Monday, May 2, 2016

Queer Eye for Sci Fi -- the booklist


I went to RavenCon this weekend -- a smallish, book and science fiction/fantasy convention with the prerequisite dealer's room, author GOHs, filkers and panels.

I had a good time, got to see some musicians I liked (Blibbering Humdingers, Jonah Knight), a band I hadn't seen before (Positronic Cats) and a band I used to like and don't like anymore (Paradox Machine)

I met my favorite authors (Steve Miller and Sharon Lee) and got autographs and got to listen to a reading of Chapter Seven from their upcoming novel Alliance of Equals, due out sometime this summer...

I also got drafted by Nickie Jamison to help her with a panel; Queer Eye for Sci Fi...

Which is a cool panel name, and I approve 110%.

Which is how I ended up essentially reciting my reading list over the last two years to a fairly large group of strangers (there were, I think, about 30 people there for the panel, which made me really nervous right up until I actually opened my mouth,,,)

Last year, 2015, was the year of No White Men for me, as far as reading went. I made one exception, any white male whose books I was already reading (Jim Butcher, the above mentioned Steve Miller, Rick Riordan, etc) I would read IF they had books come out in a series that I was already invested in. But if not, I wanted to make sure I read women writers and persons of color writers only.

Not entirely unbelievably, I got epic amounts of shit for this decision, mostly on Facebook, but I had one particular guy who cared enough to track down my email address and send me like 30 or so obscene photographs and threats. (We're not even talking about just dick pics, but actual torture porn, because that's sure to change my mind...) You know, my $40 a month book allowance going entirely to women is going to make some white guy starve to death. Absolutely. I take full responsibility for that.

Anyway, I was asked where I got my reading lists from -- obviously some science fiction is m/m romance or erotic romance, which is a growing, but still not main-stream market -- and honestly, it's kinda a grab bag. The nicest -- and worst -- thing about having a kindle is that I can impulse buy the shit out of books.


Mary Anne Mohanraj -- Author of The Stars Change, which is a Circlet Press novel -- talks a lot about science fiction, romance, polyamory, race, sexuality, and a general amount of geekery. Also, she has cute kids and interesting stories about her life as a college professor. She's posted several books to her facebook page that I've bought and enjoyed, as well as her own work. I believe she does the con-circuits out in the mid-West from time to time.

Laura Antoniou -- Lamda Award Winning Author of The Killer Wore Leather -- is a nerdy sort, altho her books are not in genre (or at least, if there are, I haven't read them. The stuff I've read is hard core BDSM) That being said, her page has been a great place for me; she posts some book lists from time to time and there are always interesting discussions there. She's not taking friend requests at this time, but you can follow her.


Goodreads Best Science Fiction with a Gay Main Character
I obviously haven't vetted everything on this list, but I do check it out from time to time.

Gay and Lesbian Science Fiction that Doesn't Suck

Best Science Fiction Gay list

Specific Books (Listed in no Particular Order)

Dark Space -- Lisa Henry -- This book contains explicit material, but is completely fantastic. Love it. I own, but have not yet read, the sequel, Darker Space.

The Forever War -- Joe Haldeman -- no explicit material and the LGBT stuff is toward the end of the book, but has some interesting ideas of how sexuality might evolve...

The Liaden novels -- Steve Miller and Sharon Lee -- several bisexual characters and characters that have gay relationships, including Theo Waitley, the main character in Fledgling, Saltation, Ghost Ship and Dragon Ship, and Priscilla Mendoza from Conflict of Honors and several subsequent novels. There are 18+ or so books in this series, but well worth the read. The books don't carry the theme of being LGBT, but they treat it as very normal.

The Left Hand of Darkness -- Ursula K. LeGuin -- not explicit, an interesting look at a gender-swapping society. My copy of this book is so battered from multiple re-reads. Every time I read it, I find something new in there

Ascension, a Tangled Axiom novel -- Jacqueline Koyanagi -- this book is a checklist of diversity, we've got characters of color, we've got characters with a chronic illness, we've got lesbians, and we've got a damn good story. By far my favorite read from last year.

The Gumshoe, The Witch, and the Virtual Corpse -- Keith Hartman -- I have not actually read this yet, but it's been recommended to me about 80 times now, so there's that.

Ash -- Malinda Lo -- Young adult lesbian version of Cinderella. Brilliant and a finalist for a lot of awards... Absolutely, you should read this.

Dreamships -- Melissa Scott -- gay cyberpunk story...

Percy Jackson -- Rick Riordan -- this is a 10 book series and the one (two?) gay characters aren't actually outed as gay until book 9 and is a side character at best, so... a lot of emotional investment in a book series, but they are fun, and they do treat being gay as an ordinary sort of thing.

The Mortal Instruments -- Cassandra Claire -- Young adult books with a gay supporting character, as well as his love-interest and quite a lot of parental issues about it.

In the Mother's Land -- Elisabeth Vonarburg -- Translated from French, which sometimes makes the sentence construction a little odd, but bear with it, because this book is brilliant, but very hard to get a hold of. It is the sequel to The Silent City, but I didn't actually read that one.

The Handmaiden's Tale -- Margaret Atwood -- really, this should be recommended reading for just about everyone.

Marion Zimmer Bradly came up during the conversation, and I may mention her work with some caveats, the first of which is, I've never personally read anything she's written and two, her real-life stuff is problematic for me, given the accusations of child molestation. Her backlist profits are currently going to charities to help abuse victims, so if you haven't read her before, the money you give toward those books will help. At the same time, I feel very uncomfortable recommending her books, so take away from that what you will.

For those of you wanting the title of that South African novel I mentioned, I'm sorry, I can't FIND it. It was a loaner and I gave it back when I was done. I'm trying to remember who lent it to me so I can ask them. The problem with reading as many books as I do is that sometimes books and titles just slip out of my mind and I can't recall...

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