Friday, March 30, 2012

Gaylactic Spectrum Awards: Discontinued Categories (People's Choice, Hall of Fame & Comic/Graphic Novel)

The Gaylactic Spectrum Awards focus on fantasy, science fiction and horror with gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersexed and generally queer themes. They began in 1999 (for books published in 1998) and are worth browsing for good fantasy and scifi fiction.

They have ongoing Best Novel, Best Short Fiction and Best Other Work categories, but the three categories below have been discontinued. They are the People's Choice (most nominations, run from 199 to 2001), Best Comic/Graphic Novel (only awarded in 2003, graphic novels were included in Best Other Work in other years) and the Hall of Fame (run from 1999-2003, for books published before the awards began). There was a separate category for visual media in 2002.

The Hall of Fame inductees contain a number of classics of GLBTQ fantasy & scifi fiction that are worth reading.

Other Awards from the Gaylactic Spectrum Awards (pending)

Awards listed below
  1. People's Choice
  2. Best Comic/Graphic Novel 2003
  3. Hall of Fame

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Book Review: The Telling by Ursula Le Guin

The Telling by Ursula Le Guin is a science fiction story following a woman's attempts to understand a planet's culture. It is a somewhat intellectual and abstract book, with very subtle world and character building, about fundamentalism and the themes of freedom - social, political, cultural, intellectual, religious. I found the ideas engaging, but the story itself was slow. A good book, but definitely not for everyone.

The story, on first impressions, didn't entirely make sense, a lot of the word building was backwards; for example, the opening memories were not explained fully till near end, and Sutty's past was revealed very slowly and in fragments. The emphasis was much more on the exploration of culture and ideas than the personalities and events, although they paralleled each other in many ways. It appears to be set in a preexisting universe, part of the Hainish cycle, so readers familiar with the setting won't feel quite as lost - still, you shouldn't have to head to the internet to figure out what kind of universe a book is set in.

Sutty is Indian and lesbian, with a traumatic history on war torn Earth as it reeled through ecological disaster and religious oppression and terrorism. She escaped Terra by studying to become part of the XX , ultimately becoming an Observer, whose job it is to impartially record new cultures and preserve knowledge for the Ekumen (an advanced galactic race). The story slowly unveils her personality and past to us, and transforms her impartial quest for knowledge into an intensely personal, almost spiritual, one.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lesbian Princesses in Fiction

Lesbian Princess by naturetees
Browse Gay T-Shirts
Princesses are a genre crossing phenonemon, and come in a wide range of character types. 
Yes, there really are lesbian princesses out there.  They  turn up mostly in fantasy, historical and fairytale fiction, but can be shoved in anywhere that an imaginary dynasty can be created. As such, there's a bit of unavoidable overlap with the Lesbian Knights, Historical, Pirate, Vampire and Fairy Tale book lists.

From coddled to kickass, sheltered to stubborn, lovely to lonely, their defining feature is being 'special' by birthright, either as heir or as bargaining piece. That is, the precious daughter of a ruling family, with all the coddling and assumed perfection and inherent worth that implies (and when it isn't there, she's generally the exception that proves the rule). While warrior princesses have carved out a category of their own (hurrah for Xena and Wonder Woman), your average princess is probably a dainty femme - and a perfect target for rescue by a bold and brave lady knight, or kidnapping by a dread pirate. 
We've tried to avoid books in which the princess is just called a princess because it sounds good, or at least to point out what kind of princess they are. We've also included a few books featuring characters who would be considered princesses by most people, they just have a different name for it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Book Review: Earth Mother's Grace by Anthony Baus

Earth Mother's Grace by Anthony Baus is a swords and sorcery fantasy featuring a demon and a shaman who fall in love, and their fight against an evil god.

Update: The author has since removed their book and is rewriting it, so look for a new and improved version sometime... sometime!

