The Emerald Circus

My first book of short stories with Tachyon, a small San Francisco Press. (Think The Little Engine That Could because everyone there does double and triple duty—with full heart!) These fantasy stories are all about fantasy worlds (Wonderland, Neverland, Oz, Camelot) or versions of them anyway, or about their creators—Poe, Anderson & the like. 17 short stories and novellas, plus back matter that includes information about the writing of each story and a poem of mine that in some way works with or references the story.

The complete Tachyon collections:


  • 2017 World Fantasy Award for Best Collection
  • Publishers Weekly Big Indie Books of Fall 2017
  • School Library Journal All-Star Adult Books for Teens
  • Foreword Reviewer’s Choice―Favorite Books of 2017
  • Locus 2017 Recommended Reading List
  • Year’s Best—School Library Journal YA, and School Library

What reviewers have said:

  • *STARRED REVIEW* “These delightful retellings of favorite stories will captivate newcomers and fans of Yolen as she once again delivers the magic, humor, and lovely prose that has attracted readers for years.” -― Library Journal
  • *STARRED REVIEW* “These highly entertaining retellings are perfect for teen fans of fairy tales and classic literature, though they are easily enjoyed without any background knowledge.” ―- School Library Journal
  • “A brilliant example of short-form storytelling by one of the treasures of the science fiction community.” — Brandon Sanderson, New York Times bestselling author of Mistborn
  • “Ever the wordsmith, Yolen dazzles with her first short story collection for adults in years.” ―- Booklist
  • “An impressive overview of the author’s breadth and career, this collection will appeal to the author’s existing devotees―or to anyone who has ever thought that “happily ever after” left too many questions.” ―- Kirkus
  • “Jane Yolen’s [The] Emerald Circus may be my favorite book of the year, period, with apologies to Jeff Vandermeer’s Borne. Many years ago, when I had my own blog, I wrote a post celebrating the versatility of Yolen―one of the few authors who can write top-shelf books at any age level. [The] Emerald Circus is a perfect example of her fluid but rock-solid prose.” ―- Mark Flowers, Adult Books for Teens, School Library Journal
  • “Jane Yolen’s The Emerald Circus is full of marvels. She introduces familiar acts and actors into her rings and then tricks us into seeing them from complex, unexpected angles. She turns toads into witches, Sir Lancelot into a 600 year old monk, Dorothy into a tightrope walker, and Emily Dickinson into a spacefarer. The stories themselves change between one reading and another, always revealing more, always at a different slant than before, in language that is rich, unholy, and, like the tales themselves, beautifully unpredictable. From Snow Queen to spaceship, The Emerald Circus is a delight.” ―- Patricia A. McKillip, author of the Riddle-Master trilogy and The Forgotten Beasts of Eld
  • “With over 350 books, Jane Yolen is a legend in the world of children’s and young-adult literature, but her acerbic and witty adult fiction and poetry offer their own pleasures. The 16 stories here, each accompanied by a related poem and notes, revisit some iconic classics, but always from a new, thought-provoking angle.” ―- Chicago Tribune
  • “5/5 stars – Not only is [Yolen’s] writing style engaging and captivating, but the stories themselves are magical and fantastic to read . . . I loved every moment of this book and I couldn’t find anything wrong with it.” ―- The Joycean Booknerdery
  • “An excellent collection of fairy tale ‘retellings’ written by Nebula Award-winning author Jane Yolen . . . a collection I would recommend to everyone.” ―- Infinite Text
  • “Jane Yolen is a consummate storyteller, weaving old and new threads to create tales rich in wisdom and depth. The Emerald Circus is an utter delight.” ―- Juliet Marillier, award-winning author of Sevenwaters series
  • *STARRED REVIEW* “The Emerald Circus dances at the border between bucking tradition and paying homage to the great stories and figures of ages past. The result is a brilliant assemblage of narratives with the potential to leave an audience spellbound.” ―- Foreword
  • “Talk about imaginary gardens with real toads in them! In this wide-ranging short story collection, Jane Yolen’s scholarship and creative genius combine to bestow upon the reader fantastic new intimacy with venerable tales and persons.” ―- Nancy Springer, author of The White Hart and I Am Mordred
  • “Jane Yolen facets her glittering stories with the craft of a master jeweller. Everything she writes, including The Emerald Circus, is original and timeless, deliciously creepy and disturbingly lovely.” ―- Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity
  • “In this masterful collection, Jane Yolen draws upon myth, fairy tales, history, poetry, and children’s classics from Alice to Oz to fashion new tales from the bones of the old. There is simply no better storyteller working in the fantasy field today. She’s a national treasure.” ―- Terri Windling, author of The Wood Wife and The Essential Bordertown
  • “What a joy it is to watch Jane Yolen burrow into the hearts of familiar stories and dwell in possibilities we’d never imagined. It’s all done with Yolen’s trademark wisdom, a healthy dollop of subversion, and a twinkle in the eye. A delight!” ―- Susan Fletcher, author of Dragon’s Milk and Shadow Spinner
  • “Jane Yolen’s collection The Emerald Circus is pure delight for anyone who craves inspired retellings of classics from literature, or re-imaginings of the lives of real literary figures. 5/5 stars” ―- YA Books Central
  • “An excellent collection.” ―- Fantasy Literature
  • “Definitely one worth reading. I loved it . . . I was excited to read The Emerald Circus, and was not disappointed in the least.” ―- Confessions of a Book Addict
  • “Honestly, I don’t know when Jane Yolen finds time to sleep but I’m selfishly glad she’s been able to produce wonderful stories filled with deft turns of phrases, palpable atmosphere, and interesting, flawed characters.” ―- Sabrina’s Library
  • “Marvellous and entertaining.” ―- Risingshadow
  • “In this collection you will be surprised, shocked, intrigued, and awed both by new tales and by new perspectives on old, well-loved tales. 5/5 stars” ―- Imagine a Book SF
  • “Oh Boy! I did love this book . . .” ―- YA Lit Ramblings
  • “I loved the stories in The Emerald Circus. . . I’d highly recommend this collection. 5/5 stars.” ―- The Book Lover’s Boudoir
  • “It’s always a treat to read a new Jane Yolen tale, but it’s especially rewarding when you thought you read them all, and then along comes The Emerald Circus collection.” ―- True Review
  • “This is a book to go back to for a writer so you can pull it apart and learn technique . . . one to keep.” ―- Strange Alliances
  • “Fantasy with a feminist twist.” ―- Book Skill
  • “Deeply modern, marvelous and magical.” ―- Why Words Work
  • “A master storyteller’s riff on various well-known tales including The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and of course the Arthurian legend . . . [A] literary extravaganza.” ―- Emerald City Book Review
  • “A writer who has perfected [her] own voice. If you enjoy reading fresh, sometimes subversive, but always affectionate takes on the stories that we all grew up with, I recommend this collection without reservation.” ―- SF Revu