Skye futurist writer reboots Grimm fairy tales

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‘Future Bright, Future Grimm: Transhumanist Tales for Mother Nature’s Offspring’ is a new collection of ‘wild, futuristic reimaginings of the Grimms’ classics’ by Skye author D.J. MacLennan.

Benbecula-born D.J. MacLennan ‘never shies away from the tales’ weird, haunting qualities’, the publicity says, and ‘dives into their dark hearts to draw out twisted, dazzling threads that thrum with astonishing possibilities for all our tomorrows’.

Branded variously, ‘magipunk’, ‘Cinderella science’ and ‘alternative fireside’, it is a book of ‘daring, grown-up reboots of fairy tales that, in truth, were never really intended for children’.

D.J. MacLennan’s first book Frozen to Life – centring on his decision to sign up for head-only ‘cryopreservation’ upon his death – provoked controversy throughout his native Highlands of Scotland and far beyond.

Dubbed ‘The Cryonic Man’, the futurist author has been paying £50 a month to the Alcor Institute in Arizona, USA, to have his head cut off and cryogenically frozen in liquid nitrogen after his death, in the hope that he can one day be brought back to life. The full-body procedure costs £75,000 but DJ opted for the £40,000 brain freeze.

Currently focusing his speculative thinking on fiction writing, he draws inspiration from ‘the astounding scientific and technological breakthroughs transforming our lives at an unprecedented rate’, he says.

‘Though my writing’s scope is global, universal, I think the brooding land – and seascapes of Skye and the West Coast work their queer magic on my imagination,’ he said. ‘Through that majestic blue-grey lens, I conjure the future as wild, soaring and limitless – more fevered fairy tale than science fiction.’

Excerpt: The Tree of Love, adapted from the Grimms’ The Juniper Tree

With glistening eyes, she smiled up at the tree and thanked it for its blessings. It began to rustle. Fresh new leaves sprouted, and it tinkled with a gentle, joyful sound. Mazaleen giggled with delight as misty fronds arose from the tree’s canopy and coalesced into the most beautiful golden shrike.
To and fro darted the shrike, like a streak of fire in the sunlight now pouring into the atrium. It soared up high and began to sing a
sweet, desolate song. Then it darted away, leaving Mazaleen standing alone under the Tree of Love, dewy-eyed in puzzled rapture.
After a time, she dried her eyes and went to look for her distressed parents.
Meanwhile, the shrike alighted on the roof of the alchemist’s lab, and there began to sing its bittersweet song:
‘My mother destroyed me
My household consumed me
My weary head nourished a loving tree
Silken Mazaleen set me free
Trill! Trill! By smattering skill
A golden shrike I came to be!