Tag Archives: SFF

From Flash to Epic: Ten Aromantic Stories Recommended by Claudie Arseneault

I am delighted to be here on LGBTQ Reads to perform one of my favourite activities: recommend aromantic fiction. This post contains recs for stories featuring at least one major aromantic characters, and I’ve read and enjoyed all of them. But since I like to spice things up a bit, all of these stories are presented in length order, covering a range from flash fiction to epic fantasy novels. Pick your favourite length, and enjoy!

  • Lemon & Salt by Claudie Arseneault

Flash fiction | Link | Spectrum Lit

Two aromantic spectrum singers renegotiate the shape of their queerplatonic partnership through an unique concert.

Why read it? It feels wrong to start with my own story, but if you’re looking for a free and quick read online featuring aromantic representation, this is a great place to start.

  • Backgame by Lev Mirov

Short story | Myriad Lands Volume II | Guardbridge Books

An aro-ace necromancer resurrects their best friend, a trans man, allowing them to continue both their friendship and their games.

Why read it? This is a powerful piece about the importance of friendship, second chances, and death. It’s also set in a fantasy Middle East city, and provides much needed rep for non-white aromantic characters.

Want more? I also recommended two aromantic short stories over at The Future Fire that are available online for free.

  • The Faerie Godmother’s Apprentice Wore Green by Nicky Kyle

Novelette (ish) | Link | LT3 Press

Louisa is a village girl dreading her coming wedding, but thankfully a dragon’s assault is delaying it. When Dea, an aro-ace dragon hunter, comes to town, Louisa’s life takes a strange new turn.

Why read it? Faerie Godmother twists fantasy tropes of dragons and princesses in new and interesting ways while developing a deep relationship between a lesbian and an aromantic women. This is *almost* the length of a novella.

  • The Trouble by Daria Defore

Novella | Link | LT3 Press

When Danny Kim, lead singer of a small indie band, discovers that his accounting TA is none other than the man he rudely hit on at his last show, he is mortified. Yet it doesn’t stop him from reaching out to Jiyoon, and Danny soon juggles music, classes, and his deepening relationship.

Why read it? Danny’s aromanticism is clearly established and not the source of tension through the story. Both leads are Korean-American, and the story has some adorable domestic scenes mixed in with the sex. And hey, it’s my only contemporary rec! (I read more SFF, if you couldn’t tell)

  • A Promise Broken by Lynn E. O’Connacht

Short Novel | Link | The Kraken Collective

Four-year-old Eiryn is dealing with the grief from her mother’s death, but she still wants to make everyone around her happy. Her aro-ace uncle, Arén, might not be the best parent, but he’s determined to protect her from accusations of upsetting the world’s balance.

Why read it? This is a quiet and powerful story that favours characters over plot, has incredible worldbuilding, and an absolutely lovely cast. Read also for the aromantic character who’s happy with his single life.

  • Good Angel by A. M. Bauslid

Novel | Link | Self-published

As a new angel, Iofiel must attend the angel-demon university. When she meets Archie, an imp bullied by his peers, she decides to change major for demon classes… and might have inadvertently triggered the Apocalypse in the process.

Why Read it? Beyond the delightful characters and queer universe? Iofiel frequently questions her asexuality and aromanticism throughout the story, and I cannot remember seeing another questioning ace or aro character on page.

  • The Lifeline Signal by RoAnna Sylver

Long Novel | Chameleon Moon Book 2 | Self-published

Three teenagers must cross a ghost-stricken wasteland on a motorcycle to deliver life-saving data to an airship and its crew.

Why Read it? For the absolute amazingness of Anh “Annie” Minh Le and her adaptive outfit: armour that doubles as braces for her hypermobility, an helmet to help manage sensory overload, and a jacket with shifting studs that can allow for more expression when she becomes non-verbal. You’ll need to read Chameleon Moon to fully appreciate The Lifeline Signal, but both are incredible work of positive queer and disabled representation.

  • An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows

Long Novel | Link | Angry Robot

When Saffron steps through a strange portal, she finds herself in the middle of political upheavals she can barely grasp. Thankfully, she has another world walker from Earth by her side: Gwen Vere, who is both aromantic and in a polyamorous relationship.

