A special Pride month feature to wrap up this past month, featuring a creepy podcast, the romantic retelling of a classic story, and more!
Une édition spéciale pour la fierté pour conclure le mois qui se termine, avec un podcast qui apporte la chair de poule, une répétition romantique d’un classique, et plus encore!
Welcome to Night Vale
By Magdalena Nitchi
Do you like paranormal horror and fantasy mysteries with magnificent world-building, along with a touch of absurd humour? Then the Welcome to Night Vale podcast is for you! The show, which has been running since 2012, is an epistolary style radio show where the host, Cecil, reports on the mysterious events taking place in the strange desert town of Night Vale. Some of these bizarre reports include an ominous glowing cloud which appears above the town, a tiny civilization living underneath a bowling alley, and townspeople accidentally slipping into parallel dimensions.
Cecil is an openly gay man, and he unashamedly expresses his attraction towards Carlos, a scientist who comes to the town to study some of its unique phenomena. I won’t spoil anything, but the way these two interact melts my heart. There are several other queer characters in the show, but there is never any questioning or debates about their identity. They express themselves and date who they want, and it is never a big deal. That facet of a person’s identity is mundane compared to the bizarre events that take place every day. While this is a podcast with many horror elements, Welcome to Night Vale does not engage in the “bury your gays” trope, where queer characters end up being killed more often than their straight counterparts; the only ones at risk are the radio station’s field interns.
If you are looking for something to binge that will keep you on your toes, I highly recommend this podcast. There are currently nine seasons out on Youtube, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts—which amounts to 189 episodes—as well as several recordings of live shows, and even three spinoff novels set in the same town, which follow the story of different characters mentioned on the podcast.
This podcast has been important to me for many years, and I cannot recommend it enough. The story is absolutely incredible, and combines some of my favourite cosmic horror tropes with lovable and human characters. I have also made several friends through a mutual love of Welcome to Night Vale, and the atmosphere at the live shows is amazingly positive. It is never too late to join the community, which works hard to be accepting of everyone.
Le Chant d’Achille par Madeline Miller
Par Francesca Robitaille
Le roman Le Chant d’Achille de Madeline Miller, publié en 2011, reprend l’histoire de Patrocle, un personnage plutôt mineur dans l’Iliade, mais qui a eu un impact important sur la guerre de Troie tel que le raconte Homère. Suivant la vie de Patrocle dès son enfance, on retrace autant le développement de la guerre que celle des personnages qui en deviendront les héros.
L’écriture de Miller fait changement des textes plus académiques auxquels on est habitué lorsqu’on traite des classiques. Le ton poétique et honnête place très bien le titre de l’œuvre, et la narration est émouvante. Miller reprend l’idée de Platon, qui interprète l’histoire d’Achille et Patrocle comme une histoire d’amour qui se développe à travers leur adolescence. Au travers de leurs aventures de jeunesse, ils tissent des liens qui se développent autour de leurs relations d’amitié et d’amour. J’ai beaucoup apprécié la fluidité du développement des personnages, et le ton poétique me donne l’impression de grandir avec eux. L’œuvre a grandement gagné en popularité parmi les jeunes adultes sur l’application TikTok cette année, et c’est de là que j’en ai entendu parler pour la première fois. Les gens qui s’y retrouvent sont plus jeunes, et une grande partie s’identifie comme membre de la communauté LGBTQ+, et les suggestions de livres qui s’y retrouvent reflètent bien cette population. Ce n’est pas pour dire que je vous recommande de télécharger l’application, mais son impact sur les ventes de livres ne peut être négligé et j’espère que le prochain phénomène sur l’application sera aussi bon que Le Chant d’Achille.
The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen
By Olivia Shan
Tiến, the young Vietnamese-American protagonist at the heart of Trung Le Nguyen’s debut graphic novel The Magic Fish, longs to come out to his immigrant parents, but finds that their language barrier remains an obstacle in truly bridging their differences. Despite this, Tiến knows that the fairy tales he habitually reads alongside his mother to help her improve her English will always be an important point of connection, even as words fail them.
Nguyen is clearly a very accomplished artist. His style is a combination of traditional fairy tale art prints and Studio Ghibli; his dynamic characters are charming and fun to look at, while also having a unique, ornate quality about them. His minimalist but vivid colour palettes aid the book significantly as well; not only do they help visually differentiate between paralleling story lines, but their monochromatic natures also further highlights the intricate details of the book’s stunning art.
The whimsical fairy tales featured throughout the book—most of which are Vietnamese versions of familiar Western stories, such as Cinderella and The Little Mermaid—are seamlessly interwoven into Tiến and his mother’s own lives and arcs. Amazingly, I never once found this device to be gimmicky or trite. I was incredibly moved by how candidly this story spoke on the subjects of grief and cultural estrangement. Tiến and his mother cherish the profoundly uniting role which literature occupies in their lives, and the book itself eloquently underlines the fact that stories not only shape us, but we ourselves also have the power to constantly create variants of old stories and new narratives. Readers are also storytellers.
The Magic Fish asks us to celebrate the stories in our lives— both real and fictional— which connect us to our loved ones and ultimately make us better, more empathetic human beings.
Reading this emotional and intimate book felt so refreshing to me; I had been looking forward to reading this graphic novel ever since its initial publication, as I have hardly ever come across any books that relay the specific experience of being both Asian and queer. I’m incredibly pleased to say that The Magic Fish has not only lived up to my personal expectations but has absolutely exceeded them. I’m eagerly looking forward to Nguyen’s future publications and I hope that this incredible work inspires many other Asian and queer artists to share their stories with the world. For anyone who is also part of the Asian diaspora, I cannot recommend The Magic Fish to you highly enough.
Other Pride Month Recommendations | D’autres recommendations pour le mois de la fierté
Dreadnought by April Daniels
Carmilla by Kim Turrisi, a novel which is an adaptation of a youtube series by the same name
The Soft Landing Collection: Sapphic Fantasy and Science Fiction Stories by Jacquelynn Lyon
Gideon the Ninth by Tasmin Muir
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
Orlando by Virginia Woolf
The Vintner’s Luck by Elizabeth Knox
On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden
The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg