May. 8th, 2016

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In the course of fundraising for acclaimed fantasy author Judith Tarr, who's in danger of losing her home and her horses, I've run across a fair number of comments about the "shelf life" of SF/F authors, particularly women, LGBT authors and others when they drop out of the limelight (or never step into it despite the quality of their work). They are not wrong, these folks, so I thought I'd like to start a paying it forward chain of sorts and talk about 10 of the many authors whose work I enjoyed a lot in the course of the last 20 years or so and what they're doing now. I know Tarr isn't the only one who could use a boost (and she's not out of the woods yet, either). Please think about picking up some of their current publications or reviewing some you already have or donating to their Patreons and so forth. And maybe recommend a list of your own to others.

In no particular order:
Laurie Marks. Author of some terrific fantasy novels, many with LGBT protagonists, including Dancing Jack and Fire Logic. The third in her Elemental Logic series, Water Logic is still available from Small Beer Press and rumor has it that the 4th is close to being turned in. She'll be one of the Guests of Honor at Sirens Conference this year.

Melissa Scott. Author of lots of groundbreaking science fiction and fantasy, including award-winning books like Shadow Man, Trouble and Her Friends and other great stuff. She's got some ebooks at Crossroad Press, including some reissues and some newer work, as well as some titles at Lethe Press.

Jody Scott. No longer with us, unfortunately, but her partner is trying to keep her books available and has gotten her quirky classic sf novels I, Vampire and Passing for Human re-released through Digital Parchment Services. Brilliant, funny weird stuff.

Sherwood Smith. Author of historical fantasies and other fun things. Lots of swashbuckling, strong female characters and other good stuff. I'm fond of her alternate Prisoner of Zenda series, which begins with Coronets and Steel. You can find several of her books at Book View Cafe.

Judith Tarr. Historical fantasies and space operas including Alamat and Lord of the Two Lands. Her current titles are available on Book View Cafe, she has a Patreon and she runs a horse camp for writers as well as providing editing services.

Tenea D. Johnson. Author of, among other things, Smoketown, which is set in post apocalyptic Kentucky and features a cast of POC and queer characters; it is one of the best small press sfnal books I've ever read and this is an author you should be following, if you're not already.

Caroline Stevermer
. Co-creator (with Patricia Wrede, also still writing and publishing) of such historical fantasies as Sorcery and Cecilia, which is terrific, as well as the author of a number of novels on her own. You can find
Sorcery and Cecilia and the two sequels at Open Road Media and she has new work in progress.

Pamela Dean. Author of lots of great fantasy, including The Secret Country. She and Patricia Wrede have a collection of their Liavek stories, Points of Departure, available from Diversion Books. Several of her other books are/will be available through Blaisdell Press.

Jewelle Gomez. Author of the groundbreaking African-American lesbian vampire stories, The Gilda Stories, newly released as a 25th Anniversary Edition from City Lights Books.

P.C. Hodgell. Author of the Kencyrath novels, which have really never gotten their due. These are some of the best epic fantasy novels out there. Baen has been releasing the series, which is terrific, but with Baenized covers which tend to alienate the kind of readers who would love the complex world-building, the intricate gender-bending and other wonders of this series. Ignore the covers and buy the books.

So there you go. Some excellent recommended reading, if I do say so myself. Go forth, read, recommend and make lists of your own. Let's boost the signal on some of the more unique voices in the genre.

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