*MAJOR UPDATE IN PROGRESS* I’m revising this entire website, including LGBTQ+ Literature and Film. Thank you for understanding.

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LGBTQ+ Genre Literature: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Suspense / Mystery / Adventure

Gilgamesh

There are many LGBTQ+ connections to Genre Literature. Jump below to works by category:

The oldest surviving work of world literature, written almost 5,000 years ago, is the epic fantasy of Gilgamesh, that’s also a deeply moving same-sex love story. 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 The 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.

LGBTQ+ authors sometimes write about non-gay characters with a special resonance (Woolrich’s I Married a Dead Man), while straight-identified writers include key LGBTQ+ figures (Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House). Alternative sexualities have also inspired a vital speculative tradition (LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness). In the past, LGBTQs 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 terrific entertainment. The lists below are representative, not exhaustive, so for most authors I’ve included only one work per genre.

Discussion Group

Beginning in January 2000, the LGBTQ+ Genre Literature Group met informally each month at NYC’s LGBT Community Center, but we are currently on hiatus, At some point we may take our discussions online. Check back here for updates.

To get a taste of what the group has read, from 2000 through 2009, at the end of this page you will find a list of our previously-discussed books.

Also consider…

While LGBTQ+-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!

FREE from Delphi Classics is the anthology Masters of Gothic Horror, that includes key works by gay authors (The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, and Dracula by Bram Stoker), LGBTQ-inflected novels (Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson that in its unpublished form included a homoerotic Mr. Hyde), and a dozen other landmark Gothic novels and tales.

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Recommended Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Suspense/ Mystery/ Adventure Books

Science Fiction

Octavia Butler
  • 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

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Fantasy

Oscar Wilde
  • 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 [free online] — 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]
  • GIlgamesh — written almost 5,000 years ago, this adventure-filled Mesopotamian epic poem is not only the oldest surviving work of world literature but also a deeply moving same-sex love story; ca 2,800 BCE (translator Stephen Mitchell released a superb new edition in 2010)
  • 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 [free online: linked collection does not include all of the tales noted in this entry] — 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” epic. 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 [free online] — 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 — Doctor 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 [free online] — 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 and Other Fairy Tales [free online] — Original, haunting fairy tales by the iconic 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

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Horror

Clive Barker
  • 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 — The 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
  • 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 — Includes 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 — The Turn of the Screw [free online] — Ambiguous, riveting ghost story by gay author; 1898
  • James, Henry — The 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 [free online] — Some interpret Gregor’s transformation into an insect as a horrific coming out story; 1915
  • Kafka, Franz — The Trial [free online] — 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 Literatue [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 the Wanderer [free online in 4 individual volumes] — 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 all-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 homoeroticside, which was later suppressed in the published version; 1886
  • Stoker, Bram — Dracula [free online] — 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

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Suspense / Mystery / Adventure

Patricia Highsmith
  • Aldyne, Nathan” — Dan Valentine & Clarisse Lovelace Series — A gay/straight sleuthing team solve four murder mysteries: Vermilion, Cobalt, Slate, and Canary; 1980. “Nathan Aldyne” is the pseudonym of Michael McDowell and Dennis Schuetz.
  • 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: A Romance — 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” — 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. “Grant Michaels” is the pseudonym of Michael Mesrobian.
  • 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
  • Wachowskis, The — 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 — 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 [free online] — 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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Books Discussed by the LGBTQ+ Genre Literature Group

2009 — Our Tenth Year!

  • December: open discussion — final in-person meeting for now. We may continue the group online; please check back for updates.
  • November: open discussion
  • October (Fantasy): Italo Calvino’s 1972 story collection Imaginary Cities
  • September (Horror): Stephen King’s 1991 novel Needful Things
  • August (Suspense): James Lear’s 2006 mystery Back Passage
  • July (Suspense): Armistead Maupin’s 1978 novel Tales of the City
  • June (Suspense): Joyce Carol Oates’s Wild Nights! : Stories About the Last Days of Poe, Dickinson, Twain, James, and Hemingway
  • May (Horror): Tales of H.P. Lovecraft (edited by Joyce Carol Oates)
  • April (Mystery): Eliot Pattison’s 1999 novel The Skull Mantra
  • March (Suspense): Patricia Highsmith’s 1962 novel The Cry of the Owl
  • February (Suspense): Jo Nesbø’s 2005 novel The Devil’s Star
  • January (Fantasy): Jorge Luis Borgess Collected Fictions (complete anthology read over two months) — January 2009: pages 65–180 (“Universal History of Infamy”) and pages 181–288 (“The Aleph”)

