Cold Iron & Rowan-Wood

June 22, 2009

Lucy Bond – Red Tape and Cold Iron

Filed under: review — Tags: , , , — Sam @ 11:16 pm

Red Tape and Cold Iron, or A Proposal for the Re-Introduction of the Faery Folk To the United Kingdom (Jim Baen’s Universe, 2, 6)

This is a nicely polished little semi-precious stone of a short story, elaborating around a whimsical conceit. Someone wants fairies back in Britain, because they’ve been reading too many of the wrong kinds of books; someone else has a rather better idea of what fairies are like, but wants them back there anyway. Civil servants, I have observed, can be really quite nasty pragmatic at times…

Interestingly, Bond has chosen to narrate everything rather than present the action; it’s quite a traditional fairy-tale stylistic technique, but normally we’d hear some dialogue too, especially since so much of this story does consist of discussions and negotiations. The other oddness about her choice is the lack of any framing story – we do have to wonder who the narrator is, and why they’re telling us all this.

The writing could have done with a bit more editor’s pencil, but it’s still delightful – very arch, mannered and precise, with tongue very firmly in cheek. I want to quote huge swathes of it, but this one will have to do.

[S]he was, none-the-less, a Folklorist, and it is very hard not to be a lover of real ale if one is a lover of olde Englande.

And casting spells with horse-brasses, no less… that’s Olde Englande for you. Full of bloody fairies.

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