Fantastic growth in Fantasy

As any of you who read my reviews will know I read exclusively lesbian novels, mainly romance, adventure, crime and similar. It has struck me recently, while reading a couple of fantasy stories, that I used to read almost exclusively fantasy novels,  with a soupçon of science fiction, and wondered how that changed.

ShikastaI studied Womens English Literature for my first degree so part of my education included Lessing, Perkins Gilman and Le Guin. Post Uni it was the 1980’s when English lesbian authors were on a high with the Womens’ Press, Silver Moon, Virago and the like. Winterson, McDermid and Scott were all bright new stars in the lesfic orbit and Katherine V Forrest and Claire McNab were creating their wonderful crime series. Then when I got a job in a bookshop I was given the scifi/fantasy section to manage and I was in heaven – a whole new world to explore.

I loved Pratchet, and Gemmel, Feist and Eddings but also read everything written by the women I could find at the time, like McCaffrey, Kerr, Lackey, Baudino and Moon. I had forgotten how much I loved those books, and being a series junky of the worst kind the authors fed my addiction. So much so I must now go find the boxes in storage and re-read my favourites.

sassinak I think what drove me away from the genre was the lack of women leads, even from the women authors, and characters like Sassinak and Killashandra were a rareity. And then, of course, the complete lack of lesbians. <It’s criminal Sassinak wasn’t written as  lesbian IMHO>. So I gradually moved away from fantasy and migrated into the realm of the modern LesFic genre.

And then I got asked to review a couple of fantasy books and got chatting to a fantasy specialist and it brings back all the memories. Now there is a huge growth in the lesbian fantasy genre, some of which has come from the fanfic explosion. There are facebook groups, reviewers, bloggers, artists and some excellent authors producing a whole heap of fantasy material.

I am out of date and it seems the world has moved on. There are sub-categories I had never heard of so I needed to re-educate myself in the fantasy world.. at least enough to keep up. If you want to know what’s what in terms of types of fantasy you need to check out Reading on the Dark Side and the Realm of In-Between at queerlyreadingdarkness.wordpress.com. It gives  clear and succinct definition of the sub-genres. Is it a definitive list? I don’t know, but maybe it will spark a debate, so if you are a fantasy reader and have an opinion…

Back to book reviews – I really enjoyed JD Glass’s First Bood and I am going to be looking at some fantasy now, but there is just so much to read – I can’t see me moving too far away from my soppy romances. If you want to find some excellent fantasy reviews and keep an eye on some of the new releases check out queerlyreadinglesbian.blogspot.co.uk.