Language is a weapon in an underground resistance movement of old women
September 9, 2018 5:36 PM   Subscribe

I’m gonna have to check out a few from the last link. “The Stars Change” caught my attention.
posted by FleetMind at 6:08 PM on September 9, 2018

Ha, this is one of those posts where everyone is saving it for later (me included)
Thank you!
posted by travertina at 7:28 PM on September 9, 2018 [7 favorites]

Speaking of saving for later, has anyone already made a Goodreads list?
posted by adamsc at 7:50 PM on September 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Peter F. Hamilton's latest 'Salvation' has a good bit of far future gender fluid characters.
posted by sammyo at 8:54 PM on September 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thanks for this. I've been intending to look for sci-fi which reimagines gender etc. for a while now, you've saved me the effort.
posted by lovelyzoo at 9:09 PM on September 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

My dad's a crusty old boomer, but by god his SF bookshelf had a lot of these for me to read growing up filed right next to the Heinlein and Asimov.

Metaphorically, I mean, of course it was alphabetized by author.
posted by bq at 9:53 PM on September 9, 2018 [6 favorites]

These are good lists!

I used to run a feminist science fiction class, and one thing I always wanted to do (but never had the constituency for, alas!) was to do a serious "from the early seventies through the eighties" historical course. I gestured toward that, but you need to be willing to read a lot of stuff for what it tells you about the period rather than for how neatly it meets contemporary plot expectations, so you have to have a group of people who are really into the topic. Like, a lot of those 70s/early eighties anthologies and more obscure books are...weird. Some of them are also not that great, but a lot of them are trying to do things with the form that don't match up with what we expect from science fiction, and thus they tend to polarize readers - people are either baffled and frustrated or totally in love, and fights erupt.

Anyway, for your lesbian and lesbian-adjacent* science fiction needs, I also recommend Aqueduct Press. I have never found a book published by Aqueduct to be without interest - that sounds like a backhanded compliment, but interesting is precisely how I'd describe their publications. Some are difficult, some are slow, some are interesting but unpolished, they've published one book and one novella I find shockingly politically bad...and yet you'll never want for something to chew over with an Aqueduct book. I will buy Aqueduct books based on imprint alone.

*It is not always readily apparent based on their writing which of their writers are queer and which straight, and this is not IME universal when reading science fiction by women.
posted by Frowner at 10:55 PM on September 9, 2018 [10 favorites]

I'm especially happy to see the first book in the 3rd link is the comic "O Human Star" by Blue Delliquanti, which I discovered and got to love as a webcomic. Of course, webcomics have been at the absolute forefront of mixing SFF and LGBTQ, to which I can include:
"Alien Hand Syndrome" by 'Drake' (demonic possession can mess up your relationships)
"Cassiopeia Quinn" by Gunwild and Psu (a female Solo-like rogue has to be sexually flexible... and underdressed)
"Dicebox" by Jenn Manley Lee (the difficulty in keeping up a relationship in a space-faring future)
"Dragondove" by les valiant (a fantasy-western with tamed dragons and LGBT cowpokes)
"Gunnerkrigg Court" by Tom Siddell (Hogwarts with an even queerer vibe. Antimony and Kat the Scientist are 'best friends'.)
"Iothera" by Nora Riley (a 'science fantasy' in an alternate universe with some NSFW content)
"Kim Reaper" by Sara Graley (yep, a cute, lesbian grim reaper trainee)
"Spinnerette" by 'Krazy Krow' (started as a Spider-Man parody - she has 4 extra arms - to become a weird mix of superhero tropes, silly characters, surprisingly good characters and a superheroine romance)
"Trekker" by Ron Randall (future outer space female bounty hunter, very butch.)
"Wapsi Square" by Paul Taylor (est. 2001, quickly evolved to all fantasy, mostly female)
There are more in my massive RSS collection, but I have to say goodnight.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:56 PM on September 9, 2018 [10 favorites]

Well, as long as we're doing recommendations, here's two of my favorites in Queer SF&F:

Dreadnought: Nemesis by April Daniels. Danny, a closeted teenage transwoman, is granted the powers of the dying superhero Dreadnought- as well as the female body she dreamed of. Unable and unwilling to hide who she is, Danny faces complications ranging from transphobic parents who want to "cure" her, to a mixed reception from her fellow superheroes. Also, the villain that murdered the previous Dreadnought has a lethal plan and is not about to let a teenage superhero stand in their way...

