Posted on Leave a comment

Duck Prints Press Celebrates Folktales and Fables Week with Our Favorite Folktale-Inspired (often Queer) Fiction

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.


Bonus!

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!

Want to support the Press, read about us behind-the-scenes, learn about what’s coming down the pipeline, get exclusive teasers, and claim free stories? Back us on Patreon or ko-fi monthly!

Posted on Leave a comment

Celebrate World Folktales and Fables Week with 10 of Our Favorite Folktale Collections

This week, March 19th to 25th, is World Folktales and Fables Week! Duck Prints Press is celebrating with two blog posts: today’s, which focuses on the folktales, fables, and myths that influenced us as creators, and tomorrow’s, about our favorite folktale-inspired fiction (queer and otherwise).

Love folktales and fables? Join us now and learn about the ones we love – some you may know, some you may not!

D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri d’Aulaire & Edgar Parin d’Aulaire (an inspiration for Shadaras)

The first book that comes to mind is D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths (I had to look up the title, but the cover is burned into my memory). While there may be other collections of fairytales and folklore that struck me, this is one of the first ones I read, and it set the stage for my love of mythology in general.


The True Story of the Three Little Pigs! by Jon Scieszka & Lane Smith (an inspiration for Veronica Sanders)

I remember being really inspired by the genre of “a well-known story told from a different perspective” after reading the Jon Scieszka/Lane Smith books in 2nd grade, like The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. I always really liked thinking about folktales and fables from the POV of the “villain.”


Folktale-Inspired Disney Films (an inspiration for Adrian Harley)

I was a Disney-loving child of the 90s, so I am still unpacking the ways that shaped my view of folk stories, stories as a whole, and the world—and reconciling the positive ways these stories shaped me vs. the harms of the Disney corporation.


The Onion Girl (and other stories) by Charles de Lint (an inspiration for Anonymous)

He did an amazing job of blending American and European folklore with ordinary life in all its highs and lows. I don’t know if I could point to a specific story that’s retelling any one folktale, but I can absolutely point to the author as a whole for his folkloric style and tender exploration of magic, queerness, and being outcast. He helped invent the Mythic Fiction subgenre. The Onion Girl lives in my head rent-free.


Folktales of the Amur: Stories from the Russian Far East by Dmitri Nagishkin (an inspiration for Nina Waters)

A collection of eastern Russian folktales that really had a huge impact on me. 30+ years on from when I read them, I honestly couldn’t relate a single one of the stories, but they burrowed so deep into my psyche that when I imagine “folktales that really mattered to me” the first image that comes to mind is the cover. The art throughout the book is just absolutely gorgeous.


The Rose-Beauty – a Turkish Fairy Tale (an inspiration for Alessa Riel)

This is a Turkish fairytale that impressed me because it was cruel even for a fairytale. It‘s about a young woman who is blessed from birth to grow roses in her hair, cry pearls and grow grass wherever she walks and the cruel fate she is dealt because people are jealous of her gifts. It has a happy ending but only just.


A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz (an inspiration for Sebastian Marie)

It had a HUGE influence on me as a kid, for two main reasons. One, the events of a lot of European fairytales are told as happening to the same two kids and their parents, which creates a really interesting story structure. Two, it’s unabashedly mean and gory and cruel and well, dark and grim. It says that sometimes people are terrible and sometimes bad things happen to decent people. It’s one of the things that made me want to write fairy tales, or at least stories that are a bit gruesome and meant to be told to children.


The Swan-Maiden – a fairy tale (an inspiration for Alessa Riel)

This is a variant of the selkie tale as far as I can tell, only that the women don‘t turn into seals but beautiful swans. It was the version of the lore I first encountered and the unfairness of the women being forced to marry their captor and abuser and then also being cursed for abandoning the children these men forced onto them always resonated deeply with me.


The Blue Light by The Brothers Grimm (an inspiration for Alessa Riel)

In this fairytale a veteran soldier is unjustly treated by the king and then a witch sets him three challenges. The third one is getting her a blue light from a deep well. He refuses to give her the light and she drops him into the well along with the light. It turns out the light can fulfill wishes. Up to this part the veteran looks like a sympathetic person, but he uses those wishes to have the princess dragged to his room three nights in a row to do his bidding against her will. He is finally found out and sentenced to death for this transgression but manages to escape that fate by using the blue light and he gets the kingdom and the princess to boot. I always found this supremely unfair.


Egyptian Mythology (an inspiration for Dei Walker)

I think one of the first books of folktales, legends, or fairy tales I can remember reading repeatedly is a copy of Egyptian myths and legends I used to get out of my local public library when I was young. It was already an old edition in the 1980s and its pages were yellowed, but I would borrow it regularly and lose myself in the stories of life and (un)death along the Nile.


What are some folktales and fables that have inspired YOU? We’d love to hear about them, and maybe find some classical stories to add to our To Be Read piles!

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!

Want to support the Press, read about us behind-the-scenes, learn about what’s coming down the pipeline, get exclusive teasers, and claim free stories? Back us on Patreon or ko-fi monthly!

Posted on Leave a comment

Celebrate Aromantic Awareness Week with Our 8 Favorite Books with Aro Characters!

To celebrate #aromanticawarenessweek, we asked our contributors (some of whom chose to remain anonymous) to recommend their favorite books with aromantic characters (some explicit, some implied).

Here are our 8 favorites!


Loveless by Alice Oseman
This is the funny, honest, messy, completely relatable story of Georgia, who doesn’t understand why she can’t crush and kiss and make out like her friends do. She’s surrounded by the narrative that dating + sex = love. It’s not until she gets to college that she discovers the A range of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum — coming to understand herself as asexual/aromantic. Disrupting the narrative that she’s been told since birth isn’t easy — there are many mistakes along the way to inviting people into a newly found articulation of an always-known part of your identity. But Georgia’s determined to get her life right, with the help of (and despite the major drama of) her friends.


Commit to the Kick by Tris Lawrence
For eighteen years, Alaric has lived under the cloying politics of family and his Clan community. His freshman year is supposed to be a chance to explore a world where Clan and his shapeshifting Talent isn’t central to his life. But when his inner bear bursts forth during his first football game, endangering those around him, Alaric realizes that it’s not so easy to ignore his past, or his own internalized anger.

In his quest for anger management, Alaric begins to train in taekwondo, and makes new friends in both sports. He finds that he is creating his own small community, where Clan, Mages, other Talents, and even humans come together and build their own found family.