Why read it? Besides the neatly-woven tale of fantasy epic? An Accident of Stars depicts an older aromantic character confident about herself, who has built a family, and shows great care for Saffron and others.

Bonus Webcomics

Is prose a difficult medium for you? Several online webcomics also include aromantic representation and are available for free! Funnily enough, both of my recs have to do with fey.

Mistland is a fairly new webcomic by Laya Rose, one of my favourite artist out there, about “Es, a half fey girl from a small New Zealand town, suddenly gets caught up in the world of the sidhe – which are a whole lot closer than she realised.” The cast is almost exclusively arospec and acespec women!

Ignition Zero is a completed webcomic by Noel Arthur Heimpel, about a group of queer friends defending their fey companions, Ivory, and getting mixed up in fey and spirits! One of the main character is an aromantic man and in a queerplatonic relationship!

And there you go! Ten wildly different stories with aromantic characters for you to enjoy. I hope everyone can find something to their taste in there, and if you know other good stories with aromantic representation (especially contemporary!) please don’t hesitate to share with us!

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Claudie Arseneault is an asexual and aromantic-spectrum writer hailing from the very-French Québec City. Claudie is best known for the Aromantic and Asexual Characters in SFF Database and for her body of work, which features several ace and aro characters. Her latest novel, City of Strife, is the first of a political fantasy trilogy released in February. Find out more on her website!

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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!

Fave Five: Same-Sex Ace-Spectrum Romances

We Awaken by Calista Lynne (f/f YA Fantasy)

All the Wrong Places by Ann Gallagher (m/m Contemporary)

Thaw by Elyse Springer (f/f Contemporary)

How to Be a Normal Person by TJ Klune (m/m Contemporary)

Overexposed by Megan Erickson (m/m NA Contemporary, Demisexual)

Bonus: Nab novellas with To Terminator, With Love by Wes Kennedy (m/m, Sci-Fi) and Making Love by Aidan Wayne (f/f, Paranormal Rom Com, Demisexual)

Double Bonus: Coming in May, Heels Over Head by Elyse Springer (m/m Contemporary) has a demisexual secondary character who’ll be the MC of the second book in the series

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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!

TBRainbow Alert #10!

 

Hard Wired (February 13th)
Author: Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell
Genre/Category: Contemporary Romance
Rainbow details: Gay
Why put it on your radar?
Please tell me you’re already reading the Cyberlove series and so this excellent writing duo and their internet-centric m/m Romance series needs no introduction…

10 Things I Can See From Here (February 28th)
Author: Carrie Mac
Genre/Category: Contemporary YA
Rainbow details: Lesbian MC
Why put it on your radar?
This is one of those amazing mental health YAs that digs really deep into the reader’s brain, a la OCD Love Story, and I think it’s gonna be huge for readers with severe anxiety looking to see themselves reflected. Also, gay. Very gay.

The Tiger’s Daughter (October 3rd)
Author: K. Arsenault Rivera
Genre/Category: Fantasy
Rainbow details: Lady lovin’
Why put it on your radar?
It’s a Mongolian-inspired Fantasy starring two female warriors who have to save the world from demons. Like. Come on.

The Edge of the Abyss (April 18)
Author: Emily Skrutskie
Genre/Category: YA Sci-Fi
Rainbow details: f/f
Why put it on your radar?
Because it’s a sequel to one of my favorite YAs of last year and I am dying to know the outcome of The Abyss Surrounds Us’s slow-burn pirate romance!

Storm Season (February 2nd)
Author: Pene Hanson
Genre/Category: Contemporary Romance
Rainbow details: f/f
Why put it on your radar?
How cute is the promise of a romance between an Aussie It Girl and park ranger??

 

Seven Polyam Books Under $5

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Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver ($2.99, Sci-Fi)

Sweet Ruin by Nazarea Andrews ($2.99, Contemp NA)

3 by Hannah Moskowitz ($3.99, Contemp YA)

She Whom I Love by Tess Bowery ($4.24, Historical)

Kneel, Mr. President by Lauren Gallagher ($4.24, Contemp Romance)

One Life to Lose by Kris Ripper ($4.99, Contemp Romance)

Poison Kiss by Ana Mardoll ($4.99, Fantasy)

All links are Amazon Affiliate; income goes back into the website.

