Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: Genre Overview

Fantasy and science fiction has many very good books to offer in the way of lesbian authors, characters and plot. You can browse by genre (fairytale, fantasy or science fiction) or by author (overview of authors and their books past the genre summaries)

  • Alternate Fairytales
Rewriting well known fairytales is a popular genre, and one obvious twist is to change the preferences of the characters involved. There are some very well-written stories around lesbian storytale heroines. There's a round-up of Lesbian Fairytale Fiction here.
Read all the fairytale book reviews by tag.

  • Fantasy
Whether a magical world or simply an alternate reality, fantasy has a long and marvellous history, Some of this history includes lesbians. Some of these lesbians are fairies, others are mages and others are simply ordinary people in a strange world. 
Read all the fantasy book reviews by tag.

  • Science Fiction
The mirror sister of fantasy, sometimes science fiction psi is almost indistinguishable from magical mind reading, and sometimes fantastical worlds are only found in space. The technology based genre of science fiction has its own share of lesbian writers, whether set in a future society, or just a twist on today's world.
Read all the science fiction book reviews by tag.

Book Lists: Quick lists of lesbian books by genre, topic, Award, etcetera.
  •  Other fantasy & scifi-themed book lists include:

    Good Lesbian Fantasy and Sci-Fi Authors and Their Books
    Authors listed alphabetically, by last name. Link leads to all reviews tagged under that author.

    Some summaries of notable authors that we have reviewed:

    L-J. Baker is a newly emerging author from New Zealand who writes very engaging magical romances, such as the fairy-romance Broken Wings, the delightfully romantic medieval Lady Knight, and the lively and highly recommended Adijan and Her Genie. So far, many of her characters feature mental or physical disabilities.
      Nicola Griffith is a very good lesbian author, who has written two highly recommended lesbian scifi books - Ammonite and Slow River. She also edited the Bending the Landscape anthologiesAmmonite is one of the classics of lesbian science fiction, with an entire planet colonised only by women. Slow River is about a girl discovering herself in a futuristic society, surviving corporations, kidnap, and real life. She also writes a crime-mystery series following a Norwegian ex-cop, Blue Place, Stay and Always

      Tanya Huff is a lesbian author who mostly writes about men. She's written vampires, urban fantasy, 'traditional' fantasy and science fiction. Some of her books are fantastic, others are not so great. I've reviewed all the potentially sapphic series in one go - specifically, The Keeper's Chronicles and Valor Confederation.

      Malinda Lo is another newly published author who specialises in young adult fairytale based fantasy, with lesbian heroines. her first novel, Ash, is a young adult lesbian version of Cinderella, which nominated for (and won) several awards. Following young Aisling, it's very much a fairytale and suitable for teens. The sequel, Huntress, is set in the same world and a sort of distant prequel - and an even better book.

      Laurie J. Marks is a consistent writer of subversive fantasy that turns gender roles and sexual norms upside down. Her best known work is the Elemental Logic series; an intriguing series about war and intrigue, a country invaded, a powerful and terrifyingly addictive drug, and the rare elementals - people born with Fire, Water, Earth or Air magic. The rarest of the rare are (as I can recall), the Earth elementals, who represent their countries. Karis is Shaftali G'deon - but begins the story hopelessly ensnared by a deadly drug, used to keep Shaftal under control...

      The books of the Elemental Logic series, in order, so far are Fire LogicEarth LogicWater Logic and the as yet unpublished Air Logic.

      Gill McKnight mainly writes erotic fantasy-romances. So magic and werewolves and two women in love.

      Elizabeth Moon writes books about soldiers and space travel, usually with strong female characters, and lesbian subtext. Her most famous book, and one that is (rightfully) considered a classic in lesbian fantasy is The Deed of Pakesennarion. The science fiction book Sassinak is another name that comes up a lot.

      Terry Pratchett is generally LGBT friendly, but he only wrote one really gay-themed story. While not specifically a lesbian story, Pratchett's theme for Monstrous Regiment was Don't Ask Don't Tell. Most of the book focuses on cross-dressing, and certain female characters are very clearly in a relationship, but with typical Pratchett subtlety and layering, it may take several readings to notice everything.

      Merry Shannon has written what looks like the first in a series of fantasy books called Legends of Ithyria. Sword of the Guardian is a highly rated novel about a fantasy kingdom and assassins, following the growing love of a princess and the person hired to protect her. And eventually, her highness has to learn that her bodyguard is a lady... Marry Shannon's second book is about pirates, but hopefully there'll be more fantasy in future.

      Chris Anne Wolfe was a fairly notable and well loved lesbian author. Sadly, she died of cancer in 1997, but her writing lives on. She is best known for her Amazons of Aggar books, but has written a couple of others, including a powerful and romantic retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story.

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