It's definitely a bit choppy at the start, and is entirely swords & sorcery fantasy, so it won't be for everyone. But by the time I was half way through, I was happily getting into the story and had upgraded it from 'does the job' to 'I'd recommend this to someone that I thought would like this sort of book'. So, if you're looking for a reasonably solid, fun fantasy read with magic and fighting, gods and heroes, good and evil, then I do recommend it. The strong lesbian main characters are a bonus, and the main story is worth sticking around for.

Hassaket is an escaped demon-succubus-winged being type, known as a Herald, who has escaped from a terrible God, Lord Irikiti, who revels in suffering and death. She's decided to raise rebellion against him, and first assists, and then enlists the aid of, the shaman, Fire Shrike. Together they devastate the encroaching army that is menacing Fire Shrike's nomadic tribe, but Hassaket is rejected by the Skiras and the two of them set off into an enslaved province, bringing back the previous God and overthrowing the priesthood, before attempting to free other cities and the Skiras people. Naturally, Lord Irikiti objects to this.

 This is a fun book, full of magic and some pretty good fight scenes, with two strong, powerful, and very much in love, female leads. There are plenty of male characters throughout the book, and they range from noble to monstrous to ... well, human, so it doesn't come across as deliberately over the top women's rights; it just read as an book that happened to have female leads. Who are also in love. And that is pretty awesome.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Book Review: Earth Logic by Laurie J Marks

Earth Logic is the second book in the Elemental Logic series by Laurie J. Marks. A fantasy set in a peaceful country coping with an influx of invaders, it follows the main family of characters from the first book,  Fire Logic [reviewed here]. It's not quite as good as the first book, having too much telling, not enough showing, and stretching suspension of disbelief a bit too far for the sake of otherwise pointless events. It does introduce a strong new lesbian character and progress the story, bringing the war to the point of conclusion and positioning Karis to fully assume the role of G'deon.

You can read an overview of the societies, characters, sexual mores and magic here: The Elemental Logic Series by Laurie J. Marks. I recommend at least skimming it, as there's a lot that would take too long to repeat in each review.

The three couples from Fire Logic are happily set up as their own little farm family at the start of the book, five years on from the previous events. Norina's baby is a hyperactive and misbehaving child, running her fathers and mothers ragged. Karis is still lying low, waiting for the right time to act, leaving her and Zanja locked in an agonising holding pattern. Emil and Medric are the same as ever, lost in a world of books.

Friday, March 23, 2012

24th Annual Lambda Literary Awards 2011

24th Annual Lambda Literary Awards
Finalists - winners to be updated later

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

2011 Award Categories
Overview of the categories by year
Note: This is the first year that the contest is open to all authors of any orientation. 
  • Lesbian
    • Debut Fiction, Erotica, General Fiction, Memoir/Biography, Mystery, Poetry, Romance
  • Bisexual
    • Fiction, Non-fiction
  • General LGBT
    • Anthology, Children's/ Young Adult, Drama, Non-fiction, Science fiction/ Fantasy/ Horror, LGBT Studies
  • Gay Men's
    • Debut Fiction, Erotica, General Fiction, Memoir/Biography, Mystery, Poetry, Romance
  • Transgender
    • Fiction, Non-fiction

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Closing the Book on Year One

Closing the book on year one.
(You can find this picture in our Zazzle store!
Well. It's over. The first year, anyway!

A year ago, I was worried about finding enough books to review to actually keep the site alive. Now? My Kindle is backlogged, I have a stack of nearly overdue library books on my floor, and table, and shelves, and my wishlist of books to read is a long as my arm.

From the multitude of classics we're both still trying to get through, to the steady flood of new titles, I think me and Cress are going to be busy reading and reviewing good lesbian books for as long as we can keep it up. And we haven't even made it to the nonfiction yet.

