Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gay Fantasy Bookshelf (Teen Sci Fi and Fantasy Books with GLBTQ Characters and Themes!)

These awesome symbols actually stand for, from top to bottom: Gay Humans, Gay Aliens, and Gay Robots. It's from the wikipedia page on Gay speculative fiction here.

Fantasy is arguably my favorite genre (see my article here in Crossed Genres Magazine for why) and I've long wished that there were stories I could have read when I was a Gay Teen that included a reflection of me.

One of things I love best about doing this blog is that I've discovered so many Teen books with GLBTQ characters and themes - and I'm always a little extra excited when I get to share the Gay Sci Fi and Fantasy ones with you.

But with over 400 books on this blog, it can be hard to find the ones that you absolutely MUST read ASAP! So, taking a page from bookstores and libraries who sometimes re-organize their titles to showcase a particular collection, here's a fun take on our GLBTQ Teen Book Collection:


Each book listed links to its original post with synopsis and reader reviews...

Superheroes! (Hero, Masks: Rise of Heroes, Masks: Evolution, Masks: Ordinary Champions, Curse of Arachnaman, Ultimate X-Men, So Super Duper, Gotham Central Vol. 2 - Batman , Not Your Sidekick)

Ghosts and Witches! (Banshee, Vintage, Behind You, The Skull of Truth, Tripping To Somewhere)

Magical Realism! (Boy Meets Boy, Cycler, Fly On The Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything, Every Day)

High Fantasy! (The Emperor's Library: The Flight From Kar, Tritargon, The Game, Kirith Kirin, Of Fire And Stars)

Fantasy Worlds of Magic & Telepaths & Mages! (Carry OnHeart Sense, Heart Song, Magic's Pawn, Magic's Promise, Magic's Price, The Tenth Man, The Will of the Empress,
The Obsidian Man, The Legend of Becka Cooper Series (Terrier, Bloodhound and Mastiff, The Department of Magic series, Stray, Jacob, King of Portalia, The Kitsune Trilogy,

Fantasy World Heist (Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom)

Swords and Sorcery! (The Legend of Bold Riley)

Faerie! (Tithe, Ironside, Valiant, Troll or Derby, The Darkest Part of the Forest)

Fairies, Vampires, Witches (Charm School Graphique)

Dragons! (Eon: Dragoneye Reborn)

Steampunk Dragons! (Havemercy)

Werewolves! (The Frenzy - though the gay character isn't the werewolf, it's his best friend) and Hungry Ghost , Lunatic Fringe (college age lesbian werewolves) and Hungry Ghost (Lunatic Fringe's sequel) and Awakened )

Vampires! (Unnatural: An Archangel Academy Novel, Unwelcome - #2 in the series, and Unafraid #3)

Werewolves and Vampires! (Twice Bitten)

Werewolves and Vampires and Faeries and more... (The Mortal Instruments Series, City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels...)

Zombies and Werewolves and Vampires! (Smorgasbord)

Zombies (Toe Tag Riot)

More Paranormal Horror (Helleville, The Coldest Girl In Coldtown)

Dystopias! (A Strong and Sudden Thaw, Nightsiders (short stories), The Chaos, Obscura Burning, Blue Magic, OUT, The Culling, Diverse Energies (Anthology), The Culling , The Colony: Book 1: Rebellion and Book 2: Revolution, Superior, The Summer Prince, Replica, Lizard Radio)

Time Traveling To Save Earth From Apocalypse (The End)

Time Traveling and Psychics and Mayan Curses (Cursebusters!)

Time Traveling To The Past (Radiant Days, A Darkly Beating Heart)

All-Girl Worlds with Pixies, Spacecraft and Swashbuckling Sci-Fi (Goldenhead: Or Bodies Or Avatars, The Flight of the Silver Vixen)

Fairy Tales, Myths and Mythology Re-told (Ash, Huntress, The Dark Wife, In Stone: A Grotesque Faerie Tale, The Seventh Pleiade,

Historical Romance (Renfred's Masquerade, Rose and Spindle )

Urban Fantasy (Above)

Other Fantasy (Love in the Time of Global Warming, Pantomime, Shadowplay, Wollstone)

Historical Supernatural (Tiger Lily, Night Creatures)

Science Fiction/Fantasy (Outlander Leander series, The Melody of the Gears: His Brother's Keeper)

Science Fiction (Sunblood, Debris Dreams, Awakening (with multiple main characters of color!), Artifice, Willful Machines)

More Science Fiction... with a Bi Main Character! (Adaptation, Inheritance and Natural Selection and The Elected Series)

Bi Fantasy (sharing minds) Otherbound

Fantasy Adventure with Dæmons, Armored Talking Bears and Gay Angels (His Dark Materials: Northern Lights (a.k.a. The Golden Compass), The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass)

Pirate and Sea Monsters (The Abyss Surrounds Us and Edge of the Abyss)

A re-imagining (and even Gayer) Wizard of Oz, Over The Rainbow

A re-imagined Wonderland, Mad About The Hatter

Gods and Goddesses of Olympus (and their half-human kids!) House of Hades (part of Rick Riordan's NYTimes Bestselling series)

Science Fiction and Fantasy Anthologies (Kaleidoscope, Zombies vs. Unicorns)

If I missed any you know of, make sure to let me know in comments... and Happy Reading!

