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theguardian - 12 days ago

Why would I close the door to a queer person? LGBTQ fantasy comes of age

Futuristic and fantastic fiction has long remained stuck in the past when it comes to sexuality. But a new generation is catching upWe hunger for happiness in queer stories. Many critically acclaimed novels about LGBTQ life have explored and challenged homophobia: James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, and Alan Hollinghurst’s The Swimming-Pool Library are all classics, with more recent examples including 2019’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong and I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver. There are moments of joy in all of these books, but undeniably queerness is paired with homophobia. Now, though, a new spate of science-fiction and fantasy novels are quietly and gracefully opting instead to imagine worlds where homophobia does not exist.Fantasy’s default mode still tends to be a faux-medieval past matched with archaic sexual and social codes, while sci-fi authors often imagine brave new worlds where a man will happily have sex with an alien, but not another man. However, many writers are solving one of the largest blocks for queer romance by simply doing away with homophobia in their fictional universes. In 2019 alone, we had Ann Leckie’s The Raven Tower, with a trans protagonist whose trans-ness is interrogated as important but not Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth, starring the best cast of lesbians the world has ever Arkady Martine’s A Memory Called Empire, which makes space in its epic sci-fi plot for a romance between two and Jennifer Giesbrecht’s The Monster of Elendhaven, in which the central gay couple break every norm – except their universe’s rules on sexuality, because there aren’t any. Continue reading...

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