Edit: I’m dropping out of this theme for the month. The short reason is this: It’s hurting and excluding people I wanted to include in the first place, and that’s not okay. I thought I could patch-job. I can’t. The longer reason is: The original idea happened super-quickly. It jumped from brainstorming to being posted without any chance to look it over. Every suggestion I sent in I sent in with the umbrella term “queer” and references to either (a) genres, or (b) ideas a writer/reader would like to see more of/write. I don’t think I was clear enough when I sent in suggestions I absolutely meant queer that way. That’s on me. So the first graphic came out and was posted and used an incomplete acronym, and yeah, that was cringeworthy. It was posted and tagged before I’d ever seen it and I fired off a request for it to be fixed to the people organizing. And the fix isn’t enough. The specific identity questions don’t cover the full range. Yesterday I started writing some of the posts ahead of time, scheduling them to go live at 7:00a each morning. I wrote a few of them ahead of time—and especially day 5, where my answer was both a resounding no and an explanation of why making the correlation between romance and queer excludes aromantic queers. (I had a similar post outlined for the question about sex, and the question about straight characters, because, again, asexual people are queer, and straight isn’t the opposite of queer.) Anyway. I’m starting to ramble. I thought I could patch-job my way through the month, using every mention of queer to remind and reinforce that my queer is absolutely LGGBTQQIAAP2S+, but there’s enough hurt and dialog out there already to tell me no, I can’t. I’m sorry. My queer includes the whole umbrella, and those identities deserve more than a patch-job.
And we’re off! Let’s see how far I get into this month of prompts about queer books and queer writing before I cheat and dodge a question or answer something not quite the way it was intended. I swear I don’t do it on purpose.
Now, I have to admit, this very first question stumped me. I have reading patterns I enjoy, and I often stick to them, and I generally find what I’m looking for.
For example? My audiobook listening is almost entirely contemporary romances of some sort (usually ladies-loving-ladies, since I find digging through what’s available for fellas-loving-fellas really tough to navigate without bumping into tropes I truly dislike), with a dash of science fiction. (Most recently, I just finished listening to Crescent City Confidential by Aurora Rey—so good, but bring snacks because she makes you hungry with her descriptions of food—and N.K. Jemisin‘s Broken Earth series, which was SF with a phenomenally casual queer inclusiveness that I freaking loved.)
My e-reader tends to be where I put shorter fiction, which I adore. Novellas and short stories (and anthologies and collections). Almost entirely queer (and generally all over the place, genre wise). Right now? That’s Not Here, Not Now by Alex Jeffers.
My physical books, the ones that come with me in my book bag or sit beside the bath or the bed? Those are almost always queer, too, and generally hit every genre but horror (which is a rare, rare read for me). This particular pile is very, very large right now, but includes Brey Willows‘ Fury’s Bridge and Robyn Nyx‘s Escape in Time.
So. I sat back and went through my reading experiences and then I remembered Wild Cards.
Wild Cards was a shared-world anthology edited by George R.R. Martin that was basically a super-hero world. I loved it. I read it voraciously, all the various follow-up volumes. The telekinetic Turtle, the projective teleporter Popinjay… I loved so many of the characters.
And, you can likely guess how many of the characters were queer.
Yeah. It’s been many years since I read them, but… I’m pretty sure… None.
So, that’s my answer for today: I would love to read a shared-world superhero anthology of short fiction with a queer cast of characters. Give me a gay pyrokinetic, and a bisexual telepath working together to figure out who’s chasing down the ace teleporter who got away with the incriminating proof from the criminal element of who’s behind a series of queer hate crimes. A trans speedster could chase down the armoured convoy SUVs holding the teleporter captive and…
You get it.
Of course, this means I cheated already. Anthologies aren’t novels.
Well. That didn’t take long.
If you want to play along this month with #PrideReads, you don’t have to make massive blog entries like I did today (and indeed I’m doubtful I’ll do the same every day myself) but if you do Tweet or Facebook or Instagram your own suggestions, make sure you add the hashtag, and we’ll all learn about some great queer books, queer writers, and queer ideas.
Happy Pride Month!