March 22, 2005

Firebirds: An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction

Edited by Sharyn November. Total of 16 stories. Writers are: Delia Sherman, Megan Whalen Turner, Sherwood Smith, Nancy Springer, Lloyd Alexander, Meredith Ann Pierce, Micheal Cadnum, Emma Bull (with Charles Vess), Patricia A. McKillip, Kara Dalkey, Garth Nix, Elizabeth E. Wein, Diana Wynne Jones, Nancy Farmer, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, and Laurel Winter.

coverNLB Call No.: Y 808.838762 FIR (Go to the YP section, under the 800s collection)
Click here to check for item availability.

This is a YP book, i.e. for Young People (15 to 19 year olds). It reminded me of why I love to read when I was younger -- the stories are, well, sophisticated in an uncomplicated way. They just get to the point. And more important, I get a sense of escaping to another place, of being in the story. It's strange but come to think of it, whenever I read YP Fantasy and SciFi literature, I get the same -- for lack of a better word -- "buzz" when I watch films like The Neverending Story, or even The Dark Crystal.

Easy to read, cos the stories are pretty short. But definitely not kiddish. I also like that they provide brief information about the authors (including website) and also the Author's Note (i.e. the author's comments about how and why they wrote the story).

My favourite stories from the book, some of which would be great for discussions:
  • The baby in the night deposit box/ Megan Whalen Turner - Tells of this baby who was deposited at the bank for safekeeping. She turns out to be some fairy princess. I love the part where her method of overcoming her fear of shadows was to point her rattle at the shadows and say "You're a bunny". This quote has great significance in the ending.
  • Max Mondrosch/ Lloyd Alexander - About this man who just never seems to be able to succeed in getting a job. Quite weird.
  • Medusa/ Michael Cadnum - The tale of Medusa (of Greek Mythology) told from the view point of Medusa herself. But in this story, Medusa isn't evil as what we are familiar with. She turns out to be a victim. Makes one wonder about perspectives.
  • The black fox/ Emma Bull & Charles Vess (illustrator) - This was cool. An adaptation of a traditional ballad presented in comic form. Beautiful illustrations.
  • Byndley/ Patricia A. McKillip - About a wizard who stole something from the fairies and was running away. He thought he'd escape them but turned out to be trapped all along. Again, it made me wonder about perspectives.
  • Hope chest/ Garth Nix - This one is really cool, but has sort of a tragic ending. Tells of a young girl (in the wild west setting) who turns out to be the babe version of Rambo, killing the evil "Master".
  • Remember me/ Nancy Farmer - Ooh, this one gave me goosebumps. I interpreted the story as one about loss and rememberance.
  • Flotsam/ Nina Kiriki Hoffman - Really liked this one. A girl finds this scruffy kid, who turns out to be from Fairyland or something. The kid can speak the language of water and other stuff, i.e. control water and make things move. Touching ending, particularly the bit about the girl's mother finding herself again.

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