Sunday, October 4, 2009

"A Tower With No Doors" by Dennis L. McKiernan

It seems to be the "in thing" in Fantasy literature over the last few years to take exisiting fairly tales and folk tales and give them a new twist. I'm not sure who started the trend, exact, although the works of authors like Neil Gaiman (Stardust, American Gods), Sherri Tepper (Beauty), and Gregory Maguire (just about everything he's written), certainly all had a hand in its popularization.

Dennis L. McKiernan's short story is a particular good example of a retelling of a fairy tale. Told cleverly from the perspective of an immortal who claims to have seem the true events first-hand (you'll get a bit of a laugh once you find out who the immortal is), this is a fairly straightforward retelling of Rapunzel, with a bit of a twist that isn't uncommon to these sorts of stories. As usual, not everyone is exactly who the reader expects them to be, and the story doesn't exactly occur in the way you'd expect. The narrator, who, I think, is the best part of this story, also takes some jabs at some of the aspects of the traditional version of the story, like the idea that Rapunzel would have been give to the witch by her parents in exchange for some parsley (he notes that no parent would be that stupid). In the end, like many of these types of stories, it isn't an incredibly deep or challenging story, but it is fun.

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