Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Red as Blood (or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer) ~ Tanith Lee

This is an odd little book. And very dark. I'm not sure I like it. I don't dislike it though. Anyway it packs quite a punch for not even 200 pages. Sisters Grimmer indeed. "Red as Blood," "Thorns," and "When the Clock Strikes" were the strongest stories. "Wolfland" is one of my favorite retellings of a fairy tale. It's an incredibly dark and inventive take on "Little Red Riding Hood": the grandmother isn't eaten by the wolf, she is the wolf. The wolf is transformed from a symbol of predatory male sexuality into a symbol of female power and aggression, and the relationship between woman and nature. Lycanthropy not as a demonic curse but as a means of liberation and empowerment. It also ties in the connection between the werewolf legend and the female menstrual cycle, full moons and blood. Lots to think about and explore with this one; I like it more and more. Plus, wolves are just cool.
"The Golden Rope" is a weird and disturbing version of "Rapunzel", and not necessarily in a good way. "Beauty" was similar; "science fiction" in the worst sense. With the exception of Ray Bradbury (and I've really got to read The Martian Chronicles one of these days, what with the new exploration and photos and all. Very opportune) most of the sci-fi I've read is so concerned with gadgetry and being all neato-futuristic that I end up bored and unimpressed. Which is how I felt about Lee's "Beauty". But "Wolfland" more than makes up for it.


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