Robots vs. Fairies

Robots vs. Fairies

A unique anthology of all-new stories that challenges authors to throw down the gauntlet in an epic genre battle and demands an answer to the age-old question: Who is more awesome—robots or fairies?Rampaging robots! Tricksy fairies! Facing off for the first time in an epic genre death match!People love pitting two awesome things against each other. Robots vs. Fairies is an...

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Title:Robots vs. Fairies
Author:Dominik Parisien
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Robots vs. Fairies Reviews

  • Coolcurry

    After The Starlit Wood, I had high expectations for any anthology edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe. Thankfully, Robots vs. Fairies lived up to those expectations.

    In this anthology, authors are asked whether they’re Team Robot or Team Fairy. Each writes a story involving robots or fairies (or occasionally both) and then provides a brief explanation of their choice. Overall, it’s a pretty strong collection of stories, and I enjoyed the combative framing device. It’s probably no surprise

    After The Starlit Wood, I had high expectations for any anthology edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe. Thankfully, Robots vs. Fairies lived up to those expectations.

    In this anthology, authors are asked whether they’re Team Robot or Team Fairy. Each writes a story involving robots or fairies (or occasionally both) and then provides a brief explanation of their choice. Overall, it’s a pretty strong collection of stories, and I enjoyed the combative framing device. It’s probably no surprise that it was as good as it is — Robots vs. Fairies has a truly great contributor line up.

    Let’s start with the robot stories. My favorite has to be Alyssa Wong’s “All the Time We’ve Left to Spend.” If you’ve read anything by Alyssa Wong, you probably suspect it’s a really good story. And you’d be right! Wong’s tale centers around Ruriko, a former teen pop star in Japan. A tragic accident killed the rest of her girl group, and now Ruriko’s the only one left alive. She’s still haunted by her memories, and every month she makes a trip to a seedy hotel/brothel, staffed with robotic simulations of celebrities, complete with their downloaded memories. It’s a chilling, haunting story with a fantastic premise and execution.

    Another robot story I loved was “Work Shadow/Shadow Work” by Madeline Ashby, which was one of the stories that mixed both fairies and robots. The protagonist is an unnamed, robotic assistant to a retired pagan priestess in Iceland. She is scornful of the assistant, repeatedly saying it doesn’t have a soul. Using robots to explore the meaning of personhood is an old trick, but “Work Shadow/Shadow Work” carries it out expertly, complete with a dash of magic.

    “Sound and Fury” by Mary Robinette Kowal is another great robot tale. How is it that I love Kowal’s short fiction so much more than her longer works? Seriously, I don’t care much for her novels, but I never fail to fall in love with her short stories. In “Sound and Fury,” the protagonist is an engineer on a spaceship sent on a diplomatic mission. She doesn’t much want to be a part of the mission, because she knows that the “diplomacy” will end with the planet being taken over, stripped for resources while it loses all its cultural uniqueness. AKA colonialism. How are robots involved? Well, the ambassador is to be represented by a giant robot since the native population associate prestige with height. Of course, the robot starts malfunctioning and someone has to go surface side to fix it…

    Rounding out my quartet of favorite robot stories is Jonathan Maberry’s “Ironheart.” The author is one of the few in the collection who’s new to me, so I’ve really got to check out more of what he’s written! The protagonist of “Ironheart” is a veteran who’s returned to his grandparent’s farm. But he was injured in the war, and the medications needed to keep him alive are bankrupting their already impoverished household. He suspects he doesn’t have much longer to live. As his body fails him, he empathizes with the farm’s robots, who are likewise breaking down. It’s not an uplifting story, but it will definitely stay with me.

    Three of the robot stories fell into the category of “all right but nothing special.” Annalee Newitz returns to the setting of Autonomous with “The Blue Fairy’s Manifesto,” a philosophical retelling of “Pinocchio.” I actually liked it better than her novel but the musings on robot uprisings didn’t do much for me. “Quality Time” by Ken Liu is about a liberal arts major who gets hired for a tech company. While they worry they’ll be over their head, they soon get really into solving all the worlds problems through technology. But the may be a bit too enthusiastic, and soon enough side effects appear. In “The Buried Giant” by Lavie Tidhar, an elder tells two young children (in a post-apocalyptic setting) a story about a boy raised in a town of all robots. There were elements I liked (the robot town, the kid who wanted to be a robot), but I wasn’t as enthralled by the frame story.

    I could have done without John Scalzi’s “Three Robots Experience Objects Left Behind from the Era of Humans for the First Time.” Have you ever seen one of those YouTube videos where the titles are something like “(Fill in the Blank) Reacts”? It’s basically like a transcript of one of those with robots in the blank. Robots React. It’s pretty short, and it’s trying to be funny. It’s not succeeding. At his best John Scalzi is actually funny. At his worst he’s just snarky in an annoying, eye rolling sort of way. This story is the later.

    Unfortunately, I also didn’t care for Max Gladstone’s “To a Cloven Pine.” Remember what I said about Kowal’s work? My experience with Gladstone’s is almost the opposite. I’ve loved all his novels, but I’ve had a harder time of it with his short stories. “To a Cloven Pine” is a cerebral story drawing from “The Tempest.” By “cerebral,” I mean it had a lot going on but I was never sure what was happening. It went completely over my head.

    Onto the fairy stories! My favorite of these is the opening story of the collection, “Build Me a Wonderland” by Seanan McGuire. Essentially, it’s about a theme park centered around fairies where the special effects are actually magic, unbeknownst to the visitors. When an efficiency expert arrives, the magical citizens of the park worry that their future is at stake. It was a lot of fun, and I would totally read more in this setting.

