Supposedly inspired by an off-the-cuff remark by Neil Gaiman at a conference, the editors asked several of their favourite authors to write a story based on a story that had inspired or influenced them previously.
This is the result. Twelve stories by some of the finest writers in the field, interspersed with evocative line drawings by Charles Vess. All the stories are good, but I had favourites.
Reading Garth Nix’s Losing Her Divinity is like watching a hypocritical politician wriggling under interrogation on Newsnight, but with knives and goddesses.
Neil Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle is a dark and elegant take on Sleeping Beauty.
In The Cold Corner by Tim Pratt a man meets all the people he might have been had he made different choices. The result is strange and thought-provoking.
Awakened by Melissa Marr is an update of an update of a selkie story, told from the selkie’s point of view. It’s sad and very beautiful.
Kami Garcia’s The Soul Collector is a tale of drugs, prostitution and murder built round the dark heart of Rumplestiltskin.
Overall, a thoroughly entertaining book crammed with high quality fiction. Most of the authors have taken one small aspect of the source material and gone off at a tangent to create something new; some opted to retell the same story but with a different emphasis to make us see the original in a new light.
Some of the originals I wasn’t familiar with but this didn’t affect my enjoyment of this excellent anthology.