Saturday, December 31, 2011

Our Eleven Bestselling Books of 2011

This is a list of the eleven books that have been bought the most often through this site in the year of 2011. They're a nice mix of first novels and old classics, and are mostly fantasy and romance novels. There are a few young adult books in the list, a couple that we never even reviewed, and a lot of fairy tale retellings.

Anyway, I figured an overview would be interesting, and they're all good books (some amazing, some just pretty good and some of my favourites aren't even here), so if you're looking for a quick list of titles to spend some money on, this list is a great place to start.

(I did want to take a look at some of the actual bestselling titles on Amazon, but it's impossible to search for lesbian books by popularity or rating - most of the first few pages are either smut/erotica, or not even lesbian. And everything in the 'Gay & Lesbian' category gets pulled up, with a heavy emphasis on the 'Gay'... so our stats will have to do. They're a pretty small sample size, though, so it's not going to be the interesting analysis I was hoping to write.)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Book Review: Clara's Story by Dorreen Perrine

Clara's Story by Dorreen Perrine is a fairly light, but interesting, romance set in New York and Italy, that's as much about family drama and family as it is about falling in love.

Claire is the assistant of a small, but increasingly successful, New York art gallery, a job she got through her mother's connections, under the thumb of a reasonably unpleasant little man. Isabelle is the young, forward and overwhelming Italian artist that arrives for a show and takes an interest in Claire.

While the attraction is mutual, Claire is too busy denying her emotions, pacifying her manipulative mother and getting to know her estranged father to be interested. That, and she can't quite tell if Isabelle is just playing the Italian flirt, or truly, exclusively interested in her. And of course, she's part of Claire's job, now, so can't be ignored - but also has to be handled carefully.

Meanwhile, Claire spends a lot of energy dealing with her mother, isn't really connecting to her boyfriend, and is becoming much closer to her serious father and his flamboyant partner. All the while dealing with the fact her mother views this as the ultimate betrayal and has devoted years to cutting her gay ex-husband out of his life. Along the way, we get flashbacks to Claire's disastrous engagement, life with her mother and first (female) lover. Basically, it's an overload of family history, with us coming in at the tipping point, with Claire carrying us along on her personal psychological journey, while her siblings find their own ways of coping (or not).

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Guest Posted Review: Beebo Brinker by Ann Bannon

We have a guest review up at The Rainbow Reader on Beebo Brinker - the 1962 lesbian pulp fiction classic by Ann Bannon. Last in the 'Beebo Brinker Series', it's a prequel to the other books, and the best place to start.

Drop by to check it out! (It's a pretty darn good read, and recommended to fans of historical novels, erratic love affairs, shy butch girls and lesbian classics).

Read the review of Beebo Brinker at The Rainbow Reader!

You may also be interested in:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Book Review: Promises, Promises by L-J Baker

Promises, Promises
by L-J Baker
Promises, Promises is L-J Baker's fourth book. Much more lighthearted than the author's previous works, it's quite different, but just as well-written. Although it's "her first attempt at a humorous one", it's witty and entertaining, while also containing some genuinely sweet moments. It lives up to its description, "a romp with plenty of dykes, a unicorn, an ogre, an oracle, a quest, a princess, and true love with a Happily Ever After" -- everything on that list can be checked off, and serves as a basic summary of the plot. (There are definitely lesbian main characters, and the girls get the girls.)

The book might not be what you're looking for if you're after a serious Lord of the Rings style quest, but if you enjoy parody and humour, especially of the meta sort (maybe comparable with Pratchett), Promises, Promises delivers and is worth a read. The references to various well-known works are fun to spot, among them The Princess Bride, The Life of Brian, Narnia, Shrek and Lord of the Rings. Readers will also be able to spot plenty of self-referential humour that points out common fantasy tropes.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Short Story: O Captain, My Captain by Katherine V Forrest

"O Captain, My Captain" is an amazing, captivating and sensuous science fiction vampire story by Katherine V. Forrest. Found in an old anthology of hers called Dreams and Swords (reviewed here), it's a gem that isn't as easy to find as it deserves to be. I've picked this story out of the anthology for a separate review, because it really doesn't deserve to be lost among the dry, average and mostly very short stories that make up the rest of the collection.

This story also appears in Daughters of Darkness: Lesbian Vampire Tales, a more intellectual collection of lesbian vampire stories that focuses on the more realistic side of being a female vampire (so less in the way of sex scenes, more in the way of female empowerment).

