Many of these are pretty grim and are a fun twist on the old fairy tales A good read but maybe not her best I think I ve read some of them in the distant past and possibly even this collection The impetus to read this came from a list posted by author Kate Elliott, consensus seems to be it was a mixed bag I think for a first Lee read, I would recommend The Gorgon and Other Beastly Tales.There s one thing I hate about GoodReads finding out that an author I like has passed on, which is the case with Tanith Lee I m happier thinking they are working on their next book or restoring an old mansion or otherwise enjoying life. This collection of fairy tale retellings contains 10 stories ranging in length from traditional short stories to near novella length pieces, all varying in quality as well as in styles, from standard fantasy to Sci Fi to steampunk and horror gothic Tanith Lee is a really inventive author with one of the most daring imaginations out there.Each story appealed to me in different ways, and so despite giving the book an overall rating that shows in the tag, it doesn t apply to each story, because some got five stars whereas others got only one from me In listing the individual ratings, they would go like this PAID PIPER3 stars.A retelling of The Pied Piper of Hamelin set in a distinctly Medieval looking village that could be located anywhere in Europe, or even in Colonial America It s one of the stories that felt the most realistic, because besides the magic of the mysterious Piper s music, it could pass off as a real world story I didn t like the ending much, though I do admit it fit the story.RED AS BLOOD5 stars.This story, which retells Snow White, was by far the most shocking and the most imaginative of them all Oh, sure, to cast the Evil Queen as the misunderstood party isn t new, I ve seen other authors do the same, and Lee s take on Snow White is also not quite unknown to me I ve read Neil Gaiman doing a variation of the same , but the symbology The metaphors The creepiness of it all The mirror The ending Fit to knock one s socks off, I d say.THORNS3 stars.This looked like it d be a rather straightforward rehashing of Sleeping Beauty, but once the fool of a Prince awakened the dormant maiden Heh, you ll have to read it A very creative twisted ending, but the body of the story is a bit flat and linear.WHEN THE CLOCK STRIKES1 star Cinderella was the basic foundation for this story, but I think Tanith Lee torpedoed the premise into nothingness with the demonic and Satan worship kinks she introduced By this point, I began to notice she seemed to be rather obessed with Satanic and religious elements that, to me, had a distinct Catholic flavour The twist by the end wasn t good either, both Ashella the main character and her mother came out as cartoon Goth melodrama queens Frankly, an annoying tale.THE GOLDEN ROPE3 stars.A Rapunzel retelling that had the same issues as the one above, but that was better written and whose ending didn t look forcedly bitter for the sake of it I found the witch here a bit sympathetic than the golden haired girl, which is also looking like a Tanith Lee characteristic, because this isn t the first nor the last story where the bad character ends up being either interesting, smarter or sympathetic than the good one.THE PRINCESS AND HER FUTURE2 stars.It looked like it could be a retelling of The Frog Prince, judging from the elements in common with the original folktale Too forgettable for my tastes, and it read not well planned and its conclusion had the taste of something unfinished.WOLFLAND4.5 stars.This was Lee s take on Little Red Riding Hood and my second favourite story in the anthology Extremely creative concept, good deliver, good characterisation and a fitting ending What else can I ask for Maybe a sexy Big Bad Wolf, but that wouldn t have worked that well for the plot.BLACK AS INK3 stars.Not sure if this was supposed to be a retelling of The Swan Maiden, or The Six Swans, or Tchaikovsky s Swan Lake, or all of them mashed up Not that it matters much, anyway This story had the most tragic ending and overall read like a tragedy, too Quite in line with the Russian peasant folktale Tolstoyan novella aura that surrounded the style Lee used for this story.BEAUTY3.5 stars.I know I m cursed by the gods to forever nitpick and trash any Beauty and the Beast that I put my hands on, but for a change I didn t dislike this one much, she whispered as she crossed fingers behind her back The Science Fiction setting and the fact that Beast wasn t some pretty boy prince that ll soon return to his pretty boy prince ways after a few kisses helped a lot, and despite the heroine being rather unlikable to me, I ended up liking the story in a positives outweigh negatives sort of way.THE WATERS OF SORROW3 stars.I didn t recognise what fairy tale this story was based on, maybe the legends of the maidens and ghosts of the Rhine that supposedly haunt and lure sailors to death Maybe The feel is supposed to be tragic, but it didn t work for me I took it for an average ghost story instead, and not as imaginative or as ambitious as Lee had got me used to expect from her.I m giving the anthology 4 stars overall in spite of the variance seen above, because I liked the book and liked Tanith Lee, who reminds me somewhat of Angela Carter, one of the best tale retellers and a personal favourite Highly recommended How