Book Recs: LGBT Retellings (Myths)

Part two of my retellings rec lists, as promised! You can find part one here & it was all about LGBT retellings of fairy tales.

Now, when it comes to mythologies… I actually had a bit of a problem. I wasn’t sure if I should include retellings of The Odyssey, for example. Sure, we have mythology there, but also part three of this series is going to be Classic Texts & wouldn’t it be more of a fit there? I even ran a poll on twitter and y’all were who decided in the end. :>>

Also obviously my first thought for this theme was The Song of Achilles, because I am gay and love to suffer, but I figured there’s no point in reccing a book we have all read multiple times.

inbtwn

Midnighter and Apollo

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Steve Orlando (writer) & Fernando Blanco (artist)
Goodreads
Rep: gay mcs (bi author)
Original source: Orpheus and Eurydice myth

Midnighter and Apollo are back with a vengeance!

From their days as founding members of the Authority, the heroes Midnighter and Apollo have been forever linked, both professionally and romantically. Whether it’s pirates in Los Angeles or demons in Opal City, Steve Orlando (Midnighter, Supergirl) continues the adventure and brings the fighting duo center stage! But when the duo are torn apart by a mysterious villian who sends Apollo to the underworld, Midnighter faces the gates of hell for his lover.

TW: blood, death

Why Should I Read It?

I know, I know. I rec this comic book every chance I get, but listen… It’s just that good! Pretty much the only rendition of this myth you will ever need in your life!

inbtwn

Autobiography of Red

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Anne Carson
Goodreads
Rep: mlm relationship
Original source: Geryon and Heracles

The award-winning poet Anne Carson reinvents a genre in Autobiography of Red, a stunning work that is both a novel and a poem, both an unconventional re-creation of an ancient Greek myth and a wholly original coming-of-age story set in the present.

Geryon, a young boy who is also a winged red monster, reveals the volcanic terrain of his fragile, tormented soul in an autobiography he begins at the age of five. As he grows older, Geryon escapes his abusive brother and affectionate but ineffectual mother, finding solace behind the lens of his camera and in the arms of a young man named Herakles, a cavalier drifter who leaves him at the peak of infatuation. When Herakles reappears years later, Geryon confronts again the pain of his desire and embarks on a journey that will unleash his creative imagination to its fullest extent. By turns whimsical and haunting, erudite and accessible, richly layered and deceptively simple, Autobiography of Red is a profoundly moving portrait of an artist coming to terms with the fantastic accident of who he is.

Why Should I Read It?

Anne Carson is one of my favourite poets and Autobiography of Red is one of my favourite works of hers. It’s very tragic, though, so please, don’t go into this one looking for anything other than heartbreak.

inbtwn

The Dark Wife

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Sarah Diemer
Goodreads
Rep: wlw mcs
Original source: Hades and Persephone

Three thousand years ago, a god told a lie. Now, only a goddess can tell the truth. Persephone has everything a daughter of Zeus could want–except for freedom. She lives on the green earth with her mother, Demeter, growing up beneath the ever-watchful eyes of the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus. But when Persephone meets the enigmatic Hades, she experiences something new: choice. Zeus calls Hades “lord” of the dead as a joke. In truth, Hades is the goddess of the underworld, and no friend of Zeus. She offers Persephone sanctuary in her land of the dead, so the young goddess may escape her Olympian destiny. But Persephone finds more than freedom in the underworld. She finds love, and herself.

Why Should I Read It?

I mean, the only way to make this myth nice and interesting, was to make it sapphic, am I right? It just makes everything better…

inbtwn

Alcestis

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Katharine Beutner
Goodreads
Rep: wlw mcs
Original source: Alcestis (Eurypides’ play)

In Greek myth, Alcestis is known as the ideal wife; she loved her husband so much that she died and went to the underworld in his place. In this vividly-imagined debut, Katharine Beutner gives voice to the woman behind the ideal and reveals the part of the story that’s never been told: What happened to Alcestis in the three days she spent in the underworld?

Why Should I Read It?

Letting men tell women’s stories was a mistake from the beginning of time, so thank god we get to rectify those nowadays. Especially when we do it in such good (and gay) ways!

inbtwn

Heathen

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Natasha Alterici
Goodreads
Rep: lesbian mc (ownvoices), bi li
Original source: Norse myths

Heathen: Volume One collects the first four issues of the acclaimed fantasy series from creator Natasha Alterici. Aydis is a young Viking woman, who after being banished from her home, sets out on a mission to right the wrongs of a corrupt god. Her first move is to find and free the cursed Valkyrie Brynhild. Gods, demons, and creatures of lore, Heathen is packed with fun intriguing characters and lavish artwork. The trade features an oil painting cover, cover gallery, and a forward by award winning lesbian fiction author Geonn Cannon.

