The Origin of Stars and Other Stories


It's a version of Tam Lin that's just fantastic and unexpected and perfect. Jun 15, Ian rated it it was amazing Shelves: There's not a story in this collection that I do not love.

Jackalope Wives and Other Stories

More Grandma Harken, please. Dec 03, William Leight rated it it was amazing. Ursula Vernon is possibly my favorite fantasy writer going right now, and this collection ably demonstrates why. The characters feel with one or two exceptions completely genuine, the settings are well done, the plotting is deft and subtle, the dialogue is equally successfully whether snappy or serious or both , and the jokes are actually funny. For starters, unlike Granny Weatherwax, she has earned her honorific the old-fashioned way, by having a grandchild. For one thing, Vernon fleshes out her world a bit more, both giving some more details about the corner of it where the stories happen and also expanding it by bringing in a villain from the outside, Koschei the Deathless.

But of course if Grandma Harken is fighting immortality, she is essentially embracing her own mortality, and that is what the story is really about. Her method for defeating the sleep spell is also characteristic: And though defeating Koschei is the climax, the book finishes with Grandma accepting her advanced age, and so also her coming death, by taking in an apprentice, someone to help her with her work and to pass knowledge to. Both stories are excellent and leave the reader hoping for the chance to read more about Grandma Harken and her world.

But the other stories in the book hardly lower the average. The collection also has some quite good fairytale retellings, a Vernon specialty. The perspective is also shifted, as the story is told from the viewpoint of a different woodcarver, Sarah, who is, by her own admission, not very good. Vernon gives full reign to her gardening obsession in this one, while also asking, logically enough, whether Hannah the Cinderella in this case: There are also a couple of stories with a fairy-tale aspect to them more so than the retellings, in some ways , though they are originals.

Finally, there are a couple of stories that presumably owe quite a bit to the many years Vernon has spent living in North Carolina. Louise, the protagonist, is wonderful, as are the birds: I enjoyed the poems as well: Vernon fans, of course, have probably already read it twice. May 05, Rose rated it really liked it Shelves: If Flannery O'Connor wrote fairy tales I imagine they'd look a bit like this.

That's how good the writing is.

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Eerie, deviant, bizarrely funny, and sometimes poignant. I love the way T. Kingfisher writes her women. That she was tougher tha If Flannery O'Connor wrote fairy tales I imagine they'd look a bit like this. That she was tougher than tree roots and barbed wire did not matter. It was rude, and also, she would destroy you. Feb 27, Balaji rated it it was amazing.

Eagerly waiting for more from the same author. Jun 20, Neeuqdrazil rated it it was amazing Shelves: This was absolutely delightful. A collection of stories and poems, some published before, some new, and all enjoyable. I would particularly enjoy more stories about Grandma Harken. May 29, Kara rated it really liked it Shelves: The anthology starts out with a self-deprecating forward from T. Kingfisher about how she dashed off her first short story as a favor for a friend while in a waiting room and, my goodness, it won a Nebula!

I found that… somewhat grating. Godmother is a very short story from the perspective of one of those fairy godmother types who refl The anthology starts out with a self-deprecating forward from T. Godmother is a very short story from the perspective of one of those fairy godmother types who reflects on a mistake she once made when it came to who to hand out magical christening gifts to. Jackalope Wives is the star of the show, and a bright star indeed.

I will admit it was award winningly worthy.

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Kingfisher takes the old selkie myths and sets them in a desert, with, obviously, jackalopes instead of selkies. May we all live to be such bad ass grannies. Editing is a self-indulgent little prose poem about the writing process.

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That Time with Bob and the Unicorn is probably the funniest story in the collection and an excellent example of modern fantasy as characters just casually accept some pretty out there happenings. If you read no other stories in this collection, read this one and then you can think back to the scene of the pickup truck at the aquarium if you ever need something to smile at on a bad day.

Razorback is a dark tale about what some will do for love and vengeance. It was a little dark and deth heavy for my taste, but great retelling of a little known American fairy tale. A deeply pragmatic and practical main character who is highly appealing and relatable. Let Pass The Horses Black gives the old, worn out Tam Lin story a fresh breathe of life and lord does that old chestnut need it! Telling the Bees is a zombie and honey infused Sleeping Beauty re-write, not a lot there, but something that sweet and that bitter needs to be in small doses.