 

Ten LGBTQ SFF Novellas/Short Stories

All links are Amazon Affiliate links; proceeds go back into LGBTQReads.com. All works on this list are from 25-160 pages, for your quick-reading pleasure!

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Ghost Girl in the Corner by Daniel Jose Older ($.99, 109 pp)

The Summer Palace by C.S. Pacat ($1.99, 30 pp)

Superior by Jessica Lack ($1.99, 56 pp)

Tales From Perach by Shira Glassman ($1.99, 131 pp)

When You Were Pixels by Julio Alexi Genao ($1.99, 41 pp)

Mothmen: Myths and Legends, vol. 1 by Kaelan Rhywiol ($2.00, 89 pp)

A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson ($2.99, 160 pp)

A Matter of Disagreement by E.E. Ottoman ($2.99, 74 pp)

Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger ($3.99, 149 pp)

To Terminator, With Love by Wes Kennedy ($4.99, 125 pp)

Fave Five: Bi/Pan Guys in SFF YA/NA

To Terminator, With Love by Wes Kennedy

Seven Tears at High Tide by C.B. Lee

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

Climbing the Date Palm by Shira Glassman

Gold Runner by Tessa Gratton

Bonus: Coming in 2017, 27 Hours by Tristina Wright

Bonus #2: They’re not POV characters, but Timekeeper by Tara Sim and Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee both have bi/pan love interests

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The Colorful Catalog of…Shira Glassman!

Hello and welcome to The Colorful Catalog, which focuses on authors who’ve got at least five published LGBTQIAP+ books (including novellas) and gives you an overview of everything they’ve got, as provided by the authors themselves! Hopefully you can find at least one book that screams “I NEED THAT!” from any given catalog, and from there, if you love it, ta da! Instant access to info on where to go next.

I’m delighted to showcase the colorful catalog of Shira Glassman, queer indie rec-er extraordinaire and seriously prolific authoress of all things LGBTQAP. As a bonus, you get to stock up on a whole bunch of Jewish queer lit right before Rosh Hashana! Everybody wins!

Hi! I’m Shira Glassman, and today I’m going to play for you the first movement of the sonata for unaccompanied violin by Arthur Honegger—

Wait, sorry, wrong opening line! I’m sure most of you know me, if you know me at all, from my fantasy series, but since this is a backlist guide: did you know I’ve written two contemporary romance novellas, too? The theme of both is borrowed from my orchestral life. Fearless is about a band mom who falls for an orchestra teacher while everyone is snowed in at All-State, a cute butch lady who might just get her to pick up the violin again after a twenty-year lapse. Lioness in Blue is about the bi girl who sits second oboe, whose flirtation with the hot, beardy older man who sits first oboe finally leads to affirming, mildly femdom-y sex.

Now that I’ve satisfied the people who aren’t interested in SFF: on to The Mangoverse! My series originally started as a combination of three needs: a way to cope with the unexpected loss of my father, a lifelong hunger for f/f princess fairytales (when I was A Tiny we didn’t have K.S. Trenten’s Fairest or Audrey Colthurst’s Of Fire and Stars), and wanting to see love instead of conflict between The Hero and The Dragon—which is relatively easy to find nowadays, but not so much in the 80’s. Every book in the series was written to stand alone, and just be separate but sequential adventures about the same characters, but I have no idea if I succeeded at that so you may want to read reviews.

Another important note is that the main character has problems digesting gluten and some of the proteins found in poultry, and her chief romance is with a palace cook who becomes her personal chef as well as her partner.

The first in the series is The Second Mango (hey, kids, never put the word “second” in the first book in a series. Whoops!) in which a nerdy lesbian named Shulamit inherits her father’s throne suddenly at a far too young and sheltered age to know How to Queen. By the end of the book she’s started to figure her shit out, and has acquired a nice solid Found Family to cherish, including a bi girlfriend. The focus of the book is on solidifying her friendship with her new hetero demi bodyguard Rivka while they ride around having adventures. Rivka’s got a significant romantic arc in the book, too, if you’re looking for demi m/f.

