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recommended

This fascinating study explores connections between horror, fantasy, and science fiction films and the evolving social history of GLBT identity from the 1930s to the '90s.

 

GLBT Literature: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror & Suspense/mystery

GargoyleIntroduction

Welcome! There are many GLBT connections to Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Suspense & Mystery Literature.

Gothic Horror's founders were gay: Walpole, Lewis, and Beckford; and so is the modern master, Clive Barker. Several landmark works are by gay authors, including Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray, Kipling's Jungle Book, Stoker's Dracula, James's Turn of the Screw, Barrie's Peter Pan, Howard's 'sword-and-sorcery' icon Conan the Barbarian, the first modern spy novel — Maugham's Ashenden; or The British Agent, and Woolf's gender-switching hero/ine Orlando.

GLBT authors sometimes write about non-gay characters with a special resonance (Woolrich's I Married a Dead Man), while straight-identified writers include key GLBT figures (Jackson's Haunting of Hill House). Alternative sexualities have also inspired a vital tradition (LeGuin's Left Hand of Darkness). In the past, GLBTs were villains or monsters, but increasingly their roles have become more diverse, complex, and open.

No bones about it, this is a vast subject. There are many ways of interpreting the importance of an author's, or character's, sexual orientation to a story, let alone to a genre. Then there's the cultural/historical dimension. But theory aside, these books are also terrific entertainment. The lists below are representative, not exhaustive, so for most authors I've included only one work per genre. UPDATED October 20, 2011: Thanks to Scott B for recommending tanuki_green's excellent list of Science Fiction and Fantasy Young Adult Novels with Major LGBTQ Characters. Questions / Comments — email Jim.

GargoyleDiscussion Group

Our 13th Year! — UPDATE! We may be moving to online discussions in the months ahead

Beginning in January 2000, the GLBT Genre Literature Group has met informally each month at the LGBT Community Center in NYC, but that has presented logistical problems for some members. So we may move our discussions online beginning in 2012, if there is interest. Depending on what the group wants, we could supplement the online meetings with occasional in-person gatherings in Manhattan. If you are interested in participating in the online group, please email.

To get a taste of what the group has read, during the past decade, at the end of this page you will find a list of our previously-discussed books.

Also consider...

Queer Cowboys by Chris PackardWhile GLBT-related Westerns are not among the types of books highlighted here, Brokeback Mountain inspired me to explore this other genre frontier. Here are my reviews of both the film (includes my list of 10 GLBT Film Westerns) and Chris Packard's historical and literary study Queer Cowboys (2005). Yee-hah!

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Science Fiction

Bradley, Marion Zimmer

The Heritage of Hastur

Protagonist's psi powers related to being gay; part of Darkover Series which includes other GLBT characters; 1975

Bujold, Lois McMaster

Ethan of Athos

All-male planet uses imaginative reproductive methods; part of Vorkosigan Saga; 1986

Burgess, Anthony

The Wanting Seed

Future society marked by overpopulation, war, and homosexuality as the norm; 1962

Butler, Octavia

Kindred

20th c. black woman brought back in time by 19th c. slaveowner; 1979

Butler, Octavia

Wild Seed

From African jungles to the early American colonies, two immortals change the course of history; 1980. Part of the Patternist Series, begun in 1976, which also includes Patternmaster, Mind of My Mind, Survivor & Clay's Ark

Carter, Angela

Infernal Desire Machines of Dr. Hoffman

Gay mad scientist alters the laws of space, time, and reality; 1972

Charnas, Suzy McKee

Holdfast Chronicles Series

Post-holocaust earth divided into warring gay and lesbian societies in the Holdfast Chronicles: Walk to the End of the World (1974 – Ms. Charnas has created a guide for this novel), Motherlines (1978 – these first two books in the series are also published in one volume as The Slave and the Free), The Furies (1994), and The Conqueror's Child (1999). Website: SuzyMcKeeCharnas.com.

Cherryh, C.J.

Cyteen

Male android and his scientist lover; 1988

Delany, Samuel R.

Triton

Characters easily switch genders in this intergalactic quest for the Holy Grail; 1976

Delany, Samuel R.

