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Not So Stories

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  85 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories was one of the first true children's books in the English language, a timeless classic that continues to delight readers to this day. Beautiful, evocative and playful, the stories of "How the Whale Got His Throat" or "The First Letter Written" paint a magical, primal world. It is also deeply rooted in British colonialism. Kipling saw the E ...more
Published April 10th 2018 by Abaddon Books
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Wayne Santos There are some stories that are suitable for children, but others aimed at adults, with horror or sexual elements. Also some have more sophisticated t…moreThere are some stories that are suitable for children, but others aimed at adults, with horror or sexual elements. Also some have more sophisticated themes or language that might be lost on a less nuanced reader. I'd recommend reading it first yourself and finding out which stories you'd prefer to share with a younger reader.(less)

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K.J. Charles
A collection of stories aimed at decolonising Kipling's Just So Stories. Kipling is always a fascinating one: steeped in Empire and white supremacy, yet constantly yearning for the country and cultures he is fully behind the pillaging of. There is so much to find loathsome about Kipling and yet at his best you can see the brilliant, sensitive writer he could be. And boy could he make phrases. 'The white man's burden' (of bringing his culture and supremacy to everyone else like it or not); 'the f ...more
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley, 2018
“If you want to make a human being a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves.”

Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories for Children was published in (1902) and remained a staple in children’s fiction with its allegorical tales for over 100 years. The problem with this is that it was steeped in the cultural traditions and racist oppression of colonial ideation. If people of color were depicted they were in inferior positions as either villains or animals. Not So Stori
In 1902, Rudyard Kipling wrote Just So Stories, which is now considered a classic of children literature - a classic rooted in colonialism, as Kipling saw the Empire as a civilizing force, the British as superior to the natives.
Bringing together writers of color from around the world, Not So Stories is a response to Kipling's work. Here you'll find talking panthers, hidden Nagas, wishing trees, magical snakes, cat stories and more, with none of the unchallenged racism.

How the Spider Got Her Legs
Sinead Anja (Huntress of Diverse Books)
Check out my book blog for more book reviews and other bookish posts!

I received a copy of Not So Stories from NetGalley. From the start, I was captivated by the premise. I don’t remember if I ever read Kipling’s Just So Stories, but the idea of authors reacting to his stories and taking the stories back was amazing. I also really adore stories about animals.

The stories are #ownvoices.


These stories were engaging and so much fun to read! I really enjoy reading stories with anthropomorphic anima
Anna Stephens
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
As with any anthology, there will be stories that appeal to some readers and not to others, so while not every single piece here resonated with me, the overall tenor was superb.
Provocative, challenging and in many cases wonderfully written, these stories take back the myths and legends of several countries and reframe them in their own history and culture, as they should be.
Tackling colonialism from the inside/other side and exposing the casual racism and ideas of white possession - of people,
Anna Tan
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not So Stories has been one of my most anticipated reads ever since Zedeck Siew announced that he was part of the lineup. I was about to bite the bullet and buy the book when I managed to score a review copy, so YAY!

Not So Stories was compiled as a response to Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories, which Nikesh Shukla describes in his foreword as "steeped in colonial nostalgia." I don't recall if I've specifically read Just So Stories (which I've recently found on Project Gutenberg) but if it's in t
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have never read the Kipling book this was written in reaction of, but I knew about Kipling’s writing and how rooted in British colonialism it was. So the idea of this anthology reclaiming the narrative really appealed to me!

Right from the title of these stories, I could guess at the content of the original book, up to the structure of the originals, since so many used the “How the x got their x” and many were addressed to “Best Beloved”. I feel like the stories which seemed to stick closer to
Read on my blog.

I received an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

“Because every day of freedom is a small act of victory against those who would rob you of it.”

