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Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears

(Adult Fairy Tales #3)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  1,759 ratings  ·  102 reviews
""Once upon a time ..." So begin the classic fairy tales that enthralled and terrified us as children. Now, in their third critically acclaimed collection of original fairy tales for adults, World Fantasy Award-winning editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling bring us twenty-one new stories by some of the top names in literature today. Joyce Carol Oates, Gahan Wilson, Gene ...more
Paperback, 420 pages
Published May 9th 2002 by Eos (first published December 1st 1995)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,759 ratings  ·  102 reviews

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A passable installment in the series as a whole, but a somewhat disappointing one when each story is taken individually, at least for my taste.

In this collection I've found the 3rd attempt by Tanith Lee to reimagine the "Beauty and the Beast" fairy tale (in her short story The Beast), and I have become convinced the plot just doesn't suit her style, because the archetypal story doesn't lend itself well to a Horror retelling; it just isn't the type. But Lee insisted, and the result was unsatisfactory a
Jul 18, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
This is a 3.5 from me. It could have been a 4, except for a couple of truly bad choices of stories from editors who are usually very good. The first story, "Ruby Slippers" was just terrible, and it made me very suspicious of the rest of the book. Why would you lead with your weakest story?

And "Billy Fearless" had an unfortunate author gaffe the either editor or author really should have caught and fixed before publication. The whole point is that the boy doesn't know what fear is, and yet early
Megan Baxter
Jun 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, let's maybe start by talking about the organizing theme? And then a couple of stories I particularly liked, and a few things I noticed. Retellings of fairy tales is an obvious win - so much so that this is the third anthology of stories with that theme by these editors. It's easier to put your finger on than Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir collection I read last year, in which there were many spooky stories, but few that actually seemed noir.

Note: The rest of this review has bee
May 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reread
Ruby Slippers, Susan Wade
Dorthy Gale's story of the Wizard of Oz, as told through the veneer of show business. This is a cute, fun interpretation of the movie, but nothing particularly thoughtful.

The Beast, Tanith Lee
Beauty and the Beast, but a truly, truly disturbing take on the tale. Beauty is often only skin-deep, especially when a beast dwells within.

Masterpiece, Gary Kilworth
A cross between Rumplestiltskin and Faust (although it's fair to argue that Rumplestiltskin was a
Margaret Moller
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
I have rather enjoyed this series on modern day retellings of fairy tales, but not this volume so much. I can handle sex and violence, but not when there is no reason for it. By the time I got to "Match Girl" I wanted to scream, "Okay, okay, I GET it! Fairy tales are full of sex and violence! Can you get back to telling the damn story now, please?"

"Match Girl" was one of the worst, with the heroine getting constantly raped. And for what? So we can see how bad things are for women in this psuedo
Sep 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I love this series, the new take on my favorite fairy tales. Sadly these books are extremely hard to find which is a shame, because they are wonderful.
May 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, sff, short-stories
Definitely a few gems but I think this was a weaker editing collaboration by Datlow and Windling, I usually love their fairy tale and mythic anthologies.

Also I don't remember if this was done in the other two I read in this series, but they arranged the stories based on the tale they retold. So basically you got a bunch of Sleeping Beauty renditions in a row and so on. Felt odd, I'd have rather they were scattered.
Aug 10, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This volume 2 collection was much more graphic than the last edition. It did not pique my interest as much either. I found the characters less sympathetic. Short story collections aren’t as appealing to me as novels; the author does not have the time nor the reader the detail to fully appreciate the storyline.
Nov 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of fantasy and fairy tales
Shelves: fantasy
I am addicted to this series. Whether I am seeking a funny, light-hearted update to a classic fairy tale or a a frightening look at the dark underbelly of "ever after" this book has something to offer. I highly recommend it to adult fans of the Brothers Grimm seeking something more mature and complex.
Lisa Findley
I enjoyed about half of the stories, and had various frustrations with the other half.
Apr 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Favorites: Match Girl and The Fox Wife
Kristen Coffin
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Stories are not just recordings. They are prophecies. They are dreams. And – so it seems – we humans build the future on such dreams."


Ruby Slippers: Based on The Wizard of Oz and The Red Shoes - Not my favorite one in the anthology
The Beast: Based on Beauty and the Beast - Vessavion reminds me so much of Lestat for some reason, I l
Apr 23, 2019 rated it liked it
The third collection of twisted and turned fairy tales attained by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling arrives with new looks at the classic stories. The Wizard of Oz gets a celebrity-style Hollywood makeover as Dorothy is interviewed about her success in “Ruby Slippers.” A wealthy man obsessed with possessing beauty tears apart his marriage by revealing himself as “The Beast.” Trading her future for success, the protagonist of “Masterpiece” must ultimately choose to give up her art career, her husb ...more
Short/nonexistent reviews because I'm in school and have no time. (Except on my commutes, which is when I'm reading all of these.)

Favorites from this collection:

Summer Wind, by Nancy Kress. Man this take on Sleeping Beauty was a thing of beauty in its own right. Gorgeous writing, ponderous depths. I read it three times.

The Emperor Who Had Never Seen a Dragon, by John Brunner. One of the few set in a non-European-inspired culture. Loved the twist on The Emperor
May 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Wow, what a drag. I'm so grateful to be done with the book. I don't know why I felt obligated to finish. I think I need to avoid anthologies in the future. Of the 23 stories the only ones I liked were:

"Billy Fearless" (I particularly liked this spin on Grimm)
"The Fox Wife" (Haunting Japanese Kitsune folk)
"The White Road" (Gaiman on Mr Fox - I just like his writing style)

I liked these because they stylistically felt more like real fairy/folk tales to me. I read
K Aust
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. Most stories are all right, with a few stand outs:


The Crossing: I was most looking forward to this Joyce Carol Oates story, and it turned out to be the WORST in the collection. Exceedingly tedious and boring. Felt like it was written at some other time and then submitted as a “modern fairy tale” when it’s nothing of the sort.

