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Sleeping Beauty, Indeed is a must read for everyone who ever rewrote the old stories in her head, searching for nuance and subtext. It is long past time that we had fairytales written about and for ourselves. --Catherine Lundoff, author of Night's Kiss
From the Publisher
This anthology was originally released as an e-book in 2006. It contains "Voce" by Kimberly DeCina, which was a finalist for the Gaylactic Spectrum Award.
"Sleeping Beauty, Indeed" is a book of fairy tales, with the exception that the "Damsels in Distress" are into women rather than men. Some of them are original stories, and others are lesbian versions of traditional fairytales. The idea intrigued me, which is why I decided to read/review it, and I'm glad I did, as two of the stories really left an impression on me. Also, it had the rather pleasant mild scent of apples.
1: Two Sisters by R. Holsen (Rating 2/10) I didn't feel like I properly understood this one. It was written in the first person in the girl's local dialect, which I felt was a bit of a jarring one to start off with. But the main problem I had was that I'm not sure how it really fitted in with the theme of the book. It had lesbians in, although to be honest, it took me a while to realise that, I thought they were sisters, but i'm not sure how it was related to fairytales. If it's a retelling, then I had never heard the original I guess. It wasn't a bad story, but it seems to just be a romance, rather than a fairy tale. Fortunately, the rest of the stories were much more clearly linked to fairy tales.
2: Bones Like Black Sugar by Catherynne M. Valente (Rating: 5/10) I enjoyed this very short story - but it was really weird. It's essentially about Gretel after the events of the original fairy tale. The woman she likes is the witch from the gingerbread house - who is of course, dead. You might think "Oh, she comes back from the dead?". No. This story verges on necrophilia. But there is some quite vivid description, which makes up for that. Right?
3: The Mute Princess by A.J.Grant (Rating 10/10) Based on the fairytale of the same name, this story is the one that reads most like a fairytale.Read more ›
I love this book; I've read it through six times now! The short stories in this collection are all compelling, in unique ways. Some are old tales written in a new vision, while others are brand new creations by talented writers. I bring this book with me whenever I travel, so I can read and re-read the lovely stories told within its pages. As a lesbian, it's hard to find stories and books written just for me, that aren't trashy or immature. Sleeping Beauty, Indeed finally gave me that which I've been craving for years. You'd be hard pressed to find other lesbian fairytales as enchanting as these.
Although this is a fairly slim book, all 10 of the stories in it are quite good. Most re-tell fairy tales of some kind, although perhaps I should correct that to "folk tales", like the first one was.
"The Mute Princess" was the most classically re-told of all of them, and the mannered style worked beautifully with the tale.
The ending story was the least traditional- based on the Pied Piper, it was set in the Old West, and was a lot of fun! The title story was also fun- we have a Fairy Godmother whingeing about her lot in life, a fairly explicit cause of the sleeping to come over everyone, and a surprising and amusing ending.
The rest are all very different from each other, and mostly excellent in their own styles.
The stories are mostly not particularly sexually explicit, though a couple do have their moments; it's nothing like what's routine these days in a heterosexual romance novel, though!
All in all, an excellent read with some fascinating tales and re-imaginings. I only wish it had been longer!
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