I did my first ebook collection of short fiction a bit more than a year ago, and Uptown Local and Other Interventions seems to have pleased a lot of people; so a little while ago I started thinking about doing another ebook that would gather together other short work I’d done and had fun with in recent years.
I wanted to wait a little while to find the common thread that bound all the stories together, though, before I put the collection out there. I can’t believe it took me as long as it did to notice that all the stories I’d pulled together had a strong fairy tale component: and those that didn’t were ghost stories.
In retrospect it shouldn’t have been a surprise. Fairy tales are probably the subfamily of fantasy that I love the best: the house is full of them, in collections and compendia from every culture you can imagine. And many of my books have had fairy tales at their roots (Stealing the Elf-King’s Roses and Raetian Tales 1: A Wind from the South being the most obvious of these). The timing for a collection of fairy-tale-based fiction isn’t bad, I suppose, with the genre suddenly so hot in popular culture. (Well, all right, not “suddenly”, really: this has been going on for a couple/few years now.)
As for the ghost stories, I’ve always had a bit of a yen for those; and of course as we come up on Hallowe’en this particular line of thought resonates more strongly than usual. Modern ghost stories in particular have an attraction for me, and when I realized that I already had one or two of those in this putative collection, I thought I’d round it out by adding the longest one I’d ever written — a screenplay, as it happens.
So here’s Midnight Snack and Other Fairy Tales, and here’s what it contains:
First Readthrough: How you do the casting for a fairy tale… and what can go wrong while you do.
The Dovrefell Cat: Your pet polar bear may sometimes be a problem… but there’s one night of the year when he shines.
…Under My Skin: Some first dates just don’t work out the way you think they will: not at all.
A Swiss Story: Lots of people from that part of the world have something from “during the War”. But not many have anything like this…
Blank Check: A most unusual client turns up at one of the world’s oldest banks with an impossible request… which nonetheless must be fulfilled.
Don’t Put That In Your Mouth, You Don’t Know Where It’s Been: A would-be worshipper of the Triple Goddess has her upcountry ritual disturbed by something very odd.
The House: A school science project examining gingerbread as a structural element turns into something way more personal.
Cold Case: A cop who won’t take no for an answer meets a murder victim who’s even more stubborn than he is.
The title work, Midnight Snack: “Dad came down with the flu that week, so I had to go down to the subway and feed the unicorns…” (Along with the story of how it got censored.)
And completing the collection, a full-length feature film screenplay, Dead & Breakfast: a ghost story with computers.
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