Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Science Fiction Retellings of Fairy Tales

I mentioned in my earlier post today that I would write a post about science fiction genre retellings of fairy tales. And it's a short post. I'm sure I have to be missing a few, but here is my short list. I am an admitted science fiction fan, although I am also picky and tend to lean towards space opera more than "pure" science fiction.

"Beauty" by Tanith Lee, which appears in Red as Blood or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer, is my favorite science fiction retelling of a fairy tale. It is also one of my favorite Beauty and the Beast retellings, period. A must read for Beauty and the Beast fans.

On to more:

Once Upon a Galaxy is a short story collection of science fiction retellings, some more successful than others. It is out of print, unfortunately.

...in these original new stories by today's masters of science fiction and fantasy. Two time-tested genres test the limits of "happily ever after" when beloved tales like "Goldilocks" and "Sleeping Beauty" are given an outer-space spin.

Once Upon a Galaxy edited by Josepha Sherman isn't really a collection of science fiction retellings, but it offers tales as inspiration for well-known science fiction.

Science fiction is all around us. Fantasy fiction is just as well known in today's world of entertainment. But what few readers of science fiction and fantasy realize is that these stories of wizards and star ships have much older roots in the world of folklore. Cultures throughout the world share common references to heroes who must fulfill great quests featuring wise old men, magic potions that can save a life or clever adventurers who outwit their foolish enemies. This book has collected the original stories that served as the inspiration behind Star Trek, Superman, Star Wars, and even Bugs Bunny.

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles) and Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Mayer were perhaps the first  titles you thought of, since they are the most recent and ongoing science fiction retellings of fairy tales.

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.
The next two are inspired by Jack and the Beanstalk. Both are out of print.

Jumping Off the Planet by David Gerrold

A trip to the Moon? Sounds like the perfect family vacation. Only for 13-year-old Charles "Chigger" Dingillian his family is anything but perfect. His parents fight so much they put the 'dis' into dysfunctional. So when he and his brothers find themselves halfway to the Moon Chigger hits on a plan: if his parents can't find a way to work things out, why not just divorce them? Sound crazy? Until it works. Charles and his brothers are on their own. But their bid for freedom hits a roadblock when Chigger suspects they are targets of an interstellar manhunt. What do these Big Corporations want? And why? Their only hope is to jump off the planet...

Beanstalk by John Rackham

Behind every folktale there is a true story and behind every legend a lost fact of history, distorted by word of mouth of people who did not understand what was really happening. In the case of the infiltration of the highly strategic space station upon which the battle between the Salviar Federation and the Hilax Combine pivoted, the account of Earth's role in the affair has become greatly distorted. Because that was eight hundred years ago and the men of Olde England never even knew the world was round, let alone that it was a planet. Earth still doesn't know which side we were on and because we are out on a far limb of Galactic Sector Seven they haven't contacted us yet. But our very position in the Milky Way just that once made our little planet strategic - and when Salviar's scout Jasar-am-Bax had to enlist the aid of a clever young yeoman to launch his kamikaze attack the result became legend. But it took John Rackham to uncover the real story behind the event. It's all in BEANSTALK - it just depends on how you look at it.

Finally, The Quantum Rose (Saga of the Skolian Empire) by Catherine Asaro is often described as a science fiction Beauty and the Beast. Having read it, it fits quite well. Part of her Skolian series, the initial premise has the heroine marrying an alien, a beast to save her people. It has some rough themes of abuse and worse, so be reader beware. That said, I enjoyed it enough to read more of the Skolian series which has an interesting use of science in several of the books, but can be enjoyed as space opera, too. Asaro plays with genres with her usage of science fiction, romance and fantasy along with well-developed characters throughout the series.

Kamoj Argali is the young ruler of an impoverished province on a backward planet. To keep her people from starving, she has agreed to marry Jax Ironbridge, the boorish and brutal ruler of a prosperous province. But before Argali and Ironbridge are wed, a mysterious stranger from a distant planet sweeps in and forces Kamoj into marriage, throwing her world into utter chaos.

1 comment:

  1. Great list, and I loved the illustrations. My favorite science fiction fairy tale retelling is Anna Sheehan's A Long, Long Sleep.