flying through clouds of uncertainty on wings of existential dread
This splendidness is going around on Facebook, and I have MANY THOUGHTS about its rightness, but also many fairytale adaptations to recommend, so in order to avoid derailing my own thread, ta-da.
Pamela Dean’s ‘Tam Lin’ — set in a small liberal arts college in the early sixties and very much focused on the women in the story and their interior lives. Fucking delightful.
Terri Windling’s ‘The Wood Wife’ – if you like Charles De Lint, you’ll like this. Sexy and scary and a nice change of pace with the southwestern setting and mythos.
Peg Kerr’s ‘The Wild Swans’ – THIS FUCKING BOOK, Y’ALL. Told across two timelines — half a young woman in early America, half a young gay man in the late seventies/early eighties are you crying already? You fucking will be. To be read only when you can handle, just, all of the pain.
You will need something happy very badly after that, so why not the entire Elemental Masters series by Mercedes Lackey? The earlier ones are the best, but who am I kidding, I devour them all like candy.
Oh, did you want to be scarred for life again? Okay, Robin McKinley’s ‘Deerskin’ has you covered. CW for rape, incest, dogs getting hurt, just so many bad bad things. Amazing book, though.
While we’re recommending books with hideous horrifying rape scenes that I will never re-read (the scenes, not the books – I just skip ahead), Sheri S. Tepper’s ‘Beauty’ is fantastic and dense and complicated.
And speaking of horror and complications, I highly recommend Daniel Mallory Ortberg’s ‘The Merry Spinster’, unless you particularly like sleeping with stuffed animals in which case it will fuck you up.
And back to lighter fare – Robin McKinley’s ‘Spindle’s End’ will fill you with delight and a modicum of confusion. Especially good if you’re jonesing for something that relies on sister-love more than romance. Really, just read all of her books while you’re at it.
Oh wait, did you want something super long that feels like hard sci-fi but is also a fairytale? Joan D. Vinge’s ‘The Snow Queen’ has you covered. +10 for gorgeous mask descriptions and a delightful female lead, -50 for what a douche Sparks is (but not really, because the boy being a douche is baked into the source material).
Okay, that’s more than enough for one night when I have a giant list of other things to be doing.