The BFS Community Celebrates Queer Spec-Fic for Pride Month

One of the best things about the speculative fiction community is how welcoming it can be to all and sundry. No matter your background, your identity, you are welcome. (Though there are obviously some bad apples still around to be wary of!)

So, to celebrate Pride this June, I asked the BFS community for their favourites: all of the queer writers, books, creators, artists, podcasters, characters and more that rock their world. Representation matters, and here are just a few of those doing the representing. (And hey, publishing world: maybe next Pride we’ll have a bit more asexual representation to celebrate, eh?)

Who do you want to celebrate? Let us know in the comments!

E.M. Faulds
Website | BlueSky

Cat Hellisen is a queer non-binary author of the most dazzling prose and ambiguous characters! Monsters you love, people you hate, messed up and gorgeous. I’d struggle to pick a book to recommend to start with, just grab any of the ones you like the sound of and plunge in! A writer that deserves a lot more eyes on their work. 

Katie Bruce

AK Faulkner is an agender author who writes incredible urban fantasy with Ace (demi), Bi, Gay, Lesbian and Trans rep. Their books have been described as X-Men meets American Gods with a whole heap of realistically written trauma and yep, accurate. The series starts with Jack of Thorns and book ten, Wheel of Fate, has just been released, which wraps up the second season (we’re all hoping for nothing but puppies and happiness in book 11 but are fully expecting heaps and heaps of pain – and we absolutely love it!).

Kelly Barnhill’s When Women Were Dragons: a world in which, when women get incredibly angry they turn into actual, physical dragons. An absolutely astounding book in general, but also has queer characters and states very clearly that trans women are also subject to dragoning.

Lucy Holland’s Sistersong: a wonderful book based on Welsh mythology with a fantastic trans character (not saying who as that’s rather spoilery) who I utterly adored and had such an amazing and well written journey throughout the book. See also her Song of the Huntress, a queer, gender-swapped British mythology retelling. I loved the sapphic element to this story. The longing! Also queer women with swords. You can’t beat queer women with swords.

Kelly Ann Jacobson’s Robin and her Misfits: a queer, gender-flipped, modern robin hood retelling with motorbikes. The grip this book had on me!!! The way Robin is written, the queer found family, queer women on motorbikes! I love this so much.

C L Polk: Everything. Just literally everything! The Midnight Bargain is regency era queer sorceresses that will absolutely tear your heart out, stomp on it a few times, then hand it back with a kiss. Witchmark: gaslamp, forbidden magic, each book in the trilogy from a different POV and the book covers make up the bi pride flag.

And of course, V.E. Schwab. A Darker Shade of Magic just has my heart. Deeply complex and nuanced queer and trans characters that I would follow on their adventures to the ends of the earth! But also would be perfectly happy to watch them living their peaceful lives where nothing bad ever happens and they get their happily ever after. Please? Just a little happy ever after.

PS Livingstone
Website | Twitter | BlueSky | Instagram | Facebook

I loved the character of Zale in Swordheart by T. Kingfisher. Cool as a cucumber and super smart, and manages to make being a by-the-book lawyer funny and intimidating while never raising their voice. Also, episode 3 of The Last of Us was perfect. It bashed stereotypes and tropes right in the head. Still makes me cry.

Chris Hawton
Website | Twitter | Instagram 

Fio Trethewey is a Big Finish author, as his partner Georgia Cooke, both members of the wider Doctor Who fan community. Fio is also an artist, and created a wonderful portrait of me as the Doctor for my 40th (commissioned by my Mrs). They’ve both also done great work for various charities through anthologies and events, and will soon be crowdfunding for a horror fiction podcast called The Holmwood Foundation.

Shout-out also to my podcast co-host, “Matt from Minnesotta”, aka Matt Savakoul. We’ve co-hosted the All New Adventures of the Doctor Who Book Club podcast for seven years, but I only just met him in person in January when we were Special Guests at CONsole Room in Minneapolis. I’ve always loved how Matt brings his whole self to the podcast and fan community, and he’s very enthusiastic and also a very talented audio editor. He puts in so much effort and energy to our podcast—specifically how he layers in sound effects to our readings—and I’m forever grateful. 

I also love the works of Mark Gatiss, who brings horror to Who (and I love his non-Who stuff, too!), and Paul Magrs, who I initially didn’t “get” when I read as a youngster, but having come back to him as an adult I absolutely adore his work—full of charm, whimsy, sparkling wit, and pathos. 

Siân O’Hara
Twitter | BlueSky | Instagram

David Green is a neurodivergent writer whose (totally wonderful) work features queer and neurodivergent characters without that being their personality. It’s so refreshing to read characters with ND/queer traits who have other aspects and arcs for their characters. Being ND/queer is a really important part of identity, but it’s not the only part, and shouldn’t be the characters’ whole arc in a story. Reading David’s books emphasised for me how important it is to see that representation front and centre without being the entire story— #RepresentationRocks

And for another recommendation then I absolutely adored The Once and Future Witches by Alix E Harrow. Combining the suffragette movement with witchcraft and feminism? Yes please, more more more. The inclusion of queer women alongside “traditional” women shows again that one’s gender or sexuality is not the entirety of your identity, and in my opinion that representation that needs to be normalised.

SJ Groenewegen

Nicola Griffith. Both her SF books from a while ago were terrific. Spear is a great queer version of the King Arthur story.

Aliette de Bodard’s Xuya stories has such a large cast of wonderful sapphic characters, it’s a delight to read the stories and meet new characters.

