Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
Pay the Piper
Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple
Tor Starscape, 176 pages

Jane Yolen
Jane Yolen has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America and the Aesop of the 20th century because of her many fairy tales and story books. She has written over 150 books for children, young adults and adults, along with hundreds of stories and poems. She's a past-president of SFWA and has been a member of the Board of Directors of SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) since its inception.

Jane Yolen Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy for Teens
SF Site Review: The Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy for Teens
SF Site Review: The Sword of the Rightful King
SF Site Review: Sister Emily's Lightship
SF Site Review: The Wizard's Map
SF Site Review: Armageddon Summer
SF Site Review: Here There Be Dragons
SF Site Review: The Sea Man
SF Site Review: Twelve Impossible Things Before Breakfast
SF Site Review: The Transfigured Hart

Adam Stemple
Adam Stemple, composer, guitarist, and keyboard player, is a member of Boiled in Lead, a Minneapolis-based band. In addition to his books, he created the musical arrangements for The Lullaby Songbook, Hark! A Christmas Sampler, and The Lap-Time Song & Play Book, all by Jane Yolen. He lives with his wife in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Adam Stemple Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Alma A. Hromic

Pay the Piper Jane Yolen is a writing phenomenon of our time, deservedly called the Hans Christian Andersen of our age, a superb storyteller who has a staggering number of books to her credit and a house which must groan under the weight of all the awards she has won over the years. She now widens the scope of her already incredible oeuvre by embarking on a series of "rock'n'roll" fairy tales, in collaboration with co-author and professional musician Adam Stemple who also happens to be Yolen's son.

She expounded a little on the idea that gave this series birth at the 2005 World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow, where she also gave a somewhat hair-raising reading from the book which will follow Pay the Piper -- these are retellings of well-known folk tales and fairy, with the twist of a modern-day rock'n'roll angle added in -- Pay the Piper relied on the Pied Piper of Hamlin story, with a detour to the Seelie and Unseelie Faery realms, a fairy prince under a curse, and of course, and always, the music.

It's an urban fairy tale, something twice familiar to the reader by virtue of being an ancient and glowing thing that graced everyone's childhood reading as well as being firmly rooted in the here-and-now worlds of teenage dramas, embarrassing ex-hippie parents, high school and homework and assignments and not paying attention in class, snarky kid brothers you wish you could sell to the goblins, lofty older brothers who have passed on into college and quasi-adulthood and who no longer have time for the lesser beings in the shape of their adoring but left-behind younger siblings. You know, all of that. Real life. Which somehow meshes together with an ancient fairy tale and fits together quite nicely, thank you very much.

I love the idea, and I like what has been done with it. One can only hope that all those potential readers supposedly snared into the fold by Harry Potter will actually step out of THAT universe and meander into Yolen and Stemple's, where just as many wonders live and are waiting to be discovered.

Oh, and that second book that Jane Yolen read from at the convention...? It involves trolls, the proverbial three princes of the classic fairy tale, and the twelve dancing princesses -- but far be it from me to spoil the surprise by telling you how the Yolen/Stemple team stitches THAT quilt together, you'll have to wait for the book (and definitely buy it!) to find out.

Copyright © 2005 Alma A. Hromic

Alma A. Hromic, addicted (in random order) to coffee, chocolate and books, has a constant and chronic problem of "too many books, not enough bookshelves". When not collecting more books and avidly reading them (with a cup of coffee at hand), she keeps busy writing her own. Following her successful two-volume fantasy series, Changer of Days, her latest novel, Jin-shei, is due out from Harper San Francisco in the spring of 2004.

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide