Showing posts from July, 2014

The Seven Fated Wishes, By Sarah Hausman

Editor's note: The marvelous retelling of "Pandora's Box" mixes themes from fairy tales with the age-old myth. A surefire winner!

Long ago, there lived the Princess of an ancient kingdom. The kingdom was a wonderful place which knew no pain or sadness. The King and Queen loved their only daughter dearly, and the Princess spent her carefree days busying herself with the beauties of life. She would walk through the castle gardens, examining flowers and butterflies. Royal courtiers would give her lessons in art and music. When the Princess tired of her castle, she could mount her lovely white steed and ride freely through the villages and countryside, where she was always well-received by all of those she met. Her life was carefree and happy, as were the lives of all the people in her kingdom because there was only Goodness in the world. Evil was not yet known.

One day, the Princess was admiring the beautiful things in the royal treasury and she came across a small and un…

Into Gold, By Russ Bickerstaff

Editor's note: This amazing mashup of "Rumpelstiltskin" and data was a winner from the moment I read it.
he data was impossibly complicated. She saw all of the data. She saw how it could be combined to make something more than it was. Raw numbers and readings and things. And she could spin it all into raw profit. She could turn all of that data into gold. This was what she had discovered she could do. The problem was that the head of the department found out that she could do it. The department was really just there to process information. the fact that she could turn into a huge profit for the corporation was something that could be a valuable asset to the company.
You might think that this would be a great opportunity for her. The difficulty with this was inherent in the system. She reported to her supervisor.  Her supervisor oversaw the entire department. Her supervisor was always looking for ways to impress upper management. And so he ended up taking credit for her tal…

The Goblin Players, By Ross Smeltzer

Editor's note: The creeping wildness and horror of this story are so delightfully at odds with the academic tone of the writing, I knew there was a winning story here.

The sandy, bog-girded region of Saterland—in Lower Saxony very near the city of Leer—has mothered a glut of ingenious and improbable tales, many of which I have carefully documented in my previous folkloristik publications, including “Winter’s Deific Cavalcade: Percht, Holda, and Related Figures in the Folk Beliefs of Schleswig-Holstein,” and “Trials of the Moon: Witchery in the Folkways of Lower Saxony.” These and other publications were met with acclamation by my estimable colleagues, and it seems they have aroused their insatiable curiosity. It is to appease them that I submit this tale, which I chanced to collect from a stooped and antique woman in the village of Hemeln. She assured me of the tale’s veracity, as she spat it out from a mouth barren of teeth. It is a curious tale, lacking identifiable antecedents. …

Arabian Nights: Two Retellings of Tales from One Thousand and One Nights, By Lissa Sloan, Fairy Tale Book Reviewer

In which Lissa reviews The Drowning Guard and Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn.
The Drowning Guard: A Novel of the Ottoman Empire by Linda Lafferty
Esma Sultan, the Sultan’s favorite sister, is ill.  She is plagued by the smells of rotting flesh and visions of drowned men.  They are her victims: her Christian lovers who spend a night with the Sultaness in her bed and are sentenced to be drowned in the Bosphorus before dawn.  When a doctor prescribes confession as a cure, Esma Sultan chooses to unburden herself to one who shares her culpability.  Ivan Postivich, a former cavalry captain demoted by the Sultan, is her drowning guard, ordered to carry out her lovers’ death sentences.  Postivich, too, is tormented by the souls on his conscience, and despises his mistress for forcing him to murder innocents.  But, as ordered, he listens as Esma tells him her story to while away her sleepless nights.

Set in Constantinople during the lead-up to the 1826 Janissary revolt against the Sultan, Linda…