Like “Whatever Tower, However High,” I wrote the first draft of “My Dear, Like the Sky and Stars and Sun” in The Brainery‘s Sci-Fi and Fairy Tales workshop taught by Carina Bissett last summer.
This one finds its roots in the unsettling fairy tale, Donkeyskin, in which the king tries to marry the princess (his daughter) after the queen dies. She delays by asking for three impossibly beautiful gowns, the color of the sky, the sun, and the moon. Eventually, she runs away and more typical fairy tale hijinks ensue. It’s a strange dichotomy and leaves the original conflict between the father and the daughter largely unresolved.
Of course, remixing is not about fixing elements we find problematic, but instead means exploring the ways in which they’re still relevant to us today. (Abuse certainly hasn’t vanished, for one.) In fact, when I bring a fairy tale into contemporary or futuristic worlds, my hope is that, while you might recognize the trappings from time to time, the original narrative itself will fade into the background, and the story of these characters will hold your attention.
So when I point out a story comes from such and such fairy tale or literary work, it’s never to nudge you to make sure you got the reference or offer up the key to “understanding my artistic intentions.” (It wouldn’t be a very good story in that case.) I only mention it to acknowledge the soil in which a particular work grew.
If that enriches your experience of the story, great. If you prefer not to know…feel free to skip story notes.
“My Dear, Like the Sky and Stars and Sun” appeared in issue 129 of Clarkesworld. Support them and speculative short fiction on Patreon or by subscribing.