***List last updated May 2017***



HWPetty said...

Cassie Clare's CITY OF BONES, CITY OF ASHES, CITY OF ASH all have a really beautiful gay love story in the background. It's my favorite part of the books.

ivanova said...

I love this list! This is my favorite genre too.

How about Degranon by Duane Simolke?

Unknown said...

Ricardo Pinto's "The Stone Dance of the Chameleon" would fall under Fantasy I think.

DrGaellon said...

Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunners series (Luck in the Shadows, Stalking Darkness, Traitor's Moon, Shadows Return and the upcoming The White Road)
Jim Grimsley's Kirith Kirin
Brandon Fox's Sex Magic series (Apprenticed to Pleasure, Conjuring the Flesh and Sex Rites - warning, graphic sex, not suitable for younger readers)
Reiko Yoshihara's Ai no Kusabi (The Space Between) (now translated, finally! - warning, graphic sex, not suitable for younger readers)
Lois McMaster Bujold's Ethan of Athos (sci-fi)
Anne McCaffrey's Pern novels all have some gay relationships in the background, though you have to read between the lines to see them (green and blue riders mate when their dragons do... and only golds have female riders)
Fiona Patton's The Stone Prince (only really in the first book, though the whole series is excellent)

Yumeru said...

I don't know if these would really count, since all the main characters end up in hetero relationships, but the Kushiel's Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey takes place in an alternate Renaissance where homosexual sex and romance is completely accepted, and the main character, Phedre, frequently has sex with women and loves it!

I'm also in the middle of reading Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner. It's sortof fantasy - very medieval/ Renaissance esque setting. The main character seems to be in a homosexual relationship, but how that ends up tying in to the plot, I'm not yet sure about.

kittens not kids said...

I was talking about this with someone tonight! How somehow, I seem to have read very few queer books, since I am not a huge fan of YA realism. This list is perfect - so thanks!

and I have to say, I gasped a little with excitement when I saw the words
under the image of the symbols.

what a fabulous idea. i hope there is some gay robot fiction out there, somewhere (and that it's a good read).

Anonymous said...

Woo! Thanks for the list, and thanks for mentioning Tenth Man!

Can I add "The Steel Remains" by Richard Morgan to your list? It's brilliant. Not really a book for young readers, but great for, say, 16 and up. In fact, it might be superawesome.

Lawral the Librarian said...

I know I'm a bit late, but I've been trying to figure out how to say this without spoilers. I can't.

In the last book in the Gemma Doyle Trilogy, Sweet Far Thing, we find out that two of the four girls have been lovers since the beginning. It's a lot of build-up for relatively low gay content, but it's really positive and unexpected in the midst of a Victorian Era boarding school fantasy series.

Steph said...

I love Swordspoint! Also try Mark Anthony's The Last Rune series - It's the best. He has another series under the name Galen Beckett that isn't quite as good. Other books: Laurie J. Marks's Elemental Logic series, where it seems like everyone's gay, to the point where I don't understand how that world can maintain its birthrate...but it's a really good story. Older readers should definitely read Melusine by Sarah Monette. There's, um, a pretty graphic scene in the first chapter, but I love the books so much! She is an amazing worldbuilder. Otherwise, there's Clive Barker. There is a gay man in his Abarat series, who will probably become more prominent considering he survived the second book.

And I think that everyone who like fantasy should read Diana Wynne Jone's Tough Guide to Fantasyland. There is an entry on the Gay Mage - "A valuable companion."

Annie said...

How about Francesca Lia Block? I think several of her books would fit into the magical realism section. I Was A Teenage Fairy and the Weetzie Bat books both have gay characters included.

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Annie, that's a really good point - Francesca's books do belong on this list - and she has a new one out just this month (Sept 2010) about a female werewolf, with a main gay character!
Thanks so much,

Havoc said...

Tanya Huff is a fantasy author with a lot of gay characters. Fire's Stone features a bisexual man, a questioning man, and woman who's not really interested in anyone. In addition, the world that Fire's Stone is set in is, in general, very accepting of gay and straight families, both of which are presented as normal, except in more "backward" parts of the world. The Blood Books (which the TV show Blood Ties were based on) feature the bisexual vampire Henry Fitzroy, and, a lesser character, Tony, who is gay. Tony has his own spin off series, Smoke and Shadows.

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

what great info - thanks for sharing! Are any of those queer characters teens, or are they all adults?

Anonymous said...

Definitely add Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments Series. My favorite couple in it is Alec and Magnus, who are a gay demon-hunter and warlock couple, respectively. Although they are not the foremost characters, they still are an important part of the story. Magnus allows Alec to really see himself more clearly--all while fighting demons and, you know, saving the world and stuff :)

Funky_4000 said...