As for the Introducing Lesbian Fiction event... I enjoyed it. Thank you to everyone who took the time to write us something, whether it made it onto the site or not. We do appreciate it. We also appreciate knowing that other people have just as much trouble choosing a 'first' lesbian book as us - that's what inspired the event, actually, the fact that neither of us where able to write a definitive post on the 'best' book to hand to a first time lesbian reader.

It's the first time we've ever sought out guest posts, so it was a little nervewracking (okay, a lot nervewracking). Now we just have to think of a worthwhile topic for next year (guest posting for guest posting's sake is pretty pointless; this event has hopefully been useful and will remain useful to would-be readers of lesbian fiction, and we intend all future ones to be so as well).

Please take the time to read the guest posts; you can find them under the Introducing Lesbian Fiction Event 2012 tag, or listed on the event overview page.

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    Introducing Lesbian Fiction: Cat

    I'm one of the two reviewers here on Good Lesbian Books, and as one of the final posts for the event, I've written up my recommendations for a first lesbian book. It was... not easy. Not easy to stop piling on new titles that is! For every book I thought of, two similar titles sprang to mind.

    Coming Out
    For dealing with coming out, adolescence, family, coming of age and first loves, you can't really beat some of the young adult novels available. By nature they tend to be 'issue' books, so this is where you'll find the majority of the best coming out stories.

    My current top picks are Keeping You A Secret by Julie Anne Peters and Gravity by Leanne Lieberman. The former because it deals brilliantly with all the pros and cons of coming out, and is quite contemporary (one girl is out, the other is not, homophobia exists, but discrimination is illegal). The latter covers a great deal more, and is a bit weightier, throwing in coping with the demands of religion (Judaism in this case, but applicable across the board), unsuitable first loves and family as much as with sexual preferences.

    I haven't read enough of the available lesbian YA yet to pick the absolute best though, and there's plenty I think look fantastic, that I just haven't managed to read yet (e.g. The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Far From Xanadu, Gravel Queen, Pages For You, Wildthorn, I Don't Remember You). While a lot of people recommend Ash  by Malinda Lo [review], I didn't  find it that good; if you want fantasy, her follow up novel Huntress was much, much better [review].

    Classic romance; if you want a literary novel that is 'simply' about two adult women finding love, then I have to recommend Jericho by Ann McMann. It has replaced Curious Wine by Katherine V. Forrest as my personal classic of lesbian romance literature. Curious Wine is also worth picking up, and similar in theme, if not in scope, and was the best selling lesbian romance novel for years, but I think Jericho will replace it.

    Both follow two women, one fresh out of a failed relationship, the other already aware she likes women, and their instant friendship and the development of their love and attraction. I recommend Jericho because it is amazingly well written, and contains delightful dialogue, marvellous characters, and a lot of story. I recommend Curious Wine because it is a beautiful love story, and a classic in the field of lesbian fiction, but it is shorter, much more focused on the lesbian relationship (with less story left over for anything else) and slightly dated, compared to Jericho.

    Graphic Novels
    Don't overlook them just because they have pictures. Two of the best written (and illustrated - bonus!) lesbian series I know of are both graphic novels. However, they may not appeal to all readers. But they will appeal to almost all graphic novel readers.

    Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore is one of the best stories I have ever read, but it can be a bit confusing on the first two or three reads. I love the fact I found more and more each time I read the books, but they can be confusing, and they contain an awful lot - random poetry, song lyrics, scenes from alternate futures and pasts that never actually happen but could have. The whole story is about the shaky relationship and love between two girls, Katchoo and Francine (and their beloved third wheel, David). Katchoo is gorgeous, an artist, madly in love with Francine, dysfunctional, abused, and has a nasty history with the mob; Francine is kind, ordinary, dreams of finding the right man, pretends Katchoo is 'only' her best friend, is self conscious about her weight, and the one thing keeping Katchoo sane. Highly recommended to everyone, really.