Harper is a part of the galactic military, assigned to a ship with a single captain, on a salvage mission into a dangerous asteroid zone. Alone with her unusual host for days, she falls into her thrall - and then discovers that her host isn't exactly... human.

Book Review: Dreams & Swords by Katherine V Forrest

Dreams and Swords by Katherine V. Forrest is an old anthology of ten short stories from a successful lesbian mystery/sci fi/ fantasy/ romance author, some of which are a bit dated. Most of them are more vignettes than proper stories - short exercises and scenes, that are either too short or are basically all recap from somebody, telling you about a longer period of time. The only two of any real length are a short murder mystery featuring the detective Kate Delafield, and the science fiction vampire story, "O Captain, My Captain". The latter is worth buying the entire book for.

Most of the science fiction ones are set in a future dominated by the ExxTel corporation, where sexual freedom is the norm and the few Trad (traditional) colonies are the last remnant of 20th century prejudice.

There is a wide range of situations, characters, voices and approaches and the lesbian element varies - though it's always positive. This would be a fantastic book to pick up for debates on gender and other social studies and to study writing styles. The stories are often too short for narrative satisfaction (it's hard to lose yourself in them) and don't actually explore most of the implications and issues properly, but simply present them. For example: mental disability and whether it's right to try and 'fix' it, euthanasia/suicide, homosexuality as normal (obviously) and homosexuality as better, and physical disability.

Book Review: With Her Body by Nicola Griffith

With Her Body (Conversation Pieces, Volume 2)  by Nicola Griffith is, like all her work, worth the money. The Conversation Pieces series are collections of feminist science fiction short stories from Aqueduct Press.

A book of intimate, fierce, intellectual stories about real women,  they all follow the theme of the title: a dancer who uses her body to make music and command attention, a woman whose body has betrayed her and who learns to stop letting it rule her, and a woman who learns to open herself up to the physical, and her companion who falls entirely into the realm of nature.

Because there are only three stories (plus an essay), it's not worth paying too much for. But because of the quality of the stories, it is worth paying rather more than you would otherwise. All of them are powerful, and I had to stop and put my Kindle down for awhile after each one, letting it sink in and pass through me. They are all science fiction, or fantasy, and all focus on women, with the protagonists being lesbians with experiences both exclusive and powerful enough to drown out other voices.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mystique:The Bisexual Shapeshifter

Mystique by Brian K. Vaughn
Ultimate Collection
Mystique (Raven), the sexy mutant shapechanger from Marvel's X-Men has a long standing relationship with another woman, the oracle-telepath Destiny. However, for many years, there was a blanket ban on any obvious GLBTQ characters at Marvel, so various authors and artists had to sneak her bisexuality in (her creator states that she always was Destiny's lover). More recently, it has become an official canon (as much as an comic character has a single canon).

Destiny (Irene) also probably counts, but she tends to be a background character, while Mystique is vey prominent throughout the X-Men storylines.

Most of her male love affairs lacked in emotional depth and were for the purpose of producing children. While she is definitely bisexual, the fact that she can shapeshift into anyone (or anything, apparently), makes her gender identity extremely ambiguous.

Transgender Young Adult Fiction (Also Genderqueer, Intersex, Cross- Dressing and So On)

Transgender Penguin shirt
Transgender Penguin by fightcancertees
Like bisexual fiction, transgender, intersexed, and general gender identity books are as likely to be about girls as boys, if they're about any identity in particular - and by nature, they generally cover both! 

There's also no reason that a transgender or otherwise genderfluid teen can't also be lesbian, or think they are before figuring out what they actually are, and many lesbians may be wondering if they are actually transgender. At least as far as I'm concerned.

 There aren't many YA books on transgender people anyway, so they might as well be included here, especially given the difficult of drawing the line along the spectrum. Books are grouped under FtM, MtF and 'Everything Else' (e.g. intersex, cross dressing).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Book Review: Crimson Dawn by Ronnie Massey

 Crimson Dawn by Ronnie Massey is 'yet another vampire story' - one that I actually had to stop reading because snarky internal monologue was drowning out story. This was a pity because not only did it nag at me and interfere with everything else I tried to read (yes, I am shamelessly blaming this book for the recent dearth of reviews) but it ended up being pretty good.

