fairy tales

A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

Review by Shwetha H S

Genre: Humour, Drama, Play

William Shakespeare, known as the Bard, came up with original ideas for novels and plays to entertain people. Sometimes with historical real people and sometimes with fictitious characters. Nevertheless, the Bard teaches us a lesson or two while entertaining with the distinct characters that he created.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a humorous play by William Shakespeare. For a play, it has too many characters. You have a duke, Theseus, who is getting married to Hippolyta. Egeus, a noble citizen brings his daughter Hermia to the duke to get a justified judgement about her marriage. Hermia loves Lysander, who is not so well-to-do, but her father wants her to marry Demetrius, yet another nobleman. Hermia doesn’t like Demetrius. She and Lysander elope after telling their plans to her friend Helena, who loves Demetrius. Helena tells their plan to Demetrius, who hates Helena, and they go in search of the eloped lovers. In the jungle, Titania and Oberon, the royal fairy couple spend time with an Indian boy whom Titania has taken under her wing. Oberon asks his wife to give the boy to him and she refuses, and also says she will stay in the jungle of the mortals till the duke’s wedding gets over. Oberon wishes to play a prank on his wife and with the help of Puck, a fairy, casts spells on his wife making her fall in love with whatever she sees first when she wakes up. Meanwhile, he sees Demetrius and Helena quarrelling. When Puck returns, Oberon instructs him to cast the same love spell on the Athenian man Demetrius. But Puck mistakes Lysander for Demetrius and casts the spell on the former. Lysander opens his eyes to see Helena checking whether Demetrius has killed him or not, and falls in love with her. He leaves the sleeping Hermia and follows Helena. When Oberon learns of Pucks mistake, he asks the fairy to rectify it. So, Demetrius too falls in love with Helena and she starts thinking that both the men, who never even complimented her, are mocking her by saying they love her. On the other side of the jungle, Puck gives Bottom, an actor rehearsing a play for the duke’s wedding, head of a donkey. Titania, upon awakening, sees the donkey-headed man and falls in love with him. There, Hermia finds the men, who were previously head over heels in love with her, following Helena like puppies. What happens with so many mismatched people haphazardly scattered with those they don’t belong?

William Shakespeare is not of our era and did not speak the English language the same way as we do. Or doth. Hast? The usage of English language in its former version makes reading a little difficult. We are all so used to the English we speak and write nowadays that Shakespearean English will slow our reading. Also, the order of the words in sentences make you feel like Yoda. It might also happen that you will not understand a few lines. But, as usual, Shakespeare’s innovative classy abuses are commendable. Altogether, this story of the play makes it funny if you remember who is who and did what.

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The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith

The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith

Review by Shwetha H S

It has been years since Prince Charming rescued Princess Snow White. Don’t you want to know what she has been up to? David Meredith tells you what our naive princess has been up to in her happily ever after in a life after marrying Prince Charming in this story based on the fairy tale by Grimm brothers. Hang in there because this is not just a mere extension of a fairy tale.

Snow White is not a princess anymore. She is a queen now. With her husband, King Charming dead and her daughter Raven’s wedding nearing, Queen Snow White is indifferent to everything is lost without her loving husband. In a bid to get out of the depression, the Queen decides to take a stroll in her own castle and absentmindedly ends up in her tormenting but dead stepmother Lady Arglist’s chamber. There she finds the famed Mirror on the Wall. Contrary to the popular belief, or our understanding from the original Snow White tale, the mirror is not an ally of the villain and is just a reflector of truth.

The mirror shows and tells Snow White what she has been denying for all those years and tries to make her see the light. It makes Snow White realise when and why she actually started hating her stepmother, the strength she had to brace against Lady Arglist’s abuses, the helpless determination to escape from her tormentor, how she was saved by her dwarves and her prince, how her husband made a lady out of a girl, how her husband helped her in the matters of court, how she had found the long lost courage to stand for herself in the absence of her husband against usurpers, love and devotion of her husband displayed vividly on the verge of her death and escape from it, and love and admiration of her Raven proven when King Charming dies unexpectedly. Through all this, the mirror makes Queen Snow White understand that she and her husband lived wonderful years together, she was perfectly capable of taking care of herself, her daughter and her kingdom, and she was no more and damsel in distress.