Not So Stories is a response to Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling that I confess I have never read, but according to the blurb, it’s a book rooted in British colonialism. Even without knowing this information, it is clear that the stories in Not So Stories are all against the different aspects of colonialism, explotia
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I notice this is coming out in new format next week - well worth a look

An excellent anthology looking at the other side of Empires and colonialism

Fuller review at
Luke Tolvaj
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This incredible anthology is an answer to Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories. Each story is its own vibrant take on the allegories, some more directly than others. They reclaim these narratives and challenge the racism in Kipling’s work.

All of these stories were wonderful and brought something unique to the table, but there were a few that really stood out for me.

Saṃsāra by Georgina Kamsika tells a rich, melancholy story of a biracial child who has been disconnected from part of her culture due t
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not So Stories is a delightfully diverse collection of stories based on myths, legends, folktales from around the world. A lot of them involve animal anthropomorphism often to depict human cruelty (like George Orwell's Animal Farm), deplorable colonialist attitudes and power structures within relationships and communities. This book is a direct repudiation of Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories with its colonialist justifications. This creates a whole new debate of its own where literary 'classics ...more
Finally, we come to Not So Stories, an anthology commenting in the most obvious of fashions upon Rudyard Kipling's classic (and classically racist) Just So Stories. I admired the goal of this anthology enough to request an advance copy through NetGalley, and I'm glad I did. Here, Australian author and anthologizer David Thomas Moore gathers together a number of authors, many of them known primarily as short story writers and few of them currently in possession of published novel-length works, an ...more
Tsana Dolichva
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not So Stories edited by David Thomas Moore is an anthology in conversation with Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories, with stories shining a light on (mostly British) colonialism and its legacies. (I really like how this idea is conveyed through the union jacks on the cover.) If you've been following along my blog and my #ReadShortStories posts you will have seen me slowly making my way through these stories. The individual story reviews are reproduced at the end of this review, but first I will t ...more
Sarah (CoolCurryBooks)
Not So Stories is a collection that’s working off the legacy of Kipling’s famous Just So Stories, which is a classic children’s book deeply rooted in colonialism. Not So Stories addresses this problematic legacy by creating an anthology of fable-like stories all by authors of color, from the colonized nations Kipling was writing about.

I know I read Just So Stories as a child, but I can hardly remember anything about it. As a result, some of these stories may have nuances or connections to Kiplin
Mar 11, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The tone and underlying agenda of this book really bother me. It is a genuine shame because the cover and the writing are quite engaging. Then I get into it and find revisionist history at work. Kipling was who he was; he and his work are a product of the times. How do we learn from history if we erase it? I could see writing an annotated version of Just So Stories to make the commentary, since I see little else here.

Even though there is indication that these stories are for children, they most
Kipling is a curious figure, English as afternoon tea but also deeply Indian, unsurprising given that he spent half of his first 24 years there and wrote of Mumbai:

Mother of Cities to me,

For I was born in her gate

Between the palms and the sea

Where the world-end steamers wait.

He had a deep attachment to India, albeit that of the coloniser for the country more than the ‘new-caught sullen peoples, half devil and half child.’ Kipling wrote of his ayah and other servants telling him stories and the i
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This anthology is a blast. It is well written and have a bit of everything for everyone. Small simple cute stories about different animals and their struggles. Creepy, almost scary, tales of childrens imagination. Stories filled with suspence. All of them page turners.

It made me wonder and think of colonialism and realize how many cultures and stories from said cultures I want to get to know and learn more about that I had not heard of or thought much of before.

I can highly reccomend it for pe
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC from Netgalley for an honest review.

This anthology of short stories is in response to Rudyard Kipling’s “Just So Stories” written 100 years ago. I remember reading those stories as a child, but it’s been years. These stories are meant to break the stereotypes portrayed in those earlier stories of the people’s and cultures that the West (in Kipling’s case Britain) had colonized, and are based in mostly South Asia and African culture.

It’s hard to rate a book of stories, they hav
Thank you to Abaddon Books and NetGalley for my free ebook copy!

