Short Story Review: A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies

Apex Magazine Issue 105, February 2018

From; Apex Magazine Issue 105, February 2018 by Jason Sizemore

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My review is for A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies by Alix Harrow and Interview with Alix Harrow by Andrea Johnson only.


Really the only word that can be used to describe this longish short story. I entered the Witch Librarian’s library – and I didn’t want to leave.

Books can do magic, can create a world for the lost, bewildered and lonely. Ms Harrow understands this.

I’m excited by the depth and complexity of Ms Harrow’s imagination and look forward to reading more of her work.

It’s only September, but I am going to call this my best short story read of 2019.

Great interview by Andrea Johnson – which shows she also has a vivid imagination! Brief, but witty and informative. 5★

I’m a Librarian on Goodreads and I always feel a faint bit of dread when friends review online magazine stories individually on Goodreads. There is always much angst when the story is inevitably merged with the magazine.Want to change Goodreads policy on short stories? I don’t think there is much chance of that, but you need to contact staff rather than posting about it on your review. Here is the link.

Librarians are volunteers – we have little to no influence on Goodreads policies. On the rare occasions that Goodreads backs down, you need Librarians prepared to do the reversals and there is usually a consequence where active Librarians either stop doing the edits or only do their own. Just saying.

More chance of success would be to ask if the authors concerned if they would put the short stories on their own website. If the story is on their website, it would have to be unconditionally available. (readers not required to join a mailing list for example) to be added to the Goodreads database.…

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Queen Lily

Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 102 (November 2018)

Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 102 by John Joseph Adams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This review is only for Queen Lily by Theodora Goss (Goodreads policies mean that the short story has to be shelved as it was published – & there no individual publishing of this story) But, I really enjoyed this short story, so I don’t rule out trying some more writings in this issue at some point.

Very definitely you have to be in the mood to work hard as a reader, be a big fan of Alice in Wonderland, have some familiarity with Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell’s backstory – and love the fantastic.I had vague memories (at one stage I was worried this was going to become an extremely uncomfortable read!) of Carroll’s (Charles Dodgson’s) creepy obsession with Alice. But this story is way more than that, and I was carried into a world that was so inspired – and I don’t say that lightly.

It is a wonderful, but not an easy read. Grateful thanks to Tadiana’s delightful review for filling in the gaps in my knowledge.…

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