    The Secret Six is a graphic novel series from DC comics, written by the talented Gail Simone. It is violent and nasty and graphic, so it will not be for all readers. But it's also smart, and funny, and touching, and has a fantastic open lesbian relationship. It follows a team of 'loser' villains, whose redeeming grace is that they never give up, no matter what the odds. Really, no matter what the odds. They get beaten on a lot. The smart and semi-immortal Scandal Savage is their on and off leader, and the heart of the group, and her true love is initially the demigod Knockout, and later the nice stripper Liana. They get more lesbians as real characters screen time than any other current superhero comic from DC or Marvel. Though Renee Montoya and Batwoman are coming close, so if you like slightly gritty heroes keeping the peace, pick up some of the stories from Greg Rucka's Detective Comics instead (top picks are Gotham Central - Half A Life and Batwoman: Elegy).

    If you just want a decent fantasy, and don't really care about it being All About Lesbians (i.e. you just want to give someone a book that just happens to feature lesbian characters, but doesn't make a big deal of it), then I can recommend several fantasy novels.

    The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines is the first book in a kickass adult fairytale parody series (in that it rewrites all kinds of fairytale elements into a real story, rather than simply making a joke out of them), which follows the adventures of three fairytale princesses, as they act together to save their adopted kingdom. One of the three main characters is lesbian, and her love for another character becomes increasingly important throughout the story (it barely features in the first book, which is mostly about one character, but the second - The Mermaid's Madness - gives the lesbian character equal screen time and importance as the other two).
    • Lesbian Fairytale Fiction is actually pretty popular, and tends to be fairly readable. It's certainly a good place to start, spinning a familiar story in a new way.  
    Fire Logic by Laurie J. Marks is also a good fantasy about a country at war, that happens to feature two women who are vitally important and happen to be drawn to each other. And Lythande by Marion Zimmer Bradley is a collection of classic fantasy short stories from Robert Lynn Asprin’s shared-universe series, Thieves’ World. Lythande is a mysterious female mage who happens to like women, though this only comes up in a couple of the stories.

    Science Fiction
    For science fiction, The Telling by Ursula Le Guin is a slightly dry, but interesting, story about culture, books, religion and politics (which seems to be the theme of a lot of her books), and follows an indian lesbian character as she strives to remain a disinterested observer, recording the language and culture of a planet that has undergone an overwhelming cultural revolution. I also have to recommend the truly astonishing anthology Bending the Landscape: Science Fiction, edited by Stephen Pagel and Nicola Griffith, which is a fantastic collection of gay and lesbian science fiction stories. The Fantasy anthology is also very good, but not as good as the science fiction one.

    Antiheroes, Violence and Sex
    Branded Ann by Merry Shannon is for those who like dashing piracy, sexy sparks, and real villains, antiheroes, moral quandaries and mutinies, with plenty of lesbian tension, flaunting the hate-love-hate relationship between the vicious captain, Branded Ann, and her beautiful, manipulative captive, Violet - a whore, turned wife, turned widow at Branded Ann's hand, in all kinds of delightfully unpredictable ways. If murder, rape and realistic piracy isn't your thing, check out The Sublime & Spirited Voyage of Original Sin by Colette Moody for a fluffier 'kidnapped by dashing lady pirate adventure romance'; it pales compared to Branded Ann in my opinion, but it's essentially the 'nice' version of lesbian pirate kidnap.

    For similar in your face sexiness and general awesomeness - and violence - as Branded Ann, pick up The Gunfighter and The Gear-head by Cassandra Duffy, a post-apocalyptic steampunk western.

    There are a lot of lesbian mysteries out there and I haven't read many. The best I've read so far are Nicola Griffith's books about scary Norwegian Aud Torvingsen [series review]; The Blue Place [review], Stay and Always [review].
    Well, I could recommend a lot more, and there are dozens of books out there that I think might be even better, but I just haven't read them yet. But these are the books I want hand to a first time reader - which of these books would based on their tastes, of course! I have read all of the above books, and almost all of them have been reviewed on this site (the remaining couple should have reviews up soon) and you can find a list of all our book reviews here.

