Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Friday, July 10, 2015

If you want adventure... - Wolfskin by W.R. Gingell

Sometimes the little girl in the red hood doesn’t get eaten, and sometimes the wolf isn’t the most frightening thing in the forest.

At fourteen, barefoot and running wild, Rose is delighted to be apprenticed to Akiva, the witch of the forest.


Published: May 1st, 2015

‘If you want adventure, you have to march right up to it and kick it in the shins . . .’

At fourteen, barefoot and running wild, Rose is delighted to be apprenticed to Akiva, the witch of the forest. She thinks it will be all enchantment and excitement, and not so much fuss about baths. The reality is much more sober and practical- that is, until she meets a mysterious wolf in the forest and is tricked into stepping off the path . . .

In young, naive Rose, Bastian sees a way of escape. Cursed to remain in the shape of a wolf after running afoul of a powerful enchantress, he has lived many decades under a spell, and now he is both desperate and ruthless. But by breaking part of Bastian’s curse, Rose has caught the attention of Cassandra, the enchantress who cursed him: and Cassandra is by no means ready to forgive and forget.
Meanwhile, wardens have been disappearing from the forest, one by one. Rose is certain that Cassandra is behind the disappearances, but can she and Bastian get to the bottom of the matter before Akiva disappears as well? And are Bastian’s motives entirely to be trusted?

Sometimes the little girl in the red hood doesn’t get eaten, and sometimes the wolf isn’t the most frightening thing in the forest.

From Fairytales To Fantasy

Fairytales have seen a long and cyclic evolution since their inception. The original fairytales (Think Messrs Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen) aren’t so much stories of fantasy and wonder, as stark and unforgiving tales of alien danger and horrific consequences. Good and bad are clearly delineated, and while these early fairytales don’t always–or even often–end happily, there is always the sense that they could have, if only… 

Those who seek to leave their station in life are warned that like the Little Mermaid, they could lose their voice, their love, and eventually their lives– all while living in excruciating pain. In fact, most of the fairytales serve as warnings. The good don’t always end well, the bad invariably end horribly, and naughtiness is quite often interchangeable with actual evil. This results in bad children being eaten by witches and wolves. Kinda horrific, if you think about it. 

Fantasy (perhaps mirroring, perhaps inspiring these fairytales) was also originally much darker. Sinbad the Sailor and the 1001 Nights, while adventurous, fantastical, and delightfully inventive, treated death with supreme disregard and horrible things happened to both good and bad people. I’m not complaining, mind you. I love my Sinbad and my Arabian Nights. The darkness was something of the appeal to them.

Then Disney got hold of fairytales. Suddenly there were princesses and tiaras and happily ever afters. The Little Mermaid got her prince and thus didn’t throw herself off a tower into the sea. Belle broke the curse of her Beast, and wasn’t murdered by her sisters. There was a new, hopeful air to fairytales, and the conviction that no matter how bad things got for our heroines, Good Would Win Out In The End. Fantasy, too, developed a more hopeful edge. There was a sense that good would triumph over evil, and that a pure heart could accomplish as much as a vast army. There was also less of shoving wicked people into barrels with nails hammered into the sides.

Fairytales had become the bright, happy, romantic playground of little girls and older romantics. Lovely, of course, and even slightly intoxicating, but missing something. Without any real stakes, or any real consequences, the payoff was less satisfying.

Nowadays, of course, both fairytales and fantasy seem to have come full circle. Edgy fairytales and grimdark are on the rise, and everyone loves a good twisted tale that may or may not end happily. It’s all about pushing the boundaries, finding the dark undercurrent that runs through all fairytales, and teasing out that thread into its own story. The sharp edges and disturbing story-threads are back, but now they’re fleshed out. Added to that are the kind of fairytales I both love and write: the kind with just a seed of the tale to them, the odd sly reference or two, and fully fledged characters with their own distinct storyline and plot arc. The fairytale is still the framework, but the building materials and the end result have changed.

So what’s next for fairytales? I’ve no idea. But I’m certain that no matter what form they take next, fairytales are a kind of fantasy that will always be with us.
About the author:
W.R Gingell is a Tasmanian author who enjoys reading, bacon, and slouching in front of the fire to write.

author's other books


Anonymous said...

Thanks for having me again, guys!

Debbie Joyce said...

Thanks for the chance at this giveaway!

Arf2-D2 said...

The discourse on fairytales/fantasys was interesting to read.