Musings on a reading journey

As any of you who read my reviews will know I read almost 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 sci/fi fantasy novels.

womens press booksI studied Women’s English Literature for my first degree so part of my education included Lessing, Perkins Gilman and Le Guin. Post University it was the 1980’s when English lesbian authors were on a high, with publishers like 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 wonderful crime series in the US. I was hooked.

5071572488_ee2eceda19The Women’s Press had a Sci/Fi imprint, I remember collecting them all and had a whole shelf of fade to grey edged books alongside the stripes of the general fiction and the dark green of the Virago Classics.

<And yes I know its not normal to shelve books by publisher but it just looked so good.. I got over it and they were filed by genre, author, series.>

Virago Classics
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 those authors fed my addiction. So much so I must now go find the boxes in storage and re-read my favorites.

SassinakI 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. <criminal Sassinak wasn’t written that way IMHO>. So I gradually moved away from fantasy with a soupcon of science fiction and migrated into the realm of the modern LesFic genre where a whole range of amazing authors are writing everything from BSDM to romantic tales, fantasy, thrillers.. every genre a growth area.

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 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. 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 https://queerlyreadinglesbian.wordpress.com

If you want an amazing starting point from a Fantasy Geek who makes my series addiction look mild in comparison, check out Liz Hodge’s blogpost “FINDING MY WAY TO LESBIAN SCIENCE FICTION WRITERS — PART 1, BOOKSHELVES”

We will be reviewing some fantasy on the Lesbian Reading Room – details to follow shortly – but there is just too much to read, I can’t see me moving too far away from my soppy romances, at least in terms of reviews. But I will certainly take more note of the Scifi/Fantasy/Speculative releases and pick out some to re-ignite those futuristic fires.