Name a favorite fairy tale. Odds are you'll pick a Disneyfied tale, perhaps one of those princess stories all cleaned up and ready to lie to generations of kids. Or maybe you'll pick a tale recorded by the Grimms. Perhaps a nice helping of Hansel and Grethel with some Little Red Riding Hood on the side.
Name your favorite fairy tale and odds are you won't pick "The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage." Yet this is exactly what Charlie Jane Anders does in her fun and oh-so-relevant "The Super Ultra Duchess of Fedora Forest," one of the many new fairy tales in The Starlit Wood, edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe.
Anders' story is set in a future fantasy world were instead of an internet of things humanity creates a consciousness of things, giving every object and animal in our world a sense of self along with intelligence before we vanish from existence. The result is a world where mice, birds, and yes, sausages, strive to understand their roles and purposes in life.
"The Super Ultra Duchess of Fedora Forest" is a fun, humorous read with a deadly seriousness beneath the laughs, with this fairy tale of three friends finding their way in the world interspaced with explorations of identity and self governance. I suspect even people who are not fans of fairy tales will love Anders' story.
I highly recommend "The Super Ultra Duchess of Fedora Forest" and have added it to my continually updated Nebula Award recommended reading list. I also looking forward to reading more stories in this fascinating anthology.