    My second favorite of the fairy stories is “Murmured Under the Moon” by Tim Pratt. Man, I need to read more by Tim Pratt. The protagonist of the story is a human librarian for a magical library; her girlfriend is a sentient book. Then when she arrives for work one day, she finds the doors barred and all the books being stolen. Librarians to the rescue! Sure, this story has book lover appeal, but it works well even without that element. It’s got the twisty nature of the fae down, and it was fun to boot.

    I didn’t like it as much as the other two, but I did enjoy Sarah Gailey’s “Bread and Milk and Salt.” It’s a creepy and subtly feminist story, as is often the case with Gailey’s work. The narrator is a fae of the kind from the darkest fairy tales. It becomes fascinated with a specific child, determined to lure him away to the woods. As the boy grows, the hunted becomes the hunter…

    Delilah S. Dawson/Lila Bowen’s story was set in the same world as her Shadow series, which starts with Wake of Vultures. It must take place between book one and two, because the protagonist is called Nettie and is referred to with she/her pronouns (at the beginning of book two, the narrative starts calling him Rhys and uses he/him pronouns). Anyway, in this story Nettie/Rhys (look, I feel weird calling Rhys “Nettie,” okay?) tries to save another shapeshifter from a group of fae with ill intent. I think I would have enjoyed the story a lot less if I didn’t already have a connection with the protagonist.

    I was pretty “meh” on the other four fairy stories. It’s not surprising Kat Howard chose Team Fairy (at least if you’ve read anything she’s written), but the story was a bit of a let down. In “Just Another Love Song,” a banshee girl feels the urge to sing death for the first time. It’s hard to pinpoint what about the story didn’t work for me. I think maybe it’s mostly that it wasn’t bringing anything fresh to the table. Or maybe I’m just not that into music? I think that was my problem with “Adriftica” by Maria Dahvana Headley, which contains Titania, Oberon, and rock and roll. I’ve reluctantly concluded that I’m not a fan of Headley’s writing, and this story does nothing to change my opinion.

    “Second to the Left, and Straight On” by Jim C. Hines is a gritty take on Tinker Bell, who’s kidnapping loved girls (the “Found Girls”) and feeding off of their belief in a cult-like manner. The protagonist is a woman who’s lost her daughter to Tinker Bell, and she’s hunting the fairy. While I enjoyed the twist at the end, the story as a whole didn’t do much for me. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why. On the other hand, I have an easier time seeing why “The Bookcase Expedition” by Jeffrey Ford didn’t appeal to me. The narrator is so passive! It’s the story of an elderly man who observes tiny people living in his house, in particular an expedition where they climb his bookcase. Having the narrator literally sit in an armchair the entire time puts the entire story at a distance. It just didn’t work for me.

    The final story in the collection, “A Fall Counts Anywhere” by Catherynne M. Valente, mixes robots and fairies in equal measure. It’s a brilliant idea. She takes the title of the anthology literally, pitting robots against fairies in a wrestling style competition, complete with names, costumes, and announcers. The story’s told through the transcript of one bout, and a story slowly emerges. Perhaps too slowly. I wish it’d gotten to the point a bit sooner, but on the whole I still liked it.

    Based off of the stories in Robots vs. Fairies, I’m Team Robot. For whatever reason, I enjoyed those stories more! Maybe there’s just more room to tell stories with robots? Or maybe I just like robots written more ways than I like fairies, who I prefer to have a dark edge. It’s a tricky question.

    Which would you chose: robots or fairies?

    I received an ARC in exchange for a free and honest review.

    Review from

  • Aleksandra

    The mathematically calculated rating is 3.52, but my heart says 4 stars because the anthology was AWESOME!

    Strong beginning and great variety of different stories! I love the concept of the anthology and that it gave an opportunity for many amazing authors create these amazing stories.

    Seanan McGuire, Ken Liu, Tim Pratt, Madeline Ashby, Alyssa Wong and Catherynne M. Valente.

    -

    Great concept: fairies & elf prete

    The mathematically calculated rating is 3.52, but my heart says 4 stars because the anthology was AWESOME!

    Strong beginning and great variety of different stories! I love the concept of the anthology and that it gave an opportunity for many amazing authors create these amazing stories.

    Seanan McGuire, Ken Liu, Tim Pratt, Madeline Ashby, Alyssa Wong and Catherynne M. Valente.

    -

    Great concept: fairies & elf pretend to be robots in amusement theme park to survive in human world.

    Team Fairy

    -

    A very interesting take about efficiency, productivity and humanity. Great short story. The story is told from 1st person pov and the gender of the protagonist is unspecified.

    Team Robot

    -

    Sapphic woc librarian protagonist with a girlfriend who's a living book. Also fairies, magic, adventures and books saving the day!

    Team Fairy

    -

    Short but powerful story about agency, choice, future and intelligence in robot themed retelling of Pinoccio story.

    Team Robot

    -

    wow! I'm not huge fan of horror but this was fascinating.

    Incredible afterward about fairies, robots and humanity.

    Team Fairy

    -

    . Sad and strange. I didn't love this story but it was ok.

    Team Robot

    -

    Little short story about power, choices and reclaiming your agency. Very feminist read.

    Team Fairy

    -

    . Good themes but it was rather all over and too short, but I liked space aspects and the society structure.

    Team Robot

    -

    . I didn't like it.

