Tag Archives: Every Heart a Doorway

5 SFF Stories Similar to Every Heart A Doorway, Featuring Asexual characters: a Guest Post by Claudie Arseneault & Lynn O’Connacht

I am so psyched today to bring you this guest post by asexuality authors and advocates Claudie Arseneault and Lynn O’Connacht, bringing some stellar recs for ace SFF. They’ve got plenty of wisdom on the subject between the two of them, so I’m just gonna tiptoe off and let them take it away! (But not before reminding you that you can obviously also find great ace stories by supporting these two authors; links to their websites are in their bios at the end of the post!)

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On August 11, 2017, Every Heart a Doorway, the most visible traditionally published story with explicit asexual representation won the Hugo Awards for Best Novella and, with it, a clean sweep of SFF’s most prestigious awards. Yet the discussions we’ve seen surrounding asexual representation in fiction since Every Heart a Doorway was published usually seem to ignore many great stories with asexual representation. There is so much more out there, and a lot of what’s out there is ownvoices.

Asexual indie and short story writers have been producing a wealth of stories involving ace spectrum characters for years now, and it’s always a pleasure to share their work. These are talented folks who tend to go unnoticed, but their stories are varied and gut-wrenching. We can only hope that the light shined on asexual representation by Every Heart a Doorway will reach other deserving authors.

As ace spectrum readers and indie author the idea that there are only a handful of books that include characters on the asexual spectrum out there hurts so much. True, there aren’t anywhere near as many as we would like, but there’s so much more out there than these discussions suggest. We’ve selected just five stories that we feel are similar to Every Heart a Doorway not just because they feature ace-spec characters, but also because we feel that the story has some overlap with narrative elements in McGuire’s novella. All of the authors on this list are ownvoices and somewhere on the asexual spectrum. We hope you’ll enjoy the books!

Nkásht íí by Darcie Little Badger is a short story rather than a novel or a novella, but if you’re looking for something that captures that sense of eeriness and creepiness that’s at the core of Every Heart a Doorway‘s mystery plot, you’ll love this. The story follows two Lipan Apache friends as they try to unravel the mystery behind a car crash, and the family a man lost in it. Josie, the narrator, is aromantic and asexual. If you wanted a more in-depth look at a ‘death world’ like Nancy visited, Nkásht íí also has you covered. It’s deliciously scary and invites rereading to gather more of what’s happening in the text.

The Traitor’s Tunnel by C.M. Spivey may seem like a strange book to recommend to readers of Every Heart a Doorway, as its heart is more caper-heist than gruesome mystery, but readers will find that the mystery Theo gets drawn into by his sister has some very dark undertones. Together, he and Bridget will have to discover who is the traitor who’s been abducting orphan children from the streets and why. Readers looking for a panromantic asexual lead in an established and adorable relationship will love the representation in this book. (Blogger’s Note: You can read an excerpt of The Traitor’s Tunnel here!)

Good Angel by A.M. Blaushild is a great pick if you were disappointed by the way Every Heart a Doorway stopped following Nancy’s attempts to adapt to life in our realm and make friends at school. In Good Angel, Iofiel is a newly created angel who goes off to university to become a guardian angel, but after deciding to help an imp with his studies, she finds herself unsure of her place in the world. Good Angel is the first novel in a humorous duology, and features a curious angel who isn’t quite sure where she fits onto the spectrums of asexuality and aromanticism. It features classes, studying and making friends with people who the environment of the school finds… a little less than ideal.

Stake Sauce by RoAnna Sylver is an urban fantasy webserial/novel and will appeal to readers of McGuire’s work in general. Like, Every Heart a Doorway it’s got several unexpected twists (which we won’t spoil, of course!). Jude is a demiromantic asexual former firefighter with PTSD, and no one believes him when he insists there are vampires about until he meets Pixie, an adorable punk vampire who needs help with bigger, meaner vampires. In turns weird, dark, and delightfully hopeful, Stake Sauce contains one secret ingredient… love. No, really!

The Stake Sauce webserial runs on Patreon and the full story will be released as an ebook on October 31, 2017.

Fourth World by Lyssa Chiavari is a YA science fiction novel with two protagonists on the asexual spectrum. Nadin is asexual and sex-repulsed and Isaak is demisexual. We recommend this one for its at-times punch-in-the-gut representation of asexuality, and because much like Every Heart a Doorway it features teens trying to solve a mystery (a Mars archeology one!) and two distinct worlds, so if you enjoyed the idea of portal fantasy set forth this explores such a narrative in more depth. Nadin and Isaak are worlds and years apart, but when Isaak finds an ancient coin, they’ll have to work together to save both their planets.

