For more than fifteen years Carrie Vaughn has published short fiction across all genres, through time and space, earning praise from critics and readers for twists and turns, shocks and delights, and emotional heart. This collection brings together alien encounters, classic fantasy creatures, strange magic, historical milieus; stories with heart, of people making their ways in the world the best they can, however strange and hostile those worlds might be; rare, hard-to-find stories that haven't been available in years. All this, now brought together in the first widely-available retrospective collection of Vaughn's work, including her Hugo-nominated, WSFA Small Press Award winning story "Amaryllis," about a post-catastrophe future in which a community struggles to live in balance with the environment and each other.
"Vaughn’s second collection (and first without her series protagonist, Kitty Norville) displays impressive talent across a range of both styles and subgenres. The Hugo-nominated title story, unsurprisingly, is among the best here, a short tale filled with emotional moments and impressive worldbuilding in a future in which families are created by committees, and one woman is dealing with the consequences of her mother’s rebellion. A prequel, 'Bannerless,' is also impressive, as are the Prohibition-era 'Roaring Twenties' and 'Draw Thy Breath in Pain,' which relates the secret origins of Shakespeare’s works. 'For Fear of Dragons' is another highlight, an update of the virgin-sacrifice-to-dragons trope that avoids the snark of so many contemporary revamps...fans of Vaughn who only know her urban fantasy will be impressed by just how far she can stretch her wings."
"Carrie Vaughn’s simple yet forceful prose allows her to slip on identities and to skip among worlds with admirable ease and abandon and precision, delivering thoughtful thrills galore."
—Paul Di Filippo, Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine
"Carrie Vaughn's stories are by turns funny, tragic, shocking, and consoling. For brilliance and versatility, I put her work in the same class with Gaiman and Martin."
—Daniel Abraham, author of The Dragon's Path
“Bold, risk-taking, mold-breaking SF, with strong heroines and heroes. Prepare to have your boundaries pushed, and your heart and mind expanded. Highly recommended.”
—Ramez Naam, award-winning author of the Nexus Trilogy
"Amaryllis and Other Stories by Carrie Vaughn is a superior fiction collection. Every story showcases her talent and stays with you long after you've finished reading. This one is a keeper."
—Jennifer Brozek, Hugo Award-nominated editor, and author of Never Let Me Sleep
"Carrie Vaughn’s approach to fiction is altogether adventurous, entertaining and joyous in the way each story shines a new light on a different part of humanity. Whether we share in the life of a princess or an astronaut – Vaughn knows just exactly how to hit each note with perfection and embrace the love of the written word. And through her characters we discover new things about ourselves."
—Ann VanderMeer, coeditor of The New Weird
Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty series is among my very favorite urban fantasy sort of thing, and I was actually a bit sorry to see it come to an end recently. I’ve read some other things by her though that led me to believe she wasn’t going to be a one hit wonder and this reinforces that opinion. There are both science fiction and fantasy tales here, although the latter predominate. She develops characters much more efficiently and convincingly than do a lot of her contemporaries. I had already read better than half of these and “The Art of Homecoming,” which I remembered, was my favorite in this present selection. “Roaring Twenties” and “Astrophilia” are also very good, and none of the stories are weak or disappointing. There have been several exceptional single author collections published this year already, and this is one of them."