Tag: Fantasy

Science Fiction and Fantasy from Transgender Writers edited by Cat Fitzpatrick and Casey Plett – The Lesbrary

Science Fiction and Fantasy from Transgender Writers edited by Cat

Meanwhile, Elsewhere cover

Science fiction shows us worlds of great technological advances and sweeping social changes. It shows us worlds similar to ours where a few fundamentals have changed, or lands beyond the stars vastly different to our own. But it does not always show us what it is like to be trans or queer in those worlds.

Meanwhile, Elsewhere compiles 25 stories from trans writers in a contemporary anthology so amazing that I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I put it down.

Each story has a trans protagonist and often queer/lesbian/sapphic relationships are a significant point, though not always. Sometimes those relationships are just in the background, but they’re still as vital to the characters in making them who they are. Sometimes a character is just a lesbian in passing, but the narrator isn’t part of that relationship. This collection affirms so many ways to be queer and interact with other LGBTQIA+ people in our communities and around us. It’s a delight to read.

“What Cheer” is a soft, half-sad but half-hopeful story about being with yourself (who sort of isn’t yourself) for a day. “Delicate Bodies” is a darkly humourous take on coming to terms with one’s body and getting over your exes during a zombie outbreak. “Satan, Are You There? It’s Me, Laura” deals with its surreal events in a matter of fact way that it takes you along for the ride. “Heat Death of Western Human Arrogance” is a love story between an alien and her lover dealing with their very different paths through life.

There really is something for everyone. And it all feels incredibly thoughtful, gripping and honest, with each writer in the anthology contributing a unique voice and prose style. Nothing feels same-y and, with the massive variety of stories, there isn’t a weak link in the bunch.

Of course, queer sci fi isn’t entirely new. The lesbian vampire novel Carmilla was written in the 1800s, and Melissa Scott has been writing LGBTQ sci-fi since the 1980s. As television and movie visibility for queer characters in these genres increases, so does the variety of stories we are able to tell, experience and see ourselves in. Meanwhile, Elsewhere contributes something of excellent quality to this list.

For anyone who is some flavour of queer and is feeling underrepresented in this genre, for anyone who wants to read more work with a non-cis, non-straight, non-male protagonists, for anyone who simply wants more science fiction with a refreshing variety… read this book.

Rating: *****

Why did you have to ruin my fantasy?!?!! : actuallesbians

Why did you have to ruin my fantasy?!?!! : actuallesbians

A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!

Singapore’s Floral Fantasy – Keep Calm and Wander

Singapore

Singapore's Floral Fantasy - Keep Calm and Wander

The Floral Fantasy at the Gardens by the Bay is just one of the tourist attractions inside Singapore’s most-visited destination. It’s not cheap to get in though, so I can understand that many visitors would skip it. There were only a few when I visited it, so my photos turned out great! 😀 

But was it worth going inside? Well, if you are into flowers and instagrammable photos – then you are in a perfect place!

With more than 3,000 species of plants, I actually expected the place to be quite big. Perhaps, it will only take a minute from the entrance to the exit door without looking at the flowers. The whole time I was there, I finished in thirty minutes, including the 4D video ride, showing the various places to explore inside the Gardens by the Bay.

Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Best fantasy books to fall in love with in 2021 that aren’t by JK Rowling

Best fantasy books to fall in love with in 2021

JK Rowling. (Walter McBride/WireImage)

JK Rowling spent the majority of 2020 airing her explosive views on trans people, trans healthcare and trans rights, much to the disappointment of LGBT+ fans of the Harry Potter series.

It led to fans distancing themselves from the franchise and ridding themselves of any books, memorabilia and even tattoos inspired by the boy wizard series

Meanwhile a number celebrities and organisations, including of the stars of the Harry Potter film series have spoken out in support of trans equality with Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson all releasing statements.

But if Rowling’s many, many outbursts on trans people has left you with mixed feelings towards the Harry Potter franchise, then there’s plenty of other fantasy series out there to fall in love with.

We’ve rounded up a range of different fantasy themed novels below from stand alone books to entire series focusing on witches, wizards and more to get stuck into. They include books that centre on queer characters and explore their very relatable human stories alongside fantasy adventures.

