Tales the Wind Told Me
By Rachel Eliason
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Vicki
Tales the Wind Told Me is a collection of short stories with the genres ranging from Fantasy, Folklore and Science-Fiction. The majority of the stories included in this collection are LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender) themed or were written with this theme in mind. Eliason’s introduction allows the reader to understand the origin of this collection and the personal growth that the author has gone through to get to the point where these stories can be shared with readers. With this background knowledge of the author it is then easy to understand why the stories with a more specific LGBT focus are, by far, the stand-out pieces in this collection.
My favorite stories in the collection are:
The collection opens with Sleeping Betty, which follows the story of Sherry Pinchform; a country Vet coming to terms with her sexuality, unrequited love and qualms about her own femininity. And while the message is very clear throughout this story it is the addition of the Sleeping Beauty allegory that really allows the reader to understand the true awakening that comes with self-acceptance.
The Neon Path of Righteousness
Eliason presents an inspired version of a corporate afterlife. The recently deceased Anne is completing her entry level paperwork and interviews in order to pass through the metaphorical pearly gates.
“I was,” Anne began and broke off, “that is to say, I thought, well, Saint Peter?”
“Is in upper management.” The lady replied crisply. “With the kinds of volume we see, it isn’t practical you know? He’s not seen clients for a couple of hundred years.”
Gemone is the only Science-Fiction story in the collection. Eliason originally wrote the story with a hard science theme in mind, however Gemone’s, almost romanticized, voice grew organically from the tale. While the story still maintains attributes of hard science it is the characters and their arcs that make this story extremely special. Short stories are always challenging because the author has to make the reader feel as though they have read all there is to read and feel satisfied. Gemone is a complete short story, with a realistic and gratifying ending but I cannot help feeling like this story is just too good to be as short as it is. Gemone definitely has the potential to be an amazing full-length novel. The title character, Gemone, is a Magge; an androgynous and asexual alien servant who is assigned to a superior-race Hari man, named Markus, as he is entering university. Gemone’s servitude includes keeping Markus from committing any public indiscretions, thus preventing the family name from being tarnished. After a couple of wild years Markus begins to settle down and rather than follow his father’s dream of entering politics he decides to study genetics. Markus’s research eventually takes him down the controversial route of gender reassignment, or in this case gender assignment for the Magge race. This research eventually threatens to abolish the caste system and cause a brutal civil war. Gemone becomes Markus’s test subject and her eventual realisation of her sexuality, individuality and femininity is truly beautiful.
Readers will have entirely different reactions to these stories and that’s ultimately the greatest thing about a collection of this nature. However, I will guarantee that the majority of readers will finish this collection and list Gemone amongst their favorites. The collection needs to be read for this story alone.
Tales the Wind Told Me is an inspired and imaginative collection of solid story telling. The use of fantastical and well-known myths and fairy tales are rooted in a reality that the reader can relate to, which, admittedly, is nothing new or groundbreaking. Yet, it is the consistent LGBT theme throughout that adds another layer to the previously established allegories and metaphors of familiar myths and fairy tales. For this reason, Tales the Wind Told Me is definitely something to get excited about.