In fact, it was weirdly inverted - all the lesbianism, best parts of the plot (as opposed to running around reacting) and depth of world building came in the second half. But the actual story and various fantasy races are quite fun, the action is fast paced, and our female lead is kick ass. This novel comes with two prequel short stories, and I suspect it would have read much better had I read them first. Because not only does it dump you into the Irulan-Valeria friendship without much character building but I spent the first half of the book thinking the author didn't really want to write a real lesbian main character (both of which are addressed in the prequels) and this left me feeling cheated and annoyed. But it does eventually deliver on everything you expected when you first picked it up.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Asexual Lesbians/ Asexual Women in Fiction

Asexual Flag & Triange Badge Pin button
Asexual Flag & Triange Badge Pin by NewEnglandAces
See other Asexual Buttons
Asexual characters are rare and difficult to accurately identify, but they do exist in fiction. This is a list of all the female asexual characters and Asexual lesbians* in novels and other books, whether roaming singly or in a 'Boston Marriage' (a 19th century term for two women committed to each other in a non-sexual relationship).

*(Obviously romantic asexual female pairings are also all female asexual characters, it's just a bit tricky trying to define them without using a whole sentence!)

For the purposes of this list, only characters inside a sexual canon displaying asexual traits should be counted as asexual (i.e. they have to be presented with an opportunity to display sexuality, not just 'never have sex'). Some of these characters may generally be assumed to be 'lesbian', but often that's only because they're obviously 'not straight'.

Most of them are fantasy, and are usually asexual due to magic, oaths, or utter dedication to a cause. This may reflect a stereotype of sexless women - or it may simply be that these women are more likely to be forced to declare their lack of sexual interest (almost all the titles below are written by women, if that matters).

Monday, November 7, 2011

Lesbian Shapeshifter Fiction

Werewolf Woman print by Nightmareartist
on Zazzle (support an artist!)
Looking for a list of lesbian werewolf novels? Look no further!

Shapeshifters are a lot of fun - from the traditional werewolf to modern fantastical variants. They can be loners, terrifying and misunderstood, or relaxed and secure in their pack. From secretive to bestial, glorious to vicious, werewolves tend to appeal to those seeking a sense of freedom and power, as opposed to the control and seduction of vampires.

Sadly, the list of exclusively lesbian werewolf fiction is a very short one (and feline shifters are even rarer yet - and that's about it for types) - many the shifters in the titles below have to share their stories with lesbian vampires as well!

Note: Books that happen to have a lesbian secondary character are not included. Both the werewolf (or other shapechanger) and the lesbian have to be primary parts of the plot and not thrown in as a token character, or part of the background, however well written. These are books for reading about lesbians and shapeshifters, not books that 'happen to have a lesbian werewolf in one scene'.

These titles took a while to track down - if you know of any more, please share!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lesbian Knights in Fiction

There is a very short list of  in historical romance or historical fantasy featuring lesbian knights, but luckily they're all pretty good. If you love knights in shining armour riding to the rescue, wandering knights errant, gallantry and romance, and mediaeval fantasy, then check out the fiction below.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Book Review: The Princess Novels by Jim C. Hines

Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty
Cover of The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines

The Princess novels by Jim C. Hines are a wickedly fun example of adult fairytale fantasy. Similar in style to the typical young adult fairy tale retellings, with the same familiar stories and faces, the content is still suitable for teens - but the writing is aimed at adults. Basically, it's an awesome fun, modern fantasy series that isn't particularly high brow, and more focussed on action that analysis, but has some amazingly good characters. Including a very well written lesbian who is as much as main character as her co-protagonists.

 There are four books in the series, and they are splendidly parodies, wonderfully feminist, and full of all kinds of dark and twisted fairy stories (and a few happy endings). The first story is the lightest, the last one the darkest - and doesn't stand alone as well as the other books, so read them first.

The four published books in the series:
  1. The Stepsister Scheme
  2. The Mermaid's Madness 
  3. Red Hood's Revenge
  4. The Snow Queen's Shadow

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Short Story Review: Far by Sarah Diemer

 Far is a science fiction horror dystopia zombie fantasy short story by Sarah Diemer that starts off as one thing, turns into another, and has the love between two girls as the strong guiding centre all the way through.

Why did I pick this story up? Well, after reading her novel, The Dark Wife last week, I promptly bought two of her short stories. (Sadly, the other short story I picked up, Hallow's Eve: A Halloween Fairy Tale, isn't a lesbian one, though it is a very nice short story about a nice young witch who is much better at cupcakes and has to spend Halloween fixing a love spell gone (un)deadly wrong).

