Have there always been this many Peter Pan spin-offs around? Don’t get me wrong, I love it. Christina Henry’s phenomenal novel Lost Boy is the standard to which I hold every Neverland-adjacent story. And this dark collection definitely delivered the goods.
Experly edited by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane, The Other Side of Never brings together a very talented group of authors to speculate over the dark side of the Barrie tale. Here we find Pan et al in forms you would not expect, but still incredibly recognizable, and disturbing.
Fear of the Pan Child, by Robert Shearman – Oh look, Robert Shearman is here to terrify us all again! This story was so unsettling. A recently widowed-father takes his son to live with his parents, where the father remembers a childhood friend with a fear of Pan. So bleak, so compelling.
And On ‘Til Morning, by Laura Mauro – This one made me weep! A lost, wandering boy, rescued by an unexpected friend. Gorgeous.
A School for Peters, by Claire North – Shade of The Handmaid’s Tale in this one, where girls are trained to please the “Peters” of the world, who represent alpha males. Brutal.
A House the Size of Me, by Alison Littlewood – All hail Littlewood and her pseudonyms! This one involves a missing child, a mother who refuses to “grow up”, and a heavily repressed brother. Incredibly vivid.
No Such Place, by Paul Finch – this was a surprising story, told like a gritty crime drama. A murder squad looking for literal lost boys, and finding something incredibly disturbing. My word, there are some graphic sections in this story.
Far From Home, by Muriel Gray – The closing tale is a beautifully crafted ghost story. It involves a displaced young lady, and a strange, abandoned building with shadows at the windows.
A deftly-crafted, and hugely enjoyable anthology. Probably not suitable for kids, but perfect for those adults who “never grew up”.
HUGE thanks to Titan for the ARC.