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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

QSR Guest Post: Four Queer Books by Queer Authors

Hey, Scouts! We've got a really nifty guest blog from Kellie Doherty today! Take it away, Kellie!

Hello everyone! My name’s Kellie Doherty, and I love reading queer science fiction/fantasy books. I bet you do, too! I always enjoy finding new reads, so to that end, here are my top four queer SFF books by queer authors. Hope you find something new to check out!

The Temple at Landfall – Jane Fletcher

The Temple at Landfall by Jane Fletcher is an oldie but goodie. Published in 2005 by Bold Strokes Books, it was my first foray into f/f fiction, and that’s why it makes my recommendation list. Fletcher delivers a fast-paced, character-driven story in a world literally filled with lesbians. It’s a combination of science fiction and fantasy, though it sways more into the science fiction realm, and the plot is a fun and easy read. Lynn, an imprinter who can create new life, feels like a prisoner in the temple. Her last chance to see the outside comes rolling around in the form of relocation to the temple at Landfall, and she’s thrilled for the opportunity to travel. It’s a dangerous journey, though, and one filled with temptation, especially a lieutenant named Kim Ramon, an officer in the squadron of Rangers assigned to protect her. It’s such a fun read, and one that has a sweet f/f romance in its core. I’d recommend this book for anyone who’d like an easy read.

Tengoku – Rae D. Magdon

One of the great things about being a freelance editor is that you get introduced to new books you may have missed. That’s how I found Tengoku by Rae D. Magdon. Published in 2016 by Desert Palm Press, Tengoku follows the story of two main characters: Aozora Kaede, a “lady of autumn” on the run after being forced to flee from home, and Homura Imari, a “lady of a different court” and the daughter of a daimyo. When Imari meets Kaede, Imari decides to ask Kaede for a favor: guide her to Hongshan where a blacksmith lives who Imari hopes can replace her missing left hand. The romance between the main characters—a disabled bisexual woman and a badass trans woman—is sweet, believable, and weaves well within the other aspects of the story. The dialogue is quick and funny, the characters are interesting and well rounded, and story is rich. Plus—and this is the best part for me—the setting is Japanese inspired and I love, love, love that. I’ve always been fascinated by Japan and to read a fantasy story immersed in that culture was a joy for me. I’d recommend this book for anyone looking for an exciting Japanese-inspired read.

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers follows the story of Rosemary Harper, a young woman looking for adventure, and the motley crew of the Wayfarer. The crew includes a reptilian pilot named Sissix , engineers Kizzy and Jenks, and their captain Ashby (among others!). Rosemary’s travels with them are funny and dangerous and odd and lovely and everything in between. Published in 2016 from Harper Voyager, this scifi story really centers on the crew, the interactions between them, and the drama that inevitably bursts forth when in tight quarters. It’s an easy read, one that I breezed through in two days, and would happily go back to. The queer aspect of this book is diverse but understated in a way that suggests being queer in this universe is no big deal, and I really love that about the story. Chambers also has the ability to craft an exciting plot that also has a relatable undertone of friendly and romantic relationships, too. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a light and quick scifi read.

A Darker Shade of Magic – VE Schwab

I had to include A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab because she is one of my newest favorite authors and the queer characters in this book (and the rest of the trilogy) are exciting and relatable. Rhy, a prince, is a ridiculously charming and funny bisexual. Alucard, a sea captain, is gay and mysterious and fabulous. Lila, a thief, is seen as gender-queer, though she doesn’t outright say so. In this story, there are four different Londons—White, Red, Gray, and Black—that each have varying amounts of magic, and Kell can travel between them. When a trinket from Black London (a London supposedly dead) comes into Kell’s possession and another traveler comes looking for it, Kell has to work with Lila to hopefully bring the trinket back to Black London before its power corrupts everything. The story has lots of action to keep it moving, the characters are dynamic and fun, and the descriptions are freaking amazing. Seriously, amazing. I read A Darker Shade of Magic in a day, I was that engrossed by the story. I would highly recommend the book (and trilogy!) to anyone looking for a unique fantasy world and a fast-paced read.

So there you have it, my top four queer novels written by queer authors. Have you read any of them? If so, which one was your favorite? If not, what are you waiting for? Go check them out!

Kellie Doherty has a masters in book publishing from Portland State University. Her debut science fiction novel Finding Hekate was published by Desert Palm Press in 2016, and the sequel Losing Hold came out in 2017. Currently, she's working on a five-book fantasy series, and the first book Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties will be out in November 2018. During the day, she’s an office assistant at the State of Alaska, and by night she's crafting adventures full of magic and daggers...and maybe a few dragons, too. She’s been featured in Flight and Impact (Queer Scifi/Mischief Corner Books, 2016, 2018), 49 Writers Alaska Shorts, Pathos Literary Magazine, F Magazine, and Alaska Women Speak, among others. Find her at her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Thanks for the post, Kellie!

Peace and popsicles,

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