His Dark Materials

The His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman
The His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman features witches and talking polar bears. (Philip Pullman)

This trilogy of fantasy novels comes from Philip Pullman and features three novels Northern Lights (also known as The Golden Compass), The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass

The story follows orphan Lyra Belacqua and teenager Will Parry, from our world, as they wander through a series of parallel universes to uncover the secrets of a mysterious substance called Dust. It features witches and armoured polar bears as well as dæmons, which are the physical manifestation of a person’s inner-self. In Lyra’s case it’s a companion named Pan that can take the form of any animal, similar to other children’s dæmons, until they take a final form later in life.

Writer Pullman has previously supported a campaign to stop children’s books being labelled ‘for girls’ or ‘for boys’. “I’m against anything, from age-ranging to pinking and blueing, whose effect is to shut the door in the face of children who might enjoy coming in.” He said. “No publisher should announce on the cover of any book the sort of readers the book would prefer. Let the readers decide for themselves.”

More recently the trilogy was adapted into a series by HBO and BBC starring Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, James McAvoy and Lin-Manuel Miranda. It’s aired for two seasons and has been renewed for a third and final series covering the last book in the trilogy.

Once you’ve finished reading the series you can watch the television adaption on BBC iPlayer in the UK and HBO Max in the US.

To purchase the trilogy of books go to the following links below:

Labyrinth Lost

Labyrinth Lost is part one in the Brooklyn Brujas Series
Labyrinth Lost is part one in the Brooklyn Brujas Series. (Zoraida Cordova)

Labyrinth Lost is part one in the Brooklyn Brujas trilogy series described as a ‘Latinx-infused queer fantasy’ that follows three sisters who are teen witches. The first book centres on Alex, a bruja and the most powerful witch in her family, but she’s hated magic ever since it made her father disappear into thin air.

While most girls celebrate their Quinceañera, Alex prepares for her Deathday, the most important day in a bruja’s life and the only opportunity to rid herself of magic. When the curse backfires and her family vanishes she teams up with Nova, a brujo and they need to travel to fantasy world Los Lagos which is as strange as Wonderland where she discovers more about herself, her powers and her family.

The second book focuses on Lula’s story and is set on the streets of Brooklyn, while the third story follows Rose and is set in the magical lost realm of Adas.

To purchase the three books in the Brooklyn Brujas Series go to the links below:

Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. (Tomi Adeyemi)

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi conjures up a world of dark magic and danger in this West African-inspired fantasy novel.

The story is set in Orïsha which was previously ruled by different clans, the Burners igniting flames, Tiders beckoning waves and main character Zélie’s Reaper mother summoning souls. But now under the orders of a ruthless king, anyone with powers will be targeted and killed leaving Zélie and her people without hope.

Zélie is one of the few people who remain with the power to use magic and has the chance to strike against the monarchy, with the help of a rogue princess. She must learn to harness her powers and outrun the crown prince who is set on erasing magic forever.

Despite the dangers in Orïsha, from the strange creatures to vengeful spirits in the waters, the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to come to terms with the strength of her magic.

Meanwhile a film adaption is currently in the works with the producer’s of other book-to-screen hits including Twilight, The Maze Runner and The Fault In Our Stars, behind the helm.

To purchase Children of Blood and Bone go to the links below

The Lord of the Rings

Readers can get all three The Lord of the Rings books in a boxset
Readers can get all three The Lord of the Rings books in a boxset. (JRR Tolkien)

The Lord of the Rings film series was released around the same time as the Harry Potter films, with the two franchises often drawing comparisons, mainly because of the fantasy themes that run through both, plus Rowling has noted JRR Tolkien’s writing as an inspiration for the Potter books.

If you’re yet to read the The Lord of the Rings trilogy or want to revisit them then 2021 could be the perfect time. This is because a new series adaption of the books is heading to Amazon Prime Video later this year after Amazon bought the television rights for a whopping $250 million.