Dhalgren

Complex GLBT content in a labyrinthine epic; 1975

Disch, Thomas M.

334

Lesbian couple in future NYC apartment complex; 1974

Disch, Thomas M.

On Wings of Song

Bisexual boy trying to live under a theocratic regime; 1979

Gearhart, Sally

Wanderground

Women form their own separate society; 1979

Goranson, Alicia E.

Supervillainz

Author's description: "a madcap adventure story of a Scooby gang of queer twenty-somethings pitted against a gang of superheroes who believe one of the kids is responsible for their brother's death"; 2007. Excerpts at alicia-goranson.com.

Griffith, Nicola

Ammonite

Woman investigates planet where a virus killed all men; 1993

Haldeman, Joe

The Forever War

Soldier time-travels to a future earth where homosexuality is the norm; continued in The Forever Peace & Forever Free; 1974

LeGuin, Ursula K.

Left Hand of Darkness

Planet Gethen's inhabitants change genders, and the human protagonist's preconceptions; 1969

Lynn, Elizabeth A.

A Different Light

A painter searches for his lost lover during a time when immortality is possibile... for some; 1978

McHugh, Maureen F.

China Mountain Zhang

Provocative SF adventure with a gay Chinese/Latino protagonist; 1992

Moore, Perry Hero First novel in a projected series about a gay teen superhero with the power to heal; 2007. My review of Hero.

Moriarty, Chris

Spin State

"Post-human spy thriller featuring a love story between a bisexual woman and a transgendered artificial intelligence" (special summary courtesy of the author); 2003 — to be followed by Spin Control. Visit www.chrismoriarty.com to read a sample chapter and learn more about Chris Moriarity and her other works

Pangborn, Edgar

A Mirror for Observers

Mars has been secretly guiding earth's history for millennia; 1954

Picano, Felice

Dryland's End

Future matriarchal techno-empire; 1995

Piercy, Marge

Woman on the Edge of Time

Bisexual, eco-friendly future contrasted with harsh contemporary society; 1976

Robinson, Frank M.

Dark Beyond the Stars

Epic starship adventure with bi-male protagonist; 1991

Russ, Joanna

And Chaos Died

Gay hero, other important GLB characters; 1970

Russ, Joanna

Female Man

Woman exists simultaneously in four worlds; 1975

Sargent, Pamela

Shore of Women

A future lesbian utopia; 1986

Scott, Melissa

Trouble and Her Friends

Two lesbian cyberpunks in a terrific adventure and romance; 1995

Stein, Eugene

Straitjacket & Tie

Comedy about problems with coming out, a boring job, and extraterrestrials; 1996

Sturgeon, Theodore

Venus Plus X

Secrets behind a blissful unisex society; 1960

Varley, John

Ophiuchi Hotline

Bisexual woman protagonist; 1977

Varley, John

Gaea Trilogy

Bi space pilot heroine: Titan, Wizard, & Demon; 1979

Wilson, Anna

Hatching Stones

Some men prefer cloning to old-fashioned procreation; 1991

Science Fiction | Fantasy | Horror | Suspense & Mystery || top top

Fantasy

Alger, Horatio

Ragged Dick or, Street Life in New York
[free online]

Seminal 'rags to riches' novel, replete with urchins, by all-time bestselling gay author; 1867

Andersen, Hans Christian

Fairy Tales

This gay master of fantasy wrote some of the world's best-loved – and most disturbing – stories, including "Princess and the Pea," "Little Mermaid," "Snow Queen," "Ugly Duckling," "Thumbelina," "Emperor's New Clothes," "Red Shoes," and "Little Match Girl;" 1835

Arenas, Reinaldo

Ill-Fated Peregrinations of Fray Servando

Picaresque fantasy adventure about Servando, the irresistible priest/ dueler of monsters/ prophet/ lover/ escape artist; 1965

Aristophanes

Lysistrata
[free online]

Play – hilarious comedy has women using a "sex strike" to force their men to end war; 411 BC

Barker, Clive

Imajica

Stunning fantasy/horror epic featuring an enigmatic gender-switching assassin; 1991

Barrie, James M.