    Team Fairy

    -

    A story about nameless robot home assistant to old woman who believes herself a witch. It has great combination of "robotic" and magical! I love the growing camaraderie between the assistant and the woman.

    Great author's commentary!

    Team Robot

    -

    . It was ok, the plot twist surprised me but I'm so not a fan of anything Peter Pan-Tinker Bell-Wendy etc so I couldn't properly appreciate this story.

    Team Fairy

    -

    . Weird and a bit creepy but good short story, kinda reversed Pinoccio retelling.

    Team Robot

    -

    This was hilarious! I loved the play type narration and the commentary to the story by the author fits perfectly to his story.

    Team Robot

    -

    That was a fun read, like a western with faes and magical contest, I like the humor in the story. Definitely want to read more from this author.

    Team Fairy

    -

    This was weird and unsettling and grim, but still very enjoyable. A story about queer Japanese woman ten years after the fatal accident comes visit a robot with her former girlfriend mind-scan.

    I really appreciate that this anthology has two stories with queer ladies so far.

    Team Robot

    -

    . Interesting story about music, family, fae and the end of the world. It has elements from A Midsummer Night's Dream, which is stated in the author's afterword.

    Team Fairy

    -

    . Too short and very confusing. I liked the author's afterward but that's about it.

    Team Robot

    -

    What have I even read?! Wild and awesome.

    Team Fairy

  • Suncerae

    A themed anthology of 18 new stories from a group of fantastic authors, each of whom chooses a side—Team Robots or Team Fairies. Ultimately, it’s a throw down between the science fiction and fantasy genres, using the symbols of robots and fairies, respectively. The introduction greets our robot overlords (unless those tricksy fairies are the ultimate victor) and debuts this collection of stories as evidence of their greatness. Robots vs. Fairies is a magical mashup!

    I am not the sort of the fan w

    A themed anthology of 18 new stories from a group of fantastic authors, each of whom chooses a side—Team Robots or Team Fairies. Ultimately, it’s a throw down between the science fiction and fantasy genres, using the symbols of robots and fairies, respectively. The introduction greets our robot overlords (unless those tricksy fairies are the ultimate victor) and debuts this collection of stories as evidence of their greatness. Robots vs. Fairies is a magical mashup!

    I am not the sort of the fan who picks sides in the science fiction versus fantasy debate. I’ve many read stories in both genres that are challenging and exciting, with excellent characters in each. The anthology honors both genres, and lets the reader make her own choice (you know, if you’re into that sort of thing). In addition to the collection of stories, each author writes a short commentary at the end of her submission declaring her allegiance and reasons, and many of these are highly insightful or entertaining on their own.

    My favorites stories of the collection fall into two categories:

    -The ones that deserve 5 stars, and…

    -Those who broke the rules by using both robots and fairies in their narratives

    My top 5-star picks include:

    -Bread and Milk and Salt by Sarah Gailey, in which a terrifying fairy meets his match

    -Ironheart by Jonathan Maberry, where a veteran with an ironheart is a burden on his family

    -Second to the Left, and Straight On by Jim C. Hines, in which Peter Pan is lost and Tinkerbell is not dead

    -The Buried Giant by Lavie Tidhar, where the village elders tell a story about a young human boy raised by robots

    My top genre-bending picks include:

    -Build Me a Wonderland by Seanan McGuire, in which fairies and unicorns and mermaids hide amid theme park animatronic technology

    -Quality Time by Ken Liu, where a mythology and folklore major joins a silicon-valley robotics company

    -The Blue Fairy’s Manifesto by Annalee Newitz, a Pinocchio retelling from a robot perspective

    -Work Shadow/Shadow Work by Madeline Ashby, in which a robot assistant learns about his elderly patient who is a witch

    I love fairies because they are not us. I have feared fairies and their kind ever since I was afraid of the dark, which is as long as I can remember. They’re terrifying and lovely and have a power I could never understand. Fairies are my Id.

    I love robots because they are us. We humans create them to be what we can not be, which is to say, anything we want them to be. They are logical and useful and deadly, but someday, they will outgrow us. And, like all parents say of their children, I hope they will make a better world than we ever could.

    Thanks to NetGalley and Saga Press for a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

    readwellreviews.com

  • Ruth

    I will admit that I have a bias towards fairies when comparing them to robots. I mean. They're fairies. C'mon. The fae. The Seelie court. Goblins and pixies and brownies, oh my! But, I did try to go into this trial with an open mind. And I have to say, the fairies won.

    The best story in the entire anthology was "Bread and Salt and Milk" by Sarah Gailey. This is the story of one faery's encounter with a young boy, and their reocurring meetings over the year. This is not a Tinkerbell, though Tink g

    I will admit that I have a bias towards fairies when comparing them to robots. I mean. They're fairies. C'mon. The fae. The Seelie court. Goblins and pixies and brownies, oh my! But, I did try to go into this trial with an open mind. And I have to say, the fairies won.

    The best story in the entire anthology was "Bread and Salt and Milk" by Sarah Gailey. This is the story of one faery's encounter with a young boy, and their reocurring meetings over the year. This is not a Tinkerbell, though Tink gets her due in Jim C. Hines's "Second to the Left, and Straight on." This is the faeries that are older than dirt, the ones that keep people leaving out offerings of milk to propitiate favor, and throwing salt over their shoulder, and not disturbing old rocks in the middle of fields. As the boy ages, the tenor of the encounters shifts, and becomes more and more terrifying. I actually gasped out loud at one point. My husband was sitting next to me and he looked over to see what had caused me to drop my book and throw my hand over my mouth. The imagery Gailey uses is still ricocheting through my mind.

