The Sun, The Moon, & The Stars
by Steven Brust
Orb, ISBN 0-312-86039-0, 1996 (1987c), 210pp, US$11.95
I’ve liked everything Steven Brust has written except for what people like the most. This probably says more about me than about his writing, but his Dragaeran novels leave me cold. On the other hand I loved TO REIGN IN HELL and AGYAR, and I loved this.
Well, for starters, it’s only about two hundred pages long. Brust understands that it is possible to write a good–a very good–book without making it a doorstop requiring construction equipment to lift. For another, he uses words carefully. (“We were in one of the newer dorms, all shiny and tiny and boring and beige.”) Come to think of it, the two are related. Many authors seem to use words like a blunt instrument, the more the better. Brust uses them like a rapier.
The book itself is similar to the other books in the “Fairy Tales” series (of which it originally was a part): a retelling of an old fairy tale in a modern setting. Brust interleaves the original fairy tale with the modern one (following a pattern used by some of the other authors in the series, as well as by Cecil B. DeMille in his original silent version of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS). (Or perhaps setting the pattern; I’m not sure where his book falls chronologically in the series.)
The one thing that would have helped would have been a note on Hungarian/Romany pronunciation. The fact that Csucsk ri was hyphenated two different ways (pages 23 and 143) didn’t help. This is, of course, a very minor quibble.
So bravo to Brust for writing this, and bravo to Tor for re- publishing it after its rather brief initial appearance in 1987.