Thursday, February 9, 2012

Red As Blood: Or, Tales From the Sisters Grimmer by Tanith Lee


Red As Blood: Or, Tales From the Sisters Grimmer by Tanith Lee, or at least one story in it, dominated Jerry Griswold's presentation on Beauty and the Beast at the Grimm Legacies Symposium. If you are just interested in "Beauty," the story he discussed and identified as one of his favorite retellings of the tale, it is also reprinted in his The Meanings of "Beauty & The Beast" A Handbook.

And I agree with Griswold that Lee's "Beauty" is an amazing rendition of the story and has been on my short list of favorites since I first read it years ago. I had a xeroxed copy of the story for years before I was finally able to buy a used copy of the collection thanks to the internet. Yes, I read the story long before I ever dreamed up this SurLaLune bit of mine, a library edition that I couldn't check out indefinitely as much as I wanted to.


Don't stop there. This is an impressive collection of tales and the collection shouldn't be missed. This book has been long out of print and rumors of reprinting have been around for a while. A first volume of Lee's short stories is due out this summer--Tempting the Gods: The Selected Stories of Tanith Lee Volume 1--but I haven't seen a table of contents for it nor does it seem to have stories from Red as Blood in it. Fingers crossed for volume 2.

And we can hope for an ebook version, too. After all, lover or hater of ebooks, you have to admit that improving access to out-of-print books is one of the greatest boons of ebooks. And authors get the royalties unlike with used copies. While I have owned two copies of Red as Blood, Lee has never seen the proceeds of those sales since both copies were used, my only option for acquisition. (I eventually replaced a crumbly paperback with a fine hardcover edition.) The book has been out of print for a very long time, too, which means all of the times I have recommended it have not resulted in a sale to her paycheck either. Can you see how this has been a long wish of mine, to see this book back in print? I think it would sell exceptionally well in a year like 2012 in which darker retellings are in demand.

According to Wikipedia:

Red as Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer is a short story collection of dark fantasy retellings of popular fairytales by British author Tanith Lee. Contrary to what the title may suggest, it not only includes retellings of fairytales by the Brothers Grimm, but also by Charles Perrault, Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve or Alexander Afanasyev. The title story was nominated for a Nebula Award and a World Fantasy Award. This collection was also nominated for a World Fantasy Award.

Table of Contents for Red as Blood:

1.Paid Piper- Asia: The Last Century B.C. (retelling of The Pied Piper of Hamelin)
2.Red as Blood- Europe: The Fourteenth Century (retelling of Snow White)
3.Thorns- Eurasia: The Fifteenth Century (retelling of Sleeping Beauty)
4.When The Clock Strikes- Europe: The Sixteenth Century (retelling of Cinderella)
5.The Golden Rope- Europe: The Seventeenth Century (retelling of Rapunzel)
6.The Princess And Her Future- Asia: The Eighteenth Century (retelling of The Frog Princess)
7.Wolfland- Scandinavia: The Nineteenth Century (retelling of Little Red Riding Hood)
8.Black As Ink- Scandinavia: The Twentieth Century (retelling of The White Duck)
9.Beauty- Earth: The Future (retelling of Beauty and the Beast)

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