The fairy tale is in a perpetual state of becoming and alteration. To keep to one version or one translation alone is to put a robin redbreast in a cage. If you, the reader, want to tell any of the tales in this book, I hope you will feel free to be no more faithful than you want to be. You are at perfect liberty to invent other details than the ones I've passed on, or invented, here. If fact, you're not only at liberty to do so: you have a positive duty to make the story your own. A fairy tale is not a text.
First off, the introduction? Made me want to read not only every single version of the Grimm stories, but every single version of the the Arabian Nights, and folklore from all kinds of different traditions (like Russian and Japanese and Italian). To hit up Greek and Roman and Norse and Hindu and Islamic mythology, to re-read the Andersen stories and Uncle Remus and Aesop, and I dunno, TO READ EVERYTHING.
So, I know that Philip Pullman was all about how fairy tales aren't about the psychology of the characters and whatnot in the introduction, but CAN I JUST SAY THAT I HAVE ALWAYS HATED THE PRINCESS IN THE FROG PRINCE/KING? She is the worst. "Oh, yes, little frog, just do me this favor and I swear I'll be so nice to you! OH, WAIT. I'M A LYING LIAR D-BAG."
Anyway. She's awful. And I don't know why the Frog King would want to marry her after she was such a jerk. But, you know: no psychology. So, moving on.
Faithful Heinrich! He was the king's servant who was so devastated about the whole frog thing that he went to the blacksmith and had three iron bands put around his heart to keep it from bursting from the grief. And then, when they were reunited, they burst because "...iron is stronger than grief. But love is stronger than iron..." Cue the awwwws.
Anyway, I don't know why Faithful Heinrich is so often excised from the story, because he's clearly the best part of it.
For the handful of you who did not read this story in middle school, “The Most Dangerous Game” is a 1924 story that satirizes the big game safari hunting of the 1920s and is often used to teach a number of literary devices.
In a local news report, the parent was quoted as saying the story made her son “uncomfortable to read it and to think about killing someone else”.
As Blogging Censorship points out, that's kind of the point of the story.
The full text of the story is available online at eServer.
I write adventures about the future and of future worlds, and they're populated by a diverse set of characters. Why? It's the future face of the world. It's us. All of us. And we all deserve to be seen in the future, having adventures, setting foot on those strange new worlds.
"Freshee's Frogurt" is an interview in which a young man named Jeff Thompson is questioned by Lonnie Wayne Blanton of the Oklahoma police force about the robot attack he'd just barely managed to survive.
I loved this story LIKE WHOA. It was fast-paced and funny, with some seriously wonderful descriptions of some seriously horrific violence: for instance, the bit about Felipe's teeth "pop[ping] out of his mouth like fucking popcorn" made me both cringe and feel appreciative of the imagery. Even just typing it out there made me squick all over again, even as I was thinking about how great it was.
Felipe, by the way, is described as the spitting image of Danny Trejo, which made him (obviously) that much more badass.
After reading it, I flipped to the back to read Daniel H. Wilson's bio, because A) his name sounded familiar and B) I was suddenly determined to read EVERYTHING HE'S EVER WRITTEN. And I hit the jackpot! Not only is he the author of the Alex Award-winning Robopocalyse, but "Freshee's Frogurt" is an excerpt from it! So I'll totally be reading that ASAP. It's always so satisfying to find an author that you click with so quickly. Woo!
Lovers of witches know, though, that Elphaba, as the Wicked Witch of the West was named by Gregory Maguire in his novel Wicked, is not the only option. Whether it be Hayao Miyazaki and Eiko Kadano's delightful Kiki or the studious but bungling Mildred Hubble, the industrious Hermione Granger or Diana Wynne Jones's rather wicked Gwendolyn Chant, the happily suburban Samantha from Bewitched or the darkly evil Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, a witch could be anyone.
The animal shelter that Malou works at is a no-kill shelter, but that doesn't necessarily make it any easier on an animal lover: there are plenty of animals who spend years there, constantly getting passed over for the younger, cuter, glossier-coated models. Her friend Jeremy, works at the county shelter—where animals are put down after a mere three days of residency—so he routes animals over to her whenever she's got room, especially the ones he thinks will need a few extra days to be adopted.
So, when he calls her to tell her that he's sending over an absolutely beautiful golden retriever, she's not surprised... until the dog arrives. Because this supposedly adorable dog is... not. Instead, she's "bedraggled, patchy-coated, [and] pathetic". Or, well, she looks like that most of the time... there are moments when she looks just as gorgeous as Jeremy claimed over the phone.
It doesn't take long for Malou to figure out that this dog isn't like any other dog she's met before.
In addition to the bizarre shifts in her appearance, she talks. No one but Malou seems to hear her, but talk she does. Turns out, she's looking for her master: and if she can't find him in three days, she'll die.
As you'd expect from something by Diana Peterfreund, "Stray Magic" is smart and funny:
Would you believe I'm thirty? I press the mute button on my phone and look down at Goneril. "Really? That you're two hundred and ten in dog years—that's the part you think it's hard for me to believe?" Good point.
...while still bringing the emotional goods. (And yes, I got more-than-a-little choked up a few times.)
Most importantly (in my mind), Goneril isn't super anthropomorphized: rather than sounding like a person in a dog suit, she sounds like a dog. She has the personality of a dog, and says things I could imagine a dog saying.
Great start to the anthology! Looking forward to the next story, which is by Frances Hardinge. Oooooo.