This is a superhero novel that is amazingly well written, with visceral and deadly combat scenes that are still not as intense as superstrong, near-invulnerable Danny dealing with her transphobic parents. She may have been transformed quickly and easily, but Danny's emotional transformation and growth isn't so easy. Daniels portrays all this with amazing amounts of deftness and sympathy.

In short, this is the best superhero novel I've ever read. I recommend it even to people who don't like the superhero genre.

Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones. When Margerit Sovitre visited her dying uncle, she merely hoped for a contribution to make an adequate dowry. Instead she inherits the Baron Saveze’s entire fortunes—and his bodyguard, the lethal and mysterious duelist Barbara. Margarit also gains an enemy in the Baron's dissolute nephew who will stop at nothing to get the fortune he sees as rightfully his. All Margerit has as an ally is Barbara, who is bitter at seeing her freedom-and the truth of her parentage-denied. But as the intrigues and mysteries deepen, Barbara and Margerit will have to depend on each other, because when the mysteries of magic are involved, the the fate of the nation may be at stake.

This book is simply a delight. Told in the manner of a Regency romance, Alpennia is a Ruritarian country, in the style of Prisoner of Zenda, with a dollop of added magic. In this pseudohistorical setting, Heather Rose Jones balances an exquisite eye for period detail, with the struggle of two young women to gain independence and self-determination. If you liked Jane Austin novels or The Count of Monte Cristo, yet questioned the patriarchal setting, if you wanted to see Regency romance in a lesbian context, this book will be very satisfying.
posted by happyroach at 11:54 PM on September 9, 2018 [10 favorites]

Checked to see if Ascension was included, was not disappointed.

This is one of those books I keep mentioning to anybody looking for something queer and with good representation. It's about the only science fiction book I can think off that stars a Black, working class lesbian spaceship engineer who struggles with a chronic illness. Any one of these is rare in sf and the way Koyanagi writes her is completely natural to boot.

I found it by accident browsing a local bookstore and the cover got me to buy it and I'm so glad I took a punt on it.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:18 AM on September 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

If we're doing recommendations:

Trouble and her Friends -- Melissa Scott is criminally underread and this is one of the few proper cyberpunk books that came anywhere close to realising how politics on the internet would really work rather than engaging in some fantasy on low lives with high tech. No libertarian paradise, but real world politics where queer people are the first to be thrown under the bus by more privileged hackers.

Dreadnought: Nemesis/Sovereign: as happyroach already said, these are excellent superhero stories with a trans & lesbian protagonist and in the second book she has to take on a thinly disguised Peter Thiel who turns out to be a pawn for the transphobe, TERFy main villain. Some caution is adviced as poor Danny doesn't have the most supportive of families or friends.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:05 AM on September 10, 2018 [6 favorites]

I had most of those 70s books as an early-80s teen. Really need to read Dreamsnake again.
posted by matildaben at 4:22 AM on September 10, 2018

Thirding Dreadnought, it's so good!

I'd also recommend Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy from Transgender Writers, which came out last year.
posted by ITheCosmos at 4:42 AM on September 10, 2018

Peter F. Hamilton's latest 'Salvation' has a good bit of far future gender fluid characters.

This is good to hear. The way he's written women in the past has been hit or miss, the Night's Drawn Trilogy has some problematic women (lots of sexual objectification and just being there to provide sexual release/comfort for male characters), so it's nice to hear that he's maybe outgrown some of his earlier ways of characterizing men/women.
posted by Fizz at 5:24 AM on September 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

oneswellfoop "Gunnerkrigg Court" by Tom Siddell (Hogwarts with an even queerer vibe. Antimony and Kat the Scientist are 'best friends'.)