Peter Pan
[free online]

Novel and play can take on new meaning when read as works by a gay author; 1904

Beckford, William

Vathek
[free online]

A Gothic, Arabian Nights-style adventure; 1786

Ben Jelloun, Tahar

The Sand Child & The Sacred Night

Moroccan author's twin novels – drawing on Arabic fairy tales and Surrealism – about, respectively, a woman transformed into a man, and a man changed into a woman and borne out into the desert by a mysterious sheik; 1985 & 1987

Bishop, Michael

Unicorn Mountain

Gay man with AIDS one of the central characters trying to save dying unicorns; 1988

Block, Francesca Lia

Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books

Mesmerizing, lyrical "young adult" tales about a family which includes GLBs, plus assorted ghosts, fairies, and genies. Contains all five novels: Weetzie Bat, Witch Baby, Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys, Missing Angel Juan, & Baby Be-Bop; 1989

Borges, Jorge Luis

Labyrinths

Mind-twisting, and -expanding, stories and essays; 1964

Bradbury, Ray

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Two boys fight the evil unleashed by a mysterious carnival on their small hometown; 1962

Bradley, Marion Zimmer

Mists of Avalon

Arthurian legend from the womens' perspectives; continued in Forest House & Lady of Avalon; 1983

Burroughs, William S.

The Soft Machine

Experimental fiction about "junkie queers" in dystopian near future; 1961

Burroughs, William S.

Nova Express

Nightmarish fantasy continuing Soft Machine; 1964

Burroughs, William S.

The Wild Boys

Gay freedom fighters in a fascist near future; 1971

Burroughs, William S.

Cities of the Red Night

Continues themes from his earlier fiction; 1987

Butler, Samuel

Erewhon

Both a utopian vision and satire of Victorian age; 1872

Carson, Anne

Autobiography of Red

Novel in verse offers a unique, and homoerotic, retelling of the myth of Herakles (Hercules) and the red-winged "monster" Geryon; 1999

Cocteau, Jean

The Infernal Machine

Play – Oedipus confronts the riddle of the Sphinx; 1932

Corelli, Marie

A Romance of Two Worlds
[free online]

Combination of occultism and science fiction by all-time bestselling author, lesbian Mary Mackay (her real name); 1886

Delany, Samuel R.

Nevèrÿon Series

Four experimental "Sword & Sorcery" novels: Tales of Nevèrÿon, Nevèrÿona, Flight from Nevèrÿon, & Bridge of Lost Desire; 1987

Duane, Diane

Door Into Fire Series

Gay prince and his sorcerer lover work beneficent magic; 1979

Duffy, Maureen

Microcosm

Experimental ghost story set in lesbian bar; 1966

Flaubert, Gustave

The Temptation of St. Antony

Phantasmagorical, experimental novel in dramatic form, about the 4th c. hermit fending off ambiguous demons; considered a primary source of literary modernism; 1875 [links to resources]

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins

Herland
[free online]

Feminist utopia discovered by a small band of male explorers; 1915

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von

Faust
[free online]

Play – epic two-part verse drama, with a gay Mephistopheles; 1832

Gogol, Nikolai

Uncanny Stories

Incl. "The Viy," "The Overcoat," "Diary of a Madman," "The Nose," "The Portrait" and "Nevsky Prospect" (found in various Gogol collections); 1841

Goldstein, Lisa

Strange Devices of the Sun and Moon

Gay dramatist Christopher Marlowe tries to foil a sorcerous plot to overthrow Queen Elizabeth and the fairy world; 1993

Grimsley, Jim

Kirith Kirin

Epic fantasy of magic, war, love, and a boy's coming of age; 2000

Howard, Robert E.

Conan the Barbarian Series

Genre-defining "Sword & Sorcery" series. Gay themes, imagery (!), and author; 1932

Jafek, Bev

The Man Who Took a Bite Out of His Wife: And Other Stories

Eight experimental, surreal stories (with several award-winners); 1993

Kipling, Rudyard

The Jungle Book [free online] & The Second Jungle Book [free online]

Fantastical tales of a boy raised by animals in the forests of India; 1894 & 1895

Lackey, Mercedes

Last Herald Mage Trilogy

Hero's acceptance of being gay frees his magical powers: Magic's Pawn, Magic's Promise, & Magic's Price; 1989

Lagerlöf, Selma The Wonderful Adventures of Nils [free online] Lazy boy is transformed to diminutive elf size, hops on the back of a goose and flies off to begin his adventures; 1906 — first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature

Lucian

A True Story

Really? The moon is an all-male paradise, as envisioned two millennia ago; 175 A.D.