Would It Be If Snow White Were The Real Villain The Wicked Queen Just A Sadly Maligned Innocent What If Awakening The Sleeping Beauty Should Be The Mistake Of A Lifetime Of Several Lifetimes What If The Famous Folk Tales Were Retold With An Eye To Horrific Possibilities Only Tanith Lee Could Do Justice To It In RED AS BLOOD, She Displays Her Soaring Imagination At Its Most Fantastically Mischievous Not For Nothing Was The Title Story Named As A Nebula Nominee Not For Nothing Was The Author Of THE BIRTHGRAVE THE STORM LORD Called By New York S Village Voice, Goddess Empress Of The Hot Read Here Are The World Famous Tales Of Such As The Brothers Grimm As They Might Have Been Retold By The Sisters Grimmer Fairy Tales For Children Not On Your Life Contents Paid Piper Red As Blood Thorns When The Clock Strikes The Golden Rope The Princess And Her Future Wolfland Black As Ink Beauty If I hadn t read Angela Carter s The Bloody Chamber first I think I would have liked this even better As it is, it feels uneven than Carter s work and probably unfairly suffers from dealing with the same material, which is rewritten and re imaged fairy tales Carter also has a powerful take on the old Beauty and the Beast theme, I think.There are still a couple of really good stories in this collection, among them being the Snow White as a vampire and the evil stepmother as the good Christian, but the one that really stands out head and shoulders over the rest is Wolfland where Lee really gets her fangs out even literally The other stories rate from ok to good but Wolfland above all manages to be different Just like in Silver Metal Lover Lee writes a pretty annoying protagonist that you really just want to shake your head at, but that works well in how the story is structured She is supposed to be immature, annoying and insipid at the start in order to grow and make informed choices Instead of an antagonistic relationship with her mother, in Wolfland the protagonist, Lisel, ends up in the shade of her extremely formidable grandmother, whom she initially loathes and fears Of course, the we learn of grandm re Anna s story, the the story changes This is also why Wolfland is both the best of Lee s entries and the most disturbing Grandm re Anna s tale is filled with poison and cautionI tell you, Lisel, because very soon your father will suggest to you that it is time you were wed And however handsome or gracious the young man may seem to you that you choose, or that is chosen for you, however noble or marvelous or even docile he may seem, you have no way of being certain he will not turn out to be like your beloved grandp re Do you know, he brought me peaches on our wedding night, all the way from the hothouses in the city Then he showed me the whip he had been hiding under the fruit You see what it is to be a woman, Lisel Is that what you want The irrevocable marriage vow that binds you forever to a monster Again the comparison with Carter is impossible not to make, but when Carter focuses on the wild, beastly and how that conquers and provides some hope, Lee focuses on the human side in the beast monster study, and it s far disturbing for it Grandm re Anna telling Lisel of how she finally worked up the strength to save Lisel s mother and then finally, herself, is gruesome and extremely disturbingBeat me, she said Please beat me I want you to Put down the child and beat me It would be so easy to hurt her, and so soon over, she s so small But I m stronger You can hurt me much See how vulnerable and afraid I am Beat me Then, with a snarl he tossed the child onto the bed where it lay wailing He took the whip and caught Anna by her pale hair As always, Lee s prose is flowing and beautiful, and especially in Wolfland almost hauntingly provocative in places Yet at times it slows things down just a little bit too much, especially in the slower moving pieces The take away from this book is Don t get married, especially not to a demon, unless he is the Prince of Darkness and or you are a werewolf , and don t go looking for swan maidens in lakes, that way lies 25 years of ennui and death in unexpected pneumonia If you receive strange flowers in glass cases, you are most likely an alien.Overall, an engaging read, but should probably not be read too close together with Silver Metal Lover or Carter s The Bloody Chamber. EDIT, just bought my own copy to reread Tanith Lee retells nine fairy tales in this darkly delicious collection Part of her magic is, what she does, stripping out details and ignoring rules of grammar when it suits her, work perfectly in her hands, but in the hands of a lesser writer would be as clunky and amateurish as a6th grader s essay on How I Spent My Summer Vacation But Lee s so good I m tempted to eat her books in hopes of absorbing some of her writing ability.Excuse me now while I gush Paid Piper retelling of The Pied Piper of HamelinIn which the Pied Piper is played by Jesus Christ, who has moved far away from the whole lamb and love theme His price of the your children here is much, much cruel than the original version Oddly, I didn t agree with his point that the villagers needed to be less concerned with money and appreciative of the beauty of life since he frames it badly he seems to be saying EVERY day should be a care free, eat, drink, dance, do no work party day In which case when would you ever make the food, clothes, shelter, etc, So, end