Rich and Strange: "Without Faith, Without Law, Without Joy" by Saladin Ahmed
This week at Tor.com I review Saladin Ahmed’s wonderful subversion of long-standing racism in Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene.
“Without Faith, Without Law, Without Joy” has a straightforward structure: using quotes from the Faerie Queene as a frame, it takes up and subverts each of the incidents involving the three evil Saracen brothers—Sans foy, Sans loy, Sans joy—who beleaguer Una and the virtuous Redcrosse Knight in Book I. Translating their names to Faithless, Lawless, and Joyless, Ahmed imagines that it is Redcrosse himself who is a wicked sorcerer, having stolen three brothers from their lives in Damascus and stripped them of their names and memories in order to make them enact a lurid pantomime for Redcrosse’s benefit and spiritual advancement.
This story is one that Ahmed has reprinted on Medium for free. If you enjoy it, I hope you’ll consider supporting his work with a donation.