Featuring stories by: Alexander Chee • Preeti Chhibber • Roshani Chokshi • Sive Doyle • Maria Dahvana Headley • Ausma Zehanat Khan • Daniel M. Lavery • Ken Liu • Sarah MacLean • Silvia Moreno-Garcia • Jessica Plummer • Anthony Rapp • Waubgeshig Rice • Alex Segura • Nisi Shawl • S. Zainab Williams
Here you’ll find the Lady of the Lake reimagined as an albino Ugandan sorceress and the Lady of Shalott as a wealthy, isolated woman in futuristic Mexico City; you'll see Excalibur rediscovered as a baseball bat that grants a washed-up minor leaguer a fresh shot at glory and as a lost ceremonial drum that returns to a young First Nations boy the power and the dignity of his people. There are stories set in Gilded Age Chicago, '80s New York, twenty-first century Singapore, and space; there are lesbian lady knights, Arthur and Merlin reborn in the modern era for a second chance at saving the world and falling in love—even a coffee shop AU.
Brave, bold, and groundbreaking, the stories in Sword Stone Table will bring fresh life to beloved myths and give long-time fans a chance to finally see themselves in their favorite legends.
|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
JENN NORTHINGTON is a former bookseller and a current reviewer, podcaster, and editor with Riot New Media Group. She's a lifelong book nerd and can be found primarily on Instagram at @iamjennIRL.
Read an Excerpt
Swapna Krishna & Jenn Northington
It was the summer of 2018, and we were sitting in Swapna’s living room. Swapna was pregnant with her first baby, and Jenn was bursting with an idea for an anthology. “Where are the gender-bent Arthur stories?” Jenn asked. “The race-bent retellings, the queered ones?”
We couldn’t easily find them—and we thought it just might be possible that not only did other people want them but also there were folks out there ready to write them, or who maybe already had.
As this collection came together over the past few years (it’s hard to believe we’ve been working on it for so long!), it’s been exciting to discover the published stories we missed and to see that we weren’t alone—there’s been a renaissance of “bent” Arthur retellings that we devoured. Even more electrifying for us are the authors who said yes when we asked, then proceeded to write stories that have blown our minds, knocked our socks off, and made our hearts grow too many sizes to count.
Each writer puts their own unique spin on a bit of Arthurian legend. One of the unexpected joys of editing has been watching the resonances develop among them, especially when none of the writers really knew what anyone else was working on except for barest details (character, general time frame, maybe genre). These stories have cousins and siblings the authors aren’t even aware of.
Roshani Chokshi and Sarah MacLean deliver atmospheric stories heavy with longing and bursting with romance, albeit in very different ways, both giving voice to strong women we’ve fallen in love with. Ausma Zehanat Khan and Nisi Shawl bring the wider world to Camelot in ways that blur its boundaries and elevate the storytelling to something larger and more global. And Daniel Lavery and Sive Doyle make us laugh, make us cry, and give us two queer couples that absolutely deserve to be canon.
Then there’s Maria Dahvana Headley, who finds the Arthurian overtones of a muckraker in late-nineteenth-century America. Waubgeshig Rice and Alex Segura both incorporate baseball into their reimagined Arthur but in very different ways: in one, a pickup game on a reservation leads to an amazing discovery; in the other, a washed-up minor-league player finds help where he least expects it. Anthony Rapp finds magic in the throes of the AIDS crisis, while S. Zainab Williams explores that intangible search for belonging through a lonely girl in Singapore. Jessica Plummer and Preeti Chhibber both consider how it might look if a legend made itself known in modern life—with very different consequences.
No Arthurian collection would be complete without a look forward, and Silvia Moreno-Garcia brings us to a near-future Mexico City in a story both eerie and prescient. Ken Liu takes us even farther out, into a universe in which identity shifts from one moment to the next . . . but past mistakes can haunt you forever. A little closer to home is Alexander Chee’s story, set on our neighboring planet and contemplating public versus private personas, secrets, and games.
This collection has been a privilege and a joy to curate and has shown us just how much room there is to play. We hope that you’ll enjoy these stories as much as we do, and that these stories are merely the tip of the iceberg for inclusive Arthurian fiction. Everyone deserves to see themselves on the page, and even if you don’t find your specific identity within these stories, perhaps you’ll see some small part of yourself inside these characters and these old, and yet entirely new, legends.
Table of ContentsIntroduction by Swapna Krishna & Jenn Northington
Ausma Zehanat Khan, “The Once and Future Qadi”
Roshani Chokshi, “Passing Fair and Young”
Daniel M. Lavery, “How, after Long Fighting, Galehaut Was Overcome by Lancelot Yet Was Not Slain and Made Great Speed to Yield to Friendship; Or, Galehaut, the Knight of the Forfeit”
Nisi Shawl, “I Being Young and Foolish”
Sarah MacLean, “The Bladesmith Queen”
Sive Doyle, “Do, By All Due Means”
Maria Dahvana Headley, “Mayday”
Waubgeshig Rice, “Heartbeat”
Anthony Rapp. “Jack and Brad and the Magician”
S. Zainab Williams. “The Quay Stone”
Alex Segura, “Black Diamond”
Jessica Plummer, “Flat White”
Preeti Chhibber, “Once (Them) & Future (Us)”
Silvia Moreno-Garcia, “A Shadow in Amber”
Ken Liu, “White Hempen Sleeves”
Alexander Chee, Little Green Men”
About the Editors
About the Contributors