Roach in Loafers: amateurish

The Death of Koshchei the Deathless: nearly incomprehensible

Hansel and Grettel: bizarre
Lenora Good
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a collection of fairy tales retold, put in modern times, or from a different point of view. The contributors are all excellent writers, and most if not all, are probably on your favorite's list from Neil Gaiman to Joyce Carol Oates to Tanith Lee.

Of the 20 or so stories, I enjoyed all but three, and those may have just caught me in a mood. Some were outright funny. And some were like meeting an old friend after a long absence.

To be honest, fairy tales have never been my favor
Kilian Metcalf
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This, the third in their series of anthologies of ‘fairy tales for adults,’ continues along the lines of Snow White, Blood Red and Black Thorn, White Rose. Anyone who enjoyed fairy tales as a child will enjoy these grown-up story by the likes of Joyce Carol Oates, Gahan Wilson, Tanith Lee, and Neil Gaiman, to name a few of the contributors.

Dark and disturbing, these are just as frightening and compelling as Grimm’s Fairy Tales were to me as a child. These are not Disney fairy tales,
Sheila Williams Haettich
This is only the second book I have ever not been able to finish. The fault isn't with the book, it is with my having started it. I downloaded it because it contained a short story by Joyce Carol Oates, one of my favorite authors. I enjoyed that story but there are 22 others, most of which I didn't care for. The horror story/fantasy genre is not for me. If it's something you like, I'm sure this is a wonderful collection.
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not what I expected

This collection was nothing like what I really expected. There's very little in it I found either interesting or enjoyable. In fact, most of the stories were more depressing than anything else. The only one I really liked was the final one and that one made me cry a little. Not sure yet if they're happy tears or sad but this story was the best of the brunch as far as I'm concerned and the only one I'd want to read more than once
Like all anthologies, there are some stories I loved and some stories I didn't. I liked the overall effort to use fairy tales to comment on current issues, and I find it interesting that so many authors for this anthology are known for their horror writing--it didn't occur to me that fairy tale and horror overlapped as genres, but I see it now.
Baal Of
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dolma
I read all the other books in this series of anthologies many years ago, but somehow missed this one. I tend to like Datlow's editorial selections, and this collection met my expectations. My favorites were the stories by Tanith Lee, Neil Gaiman, and Ellen Streiber. Least favorites were by Kathe Koja and Lisa Goldstein.
May 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone over 18; fairy tale lovers and dreamers
An introduction into the world of märchen (fairy tales), and how the authors in this book entwined them with horror. It gives the history of both fairy tales and Christianity, the intertwining of each to the other. Each chapter has a short introduction, which suggests either horrific events, or a kind of lightness to the tale.

(view spoiler) ...more
Peg Weissbrod
An uneven read

I enjoy short stories, especially science fiction, and for some reason that I cannot recall, I expected this to be an anthology of science fiction stories. Instead, the stories were gruesome retellings of fairytales—few of which I found pleasing. Others may be happier with them. Read for yourselves.
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fairy-tales
Anthologies are always hit or miss; this one is no exception. The titular story was only okay. Fox Wife was incredible. Match Girl was disturbing.

I will likely read this book again, but I might skip some of the stories the second time. Or I might not. People change. Stories change with them.
Harmony T.
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic collection of stories! These retellings of well known fairy tales and folklore themes are familiar yet intriguingly new. Each author added an element of originality to these beloved tales. I particularly loved After Push Comes to Shove and The Fox Wife.
Lia Jones
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fairytales of Old Made New

Old stories mixed with spices anew. Tasty recipes with a new twist, deliciously salacious, certainly adult, with lessons for all and bright images that will haunt for days to come.
Oct 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Ugh. The writing in this anthology is proficient, yet in general, these fairy tale re-tellings did not add enough originality and interest. Mediocre, and while I enjoyed some stories more than others, overall, I do not recommend.
Maryann Ouillette
Fascinating tales for adult children

This was a delightful journey remembering child hood stories and tales, enhanced by the wit and wisdom of the talented authors, to become mature literature that still enchants and delights the reader .
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
A wonderful (and slightly morbid) retelling of classic fairytales from around the world.
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Ellen Datlow has been an award-winning editor of short science fiction, fantasy, and horror for over twentyfive years.

She is editor of the Best Horror of the Year and has edited or co-edited a large number of award-winning original anthologies. Her most recent are Supernatural Noir, Naked City, Blood and Other Cravings, The Beastly Bride, Teeth, Trolls Eye View, and After (the last three with Ter

Other books in the series

Adult Fairy Tales (6 books)
  • Snow White, Blood Red
  • Black Thorn, White Rose
  • Black Swan, White Raven (Adult Fairy Tales, #4)
  • Silver Birch, Blood Moon (Adult Fairy Tales #5)
  • Black Heart, Ivory Bones
“There was something sly about his smile,
his eyes so black and sharp, his rufous hair. Something
that sent her early to their trysting place,
beneath the oak, beside the thornbush,
something that made her climb the tree and wait.
Climb a tree, and in her condition.
Her love arrived at dusk, skulking by owl-light,
carrying a bag,
from which he took a mattock, shovel, knife.
He worked with a will, beside the thornbush, beneath the oaken tree,
he whistled gently, and he sang, as he dug her grave,
that old song...
shall I sing it for you, now, good folk?”
More quotes…