For thousands of years, humans have entertained each other by telling and retelling fantasy stories. Some were stories of gods and creation that attempted to explain or contemplate the world they lived in, while some were stories of adventure, whimsy or fright. With each retelling of these stories, new authors added their own perspectives and twists on the plots, building entirely new narratives out of classic foundations. Try out some of these modern works of mythology and fairy tales, and see what humanity is still up to!
Neil Gaiman has established himself as one of the premier interpreters of mythology, especially with his books American Gods and Norse Mythology. In the former, the gods who came over with immigrants from faraway countries attempt to shore up their power in the new world, competing with technology that threatens to make them irrelevant. The latter tells stories of the escapades and conflicts between such gods as Odin, Thor, Freya and Loki as one continuous novel, often humorous but inevitably ending in tragedy. Gaiman is an expert storyteller, and his love for the myths he works with shows through on every page.
Snow White Learns Witchcraft collects the stories and poems of Theodora Goss, best known for her Athena Club series, which builds upon works of gothic literature. In this book, she turns her gaze on fairy tales, telling stories such as Snow White or Sleeping Beauty from new perspectives and guiding them in new directions. Her vast imagination produces works of beauty in any form, including all new stories that have the flavor of classics.
One of the most confusing and troubling stories of the traditional fairy tale canon is Rumplestiltskin- why would a woman be said to spin straw into gold, who is the strange demonic figure who intervenes, and why does it celebrate the breaking of deals? Spinning Silver creates a story where a clever maiden, who supports her family with moneylending despite the persecution of an anti-semitic hometown, describes herself as turning silver into gold- only to attract the attention of feylike creatures who do not understand metaphors. She must rely upon her wits to navigate a new and frightening world, fight demons of both snow and fire, and perhaps even come to understand the fearsome King of the Staryk. Fantasy, adventure and romance are beautifully woven together by Naomi Novik, acclaimed author of many of the most popular fantasy series of the last few decades.
Given that many of these old stories were short in form, it makes sense for works inspired by them to fit into anthologies. The Mythic Dream offers fresh views on established myths from disparate cultures, while The Starlit Wood collects new stories written in the fairy tale tradition. Great fantasy authors like Stephen Graham Jones, Seanan McGuire and Garth Nix all contribute unique and sparkling works, providing the feeling of sitting around a campfire listening to the most masterful of storytellers. Isn’t that what all these stories are about?
Fantasy is timeless for a reason, and nowhere is that reason clearer than in these books. Get lost in an ancient tale and carry on that greatest tradition of all- the tradition of storytelling.
Writen By: Mira G.
Edited By: Irenee W.