Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Science fiction fairy tales

Wishing Stars: Space Opera Fairytales 

By Nenia Campbell

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Wow! Big surprise here. I was browsing the pages of my Goodreads friends and notice Nenia was making a couple of her books free on Kindle for a few days (No. Don't tell me. I know. I'm cheap) I grabbed Wishing Stars: Space Opera Fairytales because the idea of melding fairy tales with modern sci-fi and fantasy seems so Angela Carter. And I adore Angela Carter. Campbell's collection include both short fiction and poetry. The poetry is quite good but I'm not really qualified to analyze it. I can't even rhyme "moon". But the short stories are very creative, each one a sci-fi retelling of a traditional fairy tale. Think the Brother Grimm meets Doc Smith. The style is old fashioned space opera which suits me fine. As for the author, she tends to mix in a few genres, like horror and romance into the space opera/fairy tale mash-up. She is also quite adept at creating aliens with real personality that actually involve the readers. Here is a rundown of the five stories.

"Deep Blue Nightmare" is a retelling of Bluebeard and is suitably terrifying. Despite it's colorful aliens and a nice helping of traditional science fiction themes, it is a fairly straightforward horror tale.

"Clockwork Roses" is a version of Grimm's Briar Rose aka Sleeping Beauty with a nice gender switch. The author's talent for fantastic descriptions really stands out on this one.

"Quantum Diamond" is the most macho of the tales, even though it is based on Rumpelstiltskin, and is the one that remind me the most of Doc Smith or maybe Harry Harrison from his Stainless Steel Rat days. It's my favorite of the bunch.

"Iceheart" is the most romantic of the tales . I can't place the fairy tale it is based on. (but I bet this is the one that made you cry, am I right, Nenia?)

"Blood of my Blood", The last and somewhat weird(er) tale, asks the question; What if Snow White was a clone? It takes a close second in my best-of list for this book.

Add on the poetry and this makes for a very successful introduction to a talented writer. If it is still free...consider yourself lucky. But it is definitely worth paying for.

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