of the day, everyone comes out looking bad.Red as Blood retelling of Snow WhiteThe photo negative of Snow White Here everything is opposite of the original and it works perfectly Also, as a weird extra to ensure a happy ending, Jesus Christ plays Prince Charming and does the Superman turn the clock back trick.Thorns retelling of Sleeping BeautyIt tells the Sleeping Beauty tale in a somewhat straightforward manner from the prince s POV and then keeps going to point out just how horrific the curse really was, and even if it was broken, it still has lasting effects on those who were under it When The Clock Strikes retelling of CinderellaAgain, Lee takes the characters and has them switch places so antagonist becomes protagonist, and vice versa Prince Charming remains as tofu neutral as ever, poor boy The story is stuffed full of details that make the story glow as bright as the descriptions of Cinderella s hair Tiny details sing out, comprising a whole that is exquisitely wrought This story has been reprinted multiple times in several different collections, and it is understandable, since it pretty much embodies the definition of retelling The Golden Rope retelling of RapunzelHere, for a change of pace, Prince Charming is played by the devil, and oh my, how he enjoys toying with both witch and Rapunzel The Princess And Her Future retelling of The Frog PrinceAn interesting explanation to one of the weakest points of the original tale why was the princess playing with a golden ball and why was she so upset by its loss Despite enough foreshadowing to know this story isn t going to have a happy ending, the end still comes as a shock I think the story could have used a few down to earth details about time and place, but that s just me Wolfland retelling of Little Red Riding HoodMost versions of Red Riding Hood, even ones set as far away from the original tale as modern day Los Angeles, stick to the idea that Red and family are on the lower end of the economic scale.So, it was a surprise here to see Red Riding Hood s family elevated to rich nobles But, despite wealth, rank and privilege, there are still some very scary monsters to deal with, both those with, without and with both, pelts and fangs The setting was absolute perfect for this retelling autocratic rulers pitted against both a cruel season and animal that doesn t care about someone else s absolute power Black As Ink retelling of Swan LakeA story in the magical realism genre that doesn t take advantage of the between the wars setting nearly enough It also strays so far away from the original fairy tale as to be just about unrecognizable, and therefore there is nothing to connect to A good story on its own, but I didn t think much of it as a fairy tale retelling Beauty retelling of Beauty and the BeastThe jewel of the collection and the only Sci Fi offering We follow the tale of Beauty and the Beast in a future that is dazzling to behold where Beauty has to pay a price, not just for her father, but her whole species, which make her family shudder with fear and revulsion The story would be disdained by a fan of hard sci fi, but I thought it was absolutely wonderful and a great example of the old chestnut about magic and technology being indistinguishable, which, of course, made it so perfect for this collection, despite the far future setting I wanted to live in this world, and oh wow was I jealous of Beauty At the head of the stem there blossomed a rose slender as a tulip, its petals a pale and singing green There were no thorns, or rather only one and that metaphysical, if quite unbearably penetrating. I adored Tanith Lee s Biting the Sun, and I m always a fan of fairytale retellings, so I randomly picked this one up from the library It s mingled fantasy science fiction, with versions of the familiar stories that are ever so slightly askew, or play around with perspective so that the heroes are the villains the villains are the heroes Part of the delight was wading partway through a story and trying to guess figure out which fairytale it is.My favourites were Red As Blood Snow White turned on its head, and very reminiscent of Neil Gaiman s marvelously disturbing Snow, Glass, Apples Wolfland My absolute fave, because combine Red Riding Hood with werewolves empowered women an aloof, powerful beldame of a grandmother a Gothic manor, and I am so here for this. Beauty In which the Beast is an alien I am really intensely averse to xenophilia in my sci fi, but this one is well told, and the twist in this one made it work for me, somehow.As a whole, I did get tired of the the witch is a satanist and Lucifer is real turn that so many of these stories took, but they were still v enjoyable as retellings and it was a quick, engaging read I read much worse in My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me.Sidebar I read the Kindle edition, but I absolutely hate the cover there s even a typo on it so I m setting my read to the paperback. original post Books Are My LoversRed As Blood is a dark retelling of the famous fairytale Snow White In this story, Tanith Lee created a very vivid and eerie depiction of the tale with the Evil Queen as the center of it all In her version, the Queen is not evil In fact she is a good witch Snow White here is named Bianca, a princess with a very mysterious and dark disposition who hates to go out of the castle before dusk, with skin as white as snow