Alix E. Harrow Wakes All the Sleeping Beauties: Announcing Two New Novellas

Tor.com Publishing is thrilled to announce that Jonathan Strahan has acquired Alix E. Harrow’s fractured fairytale novellas, which follow the dimension-hopping adventures of Zinnia Gray: a real-life sleeping beauty who pricks her finger on a spindle’s end and finds herself Spider-Versed into a fairytale-version of her story. She and the rest of the sleeping beauties must work together if they want to survive their narratives—or escape them. The first novella is scheduled to be published in Spring 2021.

Said the author:

“Like many of you, I walked out of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse feeling like I’d spent two hours plugged into a giant battery; I left the theater with an electric grin. What I liked most about it was the way it both dismantled and delighted in comic book tropes. It was a self-aware retelling of the Spider-Man story, one that seemed to understand how many times we’ve seen Peter Parker get bitten and how many Aunt Mays we’ve met—and yet it wasn’t mocking. It reveled in its own mythology, in fifty years of Spider-Man stories, and lived in the resonance between them all.

I said something like that (except with more swearing) to my (exceedingly patient) husband on the way home. And then I said something like: “Oh my God, I want to Spider-Verse a fairytale,” (except with more swearing). I grew up on Grimm and Perrault and Anderson, followed by all the paperback retellings of the ‘90s and all the brilliant subversions and experimentations of the 21st century. I’ve seen dozens of Snow Whites bite into poisoned apples, numberless Sleeping Beauties prick their fingers, and I would still read more. Somehow, through repetition and resonance and sheer force of numbers, they’ve become something grander than themselves.

So, almost a year later, when Jonathan Strahan asked if I knew what I wanted to work on next, I said something like: “Oh my God, I want to Spider-Verse a fairytale.”

And these were born, a pair of novellas following the dimension-hopping adventures of Zinnia Gray: a contemporary Sleeping Beauty who finds herself warped into another version of her story, and must work with her fellow Beauties if any of them want to survive—or escape—their narratives.”

Said Jonathan Strahan:

“This may be the most fun thing ever! A bit less than two years ago I was reading every short story I could, getting ready for a book project I was working on, when I stumbled across Alix Harrow’s wonderful short story, “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasties,” in Apex Magazine. It was beautiful and poignant and I knew I wanted to work with her right then. I reprinted the story in another book of mine and, because I couldn’t help myself, I started to talk to Alix about if we could find a way to work together.

And then she sent me an elevator pitch. I don’t like elevator pitches. They don’t give you a flavour of what the final story will be, but this one! It was the first weekend in August and Alix said “I want to Spiderverse a fairytale” and I swear, I felt chills. She wanted to write a Sleeping Beauty story where the narrative gets crossed and a whole pack of Sleeping Beauties from different retellings have to work together to subvert their own stories, and I knew it had to happen. I think everyone did. Reading Alix’s incredible debut novel, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, only made me more excited, and I cannot wait to help her bring Zinnia Gray to readers.”

A former academic and adjunct, Alix E. Harrow is now a full-time writer living in Kentucky with her husband and their semi-feral toddlers. In 2019 she won a Hugo Award for her short fiction and published her first novel, The Ten Thousand Doors of January. Find her at @AlixEHarrow on Twitter.

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