Tag Archives: Peter Pan

Tesseracts 17 Interview: Rhonda Parrish

anthology, speculative fiction, SF, fantasy, Canadian authors

Tesseracts 17 is now out with tales from Canadian writers that span all times and places.

Rhonda is another of the Alberta authors, with her tale “Bedtime Story.” Tesseracts 17 is now availble in stores and through Amazon.

CA: “Bedtime Story” captured the imagination of a child well, like Peter Pan did, but in a way it goes farther underground and into darkness. Do you think this is a story that could be told to children?

I suppose it would depend on the child but for the most part I would say no. Parts of the story are pretty subtle and other parts rather dark. That being said my daughter would have loved this story when she was young, but I suspect she would be more the exception than the rule.

CA: What element was the most important for you to explore in this tale and are you still exploring it?

You know, I’m not even sure. As cliche as it sounds, this story, or at least a large part of it, came to me as a dream. I took notes as soon as I woke up and I let my subconscious chew on it for a good long time before I put pen to paper but even so I’m not completely sure just yet what my dreaming mind was working through when it brewed up “Bedtime Story.” Give me another year or two and then ask me again, I may know the answer by then. 😉

Tesseracts 17, Bedtime Story, fantasy, speculative fiction

Rhonda Parrish’s “Bedtime Story” delicately balances darkness and the otherworld.

CA: Fairy tales that go back centuries have heroes, or the little man who triumphs over greater odds. Whether it is a simple hobbit and a powerful ring, Jack and the Beanstalk or Harry Potter and Voldemort, it is the will or intelligence that perseveres. Your character is connected to just such a tale, yet she does not directly face those greater odds. Why did you choose to approach it from this angle?

I feel bad because I’d love to have a deep philosophical or some sort of incredibly clever reason for choosing to approach this story from the angle I did, but the truth is, I felt that if I took a more direct route to tell the story, if I picked a different point of view, for example, then it would end up as a novel. At that point in time I didn’t want to write a novel, I wanted to write a short story, so I decided to tell it from Clara’s point of view.

CA: What themes are you exploring right now and will we see Clara again?

I’m working on a large variety of projects these days, with diverse themes. One idea which seems to come up again and again however is that things are not always what they seem. And, when I think about it, I suppose that might be one of the things I was touching on with “Bedtime Story.” Maybe. 🙂

As for Clara… I’m not sure. I would love for you to see her again, I’m pretty fond of her, and the world she inhabits so I wouldn’t mind revisiting it. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if the sandman decides to bring me any more nocturnal inspiration.

Rhonda Parrish is a master procrastinator and nap connoisseur but despite that she somehow manages a full professional life. She has been the publisher and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine for over five years now (which is like 25 years in internet time) and is the editor of the forthcoming benefit anthology, Metastasis. In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been included or is forthcoming in dozens of publications including Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast and Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing. Her website, updated weekly, is at http://www.rhondaparrish.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RhondaParrish
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rhonda.parrish.31

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Cruise Ship Comparison: Norwegian and Carnivale

I have now had the opportunity to take two four-day cruises; one to the Bahamas and one repositioning cruise up the coast from LA to Vancouver. These cruises have confirmed that I am not in any way a cruise person.There is just way too much time on a boat than out seeing the sites. If you like doing things in a hotel, that’s what a cruise ship is; a grand hotel with shows, casino, bars and restaurants, and a small pool/hot tub.

The two cruise ships were Carnivale and Norwegian for the Bahamas and North American coast respectively. The Carnivale ship was older and as one of my friends said about the decor, “It looks as if a gay fashion designer took acid and threw up all over the place.” The decor was very date and garish with green, yellow and gold decorations (and then tacky Christmas decorations on top of that). Chairs and design overall were date. Norwegian’s cruise ship (the Sun) is only ten years old and is fairly tasteful with wood accents.

Both ships have small outdoor pools and hot tubs (I think). Carnivale had assigned seating for dinners. The problem with this was that you were always sat with the same people and whether you got along or not, you didn’t get a chance to meet new people. However, the meals were excellent and definitely top of the line in desserts and in flavors. The other choice was the ongoing buffet for late night munchies or fast food stuff, which was mediocre.

Norwegian boasted thirteen restaurants, freestyle dining (you sit when you want to) and lobster. The reality turned out to be five restaurants that had an extra cover charge ($10-$25) and then on top of that there was often an extra $10 for any food of quality on the menu. Three restaurants seemed to be the same buffet, which was mediocre, with two (the Four Seasons and the Seven Seas) having the same menu. There was a pasta/pizzeria buffet (with dinners in the evening) and a Mexican tapas bar with only light items. When you count up the restaurants available without spooning out more money, the number goes way down. Oh, and lobster, well yes, they did have it at the other main restaurant. I had to send mine back because it was mushy (and half a tail). Other meals were dry or bland, with a shrimp bisque being so salty it was inedible. Desserts were kind of what you’d expect Mom to cook. Overall, Norwegian’s food was disappointing and middle of the road.

Extra costs are something cruise lines don’t always tell you about up front. Norwegian certainly did not advertise they had restaurants asking extra charges on their website. They also charge $12/day per person for gratuities to the staff while Carnivale charged $10/day (that cruise was about three years ago so prices may have changed). Booze is never included but Norwegian also added in an “autogratuity.”

Carnivale’s entertainment contained a song and dance number and maybe other things I don’t remember. All their bars had the same 70/80’s music and nothing but rap being played in the one disco every single night. Most of their “socials” saw no one going to them and the music was not that good.

Norwegian had a preview night of a comedian, some music and a woman gymnast doing a nautical number using the silks (two long pieces of fabric suspended from the ceiling in which various moves, spins and drops are done). It was beautiful, well executed and worth watching again. On the second night they had a musical adaptation of Peter Pan (called “Pan”) which had few words and was very well done in dance. I enjoyed it a lot. The following night had a guy from Vegas (George Solomon) who had a great voice but it was very old style Vegas, and a magician from Montreal, Jean-Paul (not sure if that’s his last name or not) who mixed comedy with his tricks. He was good even if he played up the creepy stalker jokes just a bit too much.

The musicians in the various bars, including a lovely Observation Deck (enclosed) with views of the ocean, were good and varied, compared to Carnivale’s mediocre music. Norwegian did seem to have better success in social gatherings, including people in the disco. This included having the comedian in there one night and having the dancers come in to kick off another party, mostly to sell more alcohol.

The staterooms weren’t bad in either ship. However the beds were more spacious in Norwegian but uncomfortable. I tend to have back issues and though my back had been okay before the trip I was definitely in pain afterwards. Both ships had casinos, duty frees and art galleries. Having been duped into the free piece of art in the Carnivale cruise (which meant I couldn’t carry it away but they had to ship it for an exorbitant cost of $40–I told them to keep it) I steered away from Norwegian’s, especially after they said they were the originators. Nothing, truly, is free.

All in all, it wasn’t anything I’d do again. I’d rather fly to the place and stay in a land hotel where I can get out when I want. And if I want a casino I’ll just go to one. I can see how it would be good for families and for elderly people who may get tired faster. For some people, they loved the games, and the whole gestalt water hotel experience, but for me it was being stuck in one place too long.

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