Guilty Pleasures discussion

queer fantasy

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message 1: by Lobeck (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:18AM) (new)

Lobeck | 1 comments Does anyone have any queer fantasy book recommendations? This has ended up being my favorite combination of genres, and is unfortunately a little obsure. I've read both of Lynn Flewelling's fantasy series, and she does an excellent job of creating a society where queer sexuality is the norm, though she doesn't do much with queer genders. I could even branch out into queer sci-fi if anyone had suggestions in that area. I'm particular about reading fairly modern authors who give more attention to the author's narrative voice; I find older writing styles too formal and therefore not engaging.

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm partial to Sacrament by Clive Barker. He's off and on, but that one is definitely on.

message 3: by Hiram (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:19AM) (new)

Hiram | 12 comments Mod
I'm new to the genre but enjoyed Samuel Delany's Tales of Neveryon. People who've recommended Delany to me were the most enthusiastic about his novel Dhalgren. It's huge (800 pages) so I decided to start with something less daunting. I'm also really curious about his Trouble on Triton: An Ambiguos Heterotopia.

Would Jeanette Winterson's The Passion count as fantasy? How about William Burroughs? I'm still not entirely clear about the genre's parameters.

message 4: by Naomi (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:19AM) (new)

Naomi (gnomesb) Have you read Anais Nin? I would definitely put her in the fantasy genre, though her explorations with sexuality do vacilate between both sexes. Her diaries 'fire' and 'incest' are more fantasy than day to day account of her life. I read some of her erotica - I forget the name - which was awesome.

I would recommend Jeanette Winterson's 'oranges are not the only fruit' and 'written on the body' though I don't know they fall into the category of fantasy. Sometimes her writing feels like a fantasy, evocative and sumptuous. Here is the link to her books where she writes a brief bio on each book to give you an idea.

message 5: by Kay (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:22AM) (new)

Kay | 2 comments As that horrible unmentioned-in-the-group-title-and-probably-about-to-be-kicked-out category, a bisexual, I can't recommend Ursula K le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness too highly. Set in a different universe to ours, it explores how one person experiences another culture during his political mission - what makes the story so compelling is that the place he visits, Gethen, is a culture of androgyny = for twenty-four days of each twenty-six they are biologically neuter, then for two days become male or female, as determined by chemical interactions with any interested sex partner. Wonderful, sexy, fascinating stuff.

message 6: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:22AM) (new)

I also love Jeanette Winterson- I think her fantasy deserves a catagory all of its own- I don't know what it is- I wouldn't say magical realism, either, but the writing is magical and the ideas are so twisty and cool, nearly irresistable. The first book of hers I picked up, (Sexing the Cherry) I was several chapters in thinking, "What the hell is this?" But the writing was so gorgeous I felt like she was leading my down some strange path, luring me with beautiful writing. Go at it with an open mind and no expectations and it's a different reading experrience than most others.

message 7: by Amy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:23AM) (new)

Amy (amyking) | 2 comments I don't know about fantasy, but it's fantastical: Virginia Woolf's quite lovely novel, ORLANDO. The book spans several hundred years as we follow the protagonist, Orlando, who regularly changes genders and lives, lovers, vocations, etc. It's tumultuous, romantic, and gorgeous of text. There's a film too that stars Tilda Swinton, though I strongly recommend the book first.

message 8: by Amy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:23AM) (new)

Amy (amyking) | 2 comments By the way, I concur with Winterson's THE PASSION. Couldn't put it down -- one scene about the protagonist kissing the lover blew the top of my then-undergrad head off.

message 9: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:23AM) (new)

I just heard on NPR this morning that Jeanette Winterson has a new children's book out- "in her usual style" can't imagine what that means. I'll report back after I've read it.

message 10: by Naomi (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:23AM) (new)

Naomi (gnomesb) is that tanglewreck? I bought it about 3 months ago but haven't gotten around to it yet.

message 11: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:23AM) (new)

It is Tanglewreck. I just saw that she has the first two chapters on her website

message 12: by Lance (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:24AM) (new)

Lance Reynald | 1 comments thank god you're here.
I refuse to let them throw you out cause now I'm thrilled I'm not the only one...

thanks for the rec.

message 13: by Pamela (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:24AM) (new)

Pamela (teacupfangirl) Kay, thanks for the rec. I'm going to have to look for that one next time I hit the used bookstore. (And you're definitely not alone, either ;)

message 14: by elfgirl (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:24AM) (new)

elfgirl | 1 comments I love this thread! I'm just getting back into reading Sci-Fi/Fantasy and I'd been looking for recs for queer genre novels. Anyone have any Sci-Fi stuff to rec?

Also, bi, FWIW. :)

message 15: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:25AM) (new)

Laura Baumbach | 1 comments I've written a sci-fi novel, the first in series, titled DETAILS OF THE HUNT. Gay sci-fi, adventure with romance. It was nominated for an Eppie this past March, but that's the only rec I can give it. It's in print through MLR Press and on both Amazon and B&N.