    I think one of the reasons the fairy side wins for me is because the strongest stories on the fairy side, like the above mentioned story by Gailey, or the Old West flavored "Ostentation of Peacocks: A Story in the World of Shadow" by Delilah S. Dawson writing as Lila Bowen, is that they rely on the extreme difference between humans and fairies. These fairies are not human, they are not humane. They are Other. The most effective robot stories, like "Work Shadow/Shadow Work" by Madeline Ashby or "Ironheart" by Jonathan Maberry, hinge their emotional impact on robots becoming more human, not less. In some of the stories, such as "Sound and Fury" by Mary Robinette Kowal, the robots are minor characters, and even when the robots are front and center, like "The Blue Fairy's Manifesto" by Annalee Newitz, the characters being robots adds nothing to the story that wouldn't exist by having them be human. "The Blue Fairy's Manifesto" is basically your standard Introduction to Political Philosophy class condensed into a few pages.

    And finally, the last story, "A Fall Counts Anywhere" by Catherynne M. Valente was what I was hoping for when I read the title. It's an actual eighties style WWF smackdown between fairies and robots. When the title of the book, I thought I was going to see a lot more actual fighting between robots and fairies, and I was disappointed there wasn't more of it.

  • Elise (TheBookishActress)

    Let me explain. Not to offend our possible future robot overlords, but robots lack the gorgeous imagery or the delightful villainy of fairies. Come on, what's a story without some morally grey leads who delight in their evil nature? But it's not just about the fairies;

    . I prefer Seanan McGuire's vision of fairie

    Let me explain. Not to offend our possible future robot overlords, but robots lack the gorgeous imagery or the delightful villainy of fairies. Come on, what's a story without some morally grey leads who delight in their evil nature? But it's not just about the fairies;

    . I prefer Seanan McGuire's vision of fairies as humans who don't try to hide their moral blanks (

    ) and Alyssa Wong's vision of robots as reflections of our inner selves (

    ).

    Anthology reviews are my absolute favorite to write, and this one will be no exception. Here's the system this time: ♔ stories are about fairies, while ♚ stories are about robots. 🇸🇱 will be used for queer content - which this anthology really, really fucking needed - 🌃 to denote authors known to me previously, and 🍀 for my favorites.

    by Seanan McGuire - ★★★★★ 🌃🍀

    Aesthetic! McGuire's most recent foray into short fiction is as amazing as expected. Her writing is stellar, her concepts are intriguing, her descriptions are gorgeous, and her worlds are compelling. Most importantly, she's fantastic at a certain sense of joy and hope for the future that I'm hard-pressed to find in other fairy or robot authors.

    interesting

    by Ken Liu - ★★★☆☆

    I appreciated the effort put into this exploration of unintended technological consequences and ethical consumption, but this story itself honestly felt rather pat to me. I saw the ending coming miles away.

    hilarious, clever, and very short

    by Tim Pratt - ★★★☆☆ 🇸🇱

    I honest to god have

    idea what was happening here. I loved the thematic ideas of having books be relevant to defense, and the idea of having a literal book girlfriend is clever. But it felt as if Pratt stopped after his initial clever idea and failed to perfect it. Also,

    not as much moral blackness as I like from fairy stories.

    stellar meta about fairy-vs-robot fiction

    by Annalee Newitz - ★★★☆☆

    This novella is a clever and interesting exploration of extremism vs. choice, but I honestly thought it wasn’t anything particularly new. Maybe robots just aren’t as much for me?

    explains the already-obvious connotations of her story, could’ve done more

    by Sarah Gailey - ★★★★☆

    This one is

    . Following the conflict between robots and fairies explicitly, rather than simply focusing on one, it manages to bring the reader deep into the mind of a fairy trapped alone. It's strangely psychological and a read I definitely enjoyed.

    super interesting read

    by Jonathan Maberry - ★★★☆☆

    This is a story about the renewability of robots. I cannot really tell whether it's pro or anti robot, but I think the duality is frankly the only strength of

    . While I loved the themes brought up about veterans' lives, I have to admit I found most of this sort of boring.

    made me doubt whether I even read the story correctly

    by Kat Howard - ★★★★☆

    This is a story about agency. And not to be a parody of myself, but if you know me, you know that is my absolute favorite theme to explore and discuss. As an added bonus, I loved the morally black lead character of this story.

    too short

    by Mary Robinette Kowal - ★★☆☆☆

    Listen, not to anger our future robot overlords, but robots are sort of boring. Especually when they're going on diplomatic missions to ...somewhere? and drop so many pointless titles in the first

    that the reader feels like DNFing.

    why was it here

    by Jeffrey Ford - ★★☆☆☆

    Yikes. I honestly just didn't get why this story was here. It felt boring, mostly.

    I guess I understand why this was written now?

    by Madeline Ashby - ★★★★☆

    Now THIS is a good robot story. And, sadly, the first one I've rated a full four stars. This one follows a mystical grandmother and her robot assistant, using their friendship to contrast viewpoints.

    but why

    by Jim C. Hines - ★★★★☆

    This is a Peter Pan retelling using Tinker Bell is a villain, but at its core, it's an exploration of humanity through the fairy lens. I loved this so, so much. The main character had a super strong voice and the themes brought up were everything I love from fairy fiction. Well, besides the imagery. More imagery, please!

    brilliant, got highlighted all the way through

    by Lavie Tidhar - ★★★★☆

    Another good robot story! I'm not sure I totally understand this one, but the reverse Pinocchio is interesting and the themes around civilization's continued growth is amazing.

    by John Scalzi - ★★★★☆

    This was

    . I’ve never read a Scalzi before, but if this is any indication, he’s a guy I’d love to meet.

    by Lila Bowen - ★★★☆☆

    This was a pretty decent fairy story! The world building is imginiative and the writing is good. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t quite invested enough.

    by Alyssa Wong - ★★★★★ 🍀🇸🇱🌃

    WE GET IT, ALYSSA, YOU'RE FUCKING TALENTED.