When Alaric receives news that something has happened to his brother Orson, he must return and deal with his Clan and his place in their world. He discovers that old prejudices are still strong between Clan and Mage communities, but that both may be in danger from a creature long thought to be only a legend. Alaric must figure out how to move forward and prevent a war and protect both his home and newly built communities, his found family with him every step of the way.


The Graverobbers’ Chronicles by Xu Lei
Uncle Three loves good food, good booze, good card games, and bad women–and he’s never found a grave he wouldn’t rob. He can’t help it – it’s in his blood – grave robbing has been the family business for centuries. So when his bookseller nephew comes to him with a map to an ancient tomb, Uncle Three sets off to find it, in the company of some grave-robbing colleagues, his nerdy nephew, and a strange poker-faced guy that nobody can quite figure out. Uncle Three knows that the grave he seeks will lead him and his companions to “another kind of world,” but not even he could ever imagine what they are about to find. Lost in a labyrinthine cavern that is full of dead bodies, Uncle Three and his comrades fight for their lives as they come up against vampires, corpse-eating bugs, and blood zombies.


The Devil’s Luck by L. S. Baird
Years ago, a foolish wastrel once played a hand of cards with the devil… and lost. Now Frey has inherited his uncle’s double curse: the Devil’s claim written on his body in crimson letters, and the impossibly good luck that comes with it. Death is Frey’s only escape from his destiny, but not even Etienne, an expert assassin from the Order of the Crimson Seal, can defeat Frey’s luck alone. And when Etienne finds himself growing too fond of his victim, he doesn’t know if Frey’s good nature or the luck is to blame. However, Etienne will give his all to preventing the Archdemon’s return, even if his all includes wearing a corset, and killing a friend.


All Systems Red by Martha Wells
In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety. But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid – a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is. But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.


In Good Company by Nicola Kapron
Haruki no longer remembered what had been going through his head the first time he’d killed. All he recalled was the sight of those he’d once loved with all the helpless force of a scared, scarred child covered in red and utterly still. He hadn’t felt grief or triumph when he realized they weren’t struggling anymore. He’d just felt—

Empty.

Better to be hollow than to despair.


Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel
I was born on the full moon under an auspicious constellation, the holiest of positions–much good it did me.

So begins Kaikeyi’s story. The only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya, she is raised on legends of the gods: how they churned the vast ocean to obtain the nectar of immortality, how they vanquish evil and ensure the land of Bharat prospers, and how they offer powerful boons to the devout and the wise. Yet she watches as her father unceremoniously banishes her mother, listens as her own worth is reduced to how great a marriage alliance she can secure. And when she calls upon the gods for help, they never seem to hear.

Desperate for some measure of independence, she turns to the texts she once read with her mother and discovers a magic that is hers alone. With this power, Kaikeyi transforms herself from an overlooked princess into a warrior, diplomat, and most favored queen, determined to carve a better world for herself and the women around her.

But as the evil from her childhood tales threatens the cosmic order, the path she has forged clashes with the destiny the gods have chosen for her family. Kaikeyi must decide if resistance is worth the destruction it will wreak–and what legacy she intends to leave behind.


Firebreak by Nicole Kornher-Stace
New Liberty City, 2134.

Two corporations have replaced the US, splitting the country’s remaining forty-five states (five have been submerged under the ocean) between them: Stellaxis Innovations and Greenleaf. There are nine supercities within the continental US, and New Liberty City is the only amalgamated city split between the two megacorps, and thus at a perpetual state of civil war as the feeds broadcast the atrocities committed by each side.

Here, Mallory streams Stellaxis’s wargame, SecOps on BestLife, spending more time jacked in than in the world just to eke out a hardscrabble living from tips. When a chance encounter with one of the game’s rare super-soldiers leads to a side job for Mal–looking to link an actual missing girl to one of the SecOps characters. Mal’s sudden burst in online fame rivals her deepening fear of what she is uncovering about BestLife’s developer, and puts her in the kind of danger she’s only experienced through her avatar.


Recommendations contributed by Nina Waters, softestpunk, Adrian Harley, and others.


Also: did you know? Duck Prints Press’s owner, Nina Waters, is aro! We’re an aro-owned company!

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! Want to support the Press, read about us behind-the-scenes, learn about what’s coming down the pipeline, get exclusive teasers, and claim free stories? Back us on Patreon or ko-fi monthly!

Posted on Leave a comment

How to Support Chinese Authors of Queer Fiction by Buying Their Work on JJWXC

I have strep throat, so our regular blogging schedule is having an interruption. Instead, here’s a blog post I wrote for my personal account a couple years ago. The original link is here. I’ve x-ed out things that are no longer relevant/accurate and added a little information.

So, English-Speaking Danmei Fandom, You Want to Support Authors…

…and so do I, so here’s my dumb white English-more-or-less-only (I speak a small amount of Japanese…it vaguely sort of kind of helps) speaking ass, doing a little homework that hopefully will help others? This is not exhaustive, not complete, not better than resources others have made, but I checked things I personally cared about, and since I’ve done the research, I figure I might as well toss the info out into the wild.

First – as Suika linked, HERE IS AN AMAZING GUIDE TO HELP YOU MAKE A JJWXC ACCOUNT and it teaches you how to use it. It was created by Shoko Translates and it’s incredibly clear and easy to use and you should use it and trust anything they say over literally anything in this post, because I only have the vaguest idea what I’m talking about but they know their shit.

Google translate on Chrome works decently to make the site English…but doesn’t work well in any other respect; overall it functions WAY better on Firefox even if it’s umpteen times harder to figure out what anything says.

Use the guide to make your account; I couldn’t get it to successfully send my phone a text, but I had zero problems when I switched to e-mail. Chrome translate is definitely easier for making the actual account, but then it’s better to switch.

Once you’ve got the account and you log in…

image

…so, I have no idea what either of those two I’ve circled say (USE THE LINKED GUIDE, IT’LL TELL YOU) but I know that if you click either of them, you get a huge list of authors and book titles, with genre notes, hits, publication date, etc. More importantly, you get a search bar – you can see it right below my silly black circle.

Congratulations, you can now find the things you want to support using search! The first option in the search drop down is book, and it brings up the actual book but also a lot of superfluous stuff. I had way better luck searching by author, which is the second option on the drop down menu.