    Cat is one of the reviewers of Good Lesbian Books, who has discovered more lesbian fiction in the last year than they ever thought possible.

    Further Reading

    Monday, March 12, 2012

    Introducing Lesbian Fiction: DocJudy

    DocJudy is a committed reader, and supporter, of lesbian literature. She recommends the first book in the Tierra del Fuego, Colony Ship science fiction series, Parting Shots by Caron Cro.

    So, what makes for a good first lesbian novel reading experience? I would argue that it is the same thing that makes for a good reading experience , regardless of the sexual orientation. It should be smart with viable conflicts and relationships, surrounded by the issues that engage us today. It should entertain, while pushing us to consider the shadows of our own spirituality and the dark places of our social consciousness. Tierra del Fuego, Colony Ship: Parting Shots by Caron Cro does all of these things and more.

    It prods us to look beyond our egocentric humanity and our notions of “family” to the formation of a society in which multi-ethnicity is the norm and sexual orientation is not a concern. Cro’s main characters are strong, intelligent, gifted lesbians who provide the first time lesbian reader with role models to be emulated. Protagonist, Lt. Trevathin Ivins, an Environmental Systems Engineer , Dr. Evangelena Hebert, a research primatologist and ship’s veterinarian, ship’s physicians Anjelica Flores and Jazzmin Hanks ,and Avery, Food Services officer. All are vibrant, pro-active, women who love women and each other. This book is action-packed, thought–provoking and reality based.

    I am an educator that believes we should encourage all lesbians to value our intellect, our culture and our environment . The more opportunities we have to experience this through literature the stronger our community becomes.

    Further Reading

    Sunday, March 11, 2012

    Introducing Lesbian Fiction: Robin

    Robin is a first time reader of lesbian fiction and recommends Goodbye Martha by Ella Sandwell 
    *(it comes in an explicit and a non-explicit version, which can be a little confusing).

    Which lesbian book should you read first?

    Goodbye Martha by Ella Sandwell is a true "coming out" story that is absolutely believable. The story is intense, heart warming and at times funny. Partner it with lite erotica, the book makes for a fantabulous read. Ella is on a mission to make up for lost time.

    I have read a couple of chapters of the regular version online. The book absolutely stands alone without the erotica.

    Let me explain it this way. The regular version is ice cream with delicious sprinkles and a good dollop of whipped cream, nuts and a cherry. This is all some readers want. But still delicious. The explicit version is ice cream, double hot fudge, triple nuts, quadruple whipped cream and quintuple cherries. There is a version for everyone. But I prefer the double hot fudge version. Buy whatever version you prefer. BUT DO BUY IT. As I stated before, Goodbye Martha is a fantabulous read!

    *This was my very first lesbian book. It was great. Enough detail in the explicit version. Since it was a "coming out" story, I felt this book might be an excellent starting point. Ella Sandwell "friended" many of the members of the Patricia Cornwell Facebook site. So Ella was instrumental in my reading of my first lesbian book. Ella is responsible for this review and I am happy to write this for her. I thank her immensely for my introduction to this genre. I have no idea what to read next, as the kinds of lesbian books are foreign to me.

    Robin is a self confessed first time reader of lesbian literature, who considers herself straight but is open to experimentation should the right situation arise, and knows a lot of lesbians. She's worked in the GYN field for over thirty years, and no, that doesn't mean gynaecology.
    Disclaimer: written by GLB from provided details! Robin, your email didn't work, please let us know if you want anything changed, removed or added. 
    Second disclaimer: Email still doesn't work, our replies keep bouncing!

    Saturday, March 10, 2012

    Introducing Lesbian Fiction: CC

    CC is a reader from the USA. She recommends the young adult book Far From Xanadu (Pretend You Love Me) by Julie Anne Peters.

    Which lesbian book should you read first?

