Bad-Ass Faeries
Ed. by Danielle Ackley-McPhail,
L. Jagi Lamplighter, Lee Hillman, Jeff Lyman

By Alyce Wilson

The editors of Bad-Ass Faeries have collected stories about faeries much edgier than the sparkle-winged Tinkerbelles who dominate popular culture, returning the reader to an earlier time, when faeries were often seen as dark and menacing.

The stories are broken into different sections, featuring different kinds of faeries, beginning with "Warrior Faeries": stories about faeries on the war path, either against each other, against other magical beings or even against humans. Outstanding among these tales is the cyberpunk/faerie blend, "Cybernetic Assassin Faerie Hasballah" by Adam P. Knave, a witty take on the hit-man tale.

In "Outlaw Faeries," writers show what happens when unwitting aggressors cross the wrong faeries, as in Donald W. Schank's "A Pressing Problem," where a publisher with the benighted idea of creating a book of real pressed faeries finds a fitting end.

"Wild Faeries" introduces the reader to faeries who go their own way, such as the Jesse Harris tale "Hidden in the Folds," a Chinese folktale, where a traveler encounters a demon-like faerie in a temple and unwisely does his bidding. Editor L. Jagi Lamplighter's contribution, "On Oberon's Throne" depicts the humorous consqeuences when Puck takes the scepter for a day.

Faeries enter the underbelly of human society, sometimes slipping by unnoticed, in the "Street Faeries" section, where readers meet some faerie hybrids, such as a part human homeless teen in "Hollow Dreams" by Elaine Corvidae. This section includes one of the most bad-ass tales in the book, "At the Crossroads" by Danielle Ackley-McPhail, which follows a half-faerie biker on a mission to rescue his faerie lover.

Then there are the "Noir Faeries." In John Sunseri's "Down These Mean Streets a Faerie Must Go," a faerie appropriately named Marlowe acts as a hard-boiled detective, investigating the faked suicide of a fellow faerie.

A sense of humor dominates in this collection, and many of the stories feature female protagonists, which is refreshing in fantasy, even if that female is also a faerie.

Taken as a whole, Bad-Ass Faeries offers a fresh look at a pervasive denizen of our mythological subconscious. Much as in Peter Pan, the collection will leave the readers applauding, cheering, "I believe in bad-ass faeries."

Rating: **** (Excellent)

Marietta Publishing, 2007: ISBN 1-892669-40-4