2008

  • December (Fantasy): Jorge Luis Borges’s Collected Fictions (complete anthology read over two months) — December 2008: pages 1–65 (“Fictions”)
  • November (Suspense): Patricia Highsmith‘s 1965 novel, A Suspension of Mercy
  • October: No meeting
  • September (Suspense): Roberto Bolaño‘s 1996 novel, Distant Star
  • August (Fantasy): Clive Barker‘s 1991 novel, Imajica
  • July: No meeting
  • June (Horror): Rudyard Kipling‘s collected Horror stories, Strange Tales
    NOTE: Rudyard Kipling’s stories, and other writings, are available free online. Although the anthology Strange Tales is not available online as a whole, you can find its stories in various collections through the link above. You can find a list of the stories in Strange Tales, plus excerpts from its introduction, at GoogleBooks. (Here is a fascinating article on same-sex aspects of Rudyard Kipling‘s life and works.) Following is a list of 17 of Kipling’s supernatural tales in chronological order with details about the first publication:
    The Dream of Duncan Parrenness . ss The Civil and Military Gazette Dec 25, 1884
    The City of Dreadful Night . ss The Civil and Military Gazette Sep 10, 1885
    The Phantom ‘Rickshaw . nv Quartette Christmas, 1885
    The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes . nv Quartette Christmas, 1885
    In the House of Suddhoo [“Section 420, I.P.C.”] . ss The Civil and Military Gazette Apr 30, 1886
    Haunted Subalterns . ss The Civil and Military Gazette May 27, 1887
    By Word of Mouth . ss The Civil and Military Gazette Jun 10, 1887
    My Own True Ghost Story . ss The Week’s News Feb 25, 1888
    The Wandering Jew . ss The Civil and Military Gazette Apr 4, 1889
    The Mark of the Beast . ss The Pioneer Jul 12&14, 1890
    At the End of the Passage . ss Boston Herald Jul 20, 1890
    The Finest Story in the World . nv Contemporary Review Jul, 1891
    The Recrudescence of Imray [E. Strickland] . ss Life’s Handicap, Macmillan, 1891
    The Lost Legion . ss The Strand May, 1892
    “They” . nv Scribner’s Aug 1904
    The House Surgeon . nv Harper’s Monthly Sep 1909 (+1)
    Swept and Garnished . ss The Pall Mall Magazine Jan 1915
  • May (Suspense): Patricia Highsmith‘s 1950 novel The Price of Salt
  • April (Suspense): Octavia E. Butler‘s 2005 novel Fledgling
  • March (Suspense): Cornell Woolrich‘s 1944 novel Deadline at Dawn
  • February (Suspense): Patricia Highsmith‘s 1974 novel Ripley’s Game
  • January (Suspense): Cornell Woolrich‘s 1944 novel Rendezvous in Black

2007

2006

  • December: No meeting; our next discussion will be on January 11, 2007 – as noted above
  • November (Horror): Matthew G. Lewis’s 1795 novel The Monk
  • October (Fantasy): Michael Cunningham’s 2005 novel Specimen Days
  • September (Fantasy): Herman Melville’s 1855 book The Encantadas
  • August (Fantasy): Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s 1915 novel Herland
  • June -&- July (Science Fiction/Fantasy): Samuel R. Delany complete short fiction, Aye, and Gomorrah: And Other Stories [this book was discussed over two months; we had no meeting in May]
  • April (Fantasy): Francesca Lia Block’s 1989 novel Weetzie Bat (in the volume Dangerous Angels, which includes Weetzie Bat and its four sequels: Witch Baby, Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys, Missing Angel Juan, and Baby Be-Bop)
  • March (Fantasy): Hermann Hesse’s 1919 novel Demian
  • February (Science Fiction): Nicola Griffith’s 1996 novel Slow River
  • January (Fantasy): Gustave Flaubert’s 1874 novel The Temptation of St. Anthony (link to Lafcadio Hearn translation, introduction by Michel Foucault). Preferred is Kitty Mrosovsky’s out-of-print translation with extensive notes (widely available used and in libraries). Free online is Flaubert’s unabridged original La tentation de Saint Antoine.
    • Resources: Athanasius of Alexandria’s Life of St. Anthony (written ca. 360 CE), which was Flaubert’s major historical source; two different versions of the painting “Temptation of St Anthony” by Pieter Bruegel the Elder or his follower (one in Vienna, the other in Washington DC), which directly inspired Flaubert; other artists‘ paintings of St. Anthony, including Bosch, Grünewald, and (much later) Cézanne; a musical stage version of The Temptation of St. Anthony was on international tour 2003–2005, from gay avant-garde director Robert Wilson and composer Bernice Johnson Reagon, founder of the a capella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock.

2005

2004

  • December (Science Fiction): Samuel R. Delany’s 1967 novel The Einstein Intersection
  • November (Suspense/Mystery): John Burdett’s 2003 novel Bangkok 8
  • October (Fantasy): Nikolai Gogol’s Short Stories – “The Nose,” “The Portrait,” “The Overcoat,” “Diary of a Madman,” “Nevsky Prospect” and “The Viy.” Also, glbtq.com has excellent, brief articles on same-sex aspects of Gogol’s life and work and a GLBT Russian Literature.
  • September (Science Fiction): Samuel R. Delany’s 1963 novel Out of the Dead City (aka Captives of the Flame), the first book of his trilogy The Fall of the Towers. (OPTIONAL: the other two books in the series, The Towers of Toron (1964) and City of a Thousand Suns (1965) – all three are included in the same volume)
  • August (Suspense/Mystery): Poppy Z. Brite’s 1996 novel Exquisite Corpse (please note that there are some extremely intense passages in this novel)
  • July (Horror): J.S. LeFanu’s 1872 novella Carmilla (here is a FREE online edition of Carmilla, unabridged and with annotations)
  • June (Fantasy): Elizabeth A. Lynn’s 1998 novel Dragon’s Winter
  • May (Science Fiction): Chris Moriarty’s 2003 novel Spin State
  • April (Suspense/Mystery): Patricia Highsmith’s 1970 novel Ripley Under Ground (the second