Elizabeth A. Lynn

Dragon's Winter

Fierce rivalry between the twin sons of a shapeshifting Dragon Lord; 1998

Maguire, Gregory

Wicked

The Wizard of Oz retold, for adults, from the fascinating perspective of the woman who grows up to become the Wicked Witch of the West – basis for the hit Broadway musical; 1995

Marlowe, Christopher

Dr. Faustus
[free online]

Play – philosopher sells his soul for knowledge and youth; inspired all later versions of Faust; 1588

Melville, Herman

The Confidence-Man
[free online]

Mysterious master of disguise cons a steamboat's passengers out of more than their money; 1857

Merlis, Mark

An Arrow's Flight

If the Trojan War had taken place in the 1990s; 1998

Monette, Paul

Sanctuary

Fable about lesbian fox and hare who fall in love; 1995

Moorcock, Michael

Gloriana

Historical fantasy with bisexual Queen Elizabeth I; 1979

Pain, Barry

Exchange of Souls

Early transsexual-themed novel; 1911

Peake, Mervyn

Gormenghast Trilogy

Strange society dominated by a vast, labyrinthine castle: Titus Groan, Gormenghast, & Titus Alone; 1946

Picano, Felice

An Asian Minor

Zeus and his "cupbearer" Ganymede in a wild adventure; 1981

Ravel, Maurice (composer) & Colette (author)

L'Enfant et les Sortilèges

Opera – a spoiled brat finds the animals and objects he's been abusing come to life; 1925

Ryman, Geoff

Was

Shifting web of tales focused on Wizard of Oz; 1992

"Saki" (H.H. Munro)

Short Stories

Incl. "Tobermory," "Sredni Vashtar," "Open Window," "Story-Teller," "Hedgehog"; 1916

Schneider, Isador

Dr. Transit

Transsexual theme; 1925

Scott, Melissa & Lisa Barnett

Armor of Light

Christopher Marlowe tries to save gay King James VI from black magic; 1988

Shakespeare

A Midsummer Night's Dream
[free online]

Play – magical, romantic, hilarious tale of criss-crossed lovers, set in motion by the King and Queen of the fairies quarreling over a boy; 1595

Shakespeare

The Tempest
[free online]

Play – enigmatic comedy/drama about shipwrecked men on a magician's island; 1610

Smith, Thorne

Turnabout

Early fantasy novel about gender switching; 1931

Van Druten, John

Bell, Book and Candle

Play – romantic fantasy about a contemporary witch who falls in love with a mortal; 1950

Warner, Sylvia Townsend

Lolly Willowes

Spinster becomes a feminist witch; 1926

White, T.H.

The Once and Future King

King Arthur, Camelot, and an all-male ideal, by gay author; 1958

Wilde, Oscar

The Happy Prince & Other Fairy Tales
[free online]

Original, haunting fairy tales by gay author; 1888

Wilder, Thornton

The Cabala

Ancient gods still powerful in the modern world; 1926

Woolf, Virginia

Orlando

S/he lives for centuries, and changes genders; 1928

Science Fiction | Fantasy | Horror | Suspense & Mystery || top top

Horror

Barker, Clive

Books of Blood

Stunning, graphic stories and novellas. Gay- or bi-themed works incl. "In the Hills, the Cities;" "Age of Desire;" "Human Remains"; 1986

Barker, Clive

Great and Secret Show

Spellbinding epic; continued in Everville. GLBT characters and themes; 1989

Barney, Natalie

One Who is Legion

Spirit of hermaphrodite possesses a girl; 1930

Beckford, William

Vathek
[free online]

A Gothic, Arabian Nights-style adventure; 1786

Benson, E.F.

The Inheritor

Supernatural curse, with gay story elements. Gay author (also created comic Lucia and Mapp); 1930

Benson, E.F.