Now that you know how to search – when I sat down with this today, my goal wasn’t yet to actually pay for anything, I just wanted a sense of how many points things would cost, and I wanted to be able to look that up. So, that’s this post’s goal, and sorry I’m a little disjointed in presenting that out, I got like no sleep last night. Anyway. The point is, based on that link I provided (DID YOU USE IT YET? YOU SHOULD):

10,000 points on JJWXC cost approximately USD 17. Convert as needed for your own currency. Or, one point costs 0.17 cents. (To be clear: that’s about 2 tenths of a cent, not 17 cents.)

With that basic conversion, once you have an account, you can see how many points things cost, and therefore calculate how much they’d cost you in $$$ to support the author. Anyway, I haven’t actually figured out ANY of the money parts of this yet, because I wanted to figure out how many points the books I would want to support were before I even attempted money stuff. My thinking with this post was – if you, like me, were holding back cause you were wondering about expense…well, here, have some answers about expense, and probably in a day or four I’ll sit down and try to figure out the money part, and I’ll do another post then. Or, you can just use that guide I linked. Cause that’s what I’m going to do.

So, what/who do you want to support?

Priest (search for author: priest)

  • 镇魂 (Zhen Hun/Guardian). Point cost: 1,742. In USD: $2.96 (Censors removed this from JJWXC but it’ll be coming out in English translation later in 2023)
  • 天涯客 (Tian Ya Ke/Faraway Wanderers/Word of Honor). Point cost: 943. In USD: $1.60
  • 有匪 (You Fei/Legend of Fei). Point cost: 3,031. In USD: $5.15
  • 默读 (Mo Du). Point cost: 3,506. In USD: $5.96
  • 杀破狼 (Sha Po Lang). Point cost: 2,673. In USD: $4.54 (This will be coming out in English translation later in 2023)
  • 七爷 (Qi Ye/Lord Seventh). Point cost: 934. In USD: $1.59
  • (This is not an exhaustive list, but you can search for others – the Priest Wikipedia page gives a full list of Chinese names, translations, adaptations, etc.)

墨香铜臭 (Mo Xiang Tong Xiu, search for author: 墨香铜臭)

  • All MXTX works have been removed/censored from JJWXC since I originally wrote this post, but they’re now all available in official English translations and in many other languages as well.

肉包不吃肉 (Rou Bao Bu Chi Rou/Meatbun Doesn’t Eat Meat, search for author: 肉包不吃肉)

  • 二哈和他的白猫师尊 (Er Ha He Ta De Bai Mao Shizun/The Husky and His White Cat Shizun/Hao Yixing/Immortality). Point cost: 7,246. In USD: $12.32 (Censors removed this from JJWXC but it’s being released in English)
  • 余污 (Yu Wu/Remnants of Filth). Point cost: 4,245. In USD: $7.22 (This will be coming out in English translation later in 2023)

梦溪石 (Meng Xi Shi, search for author: 梦溪石)

  • 千秋 (Qianqiu/Thousand Autumns). Point cost: 2,783. In USD: $4.73 (This will be coming out in English translation later in 2023)
  • (There are many others.)

漫漫何其多 (Man Man He Qi Duo, search for author: 漫漫何其多)

  • 当年万里觅封侯 (Dangnian Wanli Mi Feng Hou/Those Years in Quest of Honor Mine). Point cost: 1,551. In USD: $2.64
  • (Again, there are many others.)

I could go add titles for years, but, well, it’s my post, and these are the stories I was most interested in supporting personally. Doing ALL this research, AND writing it up for this post, took me less than an hour, and once you’re in the website and have bought points, you can select all chapters with a single click, it’ll tell you the final point cost, and with another click – bam, you’re done, you’ve bought the raws. You’ve supported the original creator. You’ve done what translators have been begging us to do for ages. And, if it’s a story that’s not all out yet – you’ve got the raws! You can mtl them! You can read them before the translators are done! Or, if you’ve got a fave author? You can read their work in progress! You can learn what’s coming next! Even without speaking Chinese (I don’t speak a word of Chinese!!!) there is NO DOWNSIDE HERE.

(also, can I point out how INCREDIBLY SMALL some of these dollar amounts are? Some of ya’ll are acting like this is bank-breaking, I mean seriously, COME ON.)

Google is your friend. Find the carrd for your fave. Copy and paste the author’s name in Chinese. Use the JJWXC search. Find the thing. Support it.

English danmei fandom, this is our chance to do better.

PLEASE, can we do fricken better??? It’s so easy. And so cheap. And these fandoms have brought so many of us so much joy.

Go forth, and do the thing.

I’m doing it.


I also wrote two follow-ups to this that I may or may not end up cross-posting to here.

How to Actually Buy The Thing Now That You’ve Found It

How to Order Print Chinese Books from Books TW


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!

Want to support the Press, read about us behind-the-scenes, learn about what’s coming down the pipeline, get exclusive teasers, and claim free stories? Back us on Patreon or ko-fi monthly!

Posted on Leave a comment

C-Novels Available in English Translation

Official artwork from the danmei novel “Thousand Autumns” by Meng Xi Shi.

Originally posted on unforth’s fandom blog “cnovelartreblogs.”

A few weeks ago, a few of my danmei-loving friends and I got to talking about how much there is that we want to read, but that none of us have been very organized about keeping track of titles, fantranslation links, etc.

So, we decided to make a spreadsheet.

AND to combine every link we’d each separately stashed around on that spreadsheet.

The result is a list of 73 titles (currently 70 are danmei, 2 are baihe, and 1 is gen, reflecting our personal interests/preferences) with links to translations, some complete, some not. (as of 2/5/23)

Love C-Novels? Especially danmei? Looking for something to read? Check it out!

Some notes:

  1. This is specifically for English translations from Chinese titles. Though some of the links do include other works (for example, some translators also do Japanese, and some Carrds list fantranslations in multiple languages), we’re English speakers who are interested in Chinese novels, so we focused on that.
  2. Currently, this is mostly basic information (titles, authors, links), with no summaries, genre tags, etc. We hope to ultimately expand it but that will be a lot of work and the information is already available at the provided NovelUpdates links, so we encourage you to use those.
  3. We make no claims that this list is exhaustive; while the first sheet lists the resources we had collectively already gathered, there’s a second sheet with things we know of and intend to add.
  4. We’ll try to keep links and such up-to-date but if you spot a problem please let me know!
  5. Know of something that’s not on the main list OR on the “to add” page? Please do send the info my way! Comments or ask box stuff will help.
  6. Note that to actually access the fantranslations, you’ll often need to take additional action to read them – you may need to request access, or get a password, etc. How to get this access is usually included on the pages.
  7. Known official translations are listed. We will not link fantranslations for titles that are out officially in English. Don’t send them. Don’t ask for them. We won’t help you pirate these titles.
  8. Don’t forget to thank and respect translators, and honor their wishes! Without fantranslators, we wouldn’t have all this amazing stuff to read in English, so THANK YOU FANTRANSLATORS!

