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StereoOpticon: Fairy Tales In Split Vision edited by Cindy Lynn Speer

01/05/2009. Contributed by Kelly Jensen

Buy StereoOpticon Fairy Tales in the USA - or Buy StereoOpticon Fairy Tales in the UK

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pub: Drollerie Press 276 page e-book. Price: $12.95 (US).

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The newest anthology from Drollerie Press offers a collection short stories called 'StereoOpticon: Fairy Tales In Split Vision'. Some are re-imaginings of such favourites as 'Beauty And The Beast' and 'Little Red Riding Hood'. Some are completely new, yet as comfortable as an old chair overstuffed with the story-telling of old. All are commendable efforts of fine new authors whose names you will come to know better as you further explore the worlds of their imaginations.

One of the pleasures of parenthood is sharing the stories you love with your children. My favourite has always been 'Beauty And The Beast'. I have read many versions of the tale and the theme of beauty being within is enduring, an aspect none who choose to re-tell this classic tale miss. 'Castle Of Masks' by C.S. Inman includes some neat twists on the classic beast.

This version will become one of my new favourites and a tale I'll be sure to share. Justus disguises himself as a girl to take the place of an intended virgin sacrifice. His plan is to fool the monster, Greve, into thinking him a helpless maiden then kill him as the opportunity presents itself. During the course of his stay at Greve's castle of masks (so named for the gruesome masks of former virgins decorating the walls) he discovers that the monster is not as it first appears. Is this beast entirely the work of enchantment?

A great re-interpretation of Rapunzel is 'Falling' by Imogen Howson. Set in a bleak future, 'Falling' tells the story of Linnet, a girl who is born without hair. Every day she must don a new wig in order to fit in with her mother's wishes for a perfect daughter. Her family is one of the privileged who live in towers that rise high above the layer of smog that blankets the polluted world below where filth reigns and mutation is rife. A chance meeting with a boy from below the cloud of smog allows Linnet to escape her mother's lies as she learns the real truth of her world.

'The Gallows Maiden' by Francesca Forrest tells a story I've not heard before, but in such a way as to make it as familiar as any fairy tale. John William Tracey, for reasons he barely understands himself, saves an injured crow from stoning by a group of boys. The crow becomes a young woman and after he mends her arm she gives him a locket. Not realising the gift was given with love, he gives it on to a girl whose heart he hopes to capture, not realising the locket is in fact stolen property. He is arrested and sentenced to death by hanging. You'll need to read this short little story, full of all the proper magic of fairy tale, to find out what happens next.

I have a method for reading an anthology for review. I jot down the title of each story and as I finish reading, I add a few notes about the plot and what I liked or didn't like. Then I either put one asterisk before the title, one before and after the title or a whole mess of them about the title to be sure I don't miss this one upon review. As I read back through my notes on 'StereoOpticon' I found a lot of asterisks and had the difficult decision of choosing only my customary three favourites to share.

If I could recommend just three more stories be sure not to miss David Sklar's take on 'Little Red Riding Hood' in 'Red 'Hood', the moving tale of a young man who brings hope to all he touches in Bree T. Donovan's ' Before The Fountain' and finally, how to mend what's broken in 'The Orb Of Enori' by G.L. Simmons. I could mention yet another three or just urge you to read and enjoy all the stories presented in this collection.

Kelly Jensen

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