    (guys, if you haven't read her work before, please give it a try. This and Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers are two of the best works I've ever read.)

    by Maria Dahvana Headley - ★★★☆☆ 🌃

    writing, but this story itself was sort of boring, with an obvious plot reveal and not much more intrigue. Enjoyed the retelling concept - wont say what as it’s a spoiler, but more can be done with fairies.

    by Max Gladstone - ★★★★☆ 🌃

    This confused the

    out of me but somehow I loved it. A Tempest retelling with robots and starring Caliban.

    by Catherynne M. Valente - ★★★☆☆ 🌃

    Some great ideas and imagery here, but a plot that totally bored me.

    ALL IN ALL: Despite reading one a night with

    and

    , I just never really got into this one. Aside from Alyssa Wong and Seanan McGuire’s contributions, none of this struck me.

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  • Melanie

    First off, this anthology has the best introduction I’ve ever read in maybe any book ever! It is actual perfection in every

    First off, this anthology has the best introduction I’ve ever read in maybe any book ever! It is actual perfection in every single way. Overall, I really, really, really enjoyed this! But it is a bit of a mixed bag, I do suppose! Some of these were so amazing, where others are ones that I will probably not remember or carry with me. But I do also believe there is something here for everyone to love, whether you are #TeamFairies or #TeamRobots!

    And even though most of you know that I am very much #TeamFairies, my personal favorite in the whole collection is a robot story!

    by Alyssa Wong is a masterpiece. This story is beautiful, haunting, and oh so heart-wrenching. I will carry it with me forever. I loved every single aspect of it. I think this story alone makes this anthology completely worth buying and worth reading this entire collection. One of my favorite short stories of all time.

    I'm going to break down each short story with my thoughts, opinions, and individual star rating!

    Also:

    🦋 = TEAM FAIRIES

    🤖 = TEAM ROBOTS

    ➽ 🦋

    - ★★★★★

    This story guys, this freakin’ story! Okay, we get to travel through an enchanted garden, a mermaid grotto, a pixie glen, and more during this amazing short story that is set in a magical theme park that makes you question everything. This was such a strong start to this collection, and proved that I’m Team Fairies forever. You guys all probably know that I love Seanan McGuire, but you probably don’t know that I also love Kobolds! From spending such a big chunk of my life leveling up humans in

    , to being unnaturally excited for the new

    expansion, to falling even more in love with

    because they were an amazing part of the story; I love Kobolds. And this story is perfection.

    ➽ 🤖

    - ★★★

    This is story about a man who majored in folk lore, but is joining a very prestigious and innovative company in their robotics department. This company wants to break the mold and find solutions for what other companies deem impossible. Then comes the Vegnor; a rat-like robot that is marketed to every busy homeowner to take care of their pests and other small things. This is beautifully written, and really opens up a good discussion on how far we will eventually let technology advance and go. And more importantly: more technology isn’t always the best solution.

    ➽ 🦋

    - ★★★★★

    Oh my word, this was glorious queer book-loving fairy perfection! Emily has been working at a fairy library for two years, where she met her girlfriend who is part book. The fae princess that is in charge of the library is being manipulated by a mortal man, and it is up to Emily and a few fae folk to break the spell. This story also dabbles into the different fae courts, their weakness to iron, their glamour, and other things that warmed my heart and made the story shine with Tim Pratt’s obvious love for fairies.

    ➽ 🤖

    - ★★

    This is a really smart story that weaves together robots and politics into a

    retelling! This tale centers in on a toy-shop, where many different kinds of robots are made. From anarchists, to pacifists, to socialists, we have a full range of different thinking mechanical beings, but it just didn’t work for me for some reason. Yet, it was so different that I’m happy it was a part of this collection.

    ➽ 🦋

    - ★★★

    This was so very beautifully written, and very eerie, haunting, and just downright spooky. The first half of this story immersed me more than most things I’ve ever read. I couldn’t stop reading this tale. From giving the fae gifts of bread and milk and salt, to being bonded by blood, to becoming what you never expected, this story was so captivating. But for some reason the ending wasn’t satisfying enough for me. But her writing was enthralling, powerful, and evocative, I instantly went and bought

    .

    ➽ 🤖

    - ★★★

    This was a very sad story. Like, I cried while reading most of this one. But it wasn’t only sad, it was eerie, and haunting, and pretty powerful. We watch a young man who is forced to live a much different life than he was expecting. He lives on a farm with his loving grandparents, who can barely afford to make ends meet. And their farm is mostly run by robots that are out of date and dying. There is also a beautiful discussion on the military and how veterans are treated once they are home and have taken off their uniform. The author also brings up the healthcare crisis that we are all currently facing here in America. This was an expertly woven story, and I don’t think I’ll forget it anytime soon.

    ➽ 🦋

    - ★★

    A banshee girl who sings of death meets a gancanagh boy who sings of love, while all the while other fae folk are coming up missing. I didn’t really enjoy this one, just because I thought it was rather predictable! But I did enjoy that there was a side character who was an agoraphobiac.

