Table of Contents
Captivated, Julie Cox
Two Balls, Alexandra Erin
Le Petit String Rouge, Kiernan Kelly
Goose Boy, Monique Poirier
To Market, Elizabeth Schechter
Fairytales (and their cousins fables, myths, and folk tales) have been told and retold since before the written word. Their details change from generation to generation, and culture to culture. Names and settings shift and mothers become stepmothers as the needs of the storyteller change. This tradition hasn't ended with modern times: contemporary writers such as Neil Gaiman and Francesca Lia Block have wrought beautiful and haunting versions of old stories, and there are already a dozen published books of erotic fairytales--most of them straight, but not all of them. So why put together another one? What can one more set of reworked Cinderellas possibly contribute?
Fairytales were originally conceived as, essentially, indoctrination and training for young children. In every telling they reveal and reinforce the values of the culture that created them: little girls who don't listen to their mothers will be cruelly devoured, and young women who are too eager to use forbidden spinning wheels (or lose their virginities, however you want to read it) will be punished. We tell the same stories now for the same reason, but we change them to impart the messages that we want others to know, and that we ourselves need to hear. The ancient tale of Cinderella offered hope that good-heartedness and hard work could secure a happy life where superficial beauty and trickery could not. The modern "Cinderella story," seen in forms from the exciting new lesbian novel Ash by Malinda Lo to Jennifer Lopez movies, tells us that we deserve to be happy even if we are poor or overworked or uneducated or of color or gay.