The Tomato Thief features the return of Grandma Harken, and this time Russian firebirds rather than Scottish selkie are giving a Southwest rendering. I could easily read a whole anthology devoted to Grandma Harken tales, seeing different myths from around the world flitting though her sandy backyard. In Questionable Taste is a poem strictly for gardeners. Have fun, you green thumbed people, you. Origin Story was like Dr.

Pocosin features the Devil, God, Death, and too very minor backwoods folks who just want a chance to rest. They get it, but first have to put up with far too much meddling from those that think they know better than the rest of us. A very sweet story celebrating the work that goes into putting your foot down and not let other dictate your right to live — and die — as you choose.

Aug 29, K. Charles added it Shelves: Another magnificent collection of stories from this superb author. I can't recommend these enough. Every one a gem. I'm keeping this short only because I have like 4 books of hers to review, having gone on a massive binge. Feb 23, mo rated it it was amazing Shelves: I'll be thinking about these stories and their characters especially the hard-scrabble witches for a long, long time. Wonderful prose - spare and harsh but beautiful, with an oral storyteller's rhythm - and vivid imag The standouts of this collection are the Nebula and Hugo award-winning stories "Jackalope Wives" and "The Tomato Thief.

Wonderful prose - spare and harsh but beautiful, with an oral storyteller's rhythm - and vivid imagery also made these worth a read. And now, some quotes. Because gosh darn it, these stories are quotable.

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The Serapis flag had three rows of eight-pointed stars with stripes that were red, white, and blue. Prior to the adoption of the star flag in , there was no official arrangement of the stars in the canton, although the U. Go read this collection! Sleep like death and death like sleep are common curses. Flags of the United States.

O chestnut tree, chestnut tree Shake down what I need to me. Hannah gazed fixedly at the carrot seedlings. Sometimes that means you invent work to keep yourself standing upright. Go read this collection! Jun 27, Janice rated it it was amazing Shelves: Friends, if you haven't read Ursula Vernon or her alter ego T.

Kingfisher, you are missing a treat. Under her own name Ursula Vernon , she writes charming children's stories about hampster princesses and goblins and such things. Kingfisher alias, she rewrites fairy tales and weird tales and magical tales and other hard-to-characterize stories. The first story I ever read by her was Toad Words and it pretty much struck me dumb with delight. I've been a serious and resolute fan ever si Friends, if you haven't read Ursula Vernon or her alter ego T. I've been a serious and resolute fan ever since.

I follow her on Twitter too. These stories are some of her very best. All are weird and wonderful. I have been in very low spirits lately because of Various Things Happening Now. The other night I felt that if I couldn't get some relief from this darkness, I just didn't know what I would do. I picked up this book and read. I got pulled into other worlds where some problems are solvable, and where there are marvels and magic. After a while, I felt better, and it was a balm to me, and heart's ease. Thank you again, Ursula.

Dec 23, Sarah rated it it was amazing. Once again I find myself reviewing a book I have had for a shamefully long time without reading it, and wondering how I never picked it up before. This is a fantastic collection of prose. I keep rereading Editing: If you want to know more about the grandma in that one, hang on, because you revisit her later in The Tomato Thief. I am afraid for your priorities, son. Sep 04, Heather rated it it was amazing. I wish I could force writing teachers to use this story to teach that concept to their students.

This collection definitely feels like folklore, and I love that magical touch that so few writers seem to have. Longer review at my site: May 01, A. Jackalope Wives - 5 stars Review: Let's start by saying that I love Grandma Harken. She's a great character and I'll happily read about her doing nothing at all. Now, about this story specifically. It pulls off a heck of a trick. I thought it was ok. A little confusing at first, but things clear up as the story goes on view spoiler [like what a jackalope wife that's half-transformed looks like hide spoiler ]. Then it got good as things went on.

Then, suddenly, in the course of literally Story: Then, suddenly, in the course of literally 2 words: That was a truly impressive trick. Oh, and it has an excellent twist at the end that answered several questions I had. And her skin is still out there. Sep 25, Ellen rated it really liked it Shelves: Simple, pragmatic kindness I love reading T Kingfisher stories because they are precisely the kind of fairy tales that you want as an adult.

