Terribly Twisted Tales
Edited by Jean Rabe & Martin H. Greenberg
Review by Carolyn Frank
DAW Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780756405540
Date: 05 May 2009 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Take your average fairy tale, send it through the partly quirky, somewhat devious mind of a science fiction/fantasy writer, and you end up with Terribly Twisted Tales. Alternatively take a typical science fiction scenario, twist it fantastically, and you might end up with a fairy tale or some weird entanglement of several fairy tale plots. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, and Little Red Riding Hood all show up in some form or another, as do Hansel and Gretel, Jack and the Bean Stalk, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears. However most of the morals formerly instilled in such stories have been blatantly removed, to be replaced by a 21st century self-centered philosophy.
In "My Great-Great-Grandma Golda Lockes" by Annie Jones, the "true" story of Goldilocks is recounted from the perspective of a found journal of a Golda Lockes of West Virginia from the 19th century. How she met the three bears and what they were really doing deep in the forest makes a great deal more sense than the Brothers Grimm version.
"Capricious Animistic Tempter" by Mickey Zucker Reichert revamps "Puss in Boots" by providing the youngest son with a fishing tool as well as the object that becomes the cat. This young man does have the skill to catch fish to feed both the cat and himself, and takes a more active role in the overthrow of the ogre. This cat also does exceedingly well for himself, ensuring a well-fed, well-cared-for existence for himself and his posterity.
In "Jack and the Genetic Beanstalk" by Robert Vardeman, this Jack is a genetic plant scientist who has stopped off at a research laboratory to meet his up-to-this-point personally-unknown collaborator. He has co-written theoretical scientific papers with a Sarah Stall on genetic changes to beans, but is looking forward to meeting her in person. She texts him that something is wrong with the research director, Gary Foreman, and he soon finds out what happens when someone tries to implement some of their theories.
"No Good Deed" by Jody Lynn Nye retells the Aesop fable of the slave and the lion from a science fiction perspective. In this case, a medic from one planet is captured and put to work bandaging and attempting to cure other captives in world after world. During one of his many escape attempts on yet another planet, he removes a thorn from the paw of a lion-like entity. Recaptured, they are made to fight one another but the lion-like's people rescue them both. However this does not necessarily mean the medic is home free.
The remaining fourteen stories tell ever more fantastic tales, featuring other such fairy tale inspired protagonists. If you enjoy seeing a fairy tale squirm, you will delight in these rather off-center versions.