GO FORTH, AND FIND YOUR NEW FAVORITE BOOK!

Posted on Leave a comment

How to Diversify Your To-Be-Read Pile

A guest post by Adrian Harley.

A new year brings with it new resolutions—and for many of us, that includes reading resolutions. It’s a truism that resolutions tend to fail. A local radio announcer here said that 67% of Americans have never completed a resolution in their life, and if you can’t trust a random local radio announcer in the mountains of North Carolina, who can you trust? 

I think part of the reason resolutions fail is they feel like work. And that’s especially a shame when it comes to reading resolutions. Reading is wonderful! Sitting down with a good book makes my heart sing, even when (especially when) the book makes me cry or rage at the injustice of the world or stare out the window wondering how I’ll ever be the same after reading it.

Thus, I’m afraid that resolutions to read more diversely don’t do justice to the wonder of diverse books. There are whole worlds out there that racism, homophobia, ableism, transphobia, anti-semitism, and other forms of bigotry keep from us. It’s amazing that we live in a time where we can peel back that dusty film between us and the wonders of reality.

That’s all well and good to say, of course, but how do you put that principle into practice? How do you resolve to read diversely without turning all that wonder into just another box to be ticked?

I think we can start by acknowledging that, as Danika Ellis puts it, “books” and “reading” are two different hobbies. 

Thinking about books, listening to reviews of books, browsing bookstores, talking about books…these are all, in some ways, the hobby of books. These funnel into the hobby of reading, but it’s not a one-to-one connection, as my piles of unread books can testify. (Both hobbies run into a third hobby of buying books, which is a topic for a different post.)

In the hobby of reading, you’ll run into limits, whether they be money, time, or the physical number of books you can carry from the library in one visit. The beauty of the hobby of books is its lack of limitations. You can dream big. This is the two-story library I would have in my home, were I rich as sin. This is the cozy window seat in which I would read this million-word fantasy series.

So, how do you diversifying your reading hobby in 2023? First, seek out diverse books in the infinite playground of books as a hobby. Search phrases like “Best fantasy by black authors,” “Best BIPOC-authored books of 2022,” “Most-anticipated queer fiction of 2023”… you get the idea. Browse them to find what sounds good to you. I keep a TBR list—have for almost 10 years—but you don’t need to keep a literal list (though you might find one helpful if you don’t already have it!). Make a wishlist on your preferred book-purchasing website. Remember the books that sing to you. You don’t need to have a responsible goal in mind, like a resolution or a book bingo, unless you want to give yourself that extra challenge. Pick books based on their covers, or because they have a cat in them, or whatever gets you interested.

When you incorporate diverse books into your book hobby, it transforms the reading hobby too. When you’re back in the real world with all its limits and you can only grab two books, you won’t think, “Oh, I really want the two books Brandon Sanderson has magicked into published existence this month, but I have to tick a checkbox.”  That way lies stacks of unread books chosen nearly at random solely because of the representation they contain or appear to contain. Instead, you will face the much better and much worse problem of thinking, “Oh, I really want the two books Brandon Sanderson has magicked up, but also Rust in the Root by Justina Ireland, but also Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, but also Dear Senthuran by Akwaeke Emezi…” 

(You think you know what it means to have too many books? You have not yet begun to comprehend too many books!)

Aside from the emotional turmoil of choosing between even more books when transitioning from your book hobby to your reading hobby, though, diversifying your book hobby has no downsides. It becomes part of your life. It lets you explore the world in full color.

And yes, it makes it easy and fun to read more diverse books. 


Want some additional support in figuring out ways to diversify your reading? Here’s some other blog posts we’ve done that relate, at least tangentially, to this topic!


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? Sign up for our monthly newsletter and get previews, behind-the-scenes information, coupons, and more.

Through the month of January, 2023, all new monthly backers on our Patreon and ko-fi can claim a merchandise freebie in addition to all their backer rewards – which, depending on your backer level, could include a free copy of this story! Why not take a peek at what we have to offer?

Posted on Leave a comment

Our Ten Favorite Sci-Fi Reads of 2022

To celebrate Science Fiction Day, which is today on January 2nd, 2022, we asked DPP contributors to recommend us their favorite science fiction that they read in 2022! And we got some really awesome answers… (all spelling/grammar is sic the original recommender 😀 )

The Red Scholar’s Wake by Aliette de Bodard. D. V. Morse’s recommendation: “lesbian pirates in space with lots of Vietnamese culture throughout. And so much more I want to say that I keep deleting because spoilers.”

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. Cap’s recommendation: “a ‘motley crew/found family on a perilous journey’ story that centers queer, poly, and otherwise non-traditional characters and relationships. Book 1 of a Hugo-winning series, female author.”

The Testing (The Testing Trilogy) by Joelle Charbonneau. Annabeth Lynch’s recommendation: “I absolutely loved it and I never see people talk about it. It’s distopian sci-fi.”

Threadbare (Storm Fronts Series) by Elle E. Ire. boneturtle’s recommendation: “an action-packed futuristic scifi story featuring ruthless mercenary and cyborg Vick, whom no one (including herself) believes is human, and her lover and handler Kelly, the only person who trusts her implicitly. A simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking lesbian romance that confronts the nature of love and humanity, and what it means to be the hero when you feel like the villain.”

Firebreak by Nicole Kornher-Stace. Adrian Harley’s recommendation: “one of my favorite books I read this year. It’s got a fun adventure setup about a VR gamer who starts discovering the truth behind the star NPCs of the VR game, PLUS the most chillingly plausible dystopia I’ve ever read, bar none, PLUS an aro/ace protagonist and a central platonic relationship.”

The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal. Dei Walker’s recommendation: “it’s The Thin Man in SPAAAACE with a heroine with chronic pain, a really deftly handled non-gender-binary selection of characters, and queer.”

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell. alec’s recommendation (without comment).

Scythe by Neal Shusterman. nottesilhouette’s recommendation: “the whole series has queer characters in it though the first book is really focused on like 5 people that are all kinda straight. and I am queer, and I like it.”

