I moderated a “Queering Fantasy” panel at the virtual 2020 World Fantasy convention that looked at the connection between adding queer characters and queering the fantasy tropes themselves.
How do you queer Fantasy and Fantasy tropes? Is it dropping in a queer character into an otherwise fantastical plot? Slipping in a positive queer romance? Or is it dismantling, changing, altering, and questioning the tropes that have been present in Fantasy for decades? Is it queering the way power is distributed in a society, or queering character goals and story endings? Does it touch how we build a Fantasy economy, a government, a landscape, a culture? We would say it includes all these things. Queer characters invite complete queer make-overs of Fantasy tropes. We’re here to discuss that– discussing the contributions of LGBTQIAA2S+ authors to the field; we want to give you plenty to look at and consider. Heck, we might, at the end, even compose multiple queer “I want” Disney songs for the Fantasy stories we want to create or see created–ya never know. Whether you’re an activist or an ally, we welcome you.
We had a great time–and if you went to WFC2020 and didn’t see it, it is recorded. We could have talked another hour on these themes. Part of our takeaway for guests to that panel was a list of great queer fantasy and science fiction. We placed it in the Session Pages section of WFC 2020’s online presence at Crowdcast. We had originally just been thinking of fantasy, and then it expanded to include SF and then horror, steampunk, etc…. but here is the list (with a few more edits by me).
Caveats: This is NOT a list of every queer story out there–by no means–but was a list that four panelists Corry L. Lee, Cheryl Morgan, S. Qiouyi Lu and I could come up with over a couple of days to hand to people when they got done with the panel.
It’s intended to be a starter list–a recommended reading list. These are books we’ve read and recommended. It is limited by our personal reading. It will have holes (not enough of us read YA and MG) and S. didn’t get a chance to put aer complete list with ours, but I hope ae does and then I will add aers to the rest.
I chose representative covers with complete randomness, not as any statement.
There are many great reading lists for queer books–this one is ours.
So, from the “Queering Fantasy” panel at the 2020 World Fantasy Convention, a list of their recommended reading:
Great Queer Fantasy and Science Fiction
Feel free to circulate and add your own–or let me know! Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow!
Recommendations by Corry L. Lee, Cheryl Morgan, Jerome Stueart, and S. Qiouyi Lu
Key: SF = Science Fiction, F = Fantasy, YA = Young Adult, MG = Middle Grade, H = Horror, SP = Steampunk, SH = Superheroes, GN = Graphic Novel SS = short story collection
- Ninefox Gambit – Yoon Ha Lee (SF)
- The City We Became – N.K. Jemisin (F/contemporary)
- The Perfect Assassin – K.A. Doore (F)
- Raven Tower – Ann Leckie (F)
- Ancillary Justice – Ann Leckie (SF)
- A Memory Called Empire – Arkady Martine (SF)
- The Future of Another Timeline – Annalee Newitz (SF, Alt Hist)
- Weave the Lightning – Corry L. Lee (F, novel)
- Dhalgren — Samuel R. Delany (SF, novel)
- Stars in my Pocket Like Grains of Sand — Samuel R. Delany (SF, novel)
- The Affair of the Mysterious Letter – Alexis Hall (F)
- Will Do Magic for Small Change – Andrea Hairston (F/contemporary)
- Silver in the Wood & The Drowned Country – Emily Tesh (F, novellas)
- The Seep – Chana Porter (SF, novella)
- Swordspoint – Ellen Kushner (F, novel and the whole Riverside series)
- The Outremer Series – Chaz Brenchley (F, 6 novels in US, 3 fat novels in UK)