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May. 4th, 2008

And another Windling/Datlow anthology! These are from Black Thorn, White Rose:

59. "Words Like Pale Stones" by Nancy Kress
Rumplestiltskin retelling, in which the town girl has no wish to marry the prince and wants to know the name of the old one who helped her so that she can have the power over him to force him to help her again. You'll find a rather significant detail altered in this version. Not bad

60. "Stronger Than Time" by Patricia C. Wrede
I was absolutely thrilled to find a story by Wrede here, having loved her Enchanted Forest series for many years. Excellent story about an old man living in the forest near a dark keep surrounded by thick briars and the strange young man who requests his help in getting through. Loved it

61. "Somnus's Fair Maid" by Ann Downer
Another Sleeping Beauty-esque story, this one set in the Regency period in which the beauty does not literally fall under a sleeping curse. Persephone is sent to live with a wizened old relative at a young age and does not see much of the world as she grows up there. This one was really good too.

62. "The Frog King, or Iron Henry" by Daniel Quinn
Sucked. Basically the frog prince has amnesia and is trying to remember his story and the last three pages repeat word for word a prior passage to illustrate how he can't hold his own story in his head. I get the intent but it was annoying to read

63. "Near-Beauty" by M. E. Beckett
A toad-like creature befriends a "nearly-beautiful" girl. Sort of blends sci-fi and fairy tale. Eh, it wasn't terrible, not really my thing. The sci-fi elements seemed sort of thrown in there

64. "Ogre" by Michael Kandel
About a small, none too professional theater troupe rehearsing 'The Yellow Dwarf'. Not bad, though not much to say about it.

65. "Can't Catch Me" by Michael Cadnum
The Gingerbread Man's story in his own words. Pretty good; short and familiar but with some good insights

66. "The Brown Bear of Norway" by Isabel Cole
A high school girl shyly admires a Norwegian exchange student all year but never gets the guts to talk to him. At the end of the year he gives her the address of a friend who wants a penpal in America. The girl's pen friend always signs his letters "The Brown Bear of Norway" and fills them with fantastic tales of him trekking across Norway and shedding his bear skin and she in turn is gratified to finally have someone who would appreciate her unique, fantastic take on New York. Following is a bit more familiar part of the tale. Loved it, fabulous story. Helps that this is one of my favorite fairy tales to begin with :).

67. "The Goose Girl" by Tim Wynne-Jones
Tens years after the tale of the switch of the princess and her maid, the King (then the beguiled prince) recounts his passion for the chambermaid and gives us a few details that differ from the original tale. Very good

68. "Tattercoats" by Midori Snyder
On the eve of her wedding the princess receives from her mother three walnuts with wonderful gifts inside: the first has three gold tokens, the second has three beautiful gowns and the third has a wild fur coat that the princess hardly takes notice of. Seven years later Lillian's marriage has lost the spark and she feels discontent with her life; the tattercoats helps her find herself at last. Great story.

69. "Granny Rumple" by Jane Yolen
Tale about a beautiful Jewish woman whose husband is killed after he tries to help a young lady whose father told the mayor the girl could spin gold. Excellent story

70. "The Sawing Boys" by Howard Waldrop
Lord save me from stories with too much slang. Some gangsters from the city find themselves lost in a backwoods Southern town while a musical contest is going on. Good story but I had a hard time with a lot of the slang. Then discovered the glossary at the end of the story- real helpful after I already slogged through it ^^

71. "Godson" by Roger Zelazny
Amazing! Best story in this book so far. Kid grows up with an unusual godfather. Definitely putting the Amber series higher up on my to-buy priority list now

72. "Ashputtle" by Peter Straub
Did not like this one at all. Weird and not in a good way. Obese narrator wishes everyone was miserable as her. Okay not quite what the story was about but that's what I got from it. The narrator was a bitch, she was a creep and she blamed all her problems on her dead mother and the stepmother she had growing up-- I just do not hold with the let's blame it all on our parents theme.

73. "Sweet Bruising Skin" by Storm Constantine
Really enjoyed this one. A queen keeps her son in relative docility "for his own good" and requests her alchemist to procure a suitable a wife for him when the council demands her son either marry or give up the throne. A dark tale entwining the Princess and the Pea at it's core though mostly a dark vision of the world of ambitious women.

74. "The Black Swan" by Susan Wade
A footman decides it is his duty to help a noble cousin to the royal family who hasn't quite fit in with the standards of the court. He teaches her more gracefel manners, procures for her a concotion to make her figure slim and her face lovelier and helps her make herself beautiful in the eyes of her cousin, the handsome prince with whom she is in love. Dark tale about taking dangerous lengths to achieve another's standard of beauty. Pretty good


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
May. 5th, 2008 08:37 pm (UTC)
I feel like I've read some of these, and I'm pretty sure I had this anthology at one time although I don't think it's on my shelf any more (I think I still do have "Snow White, Rose Red" though). The Zelazny and Straub stories in particular sound very familiar. Suppose they could be in another anthology as well, but I think I must have owned this at some point.

Thanks for sharing. I have a handful more to update as well, from the most recent issue of "All Story" magazine and from a collection of horror stories by Christopher Knight.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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