Except that Kat and Antimony really do appear to be platonic friends. Kat is gay, or at least bi, and in a pretty steady relationship with a girl who is not Antimony. And Antimony appears to be straight, or as straight as a person who is sort of emotionally involved with a spirit wolf thing can be.

Also worth mentioning on the LGBT friendly SFish webcomic scene is Questionable Content, featuring several LGBT main cast characters, not to mention people involved in relationships with sentient AI which probably falls on the LGBTQ scale somewhere even if the AI identifies as being the opposite gender as the human they're involved with (and in the most focused on human/AI relationship in the comic both people identify as female).
posted by sotonohito at 6:36 AM on September 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Gunnerkrigg definitely fits the list. What with Kat being bi, Shadow and Robot (however that pairing fits on the spectrum), and some others I am likely forgetting.

But I think Annie has largely been without any romantic interests throughout. With the exception of a throwaway joke regarding Solid Snake from the Metal Gear Solid games. I would argue she might well fit under the asexual category, so possible props for inclusion.
posted by FleetMind at 7:02 AM on September 10, 2018

"Wapsi Square" by Paul Taylor (est. 2001, quickly evolved to all fantasy, mostly female)

Oh my! I had forgotten this and I had started reading at the beginning. Thank you for wasting my next few days enjoying the old stuff again, and seeing where the new stuff goes.
posted by mikelieman at 7:08 AM on September 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Does Caitlin Kiernan's The Drowning Girl count? (Maybe not, as it's more of a ghost story than sci-fi.) That book scared the crap out of me.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 7:38 AM on September 10, 2018

Oh, I'm so happy to see Suzette Haden Elgin's Native Tongue mentioned high up in the first link. I read that book as a high school freshman, immediately before reading Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, and I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that those two books helped create my feminist consciousness as a teenager living in a Bible-belt military town in Reagan's America.

Native Tongue woke me up to so many powerful ideas and truths -- and, I add, introduced me to a lifelong long of linguistics on top of all that. Native Tongue is great and the two sequels, The Judas Rose and Earthsong, are equally thought-provoking calls to action.
posted by sobell at 8:36 AM on September 10, 2018 [6 favorites]

My apologies for semi-mischaracterizing Gunnerkrigg (I have trouble even spelling it right), but I was going through my RSS list of literally hundreds of non-categorized webcomics I follow and putting the ones that I think fit as SFF and LBGTQ in alphabetical order and it was a late add. I must say, I like Gunnerkrigg most as being one of the rare "Big Fantasy" comics with powerful spirit animals instead of human 'gods' (my favorite was "A Redtail's Dream").

But there are many more I could include, like "Kay and P" and "The Lady Skylark" both by Jackie Musto, and, how could I forget "Questionable Content" (with lesbian robots, now in its 15th year) and the even more sci-fi "Alice Grove" by Jeph Jacques. And yes, there are many more, some borderline, some not getting it right... just like webcomics are with everything.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:03 PM on September 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

No hard feelings onefellswoop.

There are only two comics I happen to really follow online, and Gunnerkrigg is one of them.

I can see how your initial viewpoint can be seen.

Also, geez, hundreds of comics, how do you have time.
posted by FleetMind at 12:18 PM on September 10, 2018

I posted a graphic novel to projects recently that fits these criteria (well, except for the quality criteria, most probably).

(Please delete this post if it crosses the self-linking threshold)
posted by dng at 12:35 PM on September 10, 2018 [4 favorites]

MartinWisse: Melissa Scott is criminally underread ...

I agree and was disappointed she didn't make any of the lists; all of her stuff seems to have a nonstandard-sexuality component, even if it's not the focus of the story itself. She's more pulpy of scifi, but there's a lot of pulpy scifi in those lists too.
posted by AzraelBrown at 1:31 PM on September 10, 2018

Thank you for O Human Star.

That is a comic that a younger me would have needed. Older me appreciates it as well.
posted by FleetMind at 8:51 PM on September 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, "O Human Star" is excellent. I'm digging into the other comics you linked too. Thanks, oneswellfoop!
posted by homunculus at 5:45 PM on September 14, 2018

« Older SpeculationWorld and other photos   |   Posting to the Azure Blue Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments