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Fairy Tale Anthologies
edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
Avon Books
Volume 1 Snow White, Blood Red
Volume 2 Black Thorn, White Rose
Volume 3 Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears
Volume 4 Black Swan, White Raven

Snow White, Blood Red
Black Thorn, White Rose
Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears
Black Swan, White Raven
Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
Ellen Datlow was the fiction editor of OMNI from 1981 until it folded earlier in 1998. She now works as the fiction editor of SCIFI.COM. Her well-deserved reputation as an editor for both this series and for the Fairy Tale Anthologies series (both with Terri Windling) has garnered her numerous awards.

ISFDB Bibliography

Terri Windling is a five-time World Fantasy Award winner, a consulting fantasy editor at Tor, the author of The Wood Wife (winner of the Mythopoeic Award) and other fiction, and writes a popular folklore column for Realms of Fantasy magazine.
Terri Windling Website

Table of Contents
Past Feature Reviews
A series review by Margo MacDonald

It is generally felt by those who spend their time pondering these things that fairy tales, by the symbols and ideas repeated within them, touch a place deep within the subconscious. That stories filled with shadowed life-lessons speak to a deeper part of our cosmic understanding. In other words, they are more than just stories -- they are teachings, passed down from generation to generation, from which we learn about both the dark and bright sides of life. They teach about consequences and comeuppance; magic and the mundane; the true nature of love and of treachery.

How did I become so knowledgeable on the secret meaning of fairy tales? Well, I'm afraid I can't take the credit. You see, I read all about it in the introductions to the fairy tale anthologies edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. But after reading these four volumes, I think there may be something to it. If only because the basic plots are so familiar to us, they do tend to sneak up on you as you read them, and suddenly you think and feel things you may not have since childhood. These are the stories that make you check under your bed for monsters before going to sleep at night; that make you grateful for your kind parents; that make you somehow glad that you didn't end up marrying a prince and living "happily ever after" in a high tower somewhere, even though life can sometimes be wretched and hard.

The purpose of these anthologies is to provide a forum for fantasy and science fiction writers to choose a fairy tale and retell it for a modern adult audience. Just as the original fairy tales, these versions are definitely not for children. Those of us who grew up on the watered down, black-hat/white-hat, Walt Disney versions may have been surprised later in life to discover that the original stories were often brutally violent and filled with sex. You will have a chance to rediscover these aspects of fairy tales by reading these anthologies. Many of the authors featured have attempted to reawaken the violent and sexual aspects of these stories -- sometimes it really works, sometimes it feels gratuitous.

Many of the authors also have tried to explain the tales in their retellings. They provide background and motive for the actions of the "villains" and "heroes/heroines," filling in the gaps created in over a hundred years of retellings. Many authors have moved the stories into a modern context and setting, changing the details to suit the times, or stripped the stories of their magic and made them brutally real. Others have billowed out the magical aspects into a timorous beauty. But many have also left the tales pretty much intact, simply filling out the details of character and setting within the original version.

But whatever the approach, I feel that all of them are worthwhile. I'm not saying that I liked all the retellings in the (currently) four volumes of these anthologies; I didn't. In fact, a few of them I disliked in ways I never thought possible -- but even that somehow made them worthwhile for me. Not all of them are brilliant, but several of them are. Many of these stories have stayed with me, the images surfacing now and again unexpectedly. I enjoyed having my traditional understanding of these familiar tales challenged. Along with the introductions, I found the brief editorial comments at the beginning of each story interesting and helpful. Each volume also has a terrific recommended reading section at the back, including a brief description of each book. And speaking of recommended reading, in case you haven't guessed, these anthologies are definitely on my list.

Copyright © 1997 by Margo MacDonald

Margo has always been drawn toward fantasy and, at the age of 5, decided to fill her life with it by pursuing a career as a professional actress. Aside from theatre (and her husband), Margo's passion has been for books. Her interests are diverse and eclectic, but the bulk fall within the realm of speculative fiction. She tells us that her backlog has reached 200 books and she's ready to win the lottery and retire.

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