Through this story based on a fairy tale, the author David Meredith conveys the message that girls should stop acting damsel in distress and waiting for their Prince Charming, and instead should stand tall and charm their way to their life goals. This is a story worth reading because it tells you what happens after the mythical “happily-ever-after” and even Snow White had a life like us.

Interview with Lindsay Edmunds

Lindsay Edmunds is the author of New Sun Rising: Ten Stories. This weekend, we bring you an interview with her.

We Read That Too: We know that you are an author. As what kind of an author would you introduce yourself?

Lindsay Edmunds: Late at night a few months ago in a state of exhaustion, it dawned on me what kind of stories I write: magical realism for the internet age. Ghosts coexist with e-beasts, mobiles with magic.

I’ve always been interested in the relationships people have with machines and have always liked fairy tales and fantasy. Magical realism for the internet age is the logical result of those interests.

WRTT: What do you do apart from writing?

LE: I work as a freelance editor in the areas of ecology, managed care, and pharmacy. My home is a semirural part of southwestern Pennsylvania, about 12 miles south of Pittsburgh.

WRTT: What genres of books do you read?

LE: I like biographies, speculative fiction, and traditional fairy tales/folk tales. However,  a book I reread almost every year, Turtle Diary by Russell Hoban, has none of those elements. Best to just describe me as a book omnivore.

WRTT: Given a chance, how would you describe New Sun Rising: Ten Stories in just one sentence?

LE: It tells the story of Kedzie Greer, a girl who looks beyond the walls of her perfect community in search for more.

WRTT: What prompted you to write this story?

LE: It began with a dreamlike image: angels bending over the bed of girl who was balancing between life and death. They told her to live.

This image makes a brief appearance in the story “Fallow Time”

“Kedzie remembered tall, blue-robed angels mouthing words she could not understand. It had to have been in the hospital. Before the hospital was a blank.”

WRTT: What inspired you to write a dystopian fiction?

LE: In New Sun Rising, I first created a utopian community, Stillwater. It was logical, in terms of storytelling, to show the world outside Stillwater’s walls as dystopian. That is how the young heroine, Kedzie Greer, would see it because she was raised in a kindly and beautiful place.

WRTT: With which other dystopian fiction would you like to compare New Sun Rising: Ten Stories?

LE: Rather than answer that question directly, I will talk about influences on my work. Every story in New Sun Rising begins with a quotation from eitherDandelion Wine or Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, a writer whose work I have enjoyed since a teenager.

Shirley Jackson, author of “The Lottery,” wrote a little-known 1950s apocalyptic novel called The Sundial with definite dystopian elements.

I also like the great post-apocalypse/dystopian novel Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban.

I admire all these authors, but would never compare myself to them. They are heroes to me.

WRTT: Apart from New Sun Rising: Ten Stories, name any one dystopian fiction which you would suggest your readers?

LE: I really liked Susan Kaye Quinn’s YA novel The Legacy Human. She just published a sequel, The Duality Bridge, which is high up on my to-be-read list. http://www.susankayequinn.com/

WRTT: Are there any other works of yours in the pipeline?

LE: Yes, two!

First one: USA Today best-selling urban fantasy author Anthea Sharp just greenlighted my story “The Skeptic” for inclusion in the Chronicle Worlds: Feyland anthology. Chronicle Worlds is a sibling series to The Future Chronicles,a best-selling science fiction/spec fiction anthology series. This is the premise of Anthea Sharp’s Feyland: “What if a high-tech computer game was actually a gateway to the Realm of Faerie?”

Second one: A novella set in the early years of the 23rd century about a husband and wife, both expert programmers, who have devoted their entire lives to making Networld a better, richer experience for people. They believe that advances in artificial intelligence and robotics offer the hope of immortality. Now that the wife is dying prematurely, they look back on their 25-year marriage.

Its name is The Paradise Fix.

WRTT: Anything else that you would like your readers to know?

LE: I love watching bad movies with good friends. The more terrible the movie, the more fun we have. I suppose that’s a dystoptian/utopian thing: the bad movie is the dystopia; friendship and laughter are the gold.

WRTT: Thank you, Lindsay. With your suggestions, our list of to-read books has grown and we look forward to add your next book to the same list.