    I've been reading lesbian literature for about four years now, since the start of my coming out process. But if I had to pick one book for the 'new' reader, it would be the very first book I picked up when I still had one foot in the closet during my freshman year of college: Far From Xanadu (now rereleased as Pretend You Love Me) by Julie Anne Peters.  More information about the book (and an excerpt) can be found here:

    This book really hit home for me my freshman year because, like main character Mike, I was dealing with a crush on an incredible girl who just happened to be straight. From the beginning until the end of the novel, I saw a lot of myself in Mike, although I wasn't nearly as out as she was at that time. 
    I would also recommend it because of how out she is and how her coming out process isn't a big deal at all. Sure, she and her best friend, an out gay male, get some slack for who they are, but that isn't the main point of the story at all. This is nice because it shows the reader, especially one who's new to lesbian/LGBTQ literature, that characters/people who aren't completely straight go through the same struggles that their straight counterparts do. In fact, this book has inspired me to write a similar story - with a happier ending. 

    CC is a recent college graduate but forever a kid at heart. When she isn't working in her self-proclaimed second hometown, she enjoys spending too much time online, writing, reading, playing video games, and watching hockey (particularly the Predators, Stars, and Penguins). Her blog is at

    Friday, March 9, 2012

    Introducing Lesbian Fiction: Caron Cro

    Caron Cro is an author of lesbian science fiction, with one book out so far in the Tierra del Fuego, Colony Ship series. She nominates Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover books and Rebel's Quest by Gun Brooke.

    Once I had discovered her work, I collected Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover Series as quickly as the novels showed up in the local bookstores. She and Ursula K. LeGuin had introduced me to an intoxicating genre: women's science fiction. Both created entire worlds, alien cultures that drew me into the depth and complexity of their societies, both examining women's lives on a planet where cultural norms of twentieth century Earth were suspended, transformed or transcended. Thendara House, Bradley's 1983 addition to the Darkover series, shook my consciousness and helped me break from barriers and limitations that I thought were inevitable.

    The Renunciates of the novel had renounced the patriarchical culture of Darkover. Surrounded by women living in a world very similar to 16th Century Europe, these women refused to marry, except as a freemate, i.e. an equal partner. They asked for no protection from any men and claimed their place as full citizens. The women, in finding others of kindred spirit, created their own guild, and its sanctuary was Thendara House. Some of the women were lesbians. To the women of Thendara House, each woman made a pledge. It includes a statement about their bond to one another:
    And I further swear that the member of the Guild of Free Amazons shall be to me, each and every one, as my mother, my sister, or my daughter, born of one blood with me, and that no women sealed by oth to the Guild shall appeal to me in vain.
    The book gave me a way of thinking about the women in my life, a template for claiming my freedom in relationships, my freedom to love as my heart guided me, and my place as a full citizen. I became politically active, participated in consciousness-raising groups, claimed my life partner, and built a home with her. We have delighted in her daughter and my sons as they have reached adulthood, knowing them as people incapable of underestimating the strength and intellect of women.

    Fast forward thirty years. I want to salute Gun Brooke and what she has created in Rebel's Quest. It is the story of two women, both appearing to cooperate and give allegience to the oppressive rule of the Onotharians. Neither knows the other is in fact a resistance fighter again the oppressors. Roshan and Andreia have despised one another for decades, each thinking the other a traitor and collaborator with an elite class that only cares about their own power and wealth. The approach and avoidance dynamics, even after both learn that the other lives a double life and has made tremendous sacrifices for the Resistance, rings true. Both are strong warriors, competent and decisive in danger. Both risk their lives frequently for the cause of freedom for their people. But much time has passed since their youthful attraction to one another. The book moves from Roshan to Andreia's point of view frequently, so we are aware of their self-doubts, their caution and their reserve.

