Work was boring today. Manager and I read through old incident reports to pass the time.
A few days ago, someone also re-wrote on one of our whiteboards the commercial for Old Spice (the one with the clever editing, ending with the horse) to be about one of our products…I felt like I should contribute, so I drew said product riding a horse.
The next day I decided the horse should be a unicorn.
Today I came in to see the commercial re-written to end with a unicorn endowed with a neck tattoo and the power to shoot fire from his eyes. I had to fix both the tattoo and the fiery eyes so they made sense…didn’t mess with the blood that was dripping from my creation’s face, or the awkward smile someone gave him.
But…in summary, this is what we think would help us sell our product better:
And here is a book review.
A Wolf at the Door and Other Retold Fairy Tales
Edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
Everyone seems to know (and many despise) the Disney versions of fairy tales. Fewer people seem to know much about how creepy or gruesome the original versions could be though, and fewer still try and retell the tales for new generations.
In this book, Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling have collected thirteen retellings of classic fairy tales for young adult readers (though fairy tales, they note, appeal to people of all ages), and while the tales range from comic and sing-songy to gritty and morbid, the stories in this collection aren’t the hum-drum, happily-ever-after ones we’ve grown bored with.
Not reviewing each individual story, but these were the ones that seemed noteworthy to me.
“The Kingdom of Melting Glances” by Katherine Vaz
This one was based on a Portuguese fairy tale, I think it was. I’ve never heard of the original stories, but I think that’s what made it interesting to me.
The main plot was the heroine’s quest to save a hummingbird who befriended her when her evil sisters were torturing her…but even more interesting to me was that the evil torturing sisters weren’t enabled by an evil stepmother or a witch, but by the absence of parents at all.
Apparently the three sisters wake up one day to find their parents’ room flooded, because their parents loved each other so much that they simply dissolved. It was definitely bizarre.
And there were the gruesome bits about the evil sisters wounding the hummingbird with razor blades, and then themselves getting cut up by stars when the sun hurls them down from his golden palace…but the ending itself was the creepiest happily-ever-after I’ve read in a long while. The heroine and hummingbird fall in love, but the girl turns into a flower and there’s some weird comment at the end about understanding how her parents felt, and about dissolving and sinking happily into oblivion…
“Hansel’s Eyes” by Garth Nix
This was a good take on the original story. Instead of candy, the witch traps the brother and sister with video games, and threatens to dissect and sell them both as black market organs if Gretel won’t become the witch’s apprentice. So she does, but then the witch (who is blind and sees through the eyes of a monster cat made from the patchwork skins of numerous stray cats) also tells Gretel that she’s going to take Hansel’s eyes for her own, and if Gretel tries to stop her, she’ll just kill Hansel instead.
Eventually, the kids make a plan to kill her and escape, but not before Hansel loses one eye.
It’s probably the most morbid of the stories in the book, but I really liked it. It reminded me rather a lot of Neil Gaiman’s book, Coraline.
“The Twelve Dancing Princesses” by Patricia McKillip
Any story that gets made into a Barbie movie has definitely not been treated well, but I really liked McKillip’s version.
It’s pretty much the same as the original: twelve princesses keep sneaking out and dancing all night, but nobody can figure out how they get out of their room, even when the king gets people to try and follow and spy on the princesses. The king kills all the unsuccessful spies, and never solves the mystery until, one day, a soldier offers to find out what the girls are up to. He doesn’t take the poisoned drink that the princesses offer him, and pretends to be asleep until they start sneaking out via a door in the floor. Then he dons his invisibility cloak and follows them all the way down into the underworld, where he realizes the princesses have been enchanted and have offered themselves to marry dead princes
In the original, the princes aren’t dead…but I thought it was a much better story when they were dead and the soldier had to break the curse that allowed the dead to try and claim the princesses…sometimes big changes to a story aren’t as good as little ones here and there, I guess.
A lot of the other stories in the book had potential, I thought, but I wound up not liking them because of whatever irritating flaws. The one about Cinderella turned into a story about tolerance for fat people, and while I have no problem with being kind to people regardless of their weight, I didn’t like the way the moral was tacked on at the end. And the story about Ali Baba and the aliens put me off a bit because the main character started out as a Goth kid, but by the end of the story, he’d made some friends and this “cured” him of his Gothiness. I disapprove of stories like that for what should be obvious reasons.
Still, even if I only really liked three out of thirteen stories, this book entertained me. I recommend it if you ever come across a copy and have any interest in alternative fairy tales.