and lips as red as blood And for an eerie reason, the magic mirror of the Queen can see all the creatures in their land aside from Bianca The story unfolds with the same plot and elements as the original fairytale but with darker twists and turns that made me want to read it again and again.This is actually the first time I ever encountered Tanith Lee and I was amazed by her writing style There is something magical about her voice that captured me I also like the way she combined Fantasy and Religion in Red As Blood From the silver cross the queen tries to give to Bianca, to the spell the queen requested to the fallen anger Lucifer and most especially, the Prince Charming who saved Bianca in the end.I only gave this four stars instead of five though, because I think there is something missing at the end of the story I just can t quite point my finger on what it is Red As Blood also reminded me of Neil Gaiman s own version of Snow White entitled Snow, Glass, Apples, in which the Queen is not really the evil one and that Snow White is also not what she seemed to be I m still trying to find out if these stories are related to each other like maybe these stories were in the same anthology or something Anyway, I like both of the stories They are even written differently I just can t ease away this curiosity I hope I can find out the relationship between these stories soon. For the last couple of years I have been focusing on including short fiction in my reading routine Likewise, I have been trying to go back to reading fantasy and science fiction, two genres I devoured in my teens and early twenties but have gotten away from in recent years Red as Blood by Tanith Lee fits both categories as it s a collection of retold fairy tales, each one with a dark twist.The stories are based on the Grimm brothers tales but given a feminist focus The Grimm stories do tend to boil down to fantastic and supernatural things happening to young women who then often though not always need rescuing by a male hero They can do with a good turning inside out but the ways in which that s done in this collection feels too gimmicky.The other major problem with these stories is the emphasis on evil So many of the female characters are doing evil deeds that the positives of giving the old stories a feminist spin are undone I didn t come away with a favorite story I found the whole process of reading this book tedious, although the discomfort was quick as the book is short. The common thread binding the nine stories five previously published in various magazines of this collection is that they re all re imagined fairy tales, and all of them are of high literary quality but otherwise they exhibit a wide variety Lee wasn t well served by the jacket copy, or by the above description, both of which tend to sensationalize these stories, under stress their emotional complexity, and paint an exaggerated image of grimness Only two of the tales could justly be called horrific, and Lee s fertile imagination isn t fiendish, in any reductive sense it embraces the upbeat and beautiful as often as the dark and tragic and various outcomes in between , and her moral vision discriminates between good and evil, in favor of the former She also writes at least here with very little violence, mild bad language only in a single story, and no sex an element of erotic attraction is present in some stories, but not in any degrading or defiling sense Her prose is sumptuous and evocative a treat to read.Each of the chronologically arranged stories is fitted with a loose setting in history and geography, ranging from Asia The Last Century B.C to Earth The Future The last selection, Beauty, is straight science fiction the title story and Wolfland could be considered supernatural fiction Those three are my favorites here Black as Ink really has no speculative element it employs ambiguous suggestions of the supernatural, as in Hawthorne s novels, just for color In most of the stories, though, the supernatural element is clear, and the setting is vague and removed enough from real world reference points to make in effect a fantasy world.Several stories have religious elements, borrowed from various religions these should be viewed as literary conceits Lee uses without literally endorsing any of the religions including Christianity, though Red as Blood has very real Christian symbolism The reference to Satan as the brother of Christ there reflects a sub Nicene Christology, not an exaltation of Satan, and the picture of Satan as used by God to serve His own ultimate purposes is actually biblical though Lee s Satan serves these willingly than the real one probably does Paid Piper, on the other hand, is the most theologically flawed of these stories. LMAO, I really liked all of these It should probably be renamed Princesses Behaving Badly by Dabbling in the Dark Arts and Worshiping Satan.
Tanith Lee was a British writer of science fiction, horror, and fantasy She was the author of 77 novels, 14 collections, and almost 300 short stories She also wrote four radio plays broadcast by the BBC and two scripts for the UK, science fiction, cult television series Blake s 7 Before becoming a full time writer, Lee worked as a file clerk, an assistant librarian, a shop assistant, and a wai
- 186 pages
- Red as Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer
- Tanith Lee
- 11 October 2019 Tanith Lee