Birthday Reviews: Linda D. Addison’s “Little Red in the Hood”

Birthday Reviews: Linda D. Addison’s “Little Red in the Hood”

Cover by Kandis Eliot
Cover by Kandis Eliot

Linda D. Addison was born on September 8, 1952.

Addison has won the Bram Stoker Award four times for her poetry collections, becoming the first African-American to win. She won her first Stoker for Consumed, Reduced to Beautiful Grey Ashes in 2002. In 2008 she won for Being Full of Light, Insubstantial. Her collection How to Recognize the Demon Has Become Your Friend won in 2012, and her final award in 2014 came for her collaborative collection Four Elements, with Marge Simon, Rain Graves, and Charlee Jacob. She has also collaborated with Beecher Smith and Stephen M. Wilson.

“Little Red in the Hood” appeared in issue 23 of Tomorrow Speculative Fiction in November 1996, edited by Algis Budrys. The following year Addison included it in her collection Animated Objects, which included six stories and several poems. Stefan Dziemianowicz, Robert Weinberg, and Martin H. Greenberg also selected the story for the anthology 100 Hilarious Little Howlers. Its most recent publication was in the e-book anthology Unconventional Fantasy: A Celebration of Forty Years of the World Fantasy Convention, edited by Peggy Rae Sapienza, Jean Marie Ward, Bill Campbell, and Sam Lubell for the 2014 World Fantasy Con in Washington, DC.

Addison’s “Little Red in the Hood” is barely more than a vignette. It tells the story of fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters when they aren’t on duty. Little Red is relaxing at the end of the day in a bar, throwing back a double vodka. The Big Bad Wolf is sitting on the other side of the bar. When Red complains about having to be eaten daily, the wolf points out that he has to essentially have a Caesarian section each day when they retrieve Red after the story ends.

Other characters chime in with their concerns. As traditional characters they worry that the advent of the Power Rangers will knock them out of their roles, although the Red points out that the coming of the Purple People Eater didn’t impact them. The story ends in media res when Red and the Wolf are summoned because someone is reading their story to their child.

In the end, the vignette is one of hope. Despite modern distractions and changes, the traditional stories are still being told and retold. Rather than supplanting them, new characters are adding to the mélange, creating broader opportunities. Whether or not this is an accurate depiction of the proliferation of tales is debatable, although not within the confines of Addison’s brief tale.

Reviewed in its original appearance in the magazine Tomorrow Speculative Fiction #23, edited by Algis Budrys, November 1996.

Steven H Silver-largeSteven H Silver is a sixteen-time Hugo Award nominee and was the publisher of the Hugo-nominated fanzine Argentus as well as the editor and publisher of ISFiC Press for 8 years. He has also edited books for DAW and NESFA Press. He began publishing short fiction in 2008 and his most recently published story is “Doing Business at Hodputt’s Emporium” in Galaxy’s Edge. Steven has chaired the first Midwest Construction, Windycon three times, and the SFWA Nebula Conference 6 times, as well as serving as the Event Coordinator for SFWA. He was programming chair for Chicon 2000 and Vice Chair of Chicon 7. He has been the news editor for SF Site since 2002.

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