Travel Documents 55: Galactic Dreams: A Cosmic Fairy Tale Collection

Galactic Dreams: A Cosmic Fairy Tale Collection

by Bethany Maines  (Author), Karen Harris Tully  (Author), J.M. Phillippe  (Author)
Genre: far-future, adventure, romance

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The Dust Cover Copy

Welcome to the universe of Galactic Dreams, where fairy tales are reimagined for a new age—the future. In each Galactic Dreams novella you’ll find an old tale reborn with a mixture of romance, technology, aliens and adventure. But beware, a perilous quest awaits behind every star and getting home again will depend on a good spaceship, true love, and maybe just a hint of magic.

Galactic Dreams is a unique series of science-fiction novellas from Blue Zephyr Press featuring retellings of classic tales from different authors, all sharing the same universe, technology, and history. The Galactic Dreams Volume One boxed set features three novellas inspired by Mulan, Thumbelina, and Sleeping Beauty, from authors Bethany Maines, Karen Harris Tully, and J.M. Phillippe.

Soldier, Princess, Rebel Spy – (Mulan) by Karen Harris Tully – Ruled by the Royals from their distant moon, colony planet Lyric labors under the burden of outrageous tithes and a deadly plague. Rebel soldier, Wei Meilin experienced both struggles first-hand when, unable to pay the tithe and purchase the cure, her family was destroyed by the plague. Meilin survived, but not without receiving a powerful plague “gift” all her own. Now she’s out for revenge and to dethrone cruel Empress Ming-Zhu. But when Meilin infiltrates the gilded moon palace disguised as a bride candidate for annoyingly handsome Prince Cormorin, she discovers that he may not be the monster she thinks, and the Rebels may be aligned with a force that will end them all.

When Stars Take Flight – (Thumbelina) by Bethany Maines – Alliance Ambassador Lina Tum-Bel knows she’s up against a galaxy full of trouble as she attempts to rebuild the Interstellar Alliance, but she never thought a simple mission to reconnect with the space bases of Nebula Six would have her fleeing for her life with an army behind her. Kidnapped by the To’Andans, tortured by the Moliter, and rescued by Sparrow Pandion—the spy who hides a secret pain—Lina must battle for her freedom, her survival and her heart. Her training says that she can’t trust her handsome rescuer, but her telepathic gift says there is no one she can trust more. Maybe together, she and Sparrow can learn to fly.

Aurora One – (Sleeping Beauty) by J.M. Phillippe – Chavri Aisling should have died on her naming day. Instead, after being poisoned during an assassination attempt, she lives her life hiding behind masks, veils, and force-fields, never able to share the same air as anyone else. But the princess of Moarga Province is determined not to let her illness stop her from finding the one thing her planet desperately needs—metal that can be used to make more space ships so that her people can find the other lost colonies of Earth. Her search takes her into an unexplored corner of her solar system where a terrifying discovery leaves her frozen. Resuscitated by the least-likely prince over three generations later, Chavri has one chance to save what’s left of Moarga from invasion, and the love of her life from a fate worse than death.

The Deets

The Scene

Worldbuilding

Whew! This one has been in my TBR pile for waaay too long, and I’m glad to finally get to it!
With three seperate books to write up, there’s a lot of ground to cover.  The first book is pretty direct, and well done: Han China in space. I would have liked to see a little more of the authentic Chinese idiom and slang, or a culture-specific slang, but other than that it definitely does its thing. The second book creates a wonderfully intricate world of cultures whose values clash or interact, all set against the backdrop of space. And the third book drew on Persian culture to create a wonderful vision of a people nostalgic for their past, worried for their future, and doing their best to live in their world full of factions and intrigue.

The Crowd

Characterization

Again, since it’s a tripartate work, the characterization in each is different. I wasn’t all that enthralled with the characterization in the first book of the collection, since the characters seemed to be plot points first and people second. But it was engaging enough to stick with.
The second book in the collection far outshone the others in characterization, really fascinating characters, each with their own personalities and motivations, created a fun and surprisingly sweet story.

The third book is told from the perspective of a young and somewhat sheltered woman, so at times the characterization will make older readers tug at their hair in dismay. Not because it’s bad at all, mind you. But because we know exactly how badly the decisions of youth can end up being. I count that as a sign of good writing, and indeed, each of the young people in this story give me the urge to hug them and ruffle their hair.

Writing Style

Reading a collection like this is nice, because you slide from one style to another. At times there was a slightly artificial ‘how do I fit the fairytale script’ sense to the first book, but it worked itself out by the second half. The second book was a wonderful rollercoaster ride that kept readers connected to its Thumbelina roots with quotations from Hans Christian Andersen’s story. The story bounced along with snappy writing and cute dialogue. The tightly focused energy of the third book mixed with lyrical descriptions to create lovely mental images. The three books worked surprisingly well together, for all their differences. I found it absolutely charming.

The Moves

Plot

All the gems in this collection shone equally in their plotting, in very different ways. From the intricate intrigue of the first book to the wild ride of the second, and the heart thumping personal struggles of the third, they all sparkled.

Overall Rating

This was a lovely and fresh take on classic tales, and a very fun read. The next time you’re travelling, this is what you want on your flight…into space or otherwise 😉