Laura Baumbach
erotic romance writer

message 16: by Hiram (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:25AM) (new)

Hiram | 12 comments Mod
Be sure to add these titles to the group bookshelf. When Goodreads enables the "create new shelves" function for groups I can create a shelf for Queer Fantasy and Sci-fi as well as individual author shelves for Laura, Amy, William, et al.

message 17: by Williammaltese (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:26AM) (new)

Williammaltese | 3 comments Seems I posted in the wrong "thread" the fact that I've written the m/m sci-fi novel BOND-SHATTERING, found at:

Also, a lot of the book stores, I've noticed, have lately been listing my m/m/f/m THE GOMORRHA CONJURATIONS as sci-fi, found at:

And, Hiram, if and when...that individual author shelf would be greatly appreciated.


message 18: by Conrad (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:27AM) (new)

Conrad | 2 comments I agree with Hiram - for me, queer fantasy begins with Delany's Neveryon series. There are things to dislike about Delany (he can tend to use his characters as sociopolitical megaphones, and his central character, Gorgik, kicks it NAMBLA-style) but it's hard to find another author who so plausibly blends philosophical sophistication with fantasy fiction.

For sci-fi, I like The Female Man by Joanna Russ, which despite the awful title is unbelievably good.

message 19: by Colin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:31AM) (new)

Colin | 3 comments Daniel Heath Justice has written an amazing Queer fantasy trilogy, The Way of Thorn and Thunder, that is based in Cherokee cosmology and is a decolonial/anti-racist critique of a lot of the usual tropes of sci-fi/fantasy. The first two books are "Kynship" and "Wyrwood." The final installment, "Dreyd," will be out this fall. Highly, highly recommended.

message 20: by Colin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:31AM) (new)

Colin | 3 comments Two other amazing fantasy/speculative fiction Queer books I'd recommend are "Woman on the Edge of Time," by Marge Piercy and "The Fifth Sacred Thing" by Starhawk. Both have a strong political bent.

message 21: by Kay (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:44AM) (new)

Kay | 2 comments About twenty years ago (gulp!) I read a polyamorous sci-fi about two brothers who had three wives, and all the possible combinations therein. It was very good stuff especially for a bi woman who'd just got married to a straight man ... Thing is, I lent it to a straight guy who never gave it back (story of my life) and I'm damned if I can remember the name of the book. The cover; I can remember the cover; gorgeous underclad female riding in a litter through a weird landscape, but not the damn title ... any ideas?

message 22: by Shoryl (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:20PM) (new)

Shoryl | 1 comments On the Science/Speculative Fiction side of thing, I highly recommend Melissa Scott. To be honest, just about anything by her. She tends towards SF (and even cyberpunk), though all of her work has such vivid worlds that those which don't outright discuss the technology could easily fall into the category of fantasy.

She has two Books, 'The Kindly Ones' and 'Shadow Man' which deal with gender identity. Also, she portrays both male and female characters who are gay.

message 23: by Karl (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:35PM) (new)

Karl | 5 comments Also you might check out Perry Brass. I've read ANGEL LUST and he has a number of other queer fantasy titles. Also, MORDRED: BASTARD SON by Douglas Clegg was fun. Neither is great literature, but they were both enjoyable reads. Also Marion Zimmer Bradley wrote some queer sci-fi. THE HERITAGE OF HASTUR is one title. Her THE CATCH TRAP, as I recall--it's been a long time, is a very fun queer melodrama with a circus theme!

message 24: by Kristen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:51PM) (new)

Kristen | 2 comments _Woman on the Edge of Time_ and the Xenogenesis series by Octavia Butler both explore alternative genders in interesting ways. Piercy based her "future" on _The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution_ By Shulamith Firestone which is just great!

message 25: by ScottK (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:14PM) (new)

ScottK Mercedes Lackey has a pretty good trilogy out there Magic's Promise, Magic's Pawn and Magic's Price. The main Character is a gay young man named Vanyel kinda coming of age,learning he can use magic and becomes a Herald (Guardians of the land chosen by magical horselike creatures called companions) I read them many years ago but from what I remember they were good.

message 26: by Rodello (new)

Rodello (sacredmime) | 1 comments Lynn Flewelling has a great gay-themed fantasy series called the Nightrunner series. The first book is entitled "Luck in the Shadows."

If you like short stories, there's a good anthology called "So Fey." The editor's name is Steve Berman.

message 27: by Lynne (new)

Lynne Jamneck Ammonite by Nicola Griffith
I recommend this to everyone. It's brilliant and has to be read.

Bending The Landscape - Fantasy Eds. Stephen Pagel and Nicola Griffith (short fiction, some absolutely beautiful ones in here.)

message 28: by Whitaker (last edited Oct 16, 2008 08:25AM) (new)

Whitaker (lechatquilit) I loved Diane Duane's Tale of the Five trilogy ( The Door into Fire, The Door into Shadow, and The Door into Sunset). These are out of print, but really should not be. She was going to write a fourth book, Door into Starlight, but that doesn't seem to have materialised. The trilogy is self-sufficient though, so perhaps that why.

Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner is also good. It's a stand-alone story. Don't bother with the "sequels", Privilege of the Sword and The Fall of Kings, though. These were unnecessary and not as well written.

Ricardo Pinto's Stone Dance of the Chameleon trilogy ( The Chosen, The Standing Dead, with the third book coming out next year) had very good reviews when they appeared. I've not read them yet so perhaps someone who has can vouch for whether these are any good.

message 29: by Jan (new)

Jan (jansteckel) | 16 comments Have to agree with Kay about The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Leguin. And also about being bi.

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