Compiled by the Espresso Addict

Espresso Recommendations

Innovative and stylish fanfiction, showcasing the very best across multiple sf, fantasy & literature fandoms. Good writing in all its forms can be found here, including gen, het, slash, OCs, AUs, crossovers, future fics, humour & pastiche

Contents: 1010 recs in 235 fandoms; 65 links

Fairy tales

Beauty and the Beast | Bluebeard | East of the Sun, West of the Moon | Jack and the Beanstalk | Jorinde and Joringel | Little Red Riding Hood | Puss in Boots | Sleeping Beauty | Snow White | Tam Lin | The Buried Moon | The Little Mermaid | The Wild Swans | Twelve Dancing Princesses | Various

Beauty and the Beast

In a Dark Wood by Sheldrake

'She cannot absolutely say that he is finned, or winged, or hoofed. And yet, she cannot absolutely say that he isn't.' A lovely combination of the surreal & the matter of fact marks this dreamlike version of 'The Beauty and the Beast'

[Added 03/01/2007; Drama; 2500-6000; Beauty and the Beast]

Rough Diamond by Lyrstzha

'Stories are sleek and round on the tongue and in the mind, perfect circles of meaning, but truth is mostly far more unsatisfying and messy.' A novel retelling of 'The Beauty and the Beast'. Clever & charming. Highly recommended

[Added 03/01/2007; Drama; 2500-6000; Beauty and the Beast]


Esther and the Egg by Sister Magpie

'Gladys pegged him for a Butter and Egg Man and predicted he'd blow a wad of cash at the club and then hightail it back to a wife in Ohio, wiser and poorer for his trip to the big city.' Amusing hardboiled version of 'Bluebeard', which never takes itself too seriously

[Added 25/11/2011; Drama; 2500-6000; Bluebeard]

East of the Sun, West of the Moon

The Troll Princess by Shannon

'I went after him with a girl's hot passion, I melted for him, I scrubbed my heart raw against him. I got over him with a woman's cold and careful anger, chipping, chipping at the love until none of it was left.' Cute re-envisaging of 'East of the Sun, West of the Moon', with a lovely dry humour

[Added 11/11/2008; Humour; <1000; East of the Sun, West of the Moon]

Jack and the Beanstalk

The Mysterious Vanishing Mr Bore by Triskellian

Inventive rewriting of 'Jack and the Beanstalk', with some cute details

[Added 30/12/2005; Humour; 1000-2500; Jack and the Beanstalk]

Jorinde and Joringel

A Congregation of Nightingales by Quillori

'Did fabled lands become real when you visited them, she wondered? Did they too have rats and sewers and endless work, or was it only her city that was really real?' Thoughtful multi-faceted tale that weaves Jorinde's story into those of other women, and touches on the role of choice & fate for women. The neat structure is shot through with gorgeous descriptive passages. (Crossover with the myth of Procne & Philomytha)

[Added 26/12/2017; Drama; 2500-6000; Jorinde and Joringel; Crossover]

Little Red Riding Hood

The Winter of Wolf by Thankyouturtle

'"Did you know that the stars you were born under were the stars that tell us that Winter-Grandmother is approaching?"' Unusual & inventive re-envisioning of 'Little Red Riding Hood', which does so much more than just invert the text so that Wolf becomes the heroine

[Added 25/11/2011; Drama; 2500-6000; Little Red Riding Hood]

Puss in Boots

By Design by Dreamiflame

'And Puss could think, as well. August considered him his masterpiece, the exquisitely rendered form and the marvelous whirring brain. Only a few artificers ever managed to give their creations thought. After Puss, August had never done it again, instead creating the fine, obedient servants which were what most people used.' A neat steampunk retelling that sticks close to the original, yet manages to give the princess character more of a say. Sweet & memorable

[Added 29/10/2014; Drama; 6000-20,000; Puss in Boots]

Sleeping Beauty

Building the Castle of Roses by Luzula

'"You could keep her for now, but at the age of five, you'd have to give her up to the space program. She'd be trained from an early age, and when she's grown up, she'd leave on one of the interstellar exploration flights. You'd never see her again."' A loose re-envisioning of 'Sleeping Beauty' in a near-future dystopia. Luzula isn't afraid to prune aspects of the base story that don't fit her concept, and the result is an original piece with strong world-building. I'd love to read more of this scenario

[Added 04/10/2013; Drama; 6000-20,000; Sleeping Beauty]

Snow White

Carte Blanche by Paraphilia

'My Blanche is no white rose. She is, instead, an evening orchid -- wild and dark-scented, drawing many a collector's eye.' A modern retelling of 'Snow White', clever & disturbing

[Added 11/11/2008; Drama; 1000-2500; Snow White]

Tam Lin

Clayheart by Miss M

'His hands shake a little, the bridle clinks and rattles. Blue veins stand out on the backs of his hands, turned bony and claw-like with time.' A chill look at an oh-so-plausible future for Tam. Atmospheric & beautifully written

[Added 11/08/2015; Character Piece; 1000-2500; Tam Lin]