And there you have it. Five stories that feature asexual characters just as prominently as Every Heart a Doorway does and that also have narrative overlap for you to enjoy. These aren’t all the asexual stories out there by a long shot. If you’d like a larger range of options or more detailed information on the representation in the stories we mentioned, check out Claudie’s database of asexual and aromantic characters in SFF. If you’d like non-SFF recommendations (or recs for games and tv/film as well) as well, there’s also Fuck Yeah Asexual’s database here. Happy reading!

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Claudie Arseneault is an asexual and aromantic-spectrum writer hailing from the very-French Québec City. Her stories focus on non-romantic relationships and often feature large queer casts. The latest, City of Strife, is the first of a political fantasy trilogy released in February. Find out more on her website!

Lynn O’Connacht has an MA in English literature and creative writing, but wouldn’t call herself an authority on either. She currently resides on the European continent and her idiom and spelling are, despite her best efforts, geographically confused, poor things. Her latest book is a companion collection to her asexual retelling of The Little Mermaid, Sea Foam and Silence. Find out more on her website!

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Under the Gaydar: Asexual Rep

“Under the Gaydar” features books you might not realize have queer content but do! And definitely belong on your radar.

This time around we’re looking at books with major characters on the ace spectrum that don’t have that info in the blurb (and haven’t been on every post about this since the beginning of time; at this point I assume most people have discovered books like Quicksilver by RJ Anderson) – hopefully this will help expand your library a bit!

Depositphotos_40057967_s-2015This Song is (Not) For You by Laura Nowlin – Though the book doesn’t include the label “asexual,” discussion of being a romantic asexual (and finding your place in a romantic relationship) is a significant portion of this 2016 contemporary YA.

Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate – Redgate’s debut is delightfully infamous for being the first mainstream YA to feature an on-page Pansexual main character, but among the 7 POVs is another queer character on his own journey to figuring out he’s aromantic asexual. As with the above, you won’t see the word on the page, but you won’t be able to miss it, either.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan Maguire – Portal fantasy with ace rep and atmosphere to spare, from one of SFF’s most popular prolific authors.

Overexposed by Megan Erickson – M/M NA Romance with an on-page demisexual main character. I think that’s maybe all I need to say about that?

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman – I don’t usually feature books in which the character in question isn’t a POV character, but the presence of a major on-page demisexual character in YA is just too great to ignore! If you’re not in the UK, where it released in 2016, make sure you nab this one as soon as it’s available where you are.

27 Hours by Tristina Wright – Coming out in October 2017, this sci-fi YA features a host of underrepresented POVs, including one who’s ace.

Before I Let Go by Marie Nijkamp – Releasing in January 2018, this fabulous Alaska-set contemporary YA I have read and you have not (#CPlove) features an (#ownvoices) ace MC.

For some more instances of on-page labels in non-POV characters, check out Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham, Lunaside by JL Douglas, and Honestly Ben by Bill Konigsberg! And do check out this interview with Erica Cameron, to see which of her books apply as well!

Good News Roundup of LGBTQ Reads

After so many years of LGBTQIAP+ lit struggling for recognition, it’s been pretty killer to watch literary news this year. Whereas a starred review for an LGBTQIAP+ YA book used to be a needle in a haystack, this fall was absolutely rife with them. Whereas coverage of queer Romance novels used to be relegated pretty entirely to queer publications, now it’s been everywhere from Bustle to Washington Post (*tips hat to Sarah Maclean*). And since I think at any given time, we could all use some good news about the progress of LGBTQIAP+ books in publishing, here’s to highlighting some of this year’s biggest successes in mainstream media:

Picture Books

Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian, illustrated by Mike Curato, was named one of the Best Picture Books of 2016 by Kirkus and one of the Best Books for Kids of 2016 by New York Public Library

Middle Grade

Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart was named one of the Best Books of 2016 by NPR and one of the Best Books For Kids of 2016 by New York Public Library

Young Adult

Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard was nominated for a Morris Award and named one of the Best Teen Books of 2016 by Kirkus.

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo is the only YA novel named among the Best Books of 2016 by iBooks, among the Best Teen Fiction of 2016 by Chicago Public Library, and among the best YAs of 2016 by Amazon, the B&N Teen Blog, Bustle, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and New York Public Library.

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore was longlisted for the National Book Award and named one of the Best YAs of 2016 by Bustle and Kirkus.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth’s movie news was announced.

Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli’s movie news was announced, and it was named one of the 30 Best Young Adult Novels of All Time by Paste.

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp spent 29 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list and was named among 19 of the Best YA Books of 2016 by Buzzfeed and one of the best YAs of the year by Paste.