Global Examination by Mu Su Li. Nina Waters’s recommendation: “queer semi-dystopian vaguely sci-fi manhua shenanigans!”

The Martian by Andy Weir. Rascal Hartley’s recommendation: “not queer, but definitely one of my absolute favorite reads.”

What were YOUR favorite science fiction reads of 2022? We’d love to hear about them!

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? Sign up for our monthly newsletter and get previews, behind-the-scenes information, coupons, and more.

Posted on Leave a comment

Received Asks: How Did You Pick the Name You Create Under and What Influenced that Decision?

A collaboratively written post by multiple members of Duck Prints Press. The input of every individual author has been used and lightly edited with permission and credited in the way they’ve requested.

Two days ago, a member of Duck Prints Press posed the following questions to our blogging team:

  • Whether you publish under a pen name or your given name, what factored into your decision to use one or the other?
  • Was personal safety the primary reason behind deciding to use a pen name, or were there other reasons? 
  • If you use your given name, do you feel safe? 
  • What’s your advice for [creators] who are thinking about publishing original [work]? 

A number of us replied, and we all felt that the compiled responses would make a good post to share, as “whether or not to use a pen name” is a recurring question we often get in-server, and is likely one many of y’all out there thinking of publishing your original work have pondered as well. 

Do you publish under a pen name or use your given name, and what factors influenced your decision to use one or the other?

@arialerendeair: I publish under a pseudonym and always will! I decided to go with names that riff off my fanfic name (Aria Lerendeair) – Aria L. Deair (for non-erotica) and Aria D. Leren (for erotica) because I’ve built a community and wanted it to be a bit of an in-joke when they find/buy my content. If someone were to find the story organically – they might get the name reference, they might not. It’s a fun way to create not-separation between the names and have one for the different genres! 

boneturtle: I (try to) stay anonymous aside from necessary contracts because of personal safety as regards certain family members. I honestly don’t worry about strangers knowing who I am, but if I am aiming for anonymity I have to commit.

Annabeth Lynch: I use a pen name, but I plan on taking at least the first name as my legal name when possible. I won’t share that or my pen name with my family because 1) they don’t know I write, and I’m not content to share that with them at all, and 2) I don’t want them to know I’m queer. They likely wouldn’t be hellish about it but I would certainly be mocked. Also, now I live in the south and while I live in a liberal section because of the nearby colleges, the place I want to move after my husband’s schooling is ~liberal~ in a vague way but definitely not as good as where I am now. It’s one reason why I’m hesitant to try and get my books in bookstores that might want in-person events.

Dei Walker: I went with a pen name for the erotica I wrote for DPP (and I’ll keep with that), but the first name holds a link with my real name in some ways. My husband’s a teacher at a fairly prestigious private school, and there’s a degree of “yeah my wife writes smut” that’s okay with colleagues but isn’t okay if the parents find out about it if they use search engines to learn more about me.

Willa Blythe: I chose to use a pen name. One, my real name is kind of weirdly spelled and I don’t actually even use my first name because it is a very popular name from the 80s that my parents left a letter out of… I go by my middle name but I spell it differently than what’s on my birth certificate, and I’ve gone by this name since I was 18. Everyone in my life knows me as (NAME) save my family, and they know I go by that. It’s not a nickname, it’s my name, and that’s fine. 

Anonymous: I decided to use a pen name for two reasons: 1) my name is incomprehensible to English speakers – not only is it hard to pronounce, but it also uses special characters; 2) I’m a primary teacher in a small town where gossip goes wild (for example, when I decided to go part-time so I have more time for writing it was going around that I was pregnant ) so I don’t want anyone to find out that I’m queer and write queer romance. There are idiots out there who wouldn’t want me to teach their kids because of that. I eventually came up with a pen name that is a word play on my legal name so it still feels like me, and the people I want to know would recognize it as me but strangers are unlikely to make the connection.

Nina Waters ( @unforth ): I publish under a pen name because people always mispronounce my last name and my understanding is that it’s better to make a pen name people can pronounce. Back when I was still considering trad pub, I was planning to use multiple pen names so I could write across genres. Nina Waters was gonna be spec fic and romance, but I love historical drama type stuff too and like. Those sell better with a male name on them? So I was gonna use either C. P. Houck (so, my actual initials and last name) or Charles (or maybe Chuck) P. Houck, since Charles is a family name (my uncle, my grandfather, and my great grandfather on my dad’s side are all Charles’s). That all said, when I decided to go the small Press creation route instead, there was basically no way to keep my real name out of things since as the owner I have to put it on all official paperwork, which means it’s filed with the government and a matter of public record. Since anyone could access it, there didn’t seem to be much point in keeping it a secret/separate. 

Was personal safety the primary reason behind deciding to use a pen name? What other reasons influenced your decisions?

(some authors included their answers to this in their replies above)

Nina Waters: Not really, though I did originally concoct the Nina Waters name for a really silly version of personal safety? I was writing a thing based on my unrequited feelings for someone and I obviously couldn’t put that under my real name without risking them figuring it out, so I needed a pen name. I never did finish that project lmao and now I would never bother but the pen name stuck. 

arialerendeair: Part of [why I use a pen name] is because I was doxxed (and received threats) from a non-writing community almost a decade ago. I’m not afraid of attaching my real name to my works – I’m proud of them! But with the very real possibility of that happening again at some point in the future, I didn’t want to risk it!

Willa Blythe: There was an additional reason that using a pen name was important to me, though. When I wrote fan fiction, I was the victim of a targeted hate campaign aimed at people who wrote fanfiction about a certain character. I wrote fic that I loved and I stayed in my corner, but I got aggressive and hateful messages constantly about not only myself but also my young son, for the crime of choosing to write about a young man of color instead of the overwhelmingly popular white m/m ship in that fandom. It was alarming, especially when people I didn’t know sent me messages about my workplace and my movements there. Prior to that, I’d been pretty open online. I’m not now. I take doxxing very seriously. My son’s safety, but also my own and my roommate’s, are of huge importance. I write about things people don’t love: complicated queer relationships, critiques of capitalism and white supremacy, critiques of religion and spiritual practices, etc. I have to do what is necessary to create distance between my real life, my fandom life, and my writing life. That said… I’ve done more to separate my fandom and writing identities than my real and writing identities, for a variety of reasons. It’s complicated, but as much as I love fandom, it does breed a certain kind of entitlement that my personal friends and family just don’t have.