Why Should I Read It?

What’s better than a lesbian viking warrior! A gold-hearted lesbian viking warrior, you say? Well, you’re in luck because that’s exactly who the main character of Heathen is!

inbtwn

Sunblind

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Ramona Meisel
Goodreads
Rep: gay mcs
Original source: Icarus and Apollo

“Do you want to set the world on fire tonight?”

Sunblind is an anthology about the love of two boys on the verge of falling apart. Set in the modern world, the old legend of Icarus with a modern twist is told through the eyes of both lovers, and a collection of voicemails, texts, post-its and notes filled with unexpected twists and turns reminiscent of a leap of faith.

The book features over 70 pieces and is divided into three parts which piece together the life of Icarus and Apollo, and their story which struggles for love, dependency, fear and more.

Why Should I Read It?

Okay, another poetry collection, yes, since it is my rec list, after all. I love the modern feel of this one, and how it shows both through Meisel’s style itself and various formats of the poems.

inbtwn

Girl Meets Boy

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Ali Smith
Goodreads
Rep: wlw mcs
Original source: Iphis and Ianthe (Ovid’s Metamorphoses)

Girl meets boy. It’s a story as old as time. But what happens when an old story meets a brand new set of circumstances?

Ali Smith’s re-mix of Ovid’s most joyful metamorphosis is a story about the kind of fluidity that can’t be bottled and sold.

It is about girls and boys, girls and girls, love and transformation, a story of puns and doubles, reversals and revelations.

Funny and fresh, poetic and political, Girl Meets Boy is a myth of metamorphosis for the modern world.

Why Should I Read It?

The one case where the original myth was already actually not cishet, even if the ancient maybe didn’t want you to look at it that way. In any case, Smith brings a lot of lyricism to the story and a modern, feminist touch.

inbtwn

Love in the Time of Global Warming

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Francesca Lia Block
Goodreads
Rep: bi mc
Original source: Homer’s The Odyssey

Her life by the sea in ruins, Pen has lost everything in the Earth Shaker that all but destroyed the city of Los Angeles. She sets out into the wasteland to search for her family, her journey guided by a tattered copy of Homer’s Odyssey. Soon she begins to realize her own abilities and strength as she faces false promises of safety, the cloned giants who feast on humans, and a madman who wishes her dead. On her voyage, Pen learns to tell stories that reflect her strange visions, while she and her fellow survivors navigate the dangers that lie in wait. In her signature style, Francesca Lia Block has created a world that is beautiful in its destruction and as frightening as it is lovely. At the helm is Pen, a strong heroine who holds hope and love in her hands and refuses to be defeated.

Why Should I Read It?

Okay, yes, I’m just going for as many poetic-ish books as I can in this one. Bear with me, guys! Venture into the unknown! Let the logical part of your brain chill for a bit! Have fun!

inbtwn

Angela

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Kieron Gillen, Marguerite Bennett (writers) & Phil Jimenez, Stephanie Hanz (artists)
Goodreads
Rep: wlw mc, trans wlw li
Original source: Norse myths

All her life, Angela — finest warrior of the Tenth Realm of Heven — was raised to hate Asgard with every fiber of her being. But Angela has learned the truth about her identity: She is Thor’s sister. She is an Asgardian. Now, cast out of her home, Angela must strike out on her own! But how does she become the guardian of a demonic child? Why do both Asgard and Heven want it so badly? And how does Loki fit in? Pursued by Asgardian warriors, Angela and her charge cross the Realms from Earth to Vanaheim, and even travel to outer space, where her teammates the Guardians of the Galaxy lend a hand. But she soon sees no other option than an invasion of her own homeland — that’s right, Angela must fight her way into Heven!

Why Should I Read It?

She goes to hell to rescue her girlfriend… Are you telling me you don’t wanna read it?

inbtwn

Variations on an Apple

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Yoon Ha Lee
Goodreads
Rep:
bi mc, genderfluid li
Original source:
Homer’s The Iliad

For the fairest. Past, present, and future. Again.

 

 

Why Should I Read It?

So Troy is a city, but here? Also a genderfluid person in love with Paris. If that alone isn’t enough to convince you to read this short story (avaible for free here!), I don’t know how to help you.

inbtwn

I realise this was heavily focused on Greek mythology and I’m sorry about that, but those were the myths I grew up on and obsessed over as a wee gay kid. And those are most popular when it comes to retellings…

If you know of any LGBT retellings of myths other than Greek/Roman ones, let me know!!

anna

9 thoughts on “Book Recs: LGBT Retellings (Myths)

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