I absolutely adored Ryka Aoki’s Light from Uncommon Stars.

Also want to mention that Roz Kaveney completed her Rhapsody of Blood series. Five novels of queer gods and mortals wreaking havoc.

Shona Kinsella
Website | Twitter | Instagram | BlueSky | Facebook

Mike Brooks’ God King Chronicles feature a really nuanced and interesting exploration of gender and sexuality. 

Tasha Suri’s Burning Kingdoms books have a sapphic love story that will rip your heart out. 

Luke Belcourt’s The Witches of Merchant City has an amazing cast of trans and queer characters.

Phil Williams
Website | Twitter | Instagram | BlueSky | Facebook

If I may suggest a horror book, Brainwyrms by Alison Rumfitt is one of my favourite reads this year, featuring trans/queer rep and a whole lot more besides. It’s highly original, weird and bravely honest. But it gets very extreme, with themes of sex, fetishes, body horror and abuse. On the softer side I’d recommend all Sarah Gailey‘s books, they tend to blend genres and have very diverse casts of colourful characters.

Trudie Skies
Website | BlueSky | Facebook

Okay some some queer indie authors writing a wide range of queer books: 

  • Claudie Arseneault writes cozy fantasy novellas featuring non-binary and aro/ace characters. 
  • D. N. Bryn writes a series of queer vampire romance books. 
  • Kara Jorgensen has a fantastic historical paranormal MM series with a autistic necromancer and undead detective beginning with The Reanimator’s Heart. 
  • Arden Powell writes queer SFF cozy romance starting with The Bachelor’s Valet, which is like Jeeves and Wooster if they had a romance.
  • Also my personal fave, Al Hess, trans masc writer of World Running Down.
  • Also also Krystle Matar and their Legacy of the Brightwash featuring queer characters and rep.
  • We’re All Monster’s Here by Amy Marsden was a SFINCS (novella contest) finalist that I LOVED. It’s a novella about lesbian vampires literally eating the rich and was great fun!
  • Awakening by Lucy A. McLaren is a dark YA fantasy also featuring a queer POV character!
  • Mat at the Tiny Elf Arcanist blog is a blogger that has been running a series of ‘woke agenda’ articles to promote queer books. He’s lovely! He also let me write a guest post where I was allowed to talk about rude things. 

Vicky Brewster
Website | Twitter | BlueSky | Instagram | Facebook

Okay, are we ready for the queer horror mega mix? Deep breath…

Favourite queer authors: Ally Wilkes, Caitlin Starling, Sarah Gailey, Becky Chambers, C M Rosens, Rivers Solomon.

Favourite books: A Botanical Daughter by Noah Medlock, Sister Maiden Monster by Lucy A Snyder, Bloom by Delilah Dawson, Walking Practice by Dolki Min, An Excess Male by Maggie Shen King, Leech by Hiron Ennes, The Once Yellow House by Gemma Amor, Mothered by Zoje Stage, Plain Bad Heroines by emily m danforth.

I am less good on characters but I’ll give it a crack: Jesper from the Six of Crows books, Caroline Ayres from The Little Stranger (she’s so queer, fight me!), Angel from The Tenth Girl, Dex from the Monk and Robot books.

Folks in the community … I mean, I love me! I also love the research Bo Ruberg is doing into queer apocalypse in video games. Susan Stryker I will teach forever and ever

Oh oh how could I forget The Mars House by Natasha Pulley?

Finn McLellan
Website | BlueSky 

A whole pile of folks from Aliette de Bodard’s books (including the Xuya books mentioned above), but special mention to Thuan and Asmodeus from the Dominion of the Fallen books (and the Dragons and Blades sub-series, which explicitly focuses on the two of them). Also, Gall from Frances Hardinge’s Unraveller.

Oli Arditi
Website | Instagram | Facebook | Mastodon

There are so many people to mention, and so many people here doing good mentioning, but can I get historical and mention the wonderful Michael Moorcock character Jerry Cornelius?

Cheryl Sonnier
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | BlueSky

Another historical nod: I loved Lynne Flewelling’s character Tamir, from The Bone Doll’s Twin. Also Seregil and Alec from her Nightrunner series. Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness. And Storm Constantine’s Wraeththu series. More recently, as people have already mentioned, Alix Harrow’s Once and Future Witches, Aliette De Bodard’s characters, Thuan and Asmodeus. There are also a couple mentioned already on my bookshelf so I’ll be moving those up the TBR pile.

Lauren McMenemy
Website | Twitter | BlueSky | Instagram | Mastodon

There’s been loads of great recommendations already, so let me just add a few more LGBTQIA2S+ authors (that haven’t yet been mentioned) to the horror representation pile: Eric LaRocca, Hailey Piper, T. Kingfisher, Cassandra Khaw, Jewelle Gomez, Tiffany Morris, Nicole Eigener, Lindz McLeod, and loads of others I am currently forgetting. And I adored the passionate anger (gender, sexuality, nationalism, race, and more) driving Alison Rumfitt’s Tell Me I’m Worthless. Also, shout-out to J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla for all it represents!

Join the BFS Members’ Discord community to have your say and take part in next month’s member-driven blog! The invite link is in the monthly members’ newsletter.

Images by chris Robert, James A. Molnar, Jason Leung, rivage on Unsplash

Meet the guest poster

Image for BFS Member community

This is a community-driven blog based on suggestions made in the BFS’s member Discord server. It was put together by BFS PR & Marketing Officer Lauren McMenemy.

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