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Entertainment, Opinion

Fantastic queer representation and where to read it

Has a beloved fantasy author let you down? 

Are you looking for some fantastical novels about incredible worlds within worlds that are also very gay and won’t leave you starved for representation?

Here are some fantasy and science fiction recommendations from diverse authors.

The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez

A thrilling reinvention of the vampire legend.

This centuries-spanning survey of black queer life in America begins in 1850 with the induction of an escaped slave into a fractious community of bloodsuckers.

The sweeping collection of novellas eventually moves beyond our present to speculate an apocalyptic future, but also shows how we can all face troubled times with hope, found family, and the resolve to make the world a better place.

Ellen Kushner’s Riverside Saga

In a nameless city “inspired by all the cities [Kushner has] read about, studied, and walked in, and loved the best: Elizabethan London, 18th century Paris, 1980s New York”, highlife and lowlife meet in fierce clashes of swords and sensual clashes of bodies.

Recent installments have been an experiment in collaborative storytelling, and feature contributions from a murderer’s row of lesbian and gay romance and adventure novelists.

A great way to find new authors to devour. 

Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars by Kai Cheng Thom

A fast, furious collision of darkness and whimsy. Birds of Prey with transsexuals.

A teenage runaway joins a trans gal gang and brings the fight to all the rotten men who’ve done them wrong.

A lot is made of how this novel abrasively skewers the conventions of transgender autobiographical storytelling, but it has a great deal of affection for the tradition as well.

It beautifully contrasts and complements Redefining Realness by Janet Mock and Tiny Pieces of Skull by Roz Kaveney (both excellent books even if they don’t include mermaids and ghosts).

Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars was selected by Emma Watson for her online bookclub, Her Shared Shelf, last year.

Kai’s picture book celebrating trans and gender nonconforming youth, From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea, was recently read by Dame Julie Andrews on her storytelling podcast Julie’s Library.

On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden

In a galaxy far, far away, humans navigate the stars in spaceships that are also fish.

This webcomic pursues a two-track plot that shifts between a boarding school tale and a story of how life begins to unfold once school is over.

A delightful space opera, grand in visual scope, often thrilling in incident, intimate in its character drama… and crammed with lesbians. 

The Manifold Worlds Duology (An Accident of Stars, A Tyranny of Queens) by Foz Meadows

A portal fantasy by Australian author, Foz Meadows (“Jack of all pronouns, mxtress of none”), that sweeps away its heroine and the intrepid readers who follow her to a dangerous otherland filled with queer and non-patriarchal possibilities.

Foz received a Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2019.

Their extensive writings about the craft of fanfiction can be found on their Tumblr, their opinions about science fiction and feminism on Twitter and their blog, and gorgeous photographs of their cats on their Instagram.

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