At last! A genre almost everybody knows! Fairy tales. Those that your parents and teachers probably read to you as a child. Hans Christian Anderson, The Brothers Grimm and a few others have brought us a vast array of stories that have seen many iterations and variations. Though these tales started off as far more grim (no pun originally intended) and sombre, the (usually) Disney versions we know today have formed our perception of the “fairy tale” to something far shinier and friendlier.
In the end, it really depends on you what you make of fairy tales and you are entitled to your opinion. Half my friends would skin me if I sold you the fluffy, happy version of fairy tales as the definition for fairy tales. Their argument is that the original fairy tales were cautionary tales to teach children about the not so shiny aspects of life. Little Red Riding Hood being about not talking to strangers (see, Little Red Riding Hood didn’t survive in the original story, the wolf did), The Little Mermaid being a tale about…heck, I have no idea…but in the original story she ends up not married to the prince, but floating on the surface of the sea as lifeless foam. You catch the gist?
Most people simply don’t like dealing with this kind of reality in a fairy tale, so they tend to side with the happy happy kiddies versions you get in stores and Disney movies these days. In fact, I believe people often actually say stuff like “life isn’t a fairy tale, you have to deal with the facts”. I think these people are really missing the original point.
You can tell which side I’m also on, can’t you? Lol Whoopsie.
Anyhow, modern versions of fairy tales can be found in a lot of Urban Fantasy stories, like The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams, Courtney Crumrin by Ted Naifeh and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. Of course, all of these focus a lot more on the…scary (or should I say “realistic”?) side of fairy tales in a much more “adult” way.