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There’s simply one thing inherently queer about mermaids, isn’t there? Hans Christian Anderson’s authentic story actually set a precedent, however the truth that so many mermaid tales contain pining for a life — and a relationship — that go in opposition to the norm additionally performs a job. Mermaids have lengthy resonated with the trans neighborhood, and the fairy tale-esque nature of underwater creatures makes something appear attainable. To not point out (going again to Anderson’s The Little Mermaid) that the concept one has to vary themself for an opportunity at love or acceptance is a worry that, traditionally and presently, the LGBTQ neighborhood could be very conversant in. So it simply is smart, actually, to have queer mermaid books. Whether or not subtextual, as in The Little Mermaid, or fully overt and out, within the case of those 13 queer mermaid books, mermaids are merely queer icons.
Yep, I’m claiming them proper alongside vampires and Babadooks and rainbows.
In these 13 queer mermaid books, illustration and relationships of all types are on the fore. From folks of all genders longing to be mermaids to mermaids longing to be human — to not point out women eager for women and boys eager for boys — mermaids and queerness are central. So, go on and enterprise into the world of queer mermaid books and by no means look again.
Chlorine by Jade Tune
Ren’s life revolves round water. She’s a aggressive swimmer who spends most of her day both within the pool swimming or eager about swimming. You may say she’s obsessed. However whereas profitable competitions and making her teammates, mother, and coach proud are legitimate considerations, they’re additionally human considerations. And Ren isn’t human. She’s a mermaid. If solely anybody else may see it. It’s not till Ren performs a devastating act that any of her family and friends understand, although. By then, it could be too late.
Is Ren actually a mermaid in human kind? Is she only a struggling teenager whose difficulties are missed till it’s too late? Jade Tune isn’t about to inform you on this reality-blurring literary novel, and neither am I.
The Deep by Rivers Solomon
Yetu is the reminiscence keeper of her folks. Because the descendants of those that drowned on the Center Passage, the collective recollections of their folks would overwhelm if remembered by everybody. So Yetu remembers for them. However being the one one to know and bear in mind is slowly destroying her. Fleeing to the floor, Yetu discovers a world her folks left behind. It’s totally different than she imagined, and the issues she learns in regards to the previous and current assist her understand that the one approach for her and her folks to maneuver ahead is to recollect collectively.
The Salt Grows Heavy by Cassandra Khaw
This isn’t the story of The Little Mermaid such as you’ve ever learn it earlier than. After being pressured into a wedding on land, the mermaid on the coronary heart of this retelling provides beginning to daughters who devour not solely her husband however your entire land. Now, on the run, the mermaid meets a plague physician with a violent previous of their very own. Collectively, they discover solace in accepting their monstrous natures, however a cult of saints whose ageless youngsters are despatched out for blood threatens to upend any peace they could have discovered collectively.
The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember
Within the icy depths of the ocean, a mermaid longs to be taught what lies past the ice shelf of her underwater residence. When she rescues a stranded defend maiden, Ersel lastly will get that probability. Ragna is all the things Ersel ever needed to be taught in regards to the human world and all the things Ersel may need for herself. However once they’re caught collectively by a bitter merman, Ersel makes the determined resolution to go to the trickster god Loki for assist. She will lastly be with Ragna, however when coping with a trickster, there’ll at all times be a price.
The Little Homo Sapiens Scientist by S.L. Huang
On this darkish, sci-fi Little Mermaid retelling, a famend scholar of the mermaid-like beings generally known as atargati releases a captive, figuring out it’ll value her each her profession and her life. However her fascination with the atargati, and this one specifically, forces her to reexamine all the things she thought she knew about herself and the world round her. It’s extra Hans Christian Anderson than Disney, so don’t count on it to be gentle fairy story fare.