Ravens' Brood

Family contends with demons. The son is involved in a gay relationship; 1934

Benson, E.F.

Ghost Stories

Unnerving tales of hauntings and horror; 1940

Bowles, Paul

The Delicate Prey & Other Stories

His most bone-chilling stories incl. "A Distant Episode," "The Circular Valley," "Pages from Cold Point" and "The Delicate Prey;" 1950

Brite, Poppy Z.

Lost Souls

Stunning debut novel about "teenage" vampires; 1992

Brite, Poppy Z.

Drawing Blood

Two gay boys confront many kinds of ghosts; 1993

Brite, Poppy Z.

The Crow: The Lazarus Heart

A murdered gay artist returns from the dead to stop a serial killer targeting transsexuals; 1998

Capote, Truman

A Tree of Night

Incl. such macabre tales as the title story, "Miriam," & "The Headless Hawk;" 1949

Daniels, Cora Lynn

Sardia

Lesbian vampire in this "Story of Love"; 1891

Clegg, Douglas

Neverland

Douglas Clegg writes, "My third novel, and still my favorite of my books: a family returns to the Georgia coastal island to stay with Grammy Weenie, and something awful goes on in the shack called Neverland" (read an excerpt); 1991

Euripides

The Bacchae
[free online]

Play – the god Dionysus' revenge on a puritanical king who refuses to worship him; 405 BCE

Gomez, Jewelle

Gilda Stories

African-American lesbian vampire, 1850 to 2050; 1991

Jackson, Shirley

Haunting of Hill House

Psychic investigators, incl. at least one lesbian, explore the ultimate haunted house; 1959

James, Henry

Turn of the Screw
[free online]

Ambiguous, riveting ghost story by gay author; 1898

James, Henry

Jolly Corner
[free online]

Man confronts his seductive (gay) double; 1908 – James' other homoerotic supernatural tales include "The Great Good Place" (1900) and "The Beast in the Jungle" (1903)

James, M.R.

Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
[free online]

Landmark supernatural tales, including "Count Magnus" & "'Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad"; 1904; and don't miss his 1911 story "Casting the Runes"

Kafka, Franz

Metamorphosis

Some interpret Gregor's transformation into an insect as a horrific coming out story; 1915

Kafka, Franz

The Trial

Man arrested for a "crime," but never told what it is; 1917

Lautréamont, Comte de

The Lay of Maldoror

Horrific, sadomasochistic prose-poem/novel, but homosexuality is depicted affirmatively; 1924

Lee, Tanith

Secret Books of Paradys Tetralogy

Haunting, erotic odyssey through the nightmarish city of Paradys: Book of the Damned, Book of the Beast, Book of the Dead, & Book of the Mad; 1988

LeFanu, J. Sheridan

Carmilla
[free online]

Complex title character is a lesbian vampire; 1872

Lewis, Matthew G.

The Monk
[free online]

Gay author's infamous novel of a handsome monk consumed by desire, defined Gothic Horror; 1795

Livia, Anna

Minimax

Historical lesbian authors Renee Vivien and Natalie Barney in comic vampire novel; 1992

Lovecraft, H.P.

Supernatural Horror in Literature
[free online]

NON-FICTION: Indispensable, landmark study of the genre by perhaps the greatest horror author of all time; 1927

Lovecraft, H.P.

The Shadow Over Innsmouth
[free online]

This great horror novella can also be read as a weirdly affirmative coming out story; 1931

Maturin, Charles

Melmoth

A lost soul is cursed to seduce everyone he meets!; 1820

Newman, Kim

Anno Dracula Series

In this imaginative series, Dracula beats Van Helsing, marries Queen Victoria, establishes a new aristrocracy of vampires, dominates England (he declares death for all homosexuals, both living and undead) and, in later decades (and books), sees his progeny spread throughout the world: Anno Dracula (Jack the Ripper targets vampire prostitutes), The Bloody Red Baron (a vampiric World War I), Dracula Cha Cha Cha (aka Judgment of Tears – set in the decadent world of Fellini's 1960 film La Dolce Vita); this ongoing saga – which intermingles hundreds of historical and literary characters – also includes several novellas and short stories; 1992