    ➽ 🤖

    - ★★★

    Okay, at this point I am starting to feel like all the robot stories have important and relevant issues just woven into their tales. This is a science fiction story where a crew is taking a giant robot to a planet for reasons unknown. The short story quickly turns into a story about colonization and stripping cultures from Native people. It was pretty expertly done, and I’m so impressed that these short tales are making me feel so much.

    ➽ 🦋

    - ★

    Yikes, okay, I know this is going to sound harsh, but I just didn’t care about this story at all. A man is able to see tiny, small, fae folk around his home. He watches them explore the bookshelves, all while name dropping tons of different books and authors, and then he watches them fight both demons and spiders and anything else! This story was just not my cup of tea at all, unfortunately.

    ➽ 🤖

    - ★★★★

    I really, really enjoyed this. And this story really centers on the believing in something is very powerful. Naming something and loving something and putting your faith in something is more powerful than words. And this is a story about a robot assistant taking care of a semi-famous human, who many consider a witch, but who believes in fairies and elves and other magical creatures. I loved how this story incorporated both fairies and robots, and was just such a whimsical and beautiful tale about the power of believing in something with your whole heart.

    ➽ 🦋

    - ★★★★

    This is, like, an alternate retelling of

    , but it’s set after the events of

    , and Tinker Bell is very much not dead. In fact, she and her “Found Girls” are a cult like group that steal little girls that are very much loved. You know, sort of the opposite of what Peter and the Lost Boys did. And we follow someone who is on a mission to save the most recent missing girl, and also to get closure for something personal. I feel like this may be a three star story, but the twist at the end was so damn good that I feel like it really deserved an extra star. Also, this was a really clever tale and I did really enjoy it.

    ➽ 🤖

    - ★★★

    I’m very torn on a three or four star rating for this one, just because I was so engaged while reading this. I couldn’t put it down. I also love how this not only celebrated robots and fairies, but it also had the unique aspect of a human wanting to be robotic. This is also a story about stories, where our main character is learning about a famous tale that has been passed down over time from both an Elder in his community and from his Grandmother. And the story is about what seems like one of the last human boys on Earth, living in a world that is now overrun by Robots, some of which who are hunting humans. This tale also hinted at a fuller length story about a two minor side characters and I am so here for it. I really enjoyed this one and I’m so happy to be introduced to this author from this anthology!

    ➽ 🤖

    - ★

    It pains me to give something by Jon Scalzi one star, but this just felt and read so lazy. Basically, three robots are discovering and discussing human items (balls, sandwiches, cats, and xbox) and wondering how humans used them. That’s it. This story tries way too hard to be funny, and then ends trying to pack an emotional punch about global warming and the climate crisis we are choosing to ignore right now. But it felt so bad when you’re trying to do this in six pages, and five of those are wasted on bad jokes.

    ➽ 🦋

    - ★★

    Okay, this was a hard one for me, too. This is a western fairy story, and I just don’t think the combination really mixed well for me personally. Like, Billy the Kid makes an appearance in here! And then I felt a little hopeful, because I thought we were going to have a nonbinary character, but I don’t think that was the case, but it gave me the hope for it, then the letdown. But yeah, this is basically a story about a magical shapeshifter, who is trying to protect another shapeshifter (in possum form), who is being hunted by fairy men that disguise themselves as country humans. It was just… too far out there for me, I’m sorry. Also, please let me know if you were picking up on the gender fluid aspect, too!

    ➽ 🤖

    - ★★★★★

    Oh my word, this was utter and pure perfection. I will never forget this story, ever. This story is centered around an alternate future where we have realistic cyborg celebrity robots, who have many memories stored, working in pleasure hotels, where you can spend time with them for money. Our main protagonist, Ruriko, is obsessed with spending time with a kpop group that passed away ten years ago, while trying to learn all the information she can about their memories. This story is beautiful. This story is haunting. This story is oh so heart-wrenching. I loved this. I loved this so very much. Easily my favorite in the entire collection.

    ➽ 🦋

    - ★★

    This is a scene from

    , but retold in a modern contemporary setting. Titania and Oberon are dealing with their custody battle, but with a rock and roll twist to it. I know this sounds really cool, and the uniqueness is completely why I’m giving this two stars, but the writing style was very much not for me. Though, this was very clever, and I’m sure many others will enjoy it much more than I did.

    ➽ 🤖

    - ★★

    Okay, this was just a really confusing tale for me. So much of it just went completely over my head, and you guys will completely love it when you get to the ending, but I was left really underwhelmed because of the confusion I felt starting out. This short story starts out with four beings that are fleeing their ship in space, while being chased by “the Witch”. Then, one of the members starts acting very strange and goes missing. And then the ending really brings the story together with a big revelation, but maybe this story was just too epic and too condensed for me to really enjoy it.

    ➽ 🦋

    - ★★★★

    You all, this is a WWF fairy vs robot match! Like, Catherynne M. Valente took the meaning of this book really literally, but she is team fairies (who isn’t) and really wrote a fantastic and unique story that I really enjoyed. This is also narrated partially by a fairy announcer and a robot announcer. Yet, this was my problem with the story, and the reason I ultimately didn’t give this five stars: I hated that the robot announcer spoke all in caps. I completely understand this was a good way to be able to differentiate between the two voices, but it just felt so bad to read. I really didn’t like. But this story was so very great, I loved the twist, and it proves how fairies truly are the most clever characters in all of literature.