Far looked like it might be a good addition to the very short list of non-vampiric lesbian horror. The first half definitely is, in a dark The Genetic Opera-style city of death and hopelessness, but it turns into something else at the end - more of a metaphorical science fiction dystopia.

 Essentially, it's a love story between Mana and Far. It opens with Far dead and Mana going to rescue her soul from the After before it is recycled - luckily Mana is one of the best Runners in the city. Unfortunately for Far, she succeeds, and her beloved is trapped in a corpse, trapped in a city she has been desperate to leave, and cheated of her death.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Book Review: Heroine Addiction by Jennifer Matarese

Heroine Addiction by Jennifer Matarese is a really fun superhero murder mystery, with great characters, a fairly over-dramatic evil villain plot and a marvellous main character.

Vera Noble is the owner of a small cafe in a quiet town that finally accepts her bisexuality without spitting in the street when she walks past. She's got major break-up issues with her last girlfriend, and crush on the writer guy in the corner. Sure, she hasn't spoken to her family in five years, but that's mostly because Vera's one of the most balanced members of the family. Oh, and an annoying case of supervillains, especially the guy her dad's secretly dating, who likes to drop by and upset her customers and her.  Otherwise, everything's pretty good.

Except - did I mention? Her parents are two of the most powerful superheroes in the world. And they're living a brittle show for the cameras, that somebody is bound to exploit sooner or later. And this being a superhero universe, it's not going to be something as prosaic as blackmail.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2nd Annual Lambda Literary Awards 1989

2nd Annual Lambda Literary Award Winners and Finalists
All annual awards
1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 1992 |1993 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 
 2003 | 2004 |2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010

1989 Categories
  • Lesbian
    • Anthologies, Debut Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, Nonfiction (Studies) Science fiction/Fantasy
  • General LGBT
    • AIDS, Humour, Poetry, Young Adult/Children's Book Award
    • Gay Men's
      • Anthologies, Debut Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, Nonfiction (Studies) Science fiction/Fantasy
    • Other Awards
      •  Editor's Choice Award, Publisher's Service Award, Small Press Book Award

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Book Review: The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer

    The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer
    A mere five minutes into The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer and I had forgotten that I was supposed to be critically reviewing it, I was so completely caught up in the story. An enchanting and powerful retelling of the traditional myth of Persephone, this tale casts several key characters as lesbian women and Zeus as heedlessly destructive, selfish and far too a powerful figure overshadowing everyone's lives. It stays very true to the original Greek mythos - beauty and cruelty go hand in hand, as the gods mingle with mortals, each other, and the variety of fantasy creatures that orbit them. And, while adapted to the story, they are all recognisable.

    In the original myth (for those who aren't familiar) Persephone was the daughter of Demeter, goddess of the harvest and fertility (basically, an earth mother figure). On day, while she played in a meadow, the ground splits open and a chariot appears, bearing the terrifying figure of Hades, god of the Underworld. He snatches up the beautiful girl and bears her down into his realm. There, whether he rapes her, courts her or ignores her is mostly skipped over, but eventually she eats either three or six pomegranate seeds. Sometimes by mischance, but often because he tricks her.

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    YA Book review: Empress of the World by Sara Ryan

    One of the oft-recommended books on the short list of lesbian teen books, Empress of the World by Sara Ryan is the first person story of a smart and analytical 15 year old who spends the summer at a University course and falls in love with the beautiful and somewhat broken Battle.

    Nicola ('Nic') is attending a special summer course at the University of , for high school students. She's studying Archaeology.  A quiet, creative and balanced girl, she comes from loving and slightly eclectic parents and has a tendency to over-categorise everything ( least according to some people). Her first day, she spends the welcome speech sketching people around her, which leads to the enthusiastic Katrina pouncing on her and the other subjects and deciding they should all associate with each other. One of them is the reserved, gorgeously green eyed Battle (at least, Nic thinks she's gorgeous. We don't get outside confirmation of this).

    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    Book Review: Snuff by Terry Pratchett

    Terry Pratchett's latest book, Snuff came out this week and I had to promptly abandon everything on my reading list to go follow Vimes into the country side and chase around after smugglers and slavers and murderers.

    To my delight, there was actually a brief appearance from a lesbian couple, meaning I get to gush about Pratchett again.