Polidori, Dr. John

The Vampyre
[free online edition]

Landmark vampire tale, written by Lord Byron's private physician and lover (who based the title character on Byron); established the Romantic vampire – also inspired several wildly popular dramatic and operatic versions, not to mention Bram Stoker; 1819

Rice, Anne

Vampire Chronicles Series

Many GLB characters, both living and undead: Interview with the Vampire (here is Anne Rice's screenplay for Neil Jordan's film version), Vampire Lestat, Queen of the Damned, Tale of the Body Thief, Memnoch the Devil, Pandora, Vampire Armand, Vittorio the Vampire, Merrick & Blood and Gold; 1976

Rice, Anne

The Witching Hour

First book in multigenerational saga about a family of witches, continued in Lasher & Taltos; 1990

Shakespeare

Macbeth
[free online]

Play – witches, intrigue, murder, and a married couple's self-consuming lust for power; 1605

Shelley, Mary

Frankenstein
[free online]

Scientist's complex relationship with the man he creates; 1818

Stenbock, Count Stanislaus

True Story of a Vampire

The hero and a vampire search for love together; 1894

Stevenson, Robert Louis

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
[free online]

Stevenson's original manuscript reveals Hyde's homosexual side, which was later suppressed in the published version; 1886

Stoker, Bram

Dracula
[free online edition]

Genre-defining vampire novel whose author, say some biographers, was gay or bi; 1897

Speaking of the Count, here's my review of gay cinematic pioneer F.W. Murnau's classic silent picture Nosferatu (1922), suggested by Dracula; my essay also looks at some of the many GLBT connections to the vampire myth in literature, painting and film.

Strieber, Whitley

The Hunger

Bi female vampire's fateful encounter with a mortal woman; 1981

Tryon, Tom

The Other

Twin brothers in a small Midwestern town unleash...; 1971

Varga, Vincent

Gaywick

Gay Gothic romance, set in 1900s Long Island; 1980

Viereck, George

House of the Vampire

Homoerotic psychic vampirism – from a century ago; 1907

Viereck, George

Gloria

Bisexual heroine is a vampire; 1952

Wilde, Oscar

The Picture of Dorian Gray
[free online]

Terrifying price of remaining 'fabulous' forever; 1890

Yarbro, Chelsea Quinn

Saint-Germain Series

Ongoing saga of Saint-Germain, a bi vampire, began with Hotel Transylvania; 1978

Science Fiction | Fantasy | Horror | Suspense & Mystery || top top

Suspense & Mystery

"Aldyne, Nathan"

Dan Valentine & Clarisse Lovelace Series

A gay/straight sleuthing team solve four murder mysteries: Vermilion, Cobalt, Slate, and Canary; 1980

Baxt, George

Pharaoh Love Series

Love is a black NYC homicide detective. Original trilogy A Queer Kind of Death (first gay mystery novel), Swing Low, Sweet Harriet, and Topsy and Evil. Later added A Queer Kind of Love, and A Queer Kind of Umbrella; 1966

Beal, M.F.

Angel Dance

Subversive, complex mystery featuring a Chicana detective; 1977

Box, Edgar – see below: Vidal, Gore

   

Bram, Christopher

Gossip

Romance, politics... and murder, with fascinating characters and superb style; 1997

Brite, Poppy Z.

Exquisite Corpse

Gay serial killers and "victims" - very graphic; 1996

Byatt, A.S.

Possession

Pair of literary sleuths uncover amorous secrets of two Victorian poets; 1990

Craft, Michael

Mark Manning Series

Journalist/protagonist/sleuth/narrator and his lover solve crimes in a small, homicide-prone Wisconsin town: Flight Dreams, Eye Contact, Body Language, Name Games, Boy Toy, Hot Spot, and Bitch Slap; 1997

Diderot, Denis

La Religieuse

Woman forced to enter a most sinister convent; 1796

Dobyns, Stephen

Church of Dead Girls

Murders tear apart a small town in upstate NY; narrated by a closeted gay teacher; 1997