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova was named one of the Best Books of 2016 by NPR, among the Best Teen Fiction of 2016 by Chicago Public Library, and one of the Best YAs of 2016 by Bustle, Paste, and New York Public Library.

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley was named one of the Best Books of 2016 by NPR, among the Best Teen Fiction of 2016 by Chicago Public Library, and one of the Best YAs of 2016 by Bustle, Paste, and SLJ.

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown was named one of the Best YAs of 2016 by Bustle and Kirkus, among the Best Teen Fiction of 2016 by Chicago Public Library, and one of the Best YA Rom-Coms of the Year by the B&N Teen Blog.

Beast by Brie Spangler was named one of the Best YAs of 2016 by the B&N Teen Blog, Kirkus, Bustle, and Publishers Weekly.

And I Darken by Kiersten White was named one of the Best YAs of 2016 by the B&N Teen Blog, Bustle, and NPR, and hit the NYT bestseller list.

Unbecoming by Jenny Downham was named one of the Best YAs of 2016 by the B&N Teen Blog, Kirkus, and Publishers Weekly.

Being Jazz by Jazz Jennings was named one of the Best Books for Teens of 2016 by New York Public Library.

Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace was named one one of the Best Books for Teens of 2016 by New York Public Library.

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson was named one of the Best Books for Teens of 2016 by New York Public Library and one of SLJ‘s Best YAs of 2016.

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley was named one of the 30 Best Young Adult Novels of All Time by Paste and hit the New York Times bestseller list.

Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig was named among 19 of the Best YA Books of 2016 by Buzzfeed and Kirkus, and the Best YA Novel of the Year by Paste.

The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle was named one of SLJ‘s Best YAs of 2016 and among the Best Teen Books of 2016 by Kirkus.

As I Descended by Robin Talley was named among the Best Teen Fiction of 2016 by Chicago Public Library and Paste.

Radical by E.M. Kokie was named among the Best Teen Fiction of 2016 by Chicago Public Library.

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin was named among the Best Teen Fiction of 2016 by Chicago Public Library.

True Letters From a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan was named one of the Best Teen Books of 2016 by Kirkus.

Bleeding Earth by Kaitlin Ward was named one of the Best Teen Books of 2016 by Kirkus.

Without Annette by Jane B. Mason was named among 19 of the Best YA Books of 2016 by Buzzfeed.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz was named one of the 30 Best Young Adult Novels of All Time by Paste.

Ash by Malinda Lo was named one of the 30 Best Young Adult Novels of All Time by Paste.

Adam Silvera’s New York Times bestselling More Happy Than Not was named one of the 30 Best Young Adult Novels of All Time by Paste.

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie was named one of the Best YAs of 2016 by Paste.

Timekeeper by Tara Sim was named one of the Best YAs of 2016 by Paste.

Romance

Fast Connection by Santino Hassell and Megan Erickson was named one of the Best Romance Novels of 2016 by The Washington Post.

Luchador by Erin Finnegan was named one of the Best Romances of 2016 by Publishers Weekly.

24/7 by J.A. Rock was named among the Best Fiction of 2016 by Kirkus.

Idlewild by Jude Sierra was named among the Best Fiction of 2016 by Kirkus.

Strong Signal by Santino Hassell and Megan Erickson was named among 17 of the Best Romance Novels of 2016 by Bustle.

General Fiction

Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett was longlisted for the National Book Award, a finalist for the Kirkus Prize, named one of the Best Books of 2016 by NPR and Popsugar, one of the 24 Best Fiction Books of 2016 by Buzzfeed, and one of the 18 Best Fiction Books of 2016 by The Huffington Post.

What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell was longlisted for the National Book Award, named one of the Best Books of 2016 by NPR and Publishers Weekly, one of the 24 Best Fiction Books of 2016 by Buzzfeed, one of the 25 Best Books to Read in 2016 by Esquire, and one of the 10 Best Books of 2016 by Vulture.

Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn was named among the Best Fiction of 2016 by Kirkus and one of the 24 Best Fiction Books of 2016 by Buzzfeed.

SFF

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan Mcguire was named among the Best Genre Fiction (SF/Fantasy) of 2016 by Library Journal.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers was named among the Best Genre Fiction (SF/Fantasy) of 2016 by Library Journal.

Fave Five: Ace MCs in SFF

Happy Ace Awareness Week!

We Awaken by Calista Lynne

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan Maguire

To Terminator, With Love by Wes Kennedy

Quicksilver by RJ Anderson

Fourth World by Lyssa Chiavari

Bonus, coming in 2017: Assassins: Nemesis by Erica Cameron and 27 Hours by Tristina Wright

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