OuaT short story collection reading FTW! These two count towards myths and/or folklore and/or fantasy, take your pick.
Myth, Magic and Glitter by Sarah Diemer and Jennifer Diemer
This is the second-latest (as of this writing) magazine instalment of the Diemers’ Project Unicorn. It’s their best yet! I /loved/ these stories and couldn’t pick you a favourite if you forced me to. They were all phenomenal. These stories all take on existing myths (something the Diemers have a strong record with) from various cultures. So far, the Diemers have stuck fairly close to western myths and fairytales in their retellings, but this sees them branch out into a few other cultures as well.
There’s “A Myth of Ashes” which cleverly combines Cinderella with an even older myth, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. You’ll probably pick up on it quite quickly when you start reading, but I think it’s the more powerful because of that. There’s “When Thou Wakest” which is as much scifi as it is fantasy and a strong take on origin myths in general. There’s “Even in Another Time” which I wished tied the storylines a little more tightly together because I would have loved it even more. There’s “Phasma” which it would not surprise me in the least to learn it was inspired at least partially by Tam Lin. There’s “True if by Sea” which is their first venture into a trans* story and may be one of my favourites for the sheer amount of hope and love in it. There’s “Speak of the Devil” which is a darker tale, a poem rather, about the Jersey Devil. It’s not at all what you might expect. It’s also easily the darkest of the stories in the volume and it feels a tad out of place because of that, but it’s still a good tale.
There are more tales and most of these are freely available on their website if you want to try them before you buy, but they’re worth every penny. I loved this little collection and I look forward to their next works!
Winged Things by Jennifer Diemer and Sarah Diemer
This is the latest (as of this writing) magazine instalment of the Diemers’ Project Unicorn, and it follows up the quality that they delivered in ‘Myth, Magic and Glitter’. Some of these stories see the return of an issue I had with earlier volumes in that the stories don’t feel finished. For example ‘Aphrodite Has a Daughter’ is over before its plot even has a chance to start properly. This makes sense when you know it’s an introduction to a novel-to-be (as I did), but might make a reader feel cheated if they didn’t know. Sometimes I felt like the stories could have benefitted from a little more length to introduce elements more strongly, such as in ‘Flower Constancy’ where the ending felt a little too abrupt.
Largely, these stories weren’t what I was expecting and that probably does bias me a little because it means I never enjoyed this as much as I was hoping I would. It also means every story surprised me, though, because none of these stories ever went where I was expecting them to go. I loved that. I enjoyed these. It’s an odd mixture of the quality of ‘Myth, Magic and Glitter’ with some of the lack-of-polish from the first few volumes.
My favourite is probably either ‘Solitary Birds’ by Jennifer or ‘Unwanted Things’ by Sarah, with a close third runner-up being ‘The Bee Telling’ (again by Sarah). These were the stand-out pieces for me. ‘Solitary Birds’ was beautiful. It ended at just the right spot for me to want to shout “But you can’t end it there! The story’s not over yet!” except that I /know/ that’s not true. It’s a perfect ending spot for a short story. And it doesn’t spell everything out and the descriptions of Emerald are wonderful and the communication barrier… It was lovely. ‘Unwanted Things’ manages to carry a strong environmental message as well as everything else. I quite liked these fairies (well, this fairy) and I /loved/ the concept! And ‘The Bee Telling’ is so sad. But I do so want to learn more about this world and the philosophies behind bee telling.
Lovely collection, as always.