Ellis, Bret Easton

American Psycho

Wall Street yuppie by day, misogynistic serial killer by night; 1991

Du Maurier, Daphne

Rebecca

Romantic thriller about the two Mrs. DeWinters, one of whom is dead; 1938

Hall, Richard

Butterscotch Prince

The protagonist comes to accept himself as being gay while pursuing his lover's murderer; perhaps the first 'gay liberation' mystery tale; 1975

Hansen, Joseph

Dave Brandstetter Series

Fadeout is the frst of 12 mystery novels featuring a gay insurance investigator; 1970

Harris, Thomas

Silence of the Lambs

Young woman FBI agent needs help of a sociopathic doctor to track a serial killer; 1988. Sequel to Red Dragon; followed by Hannibal — for comparison, see Ted Talley's award-winning screenplay for the film Silence of the Lambs

Hart, Ellen

Jane Lawless & Cordelia Thorne Series

A restaurateur/amateur sleuth/out lesbian and her best friend, a theater director, solve mysteries in a dozen adventures, beginning with Hallowed Murder; 1989

Highsmith, Patricia

Strangers on a Train

Gay villain plots "crisscrossed" murders; lesbian author also wrote classic Price of Salt; 1949

Highsmith, Patricia

Tom Ripley Series

Charismatic bisexual con man as protagonist: Talented Mr. Ripley, Ripley Under Ground, Ripley's Game, Boy Who Followed Ripley, & Ripley Under Water; 1955

Hunter, Fred

Alex Reynolds Series

A commercial artist, his life partner (who works at a tony men's store), and his mother (an over-the-top British matron), who all live together in a Chicago townhouse, solve cases of political intrigue for the CIA: Government Gay, Federal Fag, Capital Queers, and National Nancies; 1997

Huysmans, Joris-Karl

À Rebours (Against Nature – aka Against the Grain)
[free online]

Man's search for forbidden experience; it inspired Wilde and a generation of "Decadents"; 1884

Huysmans, Joris-Karl

Là-bas (Down There)

Occult world in 1880s Paris; 1891

Genet, Jean

Our Lady of the Flowers

Hallucinatory meditation on crime and sainthood; 1942

King, Stephen

Gerald's Game

Woman uses lesbian alter ego to survive harrowing ordeal; 1992

Lansdale, Joe R.

Hap Collins & Leonard Pine Series

Leonard, a black gay man, and his friend Hap have wild, terrifying adventures in rural Texas: Savage Season, Mucho Mojo, Two-Bear Mambo, Bad Chili, and Rumble Tumble; 1990

Lewis, Stephen

Cowboy Blues

A gay L.A. private eye searches for a vanished gay rodeo performer who aspired to be country singer; 1985

Macquet, Claire

Ammu

Ambitious hard-boiled British crime novel, featuring a repressed white nursing tutor in search of her black mentor, which attempts to expose racial and gender stereotypes; 1992

Maugham, W. Somerset

Ashenden; or The British Agent

Interconnected stories about a gentlemanly secret agent, suggested by Maugham's real-life experiences in the intelligence service, defined modern spy fiction (filmed by Hitchcock as Secret Agent); 1928

Michaels, Grant (pseudonym of Michael Mesrobian)

Stan Kraychik Series

An ex-psychologist hairdresser turns sleuth: A Body to Die For, Love You to Death, Dead on Your Feet, Mask for a Diva, Time to Check Out, and Dead as a Doornail; 1990

Nava, Michael

Henry Rios Series

Superb series with gay Latino attorney: The Little Death, Goldenboy, How Town, Hidden Law, A Death Among Friends, The Burning Plain, and Rag and Bone; 1986

Peck, Dale

Now It's Time to Say Goodbye

Rape and murder in a racially-polarized Kansas town; 1998

Picano, Felice

The Lure

Man searches NYC gay "high society" for killer; 1979

Raphael, Lev

Nick Hoffman Series

An English professor and his lover, a writer-in-residence at a midwestern university, solve a series of crimes set in academia: Let's Get Criminal, The Edith Wharton Murders, The Death of a Constant Lover, and Little Miss Evil; 1996

Saylor, Steven

Gordianus the Finder Series

Gordianus solves mysteries in ancient Rome, involving both historical and fictional characters: Roman Blood, Arms of Nemesis, Catilina's Riddle, Venus Throw, Murder on the Appian Way, & House of Vestals; 1991

