contemporary SF and fantasy authors: these stories are not only mostly set in the mid-20th century, they also have mid-20th century norms. When characters have
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ellen Klages' short fiction has won several awards, including a Nebula, as well being short-listed for Hugo, Nebula, and John. W. Campbell awards, but her work is new to me. Wicked Wonders is a short-story collection of lyrical fantasy tales (mostly) starring young girls and childhood itself. With elements of historical and modern fantasy, and science fiction, there's a little something for everyone in this collection.

Klages' stories are lovely, strange, and sad things. Some are quite funny, mos
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I would say that Ellen Klages has a wonderful storytelling voice, but what I mean is all of her storytelling voices: the one that tells stories with child protagonists that are definitely not children's stories, for example, or the one that tells the very non-fictional story of the scary ham. A delightful collection.
David Harris
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I hadn't read any of Klages' work until getting my hands on Passing Strange last year (silly David) so was very pleased to be able to catch up (not least because in two of the stories we meet characters from that book). It is great that the book lived up to expectations in every way.

These are serious, funny, tough, tender and varied stories. Above all, they have heart and offer hope. In many, women or - especially - girls - struggle with constraints, actual or impending loss or change, and thing
Nostalgia Reader
Apr 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Nostalgia Reader by: io9
3.5 stars, rounded up.

In a nutshell: A mixture of heartbreaking magical melancholy, vintage nostalgia, and forlorn near-futurism.

I saw this in one of io9's upcoming release posts, and the stories that were highlighted sounded interesting enough for me to add it to my to-read list. When I saw that NetGalley had a copy, I figured I'd give it a shot, even though I'm not really much of a short story person.

I'm very glad I had the opportunity to read this, though. While there were many stories that w
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
As LaVar said, "This could be an episode of the twilight zone."
Apr 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received this ebook free from the publisher via in exchange for an honest review.

Please see full reviews at
Lolly K Dandeneau
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
via my blog
"She intends to be a good girl, but shrubs and sheds and unlocked cupboards beckon. In photographs, her eyes sparkle with unspent mischief; the corner of her mouth quirks in a grin. She is energy that cannot abide fences. When she sleeps, her mother smooths a hand over her cheek in affection and relief.”

I am not going to be alone in loving the first story The Education Of A Witch in this collection.. In fact, is it crazy to cling to some malinger
Karen Germain
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thank You to Tachyon Publications for providing me with an advance copy of Ellen Klages' short story collection, Wicked Wonders, in exchange for an honest review.

PLOT- In her short story collection, Wicked Wonders, Ellen Klages explores a variety of themes; such as pregnancy in space, teenagers caught in a parallel world of classic board games, and what to do with a twenty-year old ham that has been aging in the basement of your childhood home. Wicked Wonders contains stories in several genres,
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wicked Wonders had many quirky reads, some that didn't end as I had hoped (wishing they had more story to them), others that made me think of life and everything around us, a few with life lesson moments. It had a variety of short stories that didn't disappoint and many that left me scratching my head.

The first story that was in this collection was a little creepy. I know many will say not really, it's just a story about a little girl who connects more with Maleficent instead of Sleeping Beauty
Sarah (CoolCurryBooks)
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
After reading Ellen Klages’s Passing Strange, I decided to check out more of her work. Wicked Wonders is a collection of her short stories, spanning many different genres. Many of these stories are set in the past, seen from a child’s perspective. Writing from the point of view of children can be tricky, but I think Klages handles it phenomenally.

There’s one story that I could swear I read before, but for the life of me I can’t figure out where – “Education of a Witch.” In this story, a four yea
Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-rev, reviewed
3.5 stars - Metaphorosis Reviews

A collection of small-scale, lightly speculative stories often set in the mid 20th centrury, by Ellen Klages.

I first read Ellen Klages' work in the Firebirds Soaring anthology, but her name didn't catch my eye until I read her collaboration with Andy Duncan, Wakulla Springs, at While far outside my usual range of interests (it's very Hollywood-focused), I was struck by the writing, and I ran across a few more of her stories that were equally impressive. S
Short story collections are almost always a mixed bag for me. I enjoyed the earlier stories like 'The Education of a witch,' which follows a a young girl's love for Maleficent despite social pressures. Also, 'Amicae Aeternum,' which is a nostalgic story about friends sharing dreams and worries before one of them leaves the other behind to live on a generation ship. 'Echoes of Aurora' is a whimsical f/f love story that follows two older lovers. Finally, 'Goodnight Moons' is a more futuristic stor ...more
Arlene Allen
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book of short stories came highly recommended. I haven't read short stories in ages and this made me realize how much I miss it.

Many of the stories focus on girl children who just don't fit in with parents who just don't get her. Most of the stories have a little magical or science fiction theme and some are historical.

Some of my favorites are: Singing On A Star. This is the ultimate "don't take candy from strangers" story and it is Stephen King-worthy. It's based on a Sterling Holloway s
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

I received an advanced copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is one of the best story collections I've read. Maybe it's because her plots and characters are exactly the sort that would appeal to me—magical, with some tangible reality and book smarts tossed in, or maybe it's because Klages is simply a very good writer.

Not only are her stories enchanting, they're enchanting in completely different ways. Sure, they all have robust, powerful characters (a
May 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-net-galley
I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

I have never been much of a short story fan but selected this book because I had a recollection of a poignant short story by Klages that I had read on a while back. That story, Caligo Lane, is included in this anthology of Klages' work.

The short stories in this volume all have their own special magical touch. All are female-centered and many of her characters are richly drawn. Some of the shorts have a fairytale quali
Joanne Myers
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Joanne by: Library
I picked this one up from my library ebook app and usually I don't manage to read them before they have to be returned. However, from the minute I picked this one up I struggled to put it down.

Firstly, books full of short stories are brilliant (as long as they are within the genres that I like) and this one is no different. The stories cover a broad range of topics, some fiction and others based on true events from the author's life.
There are stories ranging from (view spoiler)
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Ellen Klages was born in Ohio, and now lives in San Francisco.

Her short fiction has appeared in science fiction and fantasy anthologies and magazines, both online and in print, including The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Black Gate, and Firebirds Rising. Her story, "Basement Magic," won the Best Novelette Nebula Award in 2005. Several of her other stories have been on the final ballot f
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