I just read a book called "Unnatural", it's by Michael Griffo. It's the first in the series with the sequel coming out in September.
It's about vampires and such and the main character Michael is gay. Very good read.

kyrafreestar said...

This is a great list. I appreciate hearing about some of the more recent books.

From older books, I'd add Elizabeth A. Lynn's "Dancers of Arun" (second of the Watchtower trilogy). MC is teen, and I read it about that time. Also Diane Duane's "Door into Fire" series. MC is adult, but it's a must-read. Also Kelley Eskridge's "Solitaire" whose MC is, mmm, college-aged? And female. I'm trying to think of more books, and more with lesbian protagonists. Was Jim C. Hines mentioned yet?

Nina said...

Ellen Kushner's "The Privilege of the Sword" has a bisexual adult guardian for the teen main character, who is...I guess questioning is the best way to describe her. She has sexual experiences with both men and women over the course of the book, and there's also some interesting stuff on cross-dressing and fluid gender identities.

"Privilege of the Sword" is a sequel of sorts to "Swordspoint," which a couple others have mentioned. The gay main characters from "Swordspoint" are in "Privilege of the Sword" also.

And Tamora Pierce's book "Bloodhound" (sequel to "Terrier") has a trans supporting character.

Vivi said...

"The Heritage of Hastur" by Marion Zimmer Bradley: gay teen protagonist, gay love interest, gay villain (written in 1975 but *very* fair for its time) There are sequels with the same characters, but the GLBTQ aspect drifts into the background.

"Sing the Four Quarters" by Tanya Huff: bisexual pregnant protagonist (with a female lover), (flamboyantly) gay blind side character, non-heteronormative culture (The next two books in the quartet also have a casually bi protagonist, IIRC, but she gets a male love interest.)

"The Thief's Gamble" and following books by Juliet E. Mckenna: main protagonist + love interest are hetero, but an important member of their adventuring party is a highly respected gay wizard. In the second book "The Swordsman's Oath" we meet his husband. I haven't gotten much further yet.

The Black Magician trilogy by Trudy Cavanan has a gay man as a secondary protagonist, though this only becomes apparent in the second book. (He's repressing because the culture is generally homophobic. His plotline is about learning to accept himself and find love despite the risks.)

Robin Hobb's Assassin/Lifeship/Fool series has an important genderqueer character (chooses to present as genderless or male in the first 3 books, then female during the Lifeship books, then male in the last trilogy) who is in tragic love with the main protagonist (male). Though the character is nonhuman and the humans otherwise live in a very homophobic culture. Hence the tragedy in the love between the Fool and the protagonist, who isn't culturally equipped to express or even understand that love even if he returns it in his own platonic way. The last book was the only one I ever read to leave me sobbing, and to lead me to contemplate writing a fanfic sequel to 'fix' the ending...

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Wow, Vivi - thanks for these new recommendations!


Isak Ranksouls said...

It's always worthwhile checking out Elven Story by Isak Ranksouls. It's epic stuff, the diverse sexual content is just in the sidelines.

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth willey's trilogy (The well-favored man, A sorcerer and a gentleman, The price of blood and honor) has gay/bi characters, though maybe not in the first book (it's been forever since I've read them--I think they're o.p.). Loved the series--had a strong flavor of Zelazny's Amber!

rebecca said...

Lee, how about Kristin Cashore's Graceling Realm series? GRACELING and FIRE both have queerness in them, and BITTERBLUE has even more.

Also, Karen Sandler's AWAKENING has gay characters.

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Hi Rebecca - thanks for the suggestions. Awakening is one I knew (and have blogged) about, and it's in the list above under Sci Fi. I'll check out Kristin Cashore's Graceling Realm series!

elf69 said...

Kirith Kirin, an absolutely fantastic work of fantasy. I highly recommend it if you can find it.

Anonymous said...

I just got done reading "A Call to Arms" by Shiriluna Nott. It was a high/epic fantasy novel and the main character ended up being gay. It was a very candid, personal book. I highly recommend it!

Anonymous said...

How about A Companion to Wolves, by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette?

Just finished it, and I can't get enough!

Anonymous said...

If you like flintlock fantasy, try Django Wexler's "The Thousand Names"
The protagonist is a lesbian, and no one makes that a bigger deal than it needs to be.

Anonymous said...

GUYS!!!! READ THE SONG OF ACHILLES BY MADRLINE MILLER!! it's the illiad by Homer retold through the pov of Patroclus... He and achilles are lovers. It's one of the best books I've read!

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OnlyAnnie said...

Is this list still updated? I'd hate to submit things to a list that is no longer current.

the gypsy vegan said...

In case folks are still browsing this discussion thread, I highly recommend the Ardulum trilogy by J.S. Fields -- I'm through the first two and so far I find them to be appropriate for my middle-grade kiddo, so YAY for middle-grade queer Sci-Fi with strong women along with themes of what it means to be sentient and how to trust your own judgement vs. following convention.