Where the morals are still about kindness but also about persisting, doing what needs to be done, and pragmatism. These stories are usually about witches, after all. Plus that perfect poem that went around Twitter about a year ago, with the secret women's collective accessible from the fast food restrooms. Worth it just for that. Aug 27, Melissa rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is a collection of short stories by T. KIngfisher aka Ursula Vernon and wow, what a collection. There are also other charming stories and several creepy ones, "Origin" and "Let Pass the Horses Black".

I read this because I love her stories and for my Rea This is a collection of short stories by T. I read this because I love her stories and for my Reading Challenge.

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May 04, Colleen rated it really liked it. Some of these stories are old friends by now, and some are new discoveries. The smattering of poetry was fun as both a breather and a conversation with the author. The narrative voice is clear and straight even as the stories might turn. The old women have earned their bad humors and long loyalties. And my favorite idea is still that gods carry mail out of professional courtesy, because letters are prayers. However, one of the stories had a dedication that was shockingly personal - to me.

I was n Some of these stories are old friends by now, and some are new discoveries. I was not ready for that. Aug 08, Berni Phillips rated it it was amazing. KIngfisher is Ursula Vernon, and her common sense shines through every story. Some, such as the title story, are told in a folksy vernacular which feels so right and are highly entertaining. This is the practical, how real people would approach these issues as exemplified in her Digger and Harriet Hamster books. Fantastic settings infused with common sense - an all too rare commodity these days.

It just sparkle I loved this.

Katharine Haake's Origin of Stars is as beautiful and transcendent as the Milky Way. At the center of each story is the heartbreaking vulnerability of her. These stories, powerful eco-fables of down-home Americana, take place during the relentless rollover from one millennium to the next in a world remarkably like .

Aug 15, Anna Livingston rated it really liked it. I'm very fond of Ursula Vernon's mix of fairy tale, folk tale, and magical realism, so this collection was an immensely pleasant read, especially because I got to read "Jackalope Wives," the precursor to "The Tomato Thief," one of my favorite Hugo winners this year. The collection includes poetry as well; "This Vote Is Legally Binding," Vernon's self-described response to all the dumb thinkpieces about talking to women with headphones on, was particularly snarky and delightful. There are collections of short stories, and then there are Collections of Short Stories.

Kingfisher aka Ursula Vernon does magical realism in a way few others can. It's believable and full of little details that make the world richer. I would love, at this point, to say which stories are my favorites, but seriously, I loved them all. And yes, bindweed being a product of The Devil makes perfect sense.

Jul 23, Alice rated it it was amazing.

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Enjoyable Distraction Interesting collection of short stories that have the same feel as classic fairytales. Some are a bit dark and gruesome but all have happy or at least, just endings; the nice people end up ok and the bad or evil people get punished. That's a big criteria for me, I don't do unhappy or bittersweet endings so this collection was perfectly satisfying and easy to read. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Kingfisher is the vaguely absurd pen-name of Ursula Vernon.

In another life, she writes children's books and weird comics, and has won the Hugo, Sequoyah, and Ursa Major awards, as well as a half-dozen Junior Library Guild selections. This is the name she uses when writing things for grown-ups. When she is not writing, she is probably out in the garden, trying to make eye contact with butterflies T. A Siddur dated from Prague displays a large hexagram on the cover with the phrase, "He will merit to bestow a bountiful gift on anyone who grasps the Shield of David.

A hexagram has been noted on a Jewish tombstone in Taranto , Apulia in Southern Italy , which may date as early as the third century CE. Medieval Kabbalistic grimoires show hexagrams among the tables of segulot , but without identifying them as "Shield of David". In the Renaissance Period, in the 16th-century Land of Israel, the book Ets Khayim conveys the Kabbalah of Ha-Ari Rabbi Isaac Luria who arranges the traditional items on the seder plate for Passover into two triangles, where they explicitly correspond to Jewish mystical concepts.

