In his TEDSalon NY2013 talk, “The Unheard Story of David and Goliath,” Malcolm Gladwell posits that the long-held belief that the Biblical tale is a “metaphor for improbable victories” is false. Any reader able to place the story in its proper context will see that when the Philistines put forth their champion, the giant Goliath, […]
Let us now praise Walt Disney. I mean that in all earnestness. The man was a genius. I don’t mean his art or animation—though, of course, that is praiseworthy enough, and worth another post just to examine it, by someone much better qualified than myself. What I praise here are his stories. More particularly, the […]
I’ve been waiting all my life for a truly satisfying retelling of my all-time favorite fairy tale, “Vasilisa the Wise,” and Katherine Arden has delivered it in a novel that combines history, fantasy, and folk magic. The Bear and the Nightingale brings Vasilisa, here called Vasya, into contact with Morozko, Russian folklore’s brutal Winter King. […]
On April 26, 1986 reactor number four at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station in northern Ukraine exploded, throwing up enough radioactive material to contaminate much of Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe. Thousands of people were evacuated from the 30 km Exclusion Zone, abandoning homes, schools, entire villages, and a way of […]
“According to Hindu belief, a thumb-sized being known as the innermost self or soul dwells in the heart of all humans and animals.”1 Hans Christian Andersen’s “Thumbelina” is believed to be an original tale, inspired by “Tom Thumb.” The tiny girl is not heroic in the sense that Tom Thumb is; he battles an ogre, and […]
Book Name: The Little Prince Author: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry First Published: 1943 Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint Exupéry, more popularly known as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, was born to an aristocratic family in Lyon on June 29, 1900. He was the third of five children of the Countess Marie de Fonscolombe and Count Jean […]
Fiction writers and storytellers are forced to be aware of time because they must make it flow. If the story takes place during 24 hours or several hundred years, time must flow at a pace that can be experienced by the reader or listener. In action-packed stories, time passes like the beating of a drum, fast and furious, steady…and it’s over. In stillness, something different is experienced, and time can nearly be stopped.
When I was doing my English degree, one of my tutors didn’t like fantasy. In her opinion, “the supernatural takes over the story”. But isn’t that the whole idea? I wrote a ghost story screenplay. She liked it, but classed it as “family entertainment” (children’s literature was a genre we weren’t meant to write in […]
While reading Sheila Finch’s Myths, Metaphors, and Science Fiction, I ran across a passage that gave me, as a parent, pause: “In later centuries, we seem to have watered down the messages [of fairy tales], especially in the post-Disney world, but the continuing popularity, even into our scientific age, of what might otherwise be considered […]
An interview with British author and folklorist Katherine Langrish.