Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Faery Reel

The Faery Reel; Tales from the Twilight Realm edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

People seem to either love or hate short story collections. I like them because I can finish a story in one sitting; the story is complete (no having to wait for the rest of the series to come out); I get introduced to new authors; and I love that a short story collection was a Printz Honor.

The Faery Reel contains short stories about faery; with each author and culture having a unique look at these creatures and worlds.

In CATNYP by Delia Sherman, a mortal girl who is a "taken child" tries to find her place in faery society, where she is without any special powers. She ends up on a quest with a surprising twist. The setting is urban, with those of faery living in NYC with an amazing library (as can be guessed from the title). This was one of my favorite stories, with its modern setting, humor, and likable heroine. But, I always take these "switched" stories a little too seriously, as I get quite upset at the thought of the family left without its child. Favorite quotes: "Byron is in the kind of tale in which the hero succeeds by attracting the right companions;" "What you get for saving Byron is the chance to be the hero in your own tale." I am very excited to find out that Sherman's new book, Changeling, takes place in the world of CATNYP.

Elvenbrood by Tanith Lee is also about faeries and child-stealing; and also set in modern times; and tells the story from the family's POV. I found this quote haunting: "Would she have been happier there? Well, yes. But that's not it. We're supposed to live out here."

In Never Never, Bruce Glassco explores the reality of today's Never Neverland, from the perspective of Captain James Hook, making the villain sympathetic and raising the question of what happens when immortals grow tired. Captain Hook looks at the island that is his home and his prison, and thinks: "an island filled with beauty and danger lay before him to be conquered, and while the only game in town may be rigged, it was still a fine game after all."

Dream Eaters by A.M Dellamonica has wonderfully descriptive language, with a world that reminded me of Dr. Who and Neil Gaiman. (And who knew Steven Moffat wrote Dr. Who? That makes me almost forgive him for no new episodes of Coupling.) This time, faeries are stealing dreams.

The Annals of Eelin-ok by Jeffrey Ford broke my heart. Eelin-ok lives a lifetime in a day, his home a sand castle. He is born, falls in love, had epic adventures, years pass, and the water creeps closer and closer and his home starts to crumble. "What does it mean?" Available online here. (And I also loved it because JF lives & teaches in NJ.)

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