Sunday, February 24, 2008

Rating : 4.5/5
Number of Pages : 416
Number in Series : #3 Adult Fairy Tale Series
Reason for Reading : Themed Reading Challenge, Short Story Challenge


This volume contains 22 tales and poems by 21 different authors. It is another blend of science fiction, fantasy, horror and erotic adult re-tellings of fairy tales. It includes a few from ouside Europe and is my favourite of the series so far.

Ruby Slippers - Susan Wade
A mixture of "The Wizard of Oz" and "The Red Shoes" by Hans Christian Andersen told as an interview with Dorothy later on in her life. I like the twisting of the original tale by Frank L Baum.

The Beast - Tanith Lee
Her take on "Beauty and the Beast". Isobel is married to the handsome and rich Vessavian who collects beautiful objects. As time goes on she uncovers his secret collection of beautiful objects he has taken from ugly settings.

Masterpiece - Garry Kilworth
A look at "Rumplestiltskin" and people who make bargains and fail to keep them. Susan Quarry is offered a deal by mysterious Mr Black one day that will make her a famous painter and let her create one masterpiece. Along the way she falls in love with her dealer, marries him and has a son. When Ms Black returns to collect her most precious object she is torn between giving her husband, child or masterpiece up.

Summer Wind - Nancy Kress
A look at the takes of "Sleeping Beauty" and "Briar Rose". Here Briar Rose awakens long before everyone else in the castle and becomes an old woman watching vaiours princes die in the briar surrounding the castle. Eventually one breaks through and the inhabitants awaken and she slips away, an old woman not recognised by her staff and subjects.

This Centuary of Sleep or, Briar Rose Beneath the Sea - Fariada S.T Shapiro
A poetical re-telling of Sleeping Beauty.

The Crossing - Joyce Carol Oates
Another look at Sleeping Beauty and Briar Rose looking at Martha who is in a coma after a car accident. She lingers on life support and dreams she is in an aunts house watching the train go by until one day she boards it and never wakes up.

Roach in Loafers - Roberta Lannes
A look at Puss 'n' Boots but with a cockroach instead of a cat. Funny and quirky.

Naked Little Men - Michael Cadnum
"The Shoemaker and the Elves" told by his wife.

Brown Bear - Lisa Goldstein
A blend of "Goldilocks" with animal bridegroom elements. It is a lovely blend of Native American symbolism of bears and a girl from their tribe Quick who marries and bears a child of the bears linking the two for ever.

The Emperor who had never seen a Dragon - John Brunner
Based on many Chinese tales looking at unjust rulers being overthrown by the common people and the moral that they need not forever be slaves to Imperial rule.

Billy Fearless - Nancy A Collins
Based on the Brothers Grimm "A Tale about a boy who went forth to learn what Fear was" but with an added Southern flavour. Billy manages to survive three nights in a haunted house winning riches and a wife.

The Death of Koshohei the Deathless (a tale of Old Russia) - Gene Wolfe
A Russian fairy tale with some of the blanks fomr the original filled. A son avenges his father who unknowingly fell in love with his sister. A fun tale but with sinister overtones with much still left unsaid.

The Real Princess - Susan Palwick
A look at the sinister motives in "The Princess and the Pea" of a Prince who wants a wife who bruises easily. Fairies are mixed in as well as much violence.

The Huntsman's Story - Milbre Burch
A poem written in response to the discovery of Polly Klass's body two months after the 12 year old was kidnapped. A sinister look at the huntsman who comes unbidden into our lives.

After Push Comes to Shove - Milbre Burch
Written during the 1993 Los Angeles fires. The witch from Hansel and Grettel burns in the oven and looks ahead to the death of the children who poison each other fighting over their forgotten fathers will.

Hansel and Grettel - Gahan Wilson
Hansel and Grettel in this story come from a very rich family and after finding their way home are given a large sum of money to live their own lives. They do much pleasure seeking staying only in the best hotels and later searching out other hidden places of interest. They discover a castle in the Black Forest which contains many life-like gold statues of humans in warrior poses. They are taken to the secret centre of the castle where there are statues looking afraid. They discover the truth of the statues and the story is told to a listener encouraging them to seek out the castle in turn.

Match Girl - Anne Bishop
Her first professional sale looking at the tale of The Little Match Girl but with more violence as well as a different kind of release for her at the end.

Waking the Prince - Kathe Koja
A look at "Sleeping Beauty" twisting the original to the Prince being the one who sleeps. His mother works magic to let him life a half life in our time but remain sleeping in his own.

The Fox Wife - Ellen Steiber
An interesting Japanese tale based on a doctor who treated patients said to be possess by Kitsume (the Fox) in 1892. The Fox is known as a trickster and in this tale it aids Haruko who is forced to marry a viscious Samauri Lord Ikeda. She takes her maid O-Shima who tells the tale of her possession and later escape.

The White Road - Neil Gaiman
A poem based on the fairy tale "Mr Fox" with a violent and unsettling ending dream sequence and ending.

The Traveller and The Tale - Jane Yolen
A science fiction story of a woman sent back in time to add stories into the French villages history to help them fight off alien invaders in the future and not succumb to their rule. Once she has travelled back she is unable to return to her own time. It contains another story within it, one the travller told to the village, which involves changeling aspects.

The Printer's Daughter - Delia Sherman
A re-telling of a Russian tale "The Snow Child" originally about a middle-aged couples desire for a child. This version sees an alchemist helping a printer who needs an apprentice to print his papers into a book. He makes a child out of paper and as the printer finds work hard to come by she can only speak from the paper she is written on which is a porographic tale and a series of sermons by the local reverend. She is turned into a book at the end by poet Robert Blanke with a dedication to her father and the poet.

My favourite tale was "The Real Princess" which is the second time I have enjoyed a re-telling of The Princess and the Pea the most. I also really liked The Beast, Masterpiece, Roach in Loafers, The Huntsman's Story, Hansel and Grettel, Match Girl and The Fox Wife (by far the longest tale in the collection). Recommended to all lovers of fairy tales and great stories.

3 comments:

Nymeth said...

Sounds like another winner! I'm particularly fond of Russian fairy tales, so I'm happy to know that this anthology has two retellings of them. I just might get this one first.

Rhinoa said...

Cool I can't wait to see what you think of this series when you get around to them.

kim said...

Your review really piqued my interest in this book. When I went to find it at my library, I found that my large library system only has 1 copy of it, and it is in storage for repair. I did see it is coming out in paperback this month, when I looked for it at Amazon, so I think I may just need to purchase it! Thanks for such a great reveiw!
*smiles*
Kim