Off-World Fairy Tales

By Susan Bee, Johanna Drucker


Litmus Press
Original Language(s)
Additional Credits
Cover art & book design by Susan Bee
Production design by HR Hegnauer
Collaboration, Poetry
Edition, Year
First Edition, 2020
In Print

Off-World Fairy Tales marks the third collaboration between painter Susan Bee and writer Johanna Drucker, following their Fabulas Feminae (Litmus Press, 2015) and A Girl’s Life (Granary Books, 2002)—a trilogy dedicated to hybrid language, pastiche images, and the feminist imagination. 

The creators of Off-World Fairy Tales wonder: What visions of fantastic worlds open the doors to imagine experiences beyond this one and travels undreamt of in our mechanical reality? If we could travel on waves of light—or dream—and wake in other galaxies, what would we see? Simulacral moons? Exotic techno-flora? Meme-streams full of information? This book contains fourteen fairy tales that extend the traditional genre—with princesses, adventures, monsters, boys, and wishes—into encounters with the wildly imagined “off-world,” where sulky orphans without their own transport vehicles long to jump dimensions, or unravelling technologies suffer from enchantment. 

In the bright, bold pages of this book, playful language and images launch flights of fancy to delight today’s children and amuse adults of all ages. This poetic work of imagination springs from the footsteps of Lewis Carroll, Florine Stettheimer, Leonora Carrington, Sonia Delaunay, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and Edward Lear. 

Johanna Drucker
Johanna Drucker is the Breslauer Professor in the Department of Information Studies at UCLA. She has published and lectured widely on topics related to digital humanities and aesthetics, book history and future designs, historiography of the alphabet and ... Read More
Susan Bee
Susan Bee is an artist living in Brooklyn. She is represented by A.I.R. Gallery in NYC, where she has had nine solo shows. She has had solo shows at many other venues and her work has been included in many ... Read More

I love working with Johanna. I made illustrations for her stories and then she asked me to make little spots. I had assignments that were very funny like “make a cloud with an arrow,” “make an angel with a wing,” “make a spaceship with a creature on it.” I have a whole list of assignments that she gave me for Off-World Fairy Tales. It’s sci-fi and it has robots and creatures… it has a lot of fantasy in it.

— Susan Bee in conversation with Barbara Montefalcone @ Miranda


Praise for Off-World Fairy Tales

The fairy tale is that most flexible of forms. In this, their third collaboration of text and image, Susan Bee and Johanna Drucker joyfully, sometimes wistfully imbue the idiom with contemporary spirits of motion. Here are lost brothers and admirable twin sisters, whipping serpents and mooncats. Bee and Drucker dip into meme streams with water pixels, singing varieties of long past futures. Each page casts a new, glimmering spell, a cheerful, countervailing magic for dark times.

 — Susan Howe

Long-time collaborators Susan Bee and Johanna Drucker have honed their technicolor, femme-out-loud style in Off-World Fairy Tales. Their textual and visual interplay propels us off the blue planet into the twinkling galaxy of “meme-streams and moonbeams.” Drawing on their power to undergird our historical consciousness of relationships and emotions, Drucker and Bee animate the unruly joys of intergalactic and cyborg existence. Like thoughtful parents, they use narratives and play to show us how to cope. In the “off-world,” we’re given enchantment as a source code for reimagining the consequences of connecting, feeling, and meme-ing our existence on this planet. After all: “enchantment is all well and good, but when you want to escape from the surface of the earth, you need to know a little something about gravity.”

— Steve Clay

This delightful, nuanced and clever collaboration between Drucker and Bee feeds all the senses and plays hopscotch with our inner and outer (space) child. 

— Tracie Morris, author of Who Do With Words

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