    The lesbians were one of the members of the local self-styled magistrates and her partner (who may or may not also have been part of the group - we never see much of the magistrates, so it's unclear). They are not the good guys and we don't see much of them at all, they're just 'there' - they turn up to a dinner party and Vimes notices one of them wears a tie and man's shirt, and later another character notes in passing that they happen to live together and that's their own business.

    Pratchett is LGBTQ-friendly and covers a lot of gender issues in his books - although often subtly, sneaking them in matter of factly, rather than making a big deal out of relationships or crossdressing or gender identity (except in the case of the dwarves, when it's a fairly big deal - for his other most lesbian-friendly, cross-dressing and gender focused book, read my review of Monstrous Regiment, which is basically a parody of Don't Ask, Don't Tell).

    As for Snuff itself?

    The main parodic themes for Snuff are Pride & Prejudice-style gentry, traditional English feudal estates, Miss Marple 'murder mysteries in the countryside!' and the goblins. Which aren't exactly parody, as they're played straight, but are a very good case of accepting other races as actual people. True, Pratchett's done that a lot lately - but the goblins are just the sideshow, and the underlying issue, rather than being followed around and talked about constantly. Vimes has also been introduced to snooker at some point, it seems.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    Book Review: Christabel by Karin Kallmaker

    Christabel by Karin Kallmaker is a reincarnation romance set in Manhattan, about a true love between a settler and a native American, who come together in the modern world of fashion and finance.

    Like her other fantasy and scifi fiction, it was originally published under the pen name of Laura Adams (back in 1998), but has since been revised and republished using her real name. The blurb is dreadfully misleading, though, as it doesn't really ever say 'hey, this has magic and multiple lives and so on in it!'. I really, truly expected a standard romance between an abused celebrity model under the thumb of her manager, and the high-flying professional accountant.

    got a multiple narrative story of past lives, true love, spirituality, psychics and demons. Also, generations of suffering, which made for a very grim undertone. So be warned, while there is sickeningly sweet happily ever after and perfect true love at the end, most of the story involves fear, danger and abuse.
    Dina is a highly ambitious career woman, part of a high flying accounting corporation who helps get customers financed and sold to buyers. She's hired to help sell Leo Goranson. Unfortunately, the guy turns out to be a manipulative and sadistic slimeball - with the breathtakingling lovely, albeit oddly resigned and helpless, Christabel under his thumb.

    Way back when the first European settlers where first co-existing on the island of Manhattan with the local native Americans, Christabel was born, and met the native American woman, Radohnee under a great tree. And they secretly fall in love, while the local Reverend increases his intolerant grasp, until the entire colony is in a frenzy of witchhunting, and he has backed Christabel into a corner.

    Christabel was reincarnated all the way down through history, constantly hunted and tormented by the demonic Reverend in his various forms, until the present day, when she finally meets up with Dina (again). Interestingly, while she apparently looked the same (or very similar), and the Reverend lusted after her, it is only the modern Christabel's astonishing good looks that are ever mentioned.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    YA Book Review: A Hole in the World by Sophie Robbins

    A Hole In The World is a young adult lesbian fantasy (still a very small category!) written by Sophie Robbins. A Hole in the World is a fantasy story about a teenager in the UK who climbs through a hole between worlds and brings home a bubbleheaded princess who was waiting for her Prince Charming.

    I couldn't really tell what kind of story it was from the brief description - which is one reason I ultimately read it, in my latest 'buy all the lesbian Kindle books to review!' spree, so I knew if I was putting it into the right categories in the bookstore.

    Bianca is a middle class British teenager who gets expelled from her expensive boarding school for something she didn't do, but goes along with it because she hates the place. And right from the get go, I can tell she doesn't have much of a future in the 'real world' - it never even occurs to her that that kind of thing sticks around.

    She's smart enough, supposedly, but happily skips school and isn't really interested in studying; is slightly overweight - or thinks she is, much like she always uses makeup; has a fairly stable family life, but is basically ignored by, and tries to ignore, her parents; has few friends locally, and is happily - though very quietly - lesbian. In other words, she's your average self-conscious, slightly defiant teenager, who is more interested in hanging out with her best mate than her family or school.

    Except for this mysterious hole in a wall, that has been calling to her all her life. And one night she jumps through it and discovers a stereotypical fairytale princess in a cage, rescues her - and ends up with a naive and magical princess on her hands. Bianca, her best friend and his mates band together to protect Alexandra, sneaking her into school and enthusiastically introducing her to the myriad of weird and exciting things in their world - from toast to cinemas.

