On Monday, I attended the 29th Annual Lambda Literary Awards. My collection, The Kissing Booth Girl and Other Stories, was a finalist in the SF/F/H category, and while it didn’t win, it was a fantastic event and I came home with a whole list of titles to add to my already staggering TBR list. Being a finalist along with such fine works was truly an honor, and since I promised queer reading recommendations, I’ll start by pointing you toward the list of Lambda Award winners. There’s fiction, poetry, erotica, non-fiction, basically a little something for everyone.
Speaking of good company, The Kissing Booth Girl and Other Stories also currently finds itself in excellent company in a StoryBundle of LGTBQIA+ books curated by Melissa Scott in celebration of Pride Month. Melissa’s philosophy in assembling the works was to focus on small press works where queer characters are active players in their own stories, not relegated to the role of villains or fated to die tragically. The StoryBundles contains works by such fine authors as Heather Rose Jones, Steve Berman, Catherine Lundoff, and Geonn Cannon, among others. The basic bundle gets you 5 books for $5, or for $15, you get an extra 7 books in your bundle, including my collection. Not only is it a fantastic deal, you can choose to donate a portion of your purchase price to Rainbow Railroad, helping LGTBQIA+ folks escape Chechnya. The StoryBundle is available for another two weeks, so grab it now and add a whole slew of excellent queer titles to your library.
You didn’t think I would stop there, did you? Oh, no no no. Because your TBR pile can never be too big, I have even more recommendations for you – short fiction, novels, collections, and comics by queer creators, many also featuring queer characters, gathered here for your reading pleasure.
Novels and Collections
The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl both by Caitlin R. Kiernan – two truly unsettling works of dark fiction, featuring unreliable narrators and unreliable situations, both of which continued to haunt me long after I finished reading them.
The Devourers by Indra Das – a breathtakingly gorgeous and poetic work about the nature of humans and monsters, and the winner of this year’s Lammy Award in the SF/F/H category.
The Salt Roads by Nalo Hopkinson – a narrative moving fluidly through time and space, interweaving the stories of several women.
One for Sorrow by Christopher Barzak – a story about life, death, growing up, and a friendship that transcends all of those things.
Hild by Nicola Griffith – an epic, historic novel set in the Middle Ages, based on the little-known life of St. Hilda of Whitby.
Dangerous Space by Kelley Eskridge – a brilliant collection of stories that – among other things – blend together music, dance, violence, sex, and magic, which includes one of my all-time favorite Eskridge stories, Eye of the Storm.
Wicked Wonders by Ellen Klages – a new short story collection featuring stories that echo with the themes of magic, growing up, and friendship.
eyes i dare not meet in dreams by Sunny Moraine – a brutal and rage-filled story about girls coming back from the dead.
Melioration by E. Saxey – a short, but impactful story about the power of language.
Nothing is Pixels Here by K.M. Szpara – a story that is by turns painful and hopeful, about reality, virtual reality, and being true to yourself.
Never the Same by Polenth Blake – a story about family, lies, and what we call monstrous.
How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps by A. Merc Rustad – another story that mixes heartbreak and hope, and explores identity, being true to yourself, and friendship.
The Color of Paradox by A.M. Dellamonica – a time travel story about people risking themselves in the past in a desperate attempt to prevent a terrible future.
Foxfire, Foxfire by Yoon Ha Lee – a mash-up of giant mechs and trickster spirits, caught up in the midst of a war.
The Waters of Versailles by Kelly Robson – a charming story about the importance and power of indoor plumbing, and about being true to yourself.
Kin, Painted by Penny Stirling – a story laden with gorgeous language and imagery, about family members finding and expressing themselves through various forms of art.
Things With Beards by Sam J. Miller – a chilling retelling of Who Goes There?, about queer identity, masculinity, and the masks people wear.
Second Hand Bodies by JY Yang – a powerful story about class and dangerous standards of beauty.
Forestspirit, Forestspirit by Bogi Tackács – the story of an unlikely friendship and alliance developing between a young child and an AI as they trying to save a forest from developers.
The Shapes of Us, Translucent to Your Eye by Rose Lemberg – a powerful story about those on the margins of society carving out a space for themselves in the world.
The Devil in America by Kai Ashante Wilson – a haunting story about family, slavery, and the ghosts of the past.
Dates! An Anthology of Queer Historical Fiction – a collection full of drop-dead gorgeous art, and stories about queers characters across history. As a bonus, the collection focuses on happy stories, and features work by many emerging authors and artists seeing their work in print for the first time. A second volume is on its way.
Chaos Life by A. Stiffler & K. Copeland – a webcomic about nerd life, gender, sexuality, cats, earworms, usb drives, and generally everything that makes life chaotic.
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson – a wonderful graphic novel about heroes, villains, sidekicks, monsters, and the blurred line between them.
And that is just a very small sampling of the amazing queer work out there. Please leave your own recommendations in the comments. As I said, one can never have too big of a TBR pile. Happy Pride, and happy reading!