Fairest of All

I have a new novelette, “Fairest of All,” out in the Jubilee 50th issue of the Future Fire.

I originally began to write this back in 2016, with a fairytale-themed anthology in mind, but it quickly ballooned out much too large for that anthology’s requirements. It’s a story that fought me every step of the way and I’ve often outright hated its existence. It’s also one of the most intensely, obnoxiously #ownvoices short stories I’ve ever written. The characters are autistic, they’re polyamorous, they’re abuse survivors; at least two are queer, and one is genderqueer (and also a talking anthropomorphic otter, long story); they make a lot of mistakes but are trying their best to find love and community with each other and to escape the multiple different structures that have hurt them.

This story isn’t based on an existing fairytale, but it plays with many familiar fairytale themes: simple language, kindnesses repaid, arbitrary fairy rules both beneficial and malicious, the importance of a heart’s desire. Changeling folklore, including its more violent aspects, also explicitly plays in to how this story works. (If that’s of interest to you, you might read the story in parallel with my small rant about changelings at the beginning of this review.)

(In case you couldn’t tell from the above descriptions, there is a lot of abuse in this story, both in the form of child abuse and of abusive adult relationships. Proceed with caution if this is triggery for you. The first scene is the worst; if you make it through that one, you’re probably okay.)

As a longer novelette, there aren’t a lot of markets for fiction of this length, and I’m grateful to The Future Fire for taking a chance on this weird, personal, deceptively simple but difficult story.

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