Fairy-Tale Files, published once weekly, feature three variations of a fairy tale chosen by one of Fairy Tale Review’s editors, interns, or past contributors.
The story “Henny Penny,” or perhaps better-known to U.S. residents as “Chicken Little,” is one of the earliest folktales that deal rather explicitly with the potential end of the world, with a little bit of humor and charm to boot. Our rather concerned and comical cast of characters—Henny-Penny, Cocky-Locky, Ducky-Daddles, Goosey-Poosey, and Turkey-Lurkey—are on their way to warn the king about the sky, which is a-falling, until they stumble into Foxy-Woxy, who says he knows a shortcut. Of course, we know that’s not the case, and Foxy-Woxy manages to get a few clean decapitations in before Henny-Penny hightails it back home, end of the world be damned.
The classic American film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb lends a little of the same black humor to the era of mutually assured destruction. The Stanley Kubrick film recounts the satirical story of one Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper (ha) on his one-man quest to drop an atomic bomb on the Soviet Union, claiming the Soviets have polluted the “precious bodily fluids” of Americans. Meanwhile, the U.S. president and other diplomats scramble to stop what could mean the end of humanity. Cut to the famous scene depicted above.
Released only last week, the video game Fallout 4 brings players into a version of Boston, Massachusetts devastated by nuclear war—in fact, brings them into the Boston of 2287, which is brimming with two-headed giant deer, “Super Mutants,” and the somewhat adorable Protectron robots, as depicted above. The game’s uses satire not unlike Dr. Strangelove, creating a world based on post-World War 2 visuals of American suburbia and the white-picketed elite. Bad news for the player’s avatar, though, who has actually just woken up from a 210-year cryogenic slumber to see his/her spouse murdered and his/her child kidnapped for unknown purposes. There’s just no hightailing it away from that one.
This edition of Fairy-Tale Files is brought to you by Fairy Tale Review managing editor Joel Hans.