Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fairy Tales Dark, Dangerous, and Perhaps Not

I am back home, but I don't have anything in particular to share from my trip to San Francisco, I am sorry to say.  It was good for me professionally and personally, but while there I was not able to do anything touristy to feed the inner mythopoet.  (I was reminded my ongoing interest I had as a boy in Alcatraz and the old U.S. Mint, but I'd have to stew about these places for a while for them to produce anything.)  I will proclaim and reaffirm what I already believed to be true based on my 4th grade memories: If I had to live in California, SF would be my town of choice.  I don't plan on waiting another 30 years to get back there, and when I do, the touring mythopoet (and epicure!) will be unleashed! 

In the absence of any souvenirs to share, I believe I will observe this Tuesday homing with another installment of Tomeful Tuesday.  I've finished Snow White, Blood Red, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (1993).  I owe this hard-working, long active duo for the many anthologies and collections they have done, for thereby introducing me to authors I might have never discovered on my own, and for their patronage of Thomas Canty (see linked image above).  I believe this was the first in their fairy tales collections (of short stories and poems like this one -- there was a series of novels that had an earlier start), and from those I have read so far, this first is not my favorite.  The stories are not only dark, but many move towards the tragic, the nihilistic, and even the sick.  While I enjoy the former, it is difficult to enjoy the latter.  Further, I question whether stories with fairy tale elements actually qualify as a fairy tale proper when they lack the eucatastrophe.  There are some pretty good stories in the collection, however, and three clear stand-outs for me: "The Glass Casket" by Jack Dann, "The Snow Queen" by Patricia A. McKillip, and "Breadcrumbs and Stones" by Lisa Goldstein.  These three I can wholeheartedly recommend to all in this season of fairy tales, if you want to add some reading to your viewing.  (By the way, I wish they had gotten Nick Owchar to write that piece for The Siren's Call.  Are we only seeing pieces out of him once a week, L. A. Times?  What the hell!?)  Until next time, I bid you a good Tuesday, and a tomeful week of happy reading.