The Mermaid the Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Corridor
A genderqueer pirate and a noble, imperial daughter being shipped off to a husband she’s by no means met or needed are thrown collectively at sea when the service provider vessel Girl Evelyn Hasegawa has boarded seems to be a pirate ship in disguise, making ready to promote the passengers to the best bidder. Together with the assistance — and hindrance — of a witch, a captured mermaid, and the legendary Pirate Supreme, the 2 must determine the best way to come collectively and save one another and themselves.
The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan
On an island the place nobody dies, however everybody’s lives finish as statues atop a cliff, Mara finds an opportunity to flee when Pearl, a mermaid, arrives on their shores in the future. Quickly, Mara resides a life she by no means may’ve imagined for herself. However when Mara and Pearl lastly return to the island in the future, Mara’s mother and father are starting to show into stone. What does it imply to be part of a spot and select to go away — or come again to remain?
A Tune of Silver and Gold by Melissa Karibian
Kaelyn could also be a princess, however for the previous 12 months, she’s been captain of a ship, disguising herself as a person named Captain Kae and main her sailors on a quest for revenge. A siren assault leads Kae on a renewed quest to destroy the ocean demons who’ve lengthy haunted her residence. Aqeara is a siren warrior, however when a mistake leads to the demise of her princess, she makes a deal to finish her banishment by reducing out the center of Captain Kae in trade for her princess’s resurrection. When Kae and Aqeara meet, although, their simple emotions warfare with the missions they’ve each devoted themselves to — missions that will each end result within the demise of the opposite.
Mermaids By no means Drown: Tales to Dive For edited by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker
This mermaid-centric anthology options numerous queer mermaid tales, together with the story of a boy pining for the merboy who saved him years in the past, a trans mer who saves a Polish immigrant household in the course of the Nice Nor’Easter of 1962, and a lady decided to rescue the mermaid on show on the aquarium the place her mom works, in addition to many different. It’s excellent if you happen to’re searching for a wide array of queer mermaid tales to get pleasure from.
In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens
The magical fourth son of the king, lengthy saved hidden within the palace partitions, lastly will get a style of freedom when he ventures out into the world on his coming-of-age tour. A mysterious — and charming — prisoner saved from a burning ship solely will increase the sense of journey. However when Athlen leaps from the ship, just for Prince Tal to find him alive and effectively on land a number of days later, he begins to marvel simply what secrets and techniques this unusual boy is so intent on protecting. Earlier than he can determine them out, although, Tal is kidnapped by pirates, and solely by accepting the magical powers he’s lengthy saved at bay — and possibly slightly assist from a good-looking boy with magical secrets and techniques of his personal — will he have the ability to escape.
A Imply Piece of Water by Jes McCutchen
When a cult begins taking on a small city, hoping to flood the world and eradicate people, a lake mermaid and a neighborhood come collectively to avoid wasting their residence. Kye would do something for Dani, and Dani would do something for Kye, so when Dani reveals up with a gash in her tail and a narrative about her cousin being chosen by a cult to be their new prophesied chief, Kye is all too prepared to assist.
Out of the Blue by Jason June
Venturing onto land is an expertise all teen merfolk are anticipated to undergo, with one month to assist a human and return to the ocean or stay caught on land ceaselessly. Crest is all too wanting to get his expertise over with. People are disgusting polluters, in spite of everything, who’ve stuffed the ocean with their trash. However when he meets a lifeguard named Sean, his view on people begins to shift. Can a human and a merman, torn between two very totally different worlds, make a relationship work, particularly when it was pretend to start with?
The Moorings of Mackerel Sky by MZ (February 27, 2024)
In a Maine lobstering city, the story of the ship captain who fell in love with a mermaid and by no means left, founding Mackerel Sky, has turn out to be legend. It’s a narrative that its inhabitants cling to, for higher or worse, utilizing it as an inspiration for poetry and an excuse — or rationalization — for tragedy. In Mackerel Sky, mermaid sightings could also be assured, however neighborhood is what retains the small city going.