On the fix
, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro reviews The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy
Margo Lanagan revisits the Bavarian forests of the “Hänsel und Gretel” fairy tale in “The Goosle.” Lanagan takes an already dark story and elevates the darkness tenfold. Let’s just say that the title is not as innocent as it may appear. While in the original, Hänsel held out a bone from the cage in which he was trapped when the witch asked him to hold out his finger, the request and the response in this version are of a more adult nature. Not only do we have murder and attempted cannibalism, but also sexual slavery and bubonic plague to go along with it. Datlow uses the word “vicious” in reference to this story in the introduction; I couldn’t agree more. How deep into depravity the rabbit hole goes I’ll leave the reader to find out. Though I appreciated the creativity and inventiveness on display, I’m not sure the viciousness created a disturbing experience rather than an off-putting one.