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Catherine Lundoff lives in Minneapolis with her wife, two cats and a huge number of unfinished projects. She writes, edits, toils in IT and is currently on the brink of a grand new adventure. Follow her on Twitter at @clundoff or via her website at www.catherinelundoff.com.

 

LGBT Science Fiction and Fantasy 2000-2010 (Part 2)

by Catherine Lundoff

(NOTE: This is a continuation of Part 1 – please start there for other LGBT SFF books and stories from this decade. It will hopefully ensure that this half makes sense.)

 

There were also a number of LGBT imprints that published LGBT SFF in the 2000s. Harrington Park Press, an imprint of the nonfiction press Haworth Press, published Katherine Forrest’s lesbian science fiction novel Daughters of an Emerald Dusk (2005), the dark fantasy anthology Shadows of the Night, edited by Greg Herren (2004) and Tom Bacchus’ gay dystopian science fiction novel Q-FAQ (2007), as well as two multi-genre journals which published gay and lesbian short fiction.

Alyson Books, an established LGBT press, released several sfnal titles over the course of the decade, including Lee Thomas’ acclaimed gay horror novel, The Dust of Wonderland (2007) before going on indefinite hiatus in 2008. Suspect Thoughts Press published one of the decade’s few sfnal novels featuring transgender protagonists, Supervillainz (2006) by Alicia E. Goranson. Suspect Thoughts also published several other crossgenre works by authors such as Dodie Bellamy before closing toward the end of the decade.


There were also several LGBT spec-fic specialty presses that were founded in the 2000s. Lethe Press launched in 2001, publishing short fiction anthologies like Wilde Stories, an annual best of collection of speculative fiction featuring gay protagonists, the lesbian fairytale anthology Sleeping Beauty, Indeed (2007), edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft, and single author short fiction collections including Tom Cardamone’s Pumpkin Teeth (2009). Blind Eye Books launched with Ginn Hale’s Spectrum Award-winning gay steampunk novel, The Wicked Gentlemen (2007). Speed-of-C Productions focused on works by Don Saker, including Dance for the Ivory Madonna (2002) and re-releasing works by Melissa Scott and others. Queered Fiction was a micropress, best known for queer werewolf fiction, including Naomi Clark’s lesbian werewolf novel Silver Kiss (2010).

Not all the authors publishing LGBT work during this decade were published by small presses, of course. Author Chris Moriarty’s hard science fiction novels Spin State (2003) and Spin Control (2006) explored gender, sexuality and conflict in an intergalactic future. Jacqueline Carey’s epic fantasy Kushiel series included 6 volumes published between 2001-2008, several with bisexual protagonists. Carey also wrote the dystopian YA novel, Santa Olivia (2009) about a teenaged lesbian protagonist trying to use her genetic modifications to improve conditions in her militarized town on the U.S./Mexican border.

Catherynne Valente featured a bisexual protagonist in her fantasy novel Palimpsest (2009) while Elizabeth Bear wrote about a gay couple on a complex diplomatic mission to a matriarchal planet in Carnival (2006). A.M Dellamonica saw the first book of her series with a bisexual female protagonist, Indigo Springs (2010) released from Tor Books. Tor was also the publisher for Jo Walton’s alternate history series: Farthing (2006), Ha’penny (2007) and Half a Crown (2008), which featured a gay protagonist living in an England that had capitulated to the Nazis. Roc Trade published author Caitlín R.Kiernan’s The Red Tree (2009), a dark fantasy with a lesbian protagonist while Del Ray published Richard K. Morgan’s The Steel Remains (2008), a dark fantasy with a gay protagonist.

Concurrent with the growth in ereaders, the 2000s saw a large increase in the number of new epublishers, particularly in romance and erotica. Online fanfiction communities writing slash fiction laid much of the groundwork for “m/m” (male/male) fiction, which features gay male relationships but is written primarily for a straight female audience. Web savvy and possessed of a built-in audience, these slash communities created their own subgenre of romance, which included paranormal and science fiction romances as well as erotica. Some of the authors who crossed over into a science fiction and fantasy readership from m/m romance included Cassandra Clare, Josh Lanyon, R.W. Day and J.L. Langley.

LGBT protagonists were not limited to written speculative fiction, of course. The Doctor Who spinoff, Torchwood (2006 – 2011) introduced the popular bisexual character, Captain Jack Harkness. Willow Rosenberg, one of the main characters on Joss Whedon’s Buffy, fell in love and came out as a lesbian only to lose her first girlfriend, Tara, in the episode “Seeing Red” (2002). Dante’s Cove was an all LGBT paranormal romance that ran on the Here TV cable channel from 2005 – 2007. True Blood, an HBO series about a near future Louisiana populated by vampires and werewolves as well as humans, began airing in 2008. It featured a number of gay, lesbian and bisexual significant characters in the course of its seven season run.

Comics continued their upward trend in LGBT protagonists and significant characters from the previous decade. Artist/writer Colleen Doran created her ensemble cast science fiction comic book series, A Distant Soil (collected by Image Comics 1999 – onward) throughout the decade. The series included several gay, bi or otherwise queer-identified significant characters. DC Comics had their existing character, Batwoman, come out as a lesbian in 2006. She joined the select group of other out mainstream comic characters that included Renee Montoya/The Question, Pied Piper, one of the Green Lantern incarnations, Rawhide Kid and an assortment of minor characters in ensemble casts.

Given the scope of increase in LGBT protagonists in various parts of the genre, this survey can only be introductory. And for reasons of space and lack of expertise, I haven’t talked about the LGBT characters that became staples in popular games or came out in anime and manga. That said, I hope this will peak interest in reading more about LGBT science fiction, fantasy and horror. Portrayals of LGBTQ protagonists continue to change and evolve; I will be fascinated to see what the future holds.

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