The trilogy by Tolkien names the story’s main antagonist, the Dark Lord Sauron who had in an earlier age created the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power as the ultimate weapon in his campaign to conquer and rule all of Middle-earth. The story begins in the homely Shire, a hobbit land reminiscent of the English countryside. It then ranges across Middle-earth, following the quest mainly through the eyes of the hobbits Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin.

You can purchase the book trilogy The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King via the links below. Plus the film series is available to rent from Prime Video here.

When We Were Magic

When We Were Magic follows six witch friends
When We Were Magic follows six witch friends. (Sarah Gailey)

This novel follows a group of six witch friends – some who are queer – that need to cover up a prom night murder. It focuses on Alexis from the group who accidentally kills the boy she was about to hook up with at an after-prom party. Her friends come together to try and right a terrible wrong but after their attempts fail and their left with the remains – literally – of their failed spells they each need to find a way to live with their part of the story.

It was released in 2020 and offers a modern story of witchcraft, set against the backdrop of today’s high school as opposed to the typical dark and gothic castles and cloaks for uniform often featured in fantasy novels. It’s written by Sarah Gailey who’s previously penned Magic For Liars.

You can order the book and other works by Sarah Gailey from the links below:

The Witch Boy

The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag
The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag. (Molly Ostertag)

This graphic novel from openly gay author Molly Ostertag explores gender identity and family. It follows 13-year-old Aster who’s family raise girls to be witches and boys to be shapeshifters and if anyone dares to cross the line then they are exiled. Aster is unable to shapeshift and becomes fascinated by witchcraft which comes to play when a mysterious danger threatens the other boys and the only way to help is through Aster’s magic. He’s encouraged by a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie to practice his skills and gain the courage to save his family, and of course to be his true self.

The story will be relatable for many LGBT+ people who don’t feel like they fit in because they can’t conform to expectations of family and wider society and is a perfect fantasy and witchey alternative to the Harry Potter stories.

Plus Ostertag offered to draw free coverups for any Harry Potter tattoos last year in exchange for donations to the Trans Women of Color collective or a similar organisation following Rowling’s views on trans women.

 

It’s available to purchase from on paperback or hardback as well as the Kindle. Plus readers can also get Ostertag’s other books from the graphic novel series, The Hidden Witch and The Midwinter Witch.

I’m a Gay Wizard

I'm a Gay Wizard and its sequel are written by V.S. Santoni
I’m a Gay Wizard and its sequel are written by V.S. Santoni. (V.S. Santoni)

A famous line from the Harry Potter books is ‘yer a wizard Harry’, well how about ‘yer a gay wizard’? This book by VS Santoni follows gay angsty teen Johnny and his best friends, trans girl Alison who spend their summer dabbling in magic.

After the pair use spells to defend themselves from bullies, they find themselves whisked away to the Marduk Institute, a school for wayward wizards. They need to adapt to a new world of spells, fraternities and cute boys like Hunter and Blake.

But the school isn’t just spells and crushes as they’re pulled into a supernatural fight for their lives and need to find the strength to battle the monsters lurking in the shadows alongside the demons that only exist in their head.

Since its release Santoni has written a sequel entitled I’m a Gay Wizard in the City of the Nightmare King, so hopefully an entire franchise featuring LGBT+ wizards is on the way that can rival the Potter books.

To purchase I’m a Gay Wizard and its sequel go to the links below:

The Secret of Platform 13

The Secret of Platform 13 also features a secret entrance at King's Cross station
The Secret of Platform 13 also features a secret entrance at King’s Cross station. (Eva Ibbotson)

Released three years before the first Harry Potter book, Eva Ibbotson’s The Secret of Platform 13 sees characters pass through a railway platform in King’s Cross Station to enter their own secret world.

If that sounds hauntingly familiar to the fantasy series about The Boy Wizard then you wouldn’t be mistaken, as Harry and co pass through Platform 9 and ¾ at King’s Cross to get the Hogwarts Express at the beginning of each school year.

However there are differences in the plot and characters as the magical kingdom is an island with humans living happily among feys, mermaids, ogres and more. The island is only accessible when the door opens for nine days every nine years. And in this story a Mrs Trottle kidnaps the prince of the island and takes him back to London, which means an ogre, a hag, a wizard and a fey need to troop around the capital to rescue him.