    I gave

    three stars overall, because out of a possible 90 stars (5 stars possible for each of the 18 stories) this collection accumulated 54 stars

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    Buddy read with

    &

    ! ❤

  • destiny ☠ howling libraries

    When I first picked up

    , I almost expected the stories to be about literal wars between the two, so I was very surprised to find that it was actually a collection of alternating stories from authors who had chosen "team robot" or "team fairy". It was such a fun and unique idea, but I found that most of the stories were kinda "meh" for me.

    - ★★★★★ ←

    The collection opened on such a strong note, as this was tied with one later story for my f

    When I first picked up

    , I almost expected the stories to be about literal wars between the two, so I was very surprised to find that it was actually a collection of alternating stories from authors who had chosen "team robot" or "team fairy". It was such a fun and unique idea, but I found that most of the stories were kinda "meh" for me.

    - ★★★★★ ←

    The collection opened on such a strong note, as this was tied with one later story for my favorite. It tells the story of a group of theme park engineers who create little robotic critters for the park, but it has a really delightful twist and the prose is beautiful. It was my first taste of Seanan's writing, and I loved it so much that I bought two full books by her within a week of reading this story.

    - ★★☆☆☆ ←

    Unfortunately, after the majesty of Seanan's story, this one was a bigger letdown than I expected. It was about a young man who went to work for a new company, designing "helper" robots, but he took things too far and created a massive disaster. The characters were so unlikable, and the plot itself was honestly pretty boring.

    - ★★★★★ ←

    I actually originally had this one written down as a 4-star read, but while writing this review, I fangirled a little too hard not to move it up to 5. It's a story about a human librarian who takes care of a fairy library, and is forced to go on a rescue mission when the fairy princess is taken hostage by a wicked man - who also steals away the narrator's girlfriend. Did I mention that her girlfriend is literally a living

    ? It's so fun, and unique, and magical, and fantastical, and sweet.

    - ★★★☆☆ ←

    I really wanted to love this story, in which a robot is taught that there's more to life than just the factory he's been living and working in. Unfortunately, I just couldn't really get into it enough to justify a higher rating; the writing itself was moreso worthy of 2 stars for me, but I did really enjoy the political commentary thrown in.

    - ★★★★★ ←

    This story is so full of fae lore, and is so twisted and dark. This is exactly what I want from fairy tales: I want dark, creepy, glamour-utilizing tricksters and conniving little shape-shifters. In this story, a fairy becomes obsessed with a boy, and follows him into adulthood, but when he hurts her beyond words, she finds a way to strike back. I absolutely adored the ending - it was so cunning and sick, and I found myself cringing a few times during it, but in the best way.

    - ★★★★☆ ←

    I was honestly stunned by how sad and

    this entry was. It follows a veteran suffering from war injuries and PTSD, who's had a robotic heart transplant due to the incidents on the battlefield. He lives with his grandparents, who run a farm with the assistance of robots, all of which are steadily breaking down due to a lack of funds to repair them. It's honestly less about robots and more about how poorly we here in the USA treat our veterans, and how useless and unhappy disabled vets can feel. There was a line where the MC mentioned that he gave his life on the battlefield when he should have been at home, taking care of his own family, and it broke my heart into all the little pieces.

    - ★★☆☆☆ ←

    This story actually had some neat aspects to it - mainly, the fact that I'd never seen a banshee in a fairy story before, and I was obsessed with banshees as a kid, so that was cool - but a lot of it was just really predictable and formulaic, and I couldn't get particularly attached to any of it. I did enjoy the ending, though.

    - ★★★☆☆ ←

    A space crew is taking a giant robot to this new planet, supposedly to have a meeting with these higher-up types, but in true colonialist fashion, there's a little more to the story than the crew members have been informed of. This story was a little bizarre, honestly, but a pretty fun ride! It didn't "stick" with me, though - I actually had to look at my notes to refresh myself a little by the time I wrote this review.

    - ★☆☆☆☆ ←

    This one was literally the point of view of a man watching little bitty fairies go on an adventure on his bookcase in his office. I was so bored, and I kept expecting there to be a

    to the story, but there really wasn't one. I'm sorry, but I genuinely don't understand why this story was even included.

    - ★★★★★ ←

    This story was honestly so precious and meaningful to me. It was about a robotic assistant to an elderly woman who believed in and practiced magic, but was becoming senile and unable to take care of herself fully. She berated her assistant frequently in the beginning by calling him soul-less (because he didn't have a name), but we get to watch him slowly grasp more of her personality, as she comes to respect him as a friend. My own grandmother was a practicing witch in her younger years, and was senile in the later years of her life, and this story reminded me so much of her in some ways and really found a special place in my heart.

    - ★★★★★ ←

    If you've ever talked to me about

    you already know I don't care for it at all, so when I realized this would be a retelling, I didn't expect to enjoy it, but it is so twisted and haunting and beautiful and absolutely heartbreaking. I enjoyed it so much. It's about a private investigator who is seeking out little girls that have been abducted by Tinker Bell. The little gang of girls is called the "Found Girls", and there are just so many lovely little comparisons and parallels to the original tale, but it still feels really fresh and new.

    - ★★☆☆☆ ←

    This was another retelling in the form of

    , but the roles were reversed, with a human boy wanting to become a robot. I honestly just didn't jive with the writing style - it was pretty, but a little hard for me to follow at times - and the story was so disjointed. The ending was really open, too, which made it even tougher for me to get into. That said, I feel like I might like this author if I read something a little longer by them!