If you use your given name, do you feel safe?

@owlishintergalactic: My wife and I had a huge conversation about the implications of me writing under my wallet name. I am quite politically involved in the Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education sectors in my county and state. This is a sector where being openly LGBTQ can cause problems with a particular subset of parents and voters. Yet, we don’t believe we should have to hide who we are and that we are LGBTQ – like many other parents in our state. We decided, in the end, that since I don’t write anything more racy than “mature,” it makes sense to build my platform using my real name. My writing is a part of me. It is a part of my advocacy. It’s my profession. But it is a risk, and it’s mitigated some because I live in one of the most open and inclusive communities in the US. For the most part, though, I do almost all of my online work under a variation of Owlish because it creates a layer of protection between me and the internet masses who don’t always have the best intentions.

Nina Waters: I. uh. Mostly? I definitely worry about it. I’ve been thinking about getting a P. O. Box for the business so I at least don’t have to use my real address all the time too. I worry that if someone took offense to the kind of work I do, they could go after my children, and that scares the crap out of me. In retrospect I wish I’d worked a little harder to keep my identities separate, but they were already mostly merged by the time I had kids and I’d have had to completely restart with new screen names and everything, so it felt like it was already too late by the time the business became public.

What’s your advice for [creators] who are thinking about publishing original [work]?

Nina Waters: The advice I give to people in the Press is if they’re even a LITTLE unsure, they should use a pen name. At any time when they decide they’re comfortable they can always switch to using their real name, but once the genie’s out of the bottle there’s no putting it back.

arialerendeair: There are a great many reasons to choose to use a pseud! For your own personal reasons, for reasons involving your spouse, your family, your activism work, because the internet is a scary place sometimes and many grew up in the web safety diligence era. If you are picking up a pseud for any reason at all – great! They can be fun, they can be punny, (is it a coincidence that D is the middle initial for my pseud that I write erotica under? Nope!) and they can be a chance to reinvent yourself for an audience that doesn’t know you yet. There’s a power in being able to shape a persona – and sometimes it’s fun to grab that and see where it leads!

*

Do you – yes, you, the person reading this! – use a pen name for publishing your art, fiction, or other types of creations? Have you kept your fandom, creation, and meatspace selves separate? We’d love to hear your answers to the above questions, so feel free to comment and weigh in!

*

Have a question? Feel free to drop us an ask any time!

Want to support what we do and get access to extras and behind-the-scenes information? Back us on Patreon or ko-fi!

Posted on Leave a comment

Celebrate Pride by Learning About Ten Queer Independent Publishers!

This week, we’re spotlighting other queer, independent presses out there – some queer-owned, some focusing on publishing queer stories, some both. Take a look below – and if you know another press that’s not on the list, add it in the reblogs! The more queer publishers, the better. 😀

Brown Recluse Zine Distro is a collectively run organization created to support and center zines by queer and trans people of color. Check out their shop for zines on dozens of topics, from personal reflection to political organizing.

Zombies Need Brains has been publishing themed anthologies for 10 years, and, this summer, they’re expanding to publish two short stories per month through their Patreon. Their next anthology’s theme will be announced in July; in the meantime, you can also pick up their previous anthologies and other ebooks in their store

Interlude Press and their YA imprint, Duet Books, have published more than 90 works of LGBTQ+ fiction across genres. Their catalog is full of award-winners, and with the plethora of genres, they offer something for everyone.

All Worlds Wayfarer, a quarterly speculative literary magazine, has recently started producing themed anthologies as well. Their latest, Prismatic Dreams, contains 30 sci-fi, fantasy, and horror short stories with queer protagonists.

Speculatively Queer “publishes speculative stories about queer hope, joy, love, affirmation, and community.” It Gets Even Better: Stories About Queer Possibility is available now, and Xenocultivars: Stories of Queer Growth is available for preorder.

Renaissance Press publishes diverse Canadian voices across genres. Their latest release is AfriCANthology: Perspectives of Black Canadian Poets. 

Microcosm Publishing is a Portland-based publisher founded in 1996 to focus “on … the experiences of what it is like to be a marginalized person.” They especially focus on publishing work by women. They’ve currently got a Kickstarter running for their next title, “Unf*ck Your Grief.”

OFIC Mag is a small, new press focused on publishing a quarterly anthology featuring original stories and art by fanauthors and fanartists. They recently opened their third edition to submissions.

Ylva Publishing focusing on stories about women loving women, with an emphasis on diversity. They’re woman-owned and cross-genre, releasing everything from mysteries to romance to historical to erotica. They also publish YA titles!

Atthis Arts Indie Publishing is a small press named after a character from Sappho’s poetry. They are especially interested in publishing works by members of underrepresented groups.

Bonus! An 11th Press

Space Wizard Science Fantasy, an indie press focused on queer sci-fi and fantasy, is just getting started. They’ve launched a Year 1 Kickstarter, featuring a number of titles they are working on, and they could really use more support. Back their current Kickstarter to purchase individual books or subscribe to the whole Year 1 slate of fiction!

Posted on Leave a comment

How to Read Manhua on Bilibili: Legal, Free, and in English

This is a repost of a tutorial I wrote for a fandom art side blog I run on Tumblr. As it’s fairly fandom-general and goes into a lot of detail on ways that readers can access original queer manhua (Chinese comic) titles for free, we feel that it’s of wide enough interest to be relevant to the Duck Prints Press blogs, too. It includes information on accessing Bilibili and some specific titles I’ve enjoyed that I thought might be a good starting place for someone interested in reading manhua this way.


In my posts on this blog, I keep sharing screen caps from manhua I’ve read on Bilibili, along with the link to read it yourself, but I know:

This blog doesn’t have all that many followers.

It’s one thing for me to post the link and quite another for people to realize just how easy this is to do.

Considering how often I see English-speaking MXTX/c-novel/c-drama/donghua fandom peeps screaming and begging for more content, I’m now begging you in return:

STOP SLEEPING ON THE BILIBILI APP!

If you want more danmei content, fully legal, entirely free, already translated, you literally c.a.n.n.o.t. do better than using the Bilibili app to read manhua. That’s not to say this is a perfect method – their translations are…um…wanting sometimes? (Shout out to the four pages in a row I recently read where someone broke in to a residence and every time the breaker-inner was mentioned they were called “the intrud”) But it’s still ALL THERE, FOR US, ANYTIME, and the more eyes the manhua in the apps gets, the more content we’ll get, so please, PLEASE, if you’re out there thirsting for danmei content, DO THIS.