Scoppettone, Sandra

Lauren Laurano Series

Unique lesbian detective in, so far: Everything You Have is Mine, I'll be Leaving You Always, My Sweet Untraceable You, & Let's Face the Music and Die; 1992

Smith, Dinitia

The Illusionist

Murder of charismatic transsexual in small town; 1996

Stevenson, Richard (pseudonym of Richard Lipez)

Don Strachey & Timothy Callahan Series

In Albany, New York, a middle-aged gay private eye and his Jesuit-educated lover, who works for the state government, solve a series of crimes: Death Trick, On the Other Hand, Death, Ice Blues, Third Man Out, Shock to the System, Chain of Fools, and Strachey's Folly; 1981

Steward, Samuel

Gertrude Stein & Alice B. Toklas Series

The famous modernist author, her lover, and Samuel Steward (all fictionalized, of course, but in real life Steward was a friend of Stein and Toklas) solve tantalizing mysteries together in Murder Is Murder Is Murder (1985) and The Caravaggio Shawl (1989)

Virga, Vincent

Gaywyck

First gay gothic romance; 1980

Vachss, Andrew

Choice of Evil

Outlaw private investigator Burke is hired to protect gay vigilante "Homo Erectus" who targets pedophiles; part of Burke Series; 1999

Vidal, Gore (writing as "Edgar Box")

Peter Sargent II Series

A New York City public relations man solves mysteries in three satirical works: Death in the Fifth Position, Death Before Bedtime, and Death Likes It Hot; 1952

Wachowski, Larry & Andy

Bound
[free online]

Screenplay – landmark lesbian thriller about two women who fall in love and plot to steal $2 million from the mob; 1996

Walpole, Hugh

Portrait of a Man with Red Hair

Tale of a serial killer; 1925

Walsh, Frances & Peter Jackson

Heavenly Creatures
[free online]

Screenplay – based on a true story, about two 1950s New Zealand girls in love, and the murder they commit; 1993

Williams, Emlyn

Night Must Fall
[free online]

Play – about a baby-faced killer, is one of the most durable and influential thrillers ever written for the stage; 1935

Williamson, Kevin

Scream
[free online]

Screenplay – classic thriller by openly gay writer (differs from the completed film); 1995

Wilson, Barbara

Gaudi Afternoon

A translator is hired to go to Barcelona to track down a woman's gay husband, but she soon realizes that nothing is what it seems; 1990

Wilson, John Morgan

Benjamin Justice Series

A disgraced Los Angeles newspaper reporter slowly puts his life back together while investigating a series of gay-related murders: Simple Justice, Revision of Justice, Justice at Risk, and The Limits of Justice; 1996

Wollstonecraft, Mary

Maria, or The Wrongs of Woman

Woman falsely incarcerated in a prison-like insane asylum; 1798

Woolrich, Cornell

I Married a Dead Man

Brilliant, unsettling novel of switched identities. Gay author; 'double life' theme (still) relevant; 1948

Zimmerman, R.D.

Todd Mills Series

An Emmy-winning investigative journalist at a Minneapolis TV station solves murders, first by sparring with a closeted gay homicide investigator, and then with him as a lover: Closet, Tribe, Hostage, Outburst, and Innuendo; 1995

Zito, Chuck Nicky D'Amico Series Popular mystery series about stage manager/amateur sleuth Nicky D'Amico, who solves the murders that crop up during productions — the show must go on!: A Habit For Death, Ice In His Veins; 2006

Zubro, Mark Richard

Tom Mason & Scott Carpenter Series

Mysteries solved by an ex-Marine high school English teacher and his lover, a Major League pitcher: A Simple Suburban Murder, Why Isn't Becky Twitchell Dead?, Only Good Priest, Principal Cause of Death, Echo of Death, Rust on the Razor, Are You Nuts?, and One Dead Drag Queen; 1989

Zubro, Mark Richard

Paul Turner Series

Zubro's other series involves gay Chicago detective Paul Turner, who has two children, a lover, and a straight partner: Sorry Now?, Political Poison, Another Dead Teenager, The Truth Can Get You Killed, and Sex and Murder.Com; 1991

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