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    Book Review: Shadows of Aggar by Chris Anne Wolfe

    I highly recommend Shadows of Aggar by Chris Anne Wolfe to all readers of lesbian fantasy and science fiction. It's a very well written story and an interesting and engaging romance.

    Shadows of Aggar is the first book in the Amazons of Aggar series, named for the 'Shadows' who dedicate their lives to adventure and supporting a specific person. The two Amazons of Aggar books by Chris Anne Wolfe are a particularly well known lesbian science fiction series from a groundbreaking author. Sadly, she died of cancer, cutting her writing career far too short, and leaving the last book in the trilogy unwritten.

    Aggar is a fairly medieaval world kept in controlled seclusion from the wider galaxy - it exists in an uneasy quarantine within the Terran Empire, and sits very near the contested border to another galactic empire. The reclusive and mystical Council do their best to keep the Terran Empire out, without actively jeopardising the truce, and to guide the various planetary cultures and peoples into balance and towards a more harmonious and enlightened future. Keeping the existence of the wider galaxy secret is an integral part of this.

    When an operative of the Terran empire crashes on Aggar while returning with information of a pending assassination, the Council is moved to act - not only to prevent an invasive Terran rescue mission, but to avoid cultural contamination, while hurrying to retrieve the spy in order to avert galactic war between the two empires, which Aggar would be caught in the middle of.

    So they decide to allow and assist a single undercover offworlder  to go after the missing man - and to give them a Shadow, Elana. They pick the Amazon - Diana n'Athena, or Di'nay - as they trust her over the Terrans.

    Time Travel Lesbian Fiction

    This is a quick round up of all the lesbian time travel fiction I can find. Most are romances across the centuries, or modern day women thrown back into the 19th and early 20th century. A few are science fiction stories of time travellers bouncing happily around the past and the future. Very few involve actually travelling to the future. Many, but not all, of these books also appear in the lesbian historical fiction list.

    The dates are listed in the direction of travel (E.g. 2050-2010 means a traveller from the future who came back to 2010, while present day - 1907 means someone who went back into the past from about nowish).
    • Christabel by Karin Kallmaker (Manhattan; early colony-present day)
      • Read the review
      • About two girls who fell in love when one of them wandered outside her little colony and met a beautiful native American girl. Unfortunately an evil man destroys them and traps them in a magical fate, bound together in endless reincarnations until they finally manage to meet again in modern day New York, in the world of fashion and business.

      Wednesday, October 5, 2011

      The Lythande Stories by Marion Zimmer Bradley

      Lythande (1986)
      Collected stories
      [read the review]

      Marion Zimmer Bradley published several short stories about the mysterious sorceress, Lythande (pronounced Lee THOND) as part of Robert Lynn Asprin’s Thieves’ World shared-universe series, which began in 1978. Sadly she is now dead, so there won't be any more. Now there's a fun way to start a review!

      They are a very enjoyable collection of sword and sorcery-style fantasy books about a cross dressing, 'socially transgender' woman. Lythande is an adept of the Blue Star - an extremely powerful and immortal sorceress, who has chosen her side in the final battle of Good versus Evil (which takes place at the end of time and isn't really an issue in most of the stories, as everyone is still quietly maneuvering and picking sides over the course of centuries).

      There's a twist, of course - each of the blue Star Adepts has a secret, and hers is the greatest of all - her sex. She cannot reveal her face or true name to, nor eat in the presence of, any human man. Long term readers of lesbian subtext have no difficulty spotting the loophole there. The only real friendships she can form are with women - women she trusts never to reveal her to another.

      So she wanders around the world, hooded and mysterious, occasionally rescuing people through magic, other times passing as a minstrel. She's centuries old by the time we meet her, and quite composed, formidable and adept at remaining undiscovered.

      3rd Annual Lambda Literary Awards 1990

      3rd Annual Lambda Literary Award Winners and Finalists

      The Lambda Awards by year:
      1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 1992 |1993 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 
      2002  2003 | 2004 |2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010

      1990 Categories
      Overview of yearly categories
      • Lesbian
        • Anthologies, Debut Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, Nonfiction (Studies) Poetry, Science fiction/Fantasy, Small Press Book Award
      • General LGBT
        • AIDS, Humour
      • Gay Men's
        • Anthologies, Debut Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, Nonfiction (Studies) Poetry, Science fiction/Fantasy, Small Press Book Award
      • Other Awards
        •  Editor's Choice Award, Publisher's Service Award