Wondering how?

Well, I’ve got you covered.

WAY 1: The Bilibili Manhua Website

I know I said “get the app” but honestly you don’t even need an app to do this! You can read on Bilibili using any web browser.

The website is Bilibilicomics.com.

It looks like this: 

Tumblr: Image

Yes, you’re reading that right: there’s an entire section of BL.

Tumblr: Image

There’s also an entire section of GL!

Tumblr: Image

There are 38 titles in GL and 121 titles, yes ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY ONE titles, in BL.

AND there’s het stuff, and non-romance stuff too!

New episodes general come out weekly or biweekly, though a few things are daily. The website is often a few chapters ahead of the app (which I actually didn’t realize until just now – Chapter 55 of Legend of Exorcism, for example, came out today on the app, but it lists 60 episodes as available on the website. Which, considering the cliffhanger I just read… *eyes emoji*…though apparently in other cases there are more chapters on the app than on the website, so ymmv.)

The best-known title available (again: FOR FREE. OFFICIALLY. LEGALLY. IN ENGLISH) is Tian Guan Ci Fu. When you go to a specific title’s page, you get this…

Tumblr: Image

…and reading it is as simple as selecting the chapter you want, clicking it, and et voila! Just scroll down and read to your heart’s content!!

NOTE: SOME CHAPTERS WILL HAVE WAIT TIMES. More on this shortly.

WAY 2: The Bilibili App for Android

I personally have been reading primarily from the Android app, since I have a Samsung Galaxy phone and a lot of time sprawled on my couch while my kids watch cartoons.

You can download the app from the Play store – here’s a link, for what that’s worth.

It looks, essentially, like this (I’m logged in so mine looks a little different than non-logged-in, I made an account even tho you don’t actually need one):

Tumblr: Image

If you don’t want to make an account, you don’t have to. If you choose to, as you see it’ll try to guess what other titles you might like. tbh I have no idea how good these recommendations may be; I’m still reading/catching up on the specific titles I wanted to read so I haven’t had to try their recommendations yet. But, there’s definitely some stuff that looks interesting (that top middle one definitely looks up my alley…)

You can also “favorite” things (again: EVEN WITHOUT AN ACCOUNT) and it’ll store them in your library and make a red dot (like you can see on the above screen cap) when something has an update you haven’t read yet. For example, here’s my Favorite list, which helps me keep track of what I’m reading and enjoying (or, well, in one case I’m more “wtfing” than “enjoying” but hey that still counts).

Tumblr: Image

There’s even a weird, like, “dress up” side game??? So like, every chapter you read there’s a chance the app will drop a “card” and you can use the cards to dress your avatar up, and there’s a whole crafting system built in? It’s. A little odd. But, considering I recently quit my Love Nikki addiction after 3+ years, it’s nice to get a small hit of pointless dress up.

Tumblr: Image

Yes, my avatar is currently wearing San Lang’s shirt.

The point is, again: this app is free to download, and incredibly easy to use, and even has a fun pointless side game.

BUT. There is one “but” here. See the Coins: 0 Top Up right below my randomly assigned username?

There is an optional pay system. What does it do? It reduces wait times.

Some titles, but not ALL, have a “built in delay” that kicks in at some point. On some, it seems to start when you’re “within 5 chapters of the most recent” (that’s what’s happened with Global Examination and TGCF, for example). For others, it seems to be arbitrary – for A Single Strike of Shimmering Frost, it kicked in at chapter 40 even tho there are, like, 80 something chapters up. Regardless, it always works the same.

The system functions using wait times, and it has 5 tiers that are always the same.

Tier 1: You must wait one minute before you can read the next chapter. This tier is rarely an issue; the count down sometimes (but not always??? it’s weird) starts when you start a new chapter, and it almost always takes more than one minute to read a full chapter, so this tier is often “satisfied” before you even get to the next chapter.

Tier 2: You must wait six minutes before you can read the next chapter.

Tier 3: You must wait one hour before you can read the next chapter.

Tier 4: You must wait six hours before you can read the next chapter.

Tier 5: You must wait twenty-four hours before you can read the next chapter.

I initially thought this system functioned as “once you reach Tier 5, you’re just stuck there and can only read a chapter a day” but it’s turned out that’s not the case – A Single Strike of Shimmering Frost having 40+ semi-locked chapters has given me the chance to actually test this a bit. In fact, what happens is:

The first time you hit a “wait delay” chapter, it puts you at Tier 1 and you have to wait a minute. The next chapter, you up to Tier 2, the next to Tier 3, then Tier 4, then Tier 5…and then it cycles back to Tier 1. So, with a little care and planning (which I almost always fail at) I can time reading something with many wait-delayed chapters such that I can read 5 chapters in one day, then I have to wait a full day, then I can read 5 more chapters.

Here’s how it looks when you’ve done your waiting in purgatory and can now read on…

Tumblr: Image

…and here’s how it looks when the sad trombones play…

Tumblr: Image

Now, I mentioned I’d circle back to the coins? THE TIME HAS COME! Because, look – for 17 coins, you can read on instantly!! Alternatively, if you’re willing to share on social media, you can also skip (I have no if that’s something you can do over and over, or just once, cause I haven’t tried – you can skip the wait time once for free). This begs the question, then…is 17 coins a lot?

And the answer is…

Tumblr: Image

…eh not really, no. Ten bucks will get you the ability to pay 17 coins many, many times (58, to be precise), but honestly? I haven’t spent a penny yet and I’ve caught up on 7 different titles and am steadily reading through two more (one of which hasn’t had wait times kick in yet, I just can only read so fast).

All of which is to say: yes, there’s a pay system, and tbh, I’m probably going to throw them a few bucks not because I care about the wait times but because I’m getting so much enjoyment out of reading these titles and I want to support them a little (I also bought the print version of the TGCF vol. 1 and will likely buy the other volumes, and I once-upon-a-time paid to watch TGCF s. 1 streaming as they came out). With a little patience there is absolutely zero call for spending even one penny to read as much of this cornucopia as you want.

WAY 3: Download the Bilibili App on Apple

I don’t have access to an iPhone and don’t feel like grabbing my tablet rn and I’ve hit the Tumblr image limit anyway, but the Apple app looks about the same as the Android app, and you can download it HERE.

Basically: use the website, or download the app for whichever platform you’re using, and READ, READ, READ!

