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.
Adult Fairy Tales for the Modern Reader
It seems that “Silver Birch Blood Red” is the 5th volume in the “Adult Fairy Tales” series of anthologies edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. This doesn’t really matter to the reader as this volume stands on its own. Each story is written by a modern fantasy writer, but is loosely based on a fairy tale. For example, variations of “The Frog Prince” are the first and last stories in the volume. The authors include Neil Gaiman, Tainth Lee, Patricia McKillip, and many others. These are great little short stories that any reader of fantasy can easily enjoy.