Ibbotson’s book has gained more recognition following the release of Harry Potter with some critics claiming that Rowling has plagiarised it, but Ibbotson has disputed this and says that writers often borrow from each other.

The Secret of Platform 13 is available from the links below:

The Magicians

Part one in The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman
Part one in The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman. (Lev Grossman)

The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman follows Quentin Coldwater who’s life is changed forever when he turns up for his entrance interview to Princeton University only to find his interviewer dead. He discovers an envelope which leads him down a different path, to study at Brakebills which is a secret college of modern-day sorcerers.

He heads into a world of freedom and power but some are more seductive and dangerous than sorcery, and he is drawn into a world far darker than he ever imagined in this twisted tale that would frighten the characters in Harry Potter.

Since the release of the trilogy there’s also been a graphic novel spin-off entitled Alice’s Story and comic book versions. It’s also been adapted into a television series on SyFy. There’s five seasons altogether and they’re available to stream on Amazon Prime Video for Prime members. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial and then pay £7.99 per month or cancel your subscription.

To purchase the first book in the series and its sequels go to the links below:

The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea

The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea follows Flora who assumes the identity of a pirate named Florian and falls for Lady Evelyn Hasegawa. (Maggie Tokuda-Hall)

In this queer fantasy novel by Maggie Tokuda-Hall a girl named Flora takes on the identity of Florian the man to earn respect aboard the pirate ship, Dove. While on the voyage across a fantasy world she’s drawn to Lady Evelyn Hasegawa who is headed to a dreaded arranged marriage. The pair begin to fall in love and set in motion an escape plan that will free a captured mermaid, include the mysterious Pirate Supreme, an opportunistic witch, double agents and the Sea herself in this fantasy-adventure.

The debut novel from Tokuda-Hall features a diverse cast of characters and searches for answers to big questions about identity, power and love.

The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea is available to purchase via the links below:

The Southern Vampire Mysteries

Dead Until Dark is the first book in the The Southern Vampire Mysteries series
Dead Until Dark is the first book in the The Southern Vampire Mysteries series. (Charlaine Harris)

This series from Charlaine Harris focuses on vampires but as it unfolds – there’s 13 books altogether – readers are introduced to weres and shapeshifters, fairies, telepaths and wiccans and witches.

The series starts off from the view point of Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress and telepath in the fictional town of Bon Temps in Louisiana. In the beginning of the story, vampires have existed openly in society for a couple of years which has garnered strong backlash from some communities, while other supernatural beings become public later in the series.

Once you’ve finished the books there’s also a television series to get stuck into. It’s under a different title that might be more familiar, True Blood. There’s seven seasons in total and it has often been noted as an allegory for the LGBT+ rights movement. This is through the vampires struggle for equal rights in society and phrases including ‘God Hates Fangs’ and ‘coming out of the coffin’ that is used throughout, plus it also features a number of queer characters including Lafayette played by the late Nelsan Ellis.

To purchase the book series go to the links below and to stream the show you can find out more here.

A Darker Shade of Magic

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. (V.E. Schwab)

If you’re after another fantasy magic series rather than a standalone book then A Darker Shade of Magic will be perfect for you.

The story by V. E. Schwab follows Kell, who is one of the last Travelers magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons. There’s Grey London, which is dirty, crowded and without magic and is home to the mad King George III. There’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, White London which is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. And once upon a time there was Black London, which readers will find out more about.

Once you’ve finished part one you can read A Gathering of Shadows and A Conjuring of Light where the story continues.

To purchase the three books in the series go to the links below:

The Wizards of Once

The Wizards of Once series is by Cressida Cowell
The Wizards of Once series is by Cressida Cowell. (Cressida Cowell)

The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell is a four-part book series that is aimed at children but can be enjoyed by all ages.

The story follows Xar, son of the King of Wizards who can’t cast a single spell and Wish, daughter of the Warrior queen who owns a banned magical object. The pair are from opposing worlds and are taught to hate each other from birth, but when they collide in the wildwood on the trail of a deadly witch it begins the start of a grand adventure that might change the fabric of their worlds.