So, what is there to read?

I’M SO GLAD YOU ASKED!

I’ve been reading on the app pretty regularly for like two months (prior to that I was only reading TGCF, and only when I remembered, which was rarely), but I’m juggling a lot AND reading other stuff too so I am far from having explored the wide range of options. I can, however, highlight a few I think are likely to be of interest to a danmei-reading audience. Note that of these, I’ve only read the novels for TGCF, TYQHM, and Daomu Biji, which means that I only know as far as the manhuas have covered for the rest – I haven’t read farther than that yet. 

A. Tian Guan Ci Fu by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu. The one, the only – this is the official manhua with art by Starember. It tells the story of newly ascended god Xie Lian trying to navigate the intricacies of the heavenly bureaucracy, figure out his place in the world, and understand why a sexy guy in red keeps showing up in his life. (Worst synopsis ever award goes to: ME!). The English translation is currently on episode 77, which has Xie Lian and Hua Cheng in the gambler’s den. A volume just ended, which means it’s on hiatus temporarily – there’s usually a month or two break between volumes – so it’ll be back soon!

B. Global Examination by Mu Su Li. Based on the book Global University Entrance Examination, featuring art by E Zi. Global Examination is a story set in a dystopian near-future about a world where groups of people are randomly selected (read: kidnapped and forced) to participate in an “exam” where they have to answer extremely complex puzzles. If they succeed, they get to live and become one of the people who administer the exam. If they fail, they die. Despite the premise sounding dark, it’s really not been so bad and I’m reassured it won’t become so. The story itself focuses on You Huo, a recently selected examinee with amnesia, the other people in his examinee group, and Examiner 001, who clearly has some kind of history with You Huo. If only he didn’t also have amnesia, we might even know what that history is…

C. Dinghai Fusheng Records and Legend of Exorcism, both based on the books of the same names written by Fei Tian Ye Xiang. The art for Dinghai Fusheng Records is by Qianerbai (who has also done a lot of work for the Mo Dao Zu Shi audio drama) and Legend of Exorcism, it’s by Warp. These stories are set in the same ‘verse, at least several hundred years apart; it’s a xianxia high-fantasy setting, and the main enemies are demons (…or are they? dun dun duuuun). Dinghai Fusheng Records takes place, chronologically, first, and occurs a couple hundred years after a calamity caused all qi to fade from the world – there are only mortals, and no one can cultivate. It follows Chen Xing, a young man born with a gift, as he seeks his protector – Xiang Shu – and others, and they encounter (surprise!) unspeakable evil. Legend of Exorcism takes place in the “future” of Dinghai Fusheng Records, and focuses on Kong Hongjun, a half-demon boy who has received a summons to join the Exorcism Department, as he explores the mortal world for the first time and gets to know the others who have summoned to join the Department, especially the mortal leader Li Jinglong.

D. Daomu Biji titles, originally by Nanpai Sanshu. There are two DMBJ titles on Bilibili right now, though both only have a few chapters, and the website lists them as “on hiatus.” I’ve read them both, and am not entirely sure what’s up with one especially, but… Grave Robbers’ Chronicles starts where Book 1 starts, with changes of course but it’s quite recognizable as the initial “Wu Xie is brought a silk scroll and gets curious” plot line. The Grave Robbers’ Chronicles Seven Dreams is…odder…and as far as I can tell is an alternate canon/AU which starts with a “what if” of “what if the Zhang’s were incredibly abusive, raised child!Zhang Qiling themselves, and Wu Xie and he met as kids.” It’s. Um. Extremely weird. But I’m still hoping they’ll release more than 9 chapters, if only because I’m curious.

E. A Single Strike of Shimmering Frost, based on the novel A Sword of Frost by Yu Xiao Lanshan. This one opens with the Prince Ji Yanran approaching Sect Master Yun Yifeng, who runs a sect of spies and information collectors, to ask for help finding an item that has been stolen from the palace. In exchange, he promises to give Yun Yifeng the cure to an ailment that plagues him. Problem 1: he doesn’t actually have this cure. Problem 2: everywhere they go people start dying. Problem 3: catching feels for the pretty Sect Master. Despite having the trappings of xianxia, this story has actually thus far been a sequence of murder mysteries with politics-related causes.

F. Saved the Public Enemy By Mistake by Liu Muqiao. If this is based on a novel, I haven’t been able to track it down. It’s xianxia; demon immortal cultivator Liu Jianghe shows up, nearly dead, on the doorstep of Lu Jiu. Not knowing who he is, Lu Jiu saves him, and finds a mess of politics on his doorstep…but nothing is actually how it seems, there’s amnesia and hidden back stories galore, there’s a heavy side plot of sword lesbians, and honestly I’ve read like 50 chapters I’m still a little lost but the art is pretty and I really need to read the reveal on the the two MCs history together so I’m sticking with it. Warning that it’s got a fair amount of blood and gore.

G. Those Years in Quest of Honor Mine by Man Man He Qi Duo. A historical (non-cultivation) setting focused on politics, machinations, and the long history and deep love between Zhong Wan – former top-scorer on the national exam who lost his position when his adopted father was accused of treason – and Yu She, of dubious parentage and believed by most people to be the bastard son of the Emperor. I loved the book for this, and finding out that the manhua was on Bilibili is a lot of what drove me to download the app.

So – that’s everything I’m currently reading: 6 titles inspired by explicitly BL danmei titles, 2 based on other books I like that aren’t BL, and 1 BL that just looked interesting and my taste.

There’s SO MUCH MORE, seriously. I’m going to be reading on this app for months and still finding more, I’m positive of it.

But unforth, I hear you say, there’s some other manhua I want to read! What about Mo Dao Zu Shi? What about Erha? Are those on Bilibili? Can I read them? And the answer, sadly, is no. Those two are published by Kuaikan, which does not offer free legal English translations at this time. But! I am holding out hope that if the audience for Bilibili grows, other manhua publishers will see the profitability in emulating them. I cannot guarantee that anything we do will result in this happening, but I do feel pretty confident that if we don’t read with the options currently available, we sure ain’t likely to get more options.

SO. GO FORTH. READ THE THINGS I’VE MENTIONED. READ OTHER THINGS. COME BACK AND TELL ME WHAT YOU LOVED SO I HAVE SOME IDEA WHAT TO READ NEXT.

PLEASE.

I’m begging. GO READ MANHUA!!!

RIGHT NOW.

ON BILIBILI.