Winner of the World Fantasy Award: New twists on classic fairy tales from Neil Gaiman, Patricia Briggs, Robin McKinley, Caitlín R. Kiernan, and more.
Long ago, when we were children, our dreams were inspired by the fairy tales we heard at our mothers’ and grandmothers’ knees—stories of princesses and princes and witches and wondrous enchantments, by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, and from the pages of 1001 Arabian Nights. But, as World Fantasy Award–winning editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling remind us, these stories were often tamed and sanitized versions. The originals were frequently darker—and in Silver Birch, Blood Moon, they turn darker still.
Twenty-one modern Grimms and Andersens—masterful storytellers including Neil Gaiman, Nancy Kress, and Tanith Lee—now reinvent beloved bedtime stories for our time. The Sea Witch gets her say, relating the story of “The Little Mermaid” from her own point of view. “Thumbelina” becomes a tale of creeping horror, while a delightfully naughty spin is put on “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Author Caitlín R. Kiernan transports Snow White to a dark, gritty, industrial urban setting, and Patricia Briggs details “The Price” of dealing with a royal and unrepentantly evil Rumpelstiltskin.
Rich, provocative, and unabashedly adult, each of these tales is a modern treasure, reminding us that wishes have consequences and not all genies have our best interests at heart.