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Recommended Reading List

Please note, the icons () and Lambda Rising icons () found with books for our lists lead to the least expensive standard editions available. All proceeds from books and items bought through our and Lambda Rising links support the Gaylactic Spectrum Awards!

Listings Are Alphabetical by Author.

The complete Lambda Sci-Fi Recommended Reading List is also available in a downloadable/printable PDF file!


Katz, Judith:
Running Fiercely Toward A Thin High Sound.

Fits in as genre literature only because of elements of "magical realism" in it. Nevertheless, a vivid, engrossing, imaginative read.

Kay, Guy Gavriel:
The Lions of Al-Rassan.

An openly-bisexual assassin, a rough-edged but idealistic rogue who is happily married, and the Jewish daughter of a famed healer form an unlikely alliance in an Iberian Peninsula torn by religious strife between Muslims, Christians, and Jews. Their paths cross and eventually meet in one of the most breath-taking duel scenes in years. Like most of Kay's work, this puts most modern fantasy works to shame with its powerful language, deep characters, and intricate but realistic plots.

Keesey, Pam (ed.):
Daughters of Darkness: Lesbian Vampire Stories.

An anthology of sexy, innovative short stories, mostly by contemporary women authors. Includes the 1872 classic Carmilla, by J. Sheridan LeFanu.

Kerr, Peg:
The Wild Swans.

Two interlaced retellings of the fairy tale of a young girl who must fashion coats for her swan brothers from nettles in silence to save them from a curse. One is a fairly straightforward retelling in Puritan New England, the other is a modern take on the eve of the AIDS epidemic in New York City. Beautifully written and powerful.

Koja, Kathe:

Two female artists share obsession towards their work, and eventually their lives, as they meld dance, performance, metalwork and music into a new and disturbing artform. Eventually obsession takes them past a point of no return, into a world of torture, extreme body modification, and pain. Not a book to be taken lightly, one doesn't realize how deep Koja has taken you until it's too late and you can't help but turn the page - like craning your neck to see the outcome of a crash.

Strange Angels

Grant is a photographer who has lost his artistic drive. Robin is a psychiatric patient of Grant's girlfriend. When Grant sees some of the eerie art created by Robin, he becomes obsessed with the young man. Eventually taking the young gay man into his home, Grant is forced to test his own endurance as he tries to maintain his sanity in the face of his obsession and Robin's mental illness. A nice turnaround on the gay-man-obsessed-with-straight-man cliche'.

Kushner, Ellen:

A brilliant adult fairytale set in a fantasy Renaissance-like world. A fascinating story of political intrigue and the romance between a swordsman-for-hire and his lover, a young scholar. An excellent read. (Two other male characters are bi.)

Lackey, Mercedes:
Magic's Pawn.
Magic's Promise.
Magic's Price.

A trilogy set in a feudal world where magic and chivalry exist side by side. These books chronicle the romantic tale of a young "herald-mage" who must come to accept his powers and his gayness. A good portrayal of the struggle of "coming out" and accepting oneself as a good and decent person.

Lai, Larissa:
When Fox Is a Thousand.

A fantasy based on Chinese mythology and folktales. The intricate story of three female characters - a fox spirit, a 9th-century Chinese poetess/nun, and a contemporary Canadian-born Chinese woman - as they interact down the centuries - socially, personally, and sexually.

LeGuin, Ursula K:
The Left Hand of Darkness.

A fascinating exploration of an alien culture where a person's gender changes throughout life. The protagonist is an Earthman who must learn to deal with people who are literally "neutral" (although they may seem male) one day and become male or female the next.

Leigh, Stephen:
Dark Water's Embrace.

Surrounded by the remains of a recently extinct native civilization, a small colony of humans struggle against growing infant mortality rates, infertility, and rapid genetic mutation. Anais is the colony's doctor, and treated as an outsider. With the discovery of the intact corpse of a hermaphroditic native, Anais is placed in the center of a maelstrom. Banished for her presumed lesbianism, she struggles to unravel the mystery of the native race and her own hermaphroditism. Her answers hold the key to everyone's survival.