    I love this book because lesbian relationships are simply a matter of course among the Onotharians and the Gantharians. Women admirals and resistance leaders are the norm. These women can priss it out in evening gowns and jewels. They can also lead their soldiers into battle, putting themselves in the most vulnerable point position. The novel lets me explores Reconciliation after lengthy separation and much pain. I embrace it because, while couching the emotional journey in a high adventure story of warriors, Gun Brooke has told the most pivotal story of my life, the one with far reaching effects some forty years later. I only hope to one day be able to tell the story with such clarity as Gun Brooke has achieved.

    Caron Cro,
    Author of Tierra del Fuego, Colony Ship; Parting Shots and Tierra del Fuego, Colony Ship; Katrinan Breach. Her website is found at

    Gun Brooke won an Alice B Award in 2009.

    Further Reading

    Thursday, March 8, 2012

    Introducing Lesbian Fiction: Anthony Baus

    Today's contribution is from another author, Anthony Baus, who wrote the swords, shamans and sorcery lesbian fantasy known as Earth Mother’s Grace (check out that awesome cover). He recommends Nightshade by Shea Godfrey.

    Which lesbian book should you read first?

    Nightshade (Shea Godfrey, 2010) grabs the reader’s attention first by describing how a brutal and corrupt patriarchy might behave. Thereafter, an insistence that lesbians deserve the right to express their sexuality without fear dominates the story. Ms. Godfrey’s character Darry, an openly ‘backwards’ princess, makes this point with stormy élan. Through her eyes the reader learns how politics and bigotry can turn the world into a vicious place for anyone who deviates from orthodoxy.

    Darry also discovers Jessa, a foreign princess trapped by the machinations of a royal succession. The two women dance their courtship from shadow to shadow as wheels of destruction turn all around. No danger can stop them, however, from eventually falling in love and celebrating it with vibrant passion. Then their secret escapes and the time for hard choices arrives.

    Somebody out there surely has said that the act of analysis somehow damages art, and I think my paragraphs are no exception. I must add that Ms. Godfry’s words never convey crude advocacy. The voices of her characters are unified by a powerful sincerity that permits no cynicism.

    And that is why it would be a great first choice for lesbian fiction.

    Anthony Baus is the author of Earth Mother’s Grace, a swords, shamans and sorcery lesbian fantasy, available on Amazon  as a Kindle ebook. 

    You can follow or contact him on the Earth Mother's Grace Facebook Page.

    Further Reading

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    Introducing Lesbian Fiction: Gillian Rodgerson

    Gillian Rodgerson is an editor at Insomniac Press, a lesbian book publisher, and she recommends Love Ruins Everything by Karen X Tulchinsky.

    Which lesbian book should you read first?

    I really love Love Ruins Everything by Karen X Tulchinsky. It's the story of bumbling butch Nomi Rabinovitch, looking for love and finally finding it. It's funny, honest, and gives readers a sense of what life was like during the dark days of the worst of the Aids epidemic as Nomi's gay cousin Henry investigates a conspiracy at the heart of the fight against the virus. 

    The story moves between San Francisco and Toronto, the dialogue is real, and the characters are vividly drawn. Nomi's effervescent Jewish family and her varied group of lesbian friends provide an engaging backdrop to this tale of romance and activism.Karen X. Tulchinsky has gone on to write and edit lots of other things, including the sequel to this one, Love and Other Ruins, and the award-winning The Five Books of Moses Lapinsky, so it's also a good introduction to the work of a terrific Canadian lesbian writer.
    • Love Ruins Everything, Insomniac Press. New edition. (originally published by Press Gang). 

    PS. Full disclosure: I'm an editor at Insomniac, but I love the book or we wouldn't have republished it!

    Tuesday, March 6, 2012

    Introducing Lesbian Fiction: Catherine Lundoff

    Catherine Lundoff is a lesbian author and editor, who has obviously read a lot of lesbian fiction and heroically managed to restrict her recommendations to five!

    Which lesbian book should you read first?