Recently, I started an audiobook production of Just So Stories, and I couldn't finish it. I had such fond memories of the stories, but hearing them as an adult created dissonance for me, and I couldn't figure out why. Then I started this collection of stories, and the foreword by Nikesh ShuklaNikesh Shukla struck me:

"The book doesn't age very well. Because it it steeped in colonial nostalgia, and a feeling that the British Empire w
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I grew up being read the Just So Stories as a child, and absolutely adored them. Revisiting them as an adult challenged my earlier perceptions. I found this book in a book shop and immediately had to buy it, I wanted to see how these authors had reimagined Kiplings tales and how they would resonate with me now as an adult.

I should say at once, I wouldn't recommend this book for young children, some of the stories are pretty dark. I didn't enjoy them all, but I did like the style and differences
Jun 07, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

A group of authors of colour come together in this collaborative collection of stories to take back stories that were recorded with a colonialistic lens (as would be read in Kipling's Just So Stories. From the very first story, it is clear that the reclamation of these stories is necessary, needed, as we can feel the stamp of the storytelling forms passed down from generation to generation within each author's culture.

Each story swells with allegorical reference in the ways in which t
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An intriguing idea... stories by authors of colour offering a post-colonial take on Kipling. The stories are very varied in style, some going for a fable-like feel, others more contemporary, and some - like How the Simurgh Won her Tail by Ali Nouraei and How the Tree of Wishes Gained its Carapace of Plastic by Jeannette Ng - blend both to great effect. Some simmer with anger, like Queen by Joseph E Cole, while others are more playful and humorous, like How the Camel Got Her Paid Time Off by Paul ...more
Jun 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
A charming collection of stories that are definitely a thumbed nose to Kipling's 'Just So' stories - and delightfully done. My particular favourite was Achala Upendran's 'The Cat Who Walked by Herself' - a very powerful story. I also enjoyed Stewart Hotston's 'How the Ants Got Their Queen' and Ali Nouraei's 'How the Simurgh Won Her Tail'.
Aug 22, 2018 rated it liked it
As with all anthologies, it's a mixed bag. Some stories I loved, others I didn't overly care for. But they were all good. I think this is definitely worth picking up. The stories are a great new, diverse take on a problematic "classic."
Patrick H.
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous! Should be read by every child and adult. In fact it should be read by a child to an adult
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I very much enjoyed this collection of short stories which challenges some of the preconceptions found in Rudyard Kipling’s Just So stories.
Eule Luftschloss
trigger warnings
(view spoiler)

This anthology includes short stories set in different time periods and mythologies. Some protagonists are animals, some are ghosts, some are humans. Some stories appealed more to me than others, but every single one provided something I liked. All the people who contributed to this are very talented, and I really like how different all the stories are. You never know what the next tale will brin
Melissa Mikush
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A multicultural up yours to the British Empire centric Just So Stories.
Emi Bevacqua
I wholly support the idea of this collection of fable-like stories, inspired by Kipling's Just So Stories, but written from multiple cultural points of view in order to rectify a post-Colonialist, imperialist bias. However, if I hadn't read the Foreward I don't think I would have realized that was the objective. I recognize Kipling in the constant direction to "Best Beloved," and judging by how many of these characters soil themselves out of fear, I assumed that must have happened in Just So Sto ...more
Natalie Gardner
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
I was really excited to read this, having read many of the Just So stories as a child.  The foreword did not disappoint and had me excited for the stories to follow.  However, they were not all as enjoyable as I expected, and I sometimes struggled to pick this book back up.  I think my two favourites were How The Spider Got Her Legs and Best Beloved.  The spider one definitely struck a nerve with me as it told the story of a mother fighting for her children.

I thought this was going to be an alte
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A lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy, an avid roleplayer and LRPer, an enthusiastic if unskilled swordfighter and a passable cook, David Thomas Moore is the author of several short stories and one roleplaying supplement, and the editor of a number of anthologies. He is the Fiction Commissioning Editor at Rebellion Publishing.

Born and raised in Australia, he lives in Reading in the UK with

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