Speaking Stones.

100 years after the events of Dark Water's Embrace, Mictlan again finds itself facing a crisis. Tensions between three factions (the human colony, a band of slaves, and the hermaphrodites who provide genetic stability) are escalating, and sparks fly with the discovery of a murdered human girl. The investigators race to discover the guilty party before war erupts to destroy them all.

Lewitt, S.N. (Shariann):
Songs of Chaos.

A mixture of samba, cyberspace, Santeria, and spaceships - this novel discusses what it means to be an "outsider," as well as the nature of reality itself. And the mutual love of two women brings them to the forefront of their society.

Interface Masque.

Adventure and intrigue in cyberspace and a near-future Venice, as the Sept Houses plot to gain complete control over access to the "infosea" - with "mood music," jazz, and a unique alien "invasion" thrown in for good measure. One of the major characters finds himself falling in love with another young man.

Marks, Laurie J.:
Dancing Jack.

Two older, more experienced women rekindle their relationship as lovers after long years of separation - in a fantasy world that is a fascinating mix of Mark Twain and J.R.R. Tolkien. Includes a unique system of magic.

Matthews, Susan R.:
An Exchange of Hostages.
Prisoner of Conscience.
Hour of Judgment.

Andrej Koscuisko is the son of a wealthy conglomerate family and has been sent, unwillingly, by his father to train as an Inquisitor, a professional torturer. A brilliant physician, Andrej walks a fine line, attempting to maintain his humanity as he discovers how much he enjoys the darkest aspects of his work. His prowess as an Inquisitor is his personal demon and he struggles, with the help of the body slaves assigned to him, to use his talents to mete out true justice. The sexual tensions between Andrej and his victims and Andrej and his slaves are potent.

May, Julian:
The Many-Colored Land.
The Golden Torc.
The Nonborn King.
The Adversary.
The Surveillance.
The Metaconcert.
Jack the Bodiless.
Diamond Mask.

A highly readable series of eight novels about the rise of metapsychic humanity, time travel to the Pliocene, and contact with alien civilizations. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered characters (as good folk, bad folk, and in between) appear as major and minor characters throughout the novels.

McCaffrey, Anne:
Moreta: Dragon Lady of Pern.
The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall.

Books in the "Dragonriders of Pern" series. Pern is a world where human colonists from Earth live with genetically engineered dragons. As the series progresses, homosexuality and bisexuality are portrayed as an accepted part of the dragonrider way of life. In the later books, Ms. McCaffrey makes very open references to gay couples. Very readable.

McHugh, Maureen F:
China Mountain Zhang.

In a world dominated by Chinese Marxism and Western capitalism, a young gay "ABC" (American-born Chinese) tries to make a career for himself as an engineering tech and live a gay life that is hidden from a sexually repressive society.

Mission Child.

Janna lives in a backwaters village on a remote human colony where missionaries preach the dangers of inappropriate technology. Attacks by raiders leave her village in ruins, and result in the deaths of Janna's husband and infant child. Escaping to a refugee city, she takes on the identity of Jan, a young man, as a way to protect herself. She finds herself between the worlds of technology and primitivism, offworlder and native, female and male as she slowly works out a path for her own future.

McIntyre, Vonda N:

Central to this book is an out-of-the-ordinary partnership marriage of a Black woman, an Asian man, and a white man. (Their fourth partner has died.) They're all on a "world-ship" on an exploratory expedition into space. The story includes government spies and double-crossing, genetically engineered humans, in-law hassles within the partnership, and lots of bisexual attraction (though not much sex). Psychologically based and very interesting.

McMahan, Jeffrey N:
Vampires Anonymous.

A wry and witty vampire and his lover get mixed up in the murderous in-fighting within the vampire community. There are gay vampire-hunters on the prowl, too!

Morrow, James:
Only Begotten Daughter.

This story of Jesus' half-sister takes on the so-called "religious right" with a sense of humor and adventure. The heroine's best friend's mother is a wonderful woman who happens to be a lesbian. Fun, thought-provoking, and a good read.

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This page maintained by Rob Gates. Last updated March 10, 2001.

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