Lanagan takes 'The Tinderbox' by Hans Christian Anderson and fleshes it out into a story which puts us inside the mind of a soldier so damaged by his wartime experience that he finds himself lashing out in despicable ways.
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'Six writers - Margo Lanagan, Rosie Borella, Isobelle Carmody, Richard Harland, Margaret Mahy and Martine Murray - have taken inspiration from stories that have shaped us all, tales like Beauty and the Beast,The Steadfast Tin Soldier, and The Snow Queen. This collection carries universal themes of envy and desire, deception and abandonment, courage and sacrifice.
'Characters are enchanted, they transgress, they yearn, they hunger, they hate and, sometimes, they kill. Some of the stories inhabit a traditional fairytale world, while others are set in the distant future. Some are set in the present and some in an alternative present. The stories offer no prescription for living or moral advice and none belong in a nursery.
'Open the covers and submit to their enchantment.' (From the publisher's website.)
'An ancient society of cartographer wasps create delicately inscribed maps; a bodyjacking parasite is faced with imminent extinction; an Al makes a desperate gambit to protect its child from a ravenous dragon; a professor of music struggles with the knowledge that murder is not too high a price for fame; living origami carries a mother's last words to her child; a steam girl conquers the realm of imagination; aliens attack Venus, ignoring an incredulous earth; a child is born on Mars.... The science fiction and fantasy fields continue to evolve, setting new marks with each passing year. For the sixth year in a row, master anthologist Jonathan Strahan has collected stories that captivate, entertain, and showcase the very best the genre has to offer. Critically acclaimed, and with a reputation for including award-winning speculative fiction, The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year is the only major 'best of' anthology to collect both fantasy and science fiction under one cover.' (Publisher's blurb)