The Buried Moon

The Wise Woman of the Marshes by Zdenka

'The Moon ate and drank while she listened, and perhaps the plain beer and cakes were as unusual to her as drinking starlight would be to you or me.' A charming peek behind the scenes, fully in the spirit of the original tale

[Added 19/10/2017; Drama; 1000-2500; The Buried Moon]

The Little Mermaid

Into Something Rich and Strange by Lyrstzha

'Nia's kind darted through these tides, silver scales sliding lithely, quickly. They were ever vigilant and tireless, fighting in endless battles against wave after wave of invaders. They moved as one.' An sf reworking of 'The Little Mermaid', but that's just the beginning of this creative tale of awakening consciousness, which twists & turns towards an entirely unanticipated ending. Rich & strange indeed!

[Added 04/10/2013; Drama; 6000-20,000; The Little Mermaid]

Knives Beneath Her Feet by Miss Lanyon

'The sea-witch seized her head with one of those strong hands and turned her face to kiss her mouth deeply, drinking her voice.' An unusual & insightful take on the 'you will walk on knives' concept from 'The Little Mermaid'. I'd warn for darkness, but if you take that part of canon literally, dark is inevitable

[Added 28/05/2012; Drama; 2500-6000; The Little Mermaid; Adult]

The Sea Witch Sets The Record Straight by Ursula Vernon

'The story got around a bit differently. Stories always do. Turning your back on a story is like turning your back on the ocean.' This clever retelling does just what it says on the tin. There's a rich voice for the witch and plenty of dashes of humour

[Added 09/08/2014; Character Piece; 1000-2500; The Little Mermaid]

The Wild Swans

Swan's Wing by Penknife

'Every now and then I wonder if she wishes she'd never started that last shirt.' Subtle reworking of 'The Wild Swans', with a wonderful narrator's voice

[Added 11/11/2008; Drama; 1000-2500; The Wild Swans]

Swansong by Lassarina Aoibhell

'My brothers say they remember little of their time as swans. I remember a great deal. I wonder if they lie, if they have deliberately forgotten, or if the memories have stayed a part of me, anchored by the feathers and hollow bones that took the place of hand and arm.' Melancholy & haunting tale of one caught between two worlds

[Added 11/11/2008; Drama; 1000-2500; The Wild Swans]

Twelve Dancing Princesses

Fire, Measured By What Doesn't Burn by Luna

'There was sand in your sheets at night, every night, needling your skin, but it didn't keep you from falling asleep and dreaming. The war had traveled west with you, riding in the whorls of your ears and the treads of your boots.' A smooth amalgamation of gritty realism & fantasy characterises this modern re-envisioning of 'Twelve Dancing Princesses'. An amazing achievement

[Added 07/08/2009; Drama; 6000-20,000; Twelve Dancing Princesses]


Bellflower and Hellebore by Gileonnen

'Even after nearly a decade of desolation, the wolf can smell that the place had a mistress, and that she used to make soap with rosemary from the rendered fat of infants.' Luscious descriptions mark this disquietening, slippery story, with tales melding into each other in unexpected ways as the wolf adapts to the changes time brings

[Added 27/05/2012; Drama; 1000-2500; Fairy tales – Various]

The Bruise Around the Wound by Rana Eros

'She is the usual shape, her visible skin the normal texture, even if the color is lurid. Her hair, though, her brows and lashes make people doubt. It only takes a little deformity and their imaginations run wild.' A dark reworking of 'Rapunzel' & other tales. Strange, lush & vivid, with overtones of Angela Carter

[Added 18/07/2009; Drama; 1000-2500; Fairy tales – Various]

The Killing Choice by Dizzy Fire

'Jack had always been trouble, ever since he was just a lad. People used to call him Jack the Giant Killer, and I privately suspected that there was some truth to it, although I hadn't been able to make the charges stick.' Goldilocks & Baby Bear [cough] Constable Bruin investigate the death of Jack, of Beanstalk fame, in this fairy tale noir casefile. Nothing too profound, but sweet & charming

[Added 28/05/2012; Humour; 6000-20,000; Fairy tales – Various]

The Silver Ship, or, The Wolf's Quest by Ermigoa

'Once upon a time, when the Earth was still solid beneath our feet and the stars were distant and strange, there was a king whose lands were rich and lush, and whose citadel comprised many gardens.' A really unusual fairy tale, subverting elements from traditional tales in a fresh setting. The frame story just makes this

[Added 27/05/2012; Drama; 2500-6000; Fairy tales – Various]

Under the Skin by Fresne

'His smile made her think of the teeth of ice off the eave of a house. His gray eyes made her feel the bark of the winter wind off an icy mountain. His laughter made her think of the retort of rifles in hunting season.' A rich & atmospheric tale, loosely based on Melusine & other archetypes. A bit rough around the edges, perhaps, but worth a try for the wonderfully realised setting, a faded spa town after WWI

[Added 04/10/2013; Drama; 6000-20,000; Fairy tales – Various; Adult]