Climbing the Date Palm picks up three years later, where Kaveh, a “bi prince from next door” begs Queen Shulamit for help rescuing his labor activist boyfriend Farzin from a trumped-up treason charge. Apparently King Jahandar didn’t like it when his son fell in love with the guy who stood up to him about wage theft. Oops! Shulamit is determined to find a way to help that won’t involve war, even though Rivka is chomping at the bit. This one includes a poly aromantic cat-shifter and is based on real local events in my home county, in which activist friends of mine fought to establish an ordinance that since its inception (around the time I wrote the book) has recovered around 45 thousand dollars in stolen wages from employers.

A Harvest of Ripe Figs shows Shulamit solving mysteries in her capital city as part of her royal obligation toward justice, while she and her partner Aviva raise the baby princess. A celebrity violinist’s instrument is stolen just after her performance, and it quickly turns into a more general security problem as Shulamit comes to realize illegal magic may have been used to disguise the theft.

The Olive Conspiracy just came out this summer. Shulamit uncovers an international plot to tank her country’s economy by sabotaging their agriculture, their main source of strength. What’s worse, the beautiful straight foreign princess she crushed on as a teenager might be behind it. This one features a new lesbian couple—some farmers she helps when they’re about to lose everything—and a heroic elderly trans woman. I had a good time contrasting Shulamit’s healthy, loving relationship with her partner as an adult with the intensity and one-sided torture of her crush at sixteen. The book has adventure, lots of dragon screen-time, three bi characters, three lesbians, and a rescue kitten.

There are also short stories! If you buy Figs and Olives in paperback, you’ll get all the short stories included, but if you buy the eBooks, the short stories are included separately in a volume called Tales from Perach. There are seven of them all together, and they give some of the supporting characters (like the lesbian farmers or the trans woman chef) an opportunity to take center stage, or recount one of Rivka’s adventures on the road with only her dragon companion before Shulamit hired her. (Rivka’s story features her rescuing an aro ace “damsel in distress”, so if that’s special to you, don’t miss “Rivka in Port Saltspray.”)

As a final note at the end, veering away from Mangoverse again, I do have some erotic shorts available online. “Eitan’s Chord” is a Chanukah fairy threesome, about magic to bless a young, impoverished trans m/cis f couple one winter. “Wet Nails“—ignore the cover; it was part of an anthology and I can’t control that for now—is paranormal sex between two bi women, a lonely grad student and the ghost of her favorite glamorous 1950’s Hollywood actress. “Treasure Hunt” is about two guards who get sent into a dragon’s cave to steal treasure. They doubt the dragon’s existence and use the opportunity to eat lunch and fool around, but the dragon…. is watching.

All of the above focus on Jewish characters and often have holidays and other rituals woven into the text. Mine are worlds where religion and the queer soul are completely compatible—with a note to my non-religious readers that with the exception of some of the Tales from Perach shorts, the Jewishness is more focused on the secular culture than the religion itself. My warrior woman Rivka’s native language is Yiddish, for example.

My one published work so far that doesn’t include anything Jewish is my anti-biphobia short “The Artist and the Devil,” about an art teacher who becomes increasingly suspicious that his businessman crush is actually Satan. I’ll leave it up to you to read and figure out if it counts as contemporary romance or paranormal, because categorizing it under those conditions would be a spoiler! 😉

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Shira Glassman is a violinist living in Florida with a very good human and a very bad cat. She is best known for writing fluffy queer fantasy that draws inspiration from her tropical upbringing, Jewish heritage and present life, and French and German operas. She believes that we need infinite princess, dragon, and superhero stories for all the demographics who never got to play those roles when she was little; some of the ones she’s written have made it to the finals of the Bi Book Awards and Golden Crown Literary Society awards. Her latest is The Olive Conspiracy, about a queen and her found-family saving their country’s agriculture from a foreign plot.