‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’ collective view of illustrations. I was asked last year by Dr. Bellamy of Mother’s Milk Books whether I would like to create a series of illustrations for modern fairytales. Having been more engrossed with lengthy novels of science fiction and dark dystopian futures, I wasn’t sure that I could fully appreciate, let alone illustrate these short stories while still capturing their essence and morals all within a few inches of white paper. However, these individual tales captivated me from the moment I started reading and the imagery flowed through my mind like living beings. The final illustrations are barely any different to the first rough jottings I scribbled down – the stories knew who they were, what they wanted to be, and how they wanted to be portrayed. They really do have a life of their own. So when the chance came again this year to illustrate the third anthology of the series, I couldn’t wait to get started, and here’s the result :).
The characters in these tales can’t wait to meet you and I’m sure there are any more that want to share their stories. Visit the Mother’s Milk Books facebook page for news of upcoming events, new publications and updates on the independent press’ activities.
And of course, visit their website to delve into their literary works.
Tea. A gravitational force drawing confidants together to dispel worries and share wisdom. Five small minutes will brush away those ‘I’m fine’ and ‘everything’s ok’ defenses. The first sip will unravel the emotional knots. And a good friend will give you the strength to be honest and true to yourself. Tea and good company conquers all.
‘The Truth About Tea’ by Sarah Armstrong is the sixteenth short story in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’, published by Mother’s Milk Books.
Life. The winding path of enlightenment that we all must tread. A trail of discovery full of meetings and partings, self-discovery and a realisation of the world around us that will inevitably lead us to the place we call home. Rachel Rivett summarises this journey beautifully in ‘The Salt Child’ as a young salt girl endeavors to find her place in the world.
‘The Salt Child’ by Rachel Rivett is the fifteenth short story in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’, published by Mother’s Milk Books. Visit their website for a copy of TFATF3 and a peruse of their other literary works.
In the world of fairytales, not every character has their dream ending. ‘Crossing the Victoria Line’ by Marie Gethins, a beautifully-written modern re-imagining of ‘The Little Match Girl’, reveals how an impoverished young woman, abused by her father and mournful at the loss of her mother, is as familiar a story today as it has been for centuries past. And as most of society ignores the destitute, there are those that bring a tiny glimmer of kindness into their worlds.
‘Crossing the Victoria Line’ by Marie Gethins is the fourteenth story in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’, pub. by Mother’s Milk Books.
Have you ever wished you were something other than human? Wished to experience the soaring bliss of the eagle? The soft midnight hunt of the wolf? The gentle, ferocious power of the bear?
When infant Ursula gains unlikely foster-sister Bernarda, a brown bear-cub, the pair form a relationship closer and deeper than any human siblings could. A relationship that the villagers are unwilling to accept. As prejudice boils over into violence, the sisters’ world is torn apart, and they are separated in the chaos. Thus begins Ursula’s journey, to find her lost sister and discover her true self.
‘Bearskin and Bare-skin’ by Carys Crossen is the thirteenth short story in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’, published by Nottingham-based independent press Mother’s Milk Books. Visit their website for more information, a copy of TFATF3 and a peruse of their other works.
Nurture, education and rebellion – all trials of motherhood that can be challenging under the simplest of circumstances. But when Annie discovers an infant, swaddled in moss and sticks amongst the bombed houses of the brick-fields, she has no clue of how unusual her new daughter will grow up to be. No clue, except for the ever-present ravens carefully watching the mother-daughter relationship unfold…
‘The Daughter with Indigo Eyes’ by Moira Garland is the tenth short story in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’, published by Mother’s Milk Books. Visit their website for a copy of the fairytale anthology.
‘Biosustainability’, ‘georesources’, ‘acidic fallout’. Not words you’d usually associate with fairytales. However, as the decades see Mankind continuing to make steps in interplanetary travel, our imaginations have flown ahead of us into space, conjuring races, environments and supernatural encounters just as fantastical as the folklore of old. Nathan Ramsden’s ‘Airless’ sees humans struggling to colonise a distant world. Atmospheric storms rage, sustainable population limits have been exceeded and the only breathable air available is manufactured by failing towers. Furthermore rumors are circulating of strange sightings beyond the station boundaries…
‘Airless’ by Nathan Ramsden is the ninth short story in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’, published by Mother’s Milk Books. Visit their website for a browse of their published works.
Time is our greatest enemy. It stalks us constantly, waxing the health from our bodies, buffing up ailments lying in wait and dusting away our memories as we try desperately to cling on to our youth. But what if you could break this eternal spell? What if you had the miracle-cure to be forever young? Would you use it? Even if it condemned another…?
‘Iron Man’ by Claire Stephenson is the eighth short story in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’ published by Mother’s Milk Books. Visit their website for a copy.
The internet can be an extremely useful tool. It can increase awareness of injustice, raise support for charitable endeavors and teach us anything that we wish to know. But while the internet is our Eden of information, our electronic Tree of Knowledge, social media can often take the form of the coiled serpent at its roots. Sophie Sellars short story ‘The Narclops’, examines how social media can inspire our most negative passions, making us both envious and vain, and how our narcissism could mask distract from the progression of our downfall. We struggle to identify with the rituals and routines of older, more primitive civilizations but will our way of life be any more understandable to generations of the future?
‘The Narclops’ s the sixth short story to feature in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’, published by Mother’s Milk Books. Visit their website for your own copy 🙂
The phrase ‘finders keepers’ has tripped off the tongue of all of us in childhood, mostly instigating little consequence. However, when young Melissa declares her right to a bearskin discovered in the forest, she never suspects that the selfish act will begin a tale of want and regret, of first love and lost love, of motherhood and heartbreak.
‘Melissa’s Bearskin’ by Ronne Randall is the fifth story in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’ published by Mother’s Milk Books. Visit their website for a browse of their books!