Author: Tanith Lee
In: Red as Blood (Tanith Lee)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Aliens, Fairy tales, Retellings, Science fiction
Dates read: 17th December 2019
Format: Short story
5th sentence, 74th page: There were no words at all.
When the rose arrives, the family must give up one of their own. When her time comes, she finds that maybe this new home with an alien being could be exactly what she was missing in her life. A beautiful, science fiction retelling of Beauty and the Beast.
I’ve been enjoying Beauty and the Beast retellings lately. I have never read one which is this intense though. And a SciFi version to boot. And it was just a short story! Beauty is brilliant, fun and gives an entirely new take on an old classic. Unlike most short stories that I fall this in love with though, I actually was happy with the length. I didn’t feel like it had to be expanded and added to. I didn’t think that it actually needed to be longer, it was kind of perfect all on its own.
I love that the “beast” in this story is an alien. Part of a race that is giving, helpful and constantly providing for humanity. But, the cost is that eventually some families have to give up their own child. There is so much mystery to this practice that you spend most of the tale just wondering why this is the case. And when the face of the beast is finally revealed to the young woman, what you believe is entirely wrong. It’s a great mislead and just makes it all that much more impossible to put the story down. This might be why I was happy for it to be short… I don’t know if I could sustain that kind of intensity.
As much as I’ve tried to convey the pure amazingness of this story, I don’t actually think I have the right words. Anywhere. In anyway, shape or form. Which is completely new for me. There is just something about this retelling that left me feeling in awe as the final page was closed. Happy, in awe and just fascinated.