The six sfirot of the masculine Zer Anpin correspond to the six items on the seder plate, while the seventh sfira being the feminine Malkhut corresponds to the plate itself. However, these seder-plate triangles are parallel, one above the other, and do not actually form a hexagram. Isaac Luria provided the hexagram with a further mystical meaning. In his book Etz Chayim he teaches that the elements of the plate for the Seder evening have to be placed in the order of the hexagram: Gudemann and other researchers in the s claimed that Isaac Luria was influential in turning the Star of David into a national Jewish emblem by teaching that the elements of the plate for the Seder evening have to be placed in the order of the hexagram.

Gershom Scholem disagrees with this view, arguing that Isaac Luria talked about parallel triangles one beneath the other and not about the hexagram. The Star of David at least since the 20th century remains associated with the number seven and thus with the Menorah , and popular accounts [ unreliable source? It is also seen as a dalet and yud , the two letters assigned to Judah. There are 12 Vav, or "men," representing the 12 tribes or patriarchs of Israel.

In , King of Bohemia Charles IV prescribed for the Jews of Prague a red flag with both David's shield and Solomon's seal , while the red flag with which the Jews met King Matthias of Hungary in the 15th century showed two pentagrams with two golden stars.

In the first Hebrew prayer book, printed in Prague in , a large hexagram appears on the cover.

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In the colophon is written: Following the Battle of Prague , the Jews of Prague were again granted a flag, in recognition in their contribution to the city's defense. That flag showed a yellow hexagram on a red background, with a star placed in the center of the hexagram. The symbol became representative of the worldwide Zionist community, and later the broader Jewish community, after it was chosen to represent the First Zionist Congress in A year before the congress, Herzl had written in his Der Judenstaat:. We have no flag, and we need one.

If we desire to lead many men, we must raise a symbol above their heads. I would suggest a white flag, with seven golden stars. The white field symbolizes our pure new life; the stars are the seven golden hours of our working-day. For we shall march into the Promised Land carrying the badge of honor. David Wolffsohn — , a businessman prominent in the early Zionist movement, was aware that the nascent Zionist movement had no official flag, and that the design proposed by Theodor Herzl was gaining no significant support, wrote:.

Among many other problems that occupied me then was one that contained something of the essence of the Jewish problem. What flag would we hang in the Congress Hall? Then an idea struck me. We have a flag—and it is blue and white. The talith prayer shawl with which we wrap ourselves when we pray: Let us take this Talith from its bag and unroll it before the eyes of Israel and the eyes of all nations.

So I ordered a blue and white flag with the Shield of David painted upon it. That is how the national flag, that flew over Congress Hall, came into being. In the early 20th century, the symbol began to be used to express Jewish affiliations in sports. Hakoah Vienna was a Jewish sports club founded in Vienna, Austria, in whose teams competed with the Star of David on the chest of their uniforms, and won the Austrian League soccer championship. In boxing, Benny "the Ghetto Wizard" Leonard who said he felt as though he was fighting for all Jews fought with a Star of David embroidered on his trunks in the s.

World heavyweight boxing champion Max Baer fought with a Star of David on his trunks as well, notably, for the first time as he knocked out Nazi Germany hero Max Schmeling in ; Hitler never permitted Schmeling to fight a Jew again. After the German invasion of Poland in , there initially were different local decrees forcing Jews to wear distinct signs e. If a Jew was found in public without the star, he could be severely punished.

The requirement to wear the Star of David with the word Jude German for Jew was then extended to all Jews over the age of six in the Reich and in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia by a decree issued on September 1, and signed by Reinhard Heydrich [31] and was gradually introduced in other Nazi-occupied areas.

Others, however, wore the Star of David as a symbol of defiance against Nazi antisemitism, as in the case of United States Army private Hal Baumgarten , who wore a Star of David emblazoned on his back during the invasion of Normandy. The flag of Israel , depicting a blue Star of David on a white background, between two horizontal blue stripes was adopted on October 28, , five months after the country's establishment. The origins of the flag's design date from the First Zionist Congress in ; the flag has subsequently been known as the "flag of Zion".

Many Modern Orthodox synagogues, and many synagogues of other Jewish movements, have the Israeli flag with the Star of David prominently displayed at the front of the synagogues near the Ark containing the Torah scrolls. According to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Magen David Adom was boycotted by the International Committee of the Red Cross, which refused to grant the organization membership because "it was [