    - ★★☆☆☆ ←

    First, can we please stop giving short stories such long titles? It really screws with the flow of my notes. Second, this story... I wanted to love it. It's literally about three robots sitting around trying to figure out what human objects are - objects like a ball, and an Xbox, and a

    It had so much potential to be hilarious and cute, but instead, most of the jokes felt really lazy and uninspired.

    - ★★☆☆☆ ←

    This is - are you ready for this? - a fairy story in the form of a

    . I don't read westerns often, and I'm not a big fan of the genre in

    media format, so I am solidly convinced that I am just not the target audience for this story. I appreciated the imagery that was painted by the writing - and would absolutely read more from this author - and there were some little things here and there that were really fun (like the main character's mention of her favorite aesthetic being "all of the prettiest parts of men AND women"), but mostly, I just strongly believe that fairies and westerns shouldn't intermingle.

    - ★★★★★ ←

    First of all, where have I been my entire life that I've never read anything by Alyssa Wong? This story was tied with Seanan McGuire's for my #1 favorite of the collection.

    had warned me in advance that she thought I would love it, so I went into it feeling optimistic to begin with, and holy hell, it was incredible. It displays a society in which robots have been used to mimic the bodies and personalities of celebrities in pleasure hostels, and follows a young woman who frequents a hostel to spend time with the deceased members of a decade-old Japanese pop icon group. The twist is given away very quickly, but it somehow adds to the haunting feel of the story as you watch everything unfold. I would have loved more time to spend in this story, and will be adding more of Alyssa's work to my TBR ASAP.

    - ★☆☆☆☆ ←

    This rating honestly feels so dirty and unfair to me, because this story was doomed from the start. I don't care for Shakespeare at all (go ahead, get your shock and disgust out of the way), and this is a retelling of a scene from

    on top of that, it followed that beautiful Alyssa Wong story, so it didn't stand a snowball's chance.

    - ★☆☆☆☆ ←

    I honestly spend the bulk of this story confused and bored, which just brought annoyance along with it, and that's not a great trio of feelings. It starts off with a group of people running from a Witch, when one of the characters disappears and things get pretty sketchy. I understood the big reveal at the end, I just didn't think it was a very

    twist.

    - ★★★★☆ ←

    The idea behind this story is absolutely precious: to round out the end of the collection, Catherynne decided to take the title,

    , literally, and gave us a fight night reminiscent of WWF/WWE ("Are you ready to rrruuummmmblleeeee?!"). The writing voices change as it shifts between a robot commentator and a fairy, and while it's fun and a little camp-y, I did think it was overdone (hence knocking a star off of my rating). That said, the twist ending is so fun and brilliant, and I loved every moment of the finale.

    All in all, this anthology was very hit-and-miss to me. As you can see, there were very few "amazing" stories, with quite a lot of "meh" and even "bad" ones for me. The fact that the really great ones were so few and far between made it incredibly difficult to motivate myself to keep going in this anthology,

    the 5-star reads were honestly worth purchasing the entire collection just for those. So, do I recommend every story in this book? No. Do I recommend getting your hands on the Seanan McGuire and Alyssa Wong stories

    ? You betcha.

    Averaged out, I gave this collection 3 stars.

  • Anthony ➳ KeepReadingForward ➳

    23 December 2017

    I have never read anthology before, so this is the first time I attempted to read and review one. All I can say it is completely different from what I normally read, but it is always nice to be out of your boundaries every once in a while. I wouldn’t say anthologies are my thing, but I wouldn’t be opposed to them either.

    When Robots vs. Fai

    23 December 2017

    I have never read anthology before, so this is the first time I attempted to read and review one. All I can say it is completely different from what I normally read, but it is always nice to be out of your boundaries every once in a while. I wouldn’t say anthologies are my thing, but I wouldn’t be opposed to them either.

    When Robots vs. Fairies started flying all over my newsfeed on GoodReads, something peaked my interest. I wasn’t sure if it was the unique pairing of robots and fairies, or how epic the cover looked. I knew I just wanted to give it a try. In order to review the book, I have decided that the best way to review was to average out the scores from the stories within:

    Build Me a Wonderland: 3/5

    Quality Time: 3.5/5

    Murmured Under the Moon: 3.5/5

    The Blue Fairy’s Manifesto: 4/5

    Bread and Milk and Salt: 4/5

    Ironheart: 4/5

    Just Another Love Song: 3/5

    Sound and Fury: 2/5

    The Bookcase Expedition: 2/5

    Work Shadow/Shadow Work: 4/5

    Second to the Left and Straight On: 3.5/5

    The Buried Giant: 2.5/5

    Three Robots Experience Objects: 3.5/5

    Ostentation of Peacocks: 2/5

    All the Time We’ve Left to Spend: 3/5

    Adriftica: 3/5

    To a Cloven Pine: 2/5

    A Fall Counts Anywhere: 4/5

    Average: 3.14

    Rating: 3 Stars

    Some of the stories we’re really good like A Fall Counts Anywhere, and Ironheart. There were some stories that could be improved more. Overall, I had an overall good experience reading this anthology. I would hope everyone else who reads it also have a good time in the battle between Robots vs Fairies. Me? I’m on Team Fairies. Sorry, but they’re just better than Robots.

  • Sara Saif

    Lastly, I'd like to clarify where I stand: Team Fairy. a) I find the idea of robots gaining sentience implausible and scary. And if it comes to it, you won't see me holding up signs to advocate for robot rights. Learn to be nice to your fellow humans first, THEN we'll talk about machines. b) FAIRIES. YEEEEAAAAAAAAH.

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