    The thing about recommended book lists is that it’s harder than you’d think to narrow them down to just a few, whether that’s five or one or even fifty. There’s genre and style to consider, old favorites versus new favorites. And in the case of this list, gateway books, books that I would recommend to a new reader of fiction featuring lesbian protagonists. For this particular list, I mixed it up a bit on genre and went back a few years to when I first started reading lesbian fiction. Here, in no particular order, are five of my all time favorite books from back then:

    1. The Fires of Bride by Ellen Galford (Firebrand Books, 1988). – A quirky, blended romance/ magical realism novel about a Scottish documentary filmmaker who goes to an island in the Hebrides to make a film and ends up falling in love with the island while developing a complicated relationship with the island’s matriarch. There are also flashbacks segments about the island’s history and how the local convent juggled their loyalties between the Virgin Mary and the Goddess Bridget. It is funny, beautifully written and holds up well to re-reading. This is the sort of book you could recommend to someone who loves movies like Local Hero or The Secret of Roan Inish.

    2. Temporary Agency by Rachel Pollack (St. Martin’s Press, 1994) – A science fiction novel featuring demons, ghosts and magic. And Ellen, artist and freelance demon hunter, trying to free her cousin Paul from a Malignant One while wooing journalist Alison Birkett. Pollack’s novels are not like anything else in sf/f. They are complex and multilayered, playing with tarot and symbolism and unusual spins on mundane reality. This is the kind of book you could recommend to someone open to new things, to having their mind blown, then put back together a little differently.

    3. After Delores by Sarah Schulman (Plume Books, 1988). The ultimate 1980s lesbian break-up novel, mixed in with a love letter to the Lower East Side of Manhattan back in the day as only Schulman could write it. It’s a blend of hardboiled mystery and slice of life, mixed up with a healthy dose of humor and sex. Schulman is one of the best writers around so it’s hard to go wrong with recommending any of her novels. I would recommend it for a reader with a sense of the absurd who likes to blend their mysteries with a bunch of other things.

    4 .Trash by Dorothy Allison (Firebrand Books, 1988). Poignant, wrenching, hilarious stories as much about being poor, Southern and an outsider as being a lesbian. This is fiction that changes how you view the world. Recommended for readers who are willing to be pried open and eager to see what happens afterwards.

    5. Gaudí Afternoon by Barbara Wilson (Seal Press, 1990). Hilarious mystery set in Barcelona. Missing persons, double crosses, literature in translation and rapturous descriptions of the city combine to create an unforgettable read. Not the first Cassandra Reilly mystery, but certainly the best of the series, at least from my perspective, and much better than the film. Recommended for mystery readers as well as anyone drawn to Barcelona or lesbian fiction, for that matter.

    That’s what I’ve got for this round of recommendations; hopefully, one or more of these books strikes your fancy as something you’d like to read and perhaps recommend to others.

    Silver Moon (2012)
    Catherine Lundoff is the award-winning author of the short fiction collections Night’s Kiss (Lethe Press, 2009), Crave (Lethe Press, 2007) and A Day at the Inn, A Night at the Palace and Other Stories (Lethe Press, 2011) and the novel Silver Moon: A Wolves of Wolf’s Point Novel (Lethe Press, 2012).

    She is the editor of Haunted Hearths and Sapphic Shades: Lesbian Ghost Stories (Lethe Press, 2008) and the co-editor, with JoSelle Vanderhooft, of the anthology Hellebore and Rue: Tales of Queer Women and Magic (Lethe Press, 2011). 

    In her other lives, she's a professional computer geek, the spouse of her fabulous wife and an occasional teacher of writing classes at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.

    Find these books on Amazon!

    Recommended Books From Catherine Lundoff
    1. The Fires of Bride by Ellen Galford
    2. Temporary Agency by Rachel Pollack
    3. After Delores by Sarah Schulman
    4. Trash by Dorothy Allison
    5. Gaudí Afternoon by Barbara Wilson

    Catherine Lundoff's books

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