This week, March 19th to 25th, is World Folktales and Fables Week! Duck Prints Press is celebrating with two blog posts: yesterday’s, which focused on the folktales, fables, and myths that influenced us as creators, and today’s, about our favorite folktale-inspired fiction (queer and otherwise).
Two Hands, Wrapped in Gold by S.B. Divya (suggested by Dei)
This past year I read this story in Uncanny Magazine Issue 46, and it’s really stuck with me. It’s a retelling of a folktale very familiar to many Westerners, and the changes made turn it into a very compelling new story all on its own. No spoilers on what story it is, but suffice to say it takes a new perspective and I love this piece to bits.
Once & Future by Cory McCarthy and A. R. Capetta (suggested by Tris Lawrence)
I’m currently really enjoying the duology by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy which is an Arthurian retelling in space with a female Arthur and multiple queer rep. It’s YA, and it’s just… fun? I love how it played with the the known pieces, and plays with Merlin’s aging backwards, and works to both fit within the expected and turn things around at the same time.
I’ve finished Once & Future (in Space) and just received Sword in the Stars (confronting the past) and can’t wait to get to read it after I finish what I’m already reading.
One For the Morning Glory by John Barnes (suggested by Nina Waters)
My favorite folktale-inspired book is John Barnes’s One for the Morning Glory. It’s just beautiful.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (suggested by Owlish)
Unfortunately, it does have a major character death because…well… Achilles. It is so beautifully written, though.
Burning Roses by S. L. Huang (suggested by Shadaras)
This novella takes inspiration from the fairytale Red Riding Hood and the legend of Hou Yi (as well as other classic Germanic fairy tales and Chinese legends!), and imagines both of those characters as middle-aged women uncertain of their place in the world. They travel together, fighting monsters, and tell each other about their youths and families (both of them have wives and children). The ending is happy, but the path there takes time and reflection from everyone involved. I love it because of how it blends two wholly separate mythologies together into one cohesive world, as well as for showing what might happen after the stories we know end.
The Book of Gothel by Mary McMyne (suggested by Owlish)
It’s a feminist retelling of Repunzel from the point of view of Mother Gothel setting her story straight.
Robin McKinley’s Fairy Tale Novels (suggested by E C)
Robin McKinley’s fairy tale novels are beautifully written (but sometimes brutal) retellings of some classic stories.
Guardian/Zhen Hun/镇魂 by Priest (suggested by boneturtle)
A danmei featuring humans, ghosts, demons, zombie kings, and all sorts of otherworldly creatures all wrapped up in an apocalyptic chinese folktale mashup from the master herself. taught me that 1) you are allowed to play with your own mythology, 2) fairytales are gay, 3) the apocalypse isn’t the end, just another spin of the wheel.
October Daye Series by Seanan McGuire (suggested by Sebastian Marie)
I love this series, there’s like eleven books, the first being Rosemary and Rue. They’re inspired by Irish folklore concerning the Faerie people.
Ash by Malinda Lo (suggested by E C)
“Ash” by Malinda Lo is a very queer Cinderella retelling.
Shubeik Lubeik by Deena Mohamed (suggested by Adrian Harley)
A gorgeous graphic novel of the modern world, but where wishes are a commodity, bought, sold, and processed. The graphic novel follows three people who come into possession of a “first-class” wish and their intertwining tales. It’s a beautiful exploration on a global and personal scale (what does colonialism look like in this world? How does law enforcement treat those who are seen as unworthy of having wishes? But also, if you’re a queer college student with major depression, what do you wish for to fix the mountain you feel crushing you? Are you even worthy of a wish?)—and it’s also really funny! I cannot say enough good things about this book, because I discovered it by chance on my library shelf last month and want everyone to know about it.
The Lunar Chronicles Series by Marissa Meyer (suggested by E C)
It’s sci-fi that brings Cinderella, Snow White, Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel characters into the same universe.
Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente (suggested by Anonymous)
[[[A retelling of a Russian folk tale about Koschei the Deathless.]]]
Saiyuki by Kazuya Minekura (suggested by Anonymous)
It’s a manga with a distinctly retro anime-style retelling of the Journey to the West that bluntly confronts themes of loss, grief, redemption, and the long, long road to admitting you care about other people. It’s been on and off hiatus for years due to the author’s poor health, but I still adore it. This series taught me that it’s the journey that matters, not the destination.
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (an inspiration to multiple people, suggested by multiple people)
When we asked our contributors to suggest the folktales and fables that inspired them, and their favorite folktale-inspired stories, The Mists of Avalon ended up getting nominated in both categories!
boneturtle said: retelling of Arthurian legend from Morgana’s POV. Not explicitly queer but features the women of the story with the men as sort of incidental, and given to me by my bi friend who said it helped her understand her own sexuality. and it’s beautifully, beautifully written.
There’s a wonderful number of fiction stories, novellas, novels, and series inspired by folktales and fables, and a growing number of those are queer. Have you got a favorite we didn’t mention? We’d love to hear about it!!
Who we are: Duck Prints Press LLC is an independent publisher based in New York State. Our founding vision is to help fanfiction authors navigate the complex process of bringing their original works from first draft to print, culminating in publishing their work under our imprint. We are particularly dedicated to working with queer authors and publishing stories featuring characters from across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. Love what we do? Want to make sure you don’t miss the announcement for future giveaways? Sign up for our monthly newsletter and get previews, behind-the-scenes information, coupons, and more!