There’s been four books released in total including the original, Twice Magic, Knock Three Times while the fourth part, Never and Forever was released recently in September 2020.

Cowell also penned the How to Train Your Dragon book series which has been adapted for the screen including the award-winning movies and a television show that ran for eight seasons.

To purchase the four books in The Wizards of Once series go to the links below:

This article contains affiliate links, PinkNews may earn revenue if you click through and purchase products through the links.

Will Some Brave Soul *Please* Publish Lizzo’s “Sci-Fi Fantasy Romance” Novel?

Will Some Brave Soul *Please* Publish Lizzo’s “Sci-Fi Fantasy Romance”

I made chicken tortilla soup in a slow cooker (!!!!) and my house smells AMAZING!! I get to eat it in like three whole hours and also maybe I’ll make some homemade cookies? What do you think?


Queer as in F*ck You

This is so dope and the kind of good news that will be a balm to your soul in a fucked up month, TransGriot has announced that they are moving forward with A Black, Trans Publication Will Honor Trailblazing Journalist Monica Roberts’ Legacy (Also thank you Ms. Monica, for everything you gave us.)

Transgender Athlete Sues USA Powerlifting Over Competition Ban

I’m a COVID-19 Long-Hauler, HIV Activist, and Artist. Here’s How I Navigated 2020

I’ve got some really exciting newsletter news from the Autostraddle crew, for those of you who would like even more words from our writers directly in your inbox!

  • Vanessa has launched “Hey Babe” on substack, which she describes as: “a newsletter that was supposed to be about friendship, but now I think is really about grief.” The first post came out today, and it as you would expect, breathtaking. (Speaking of which, V please know that you are in our hearts!)
  • Rachel has launched “two truths & a lie,” “a newsletter that explores a new topic related to fiction, misrepresentation, cons, conspiracy theories, hoaxes and discerning the truth” and I f*cking cannot wait

Saw This, Thought of You

Who Is Going to Publish Lizzo’s “Sci-FI Fantasy Romance” Novel?

Fans Have Dubbed This Old Navy Jumpsuit the ‘Pandemic Uniform.’ I will say that this specific jumpsuit has become the unofficial uniform of Autostraddle if nothing else. Christina‘s tweet about it is included in this article and Vanessa hyped it up in our 2020 Holigay Gift Guide. I haven’t given in yet, but also I can’t seem to escape it! (If dressing like you write for Autostraddle is a thing you would enjoy, you can get the famed jumpsuit right over here.)

Venerable sex worker activist, founder of the organization COYOTE — Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics — and union organizer (who also ran for President in 1980!), Margot St. James has left us this week at the age of 88. Her namesake, the St. James Infirmary, the first occupational clinic in the U.S. run for and by sex workers, reminds us of her words.

The Supreme Court Just Reinstated An Abortion Pill Restriction (I hate it here!!)

Meet the Most Serious Astrologer on TikTok


Political Snacks

I’m still facing some serious post-impeachment burn out, but here’s some things you can read:

Who Cleans Up After a Coup Attempt?

“The events that unfolded didn’t manifest out of thin air nor were they the actions of “lone White wolves” as we have been led to believe every time White men and women commit egregious acts. No, they didn’t act alone. They answered the siren call to combat against their country.

They answered the call that came from inside the house.”

The Call Came From Inside the House by Danielle Moodie (who, just in case you don’t know is queer, Black, and brilliant) for Zora

Carmen Phillips

Carmen is Autostraddle’s interim Editor-in-Chief and a black Puerto Rican femme/inist writer. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. There were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. You can find her on twitter, @carmencitaloves.

Carmen has written 259 articles for us.

I’ve always wanted to launch a fantasy adventure comic with lesbians as main characters ( there will be none of the bury your gays nonsense). Until now my I thought my art skills were not up to it. Now I’m asking you. Would you read something in this style? : actuallesbians

I've always wanted to launch a fantasy adventure comic with

A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!

Fantasy cyberpunk wlw : actuallesbians

Fantasy cyberpunk wlw : actuallesbians

A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!