Happy Sunday, folks!  While most of us sizzle and burn to a crisp in the summer sun these days, I figured I’d cool things down a bit with today’s installment.  Cold, dead hands and snow await…

Neil Gaiman is as prolific a writer as there is today.  The man has produced countless pieces that many would file under “timeless”.  A gentleman never afraid to take a peek behind the curtain of the macabre, Gaiman brings the goods as both a novelist and short story writer.

Snow, Glass, Apples was released in 1994 as a benefit book for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organization formed to protect the First Amendment rights of comics, creators, publishers and retailers.  Gaiman is on the board of directors.  It’s only fitting that the story Gaiman created to support a project that fights for First Amendment rights includes necrophilia, pedophilia and death.

“She killed her mother in the birthing, but that’s never enough to account for it.”

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In this tale, we meet a woman who has become Queen of a kingdom following the heartbreaking death of her husband and lover, the King.  The man dies a slow and painful death at the hands of someone within the kingdom walls.

The Queen is left with a stepdaughter, the Princess, who is just a little too blood-thirsty for the kingdom’s liking.  The Queen hatches a plan to kill the young vampire by taking her out to the forest and having her men cut out the girl’s heart.

With the deed done, the monster’s heart slowly beats as it hangs from the rafters of the Queen’s chambers, covered in garlic.  All seems well in the kingdom until the Spring Fairs that usually usher in the season of rebirth begin to dwindle.  People begin to go missing.

With the assistance of a very special mirror, the Queen is able to see exactly what is happening to those who are vanishing.  Without any other choice, the Queen sets out into the woods that winter to find the young monster and put an end to her once and for all.  Following a short and harrowing confrontation, the Queen luckily makes it back to the kingdom alive.

Things turn sour quickly as a prince enters the picture, a man who has a peculiar sexual fetish that makes the Queen of little use to him.  A vile relationship is formed between the prince and the vampire girl and soon the Queen finds herself in a deadly situation.

A gruesome death awaits the Queen but she refuses to scream, instead focusing on her stepdaughter’s “hair as black as coal, her lips as red as blood, her skin, snow-white.”

The story is a deliciously deviant re-imaging of one of the most well-known fairy tales of all time.

Gaiman is a true storyteller, a man who can paint a picture so vivid and crisp that it’s almost as if you have seen these characters in a movie.  His description of the vampire girl as she emerges from her cave in the woods is downright eerie.

It’s a creepy and entertaining read that even includes a cameo by the dwarves, in this case hairy and filthy creatures who do the vampire princess’s bidding.

Do yourself a favor and check this one out today!  Until next time, happy reading!

 

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Stephen King gives the new IT two thumbs up

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