Five Things About The Mutation of Fortune by Erica Adams

Posted by @ 5:24 pm on June 10th, 2011

1. The Mutation of Fortune by Erica Adams, is available, now from Green Lantern Press and this is a book you definitely want to get your hands on because it is imaginative, original and darkly provocative.

2.  Three fortunes were written for the book which was given to psychics for readings. The second fortune, written by Alchemilla V. Midnight, is below. You can also read the book’s first fortune (written by Thordis Bjornsdottir) and third fortune (written by Rowland Saifi aka Dr. Victor A. Schwert).

Dear Book,
This is not your first life as a book and it is not your last. Many lifetimes ago, you were not material, but existed in the hearts and memories of rough bearded and tough footed folk. You were breathed to life by firelight and whispered by older sisters at midnight, under cool linen. Book, you have made tender chests beat so quickly, fluttering as if there were butterflies, actually more like thick moths, attracted to the glow of your stories that lived in these hearts. Now here you are, a book, and it is no surprise to you, but perhaps surprising that so many will read you and be changed in their own ways, thereby changing you. Don’t be afraid of this change, Book. Allow yourself be devoured, remembering another life as biscuits or bison. You will become something else then and you already are, your being dissolving into the person holding you in her hands. As you rest here in these hands, dissolve into the next thing. Be like vapor.

3. The book, as a physical artifact, is a work of art and includes several full color, glossy images of collages created by Adams. The typography and design lend to an ancient, fortune telling aesthetic and really enhance the reading experience. Each story is accompanied by a series of runes which categorize the stories. The bookmark included with the book serves as a key to the runes. This is a book that remains very true to its concept in both content and design. Each fairy tale in the book features the same protagonist in circumstances that are, at times menacing or complex or surreal. The protagonist is quite interesting in how she observes the world and is unapologetic about her desires. In “The Only Rule,” she talks about her sister who has a creature living inside her. At the end of the tale, the narrator tells us:

I have wished my sister dead, burning up into ashes. When I feel bad about this wish I change it: I wish the living thing inside my sister would die and burn up into a coil of ashes. Burn up, even if it means making my sister cry. That my sister should not cry is the only rule in the house. But when you itch as terribly as I do, you are willing to break the rule.

Some of the fairy tales, as is the nature of fairy tales, are violent, others are magical and surreal,and some read like parables or the dispensation of wisdom. No matter the thematic approach, each story is smart and richly written. The Mutation of Fortune is definitely unlike anything I’ve read before, and brings a really fresh perspective to a well established genre.

4. Caroline Picard, the book’s publisher, had a great conversation with Erica Adams about The Mutation of Fortune, how it came about, and the book’s thematic elements. It is a really insightful interview and I loved learning more about the project in the writer/artist’s own words. Adams talks about her experience with the sense of danger that pervades the book:

With fairy tales, there’s usually a terrible thing that happens, like a father who wants to marry his daughter or someone being put into a barrel full of nails and tossed into the ocean. I think our mind’s ability to fill in the details– the cramped space of the barrel, the O of the screaming mouth– is what makes danger present for us, as readers. I have always wanted to tread lightly in writing stories; let the reader participate by adding those details that come from their own past. What elements of our personal psychic heritage do we bring as readers? That’s an exciting space, the intimacy of fleshing out a story in your mind.

5. I’m giving away a copy of this book. If you’d like to be entered into the random drawing (I’ll assign each participant a number and use a random generator), leave a comment between now and next Friday, 6/17 at 5 p.m., sharing your favorite fairy tale and why you like it.

5b. This book has a limited run of 500. Don’t miss out on a chance to get your hands on this beautiful book. The Mutation of Fortune is really quite memorable.

ETA: The winner of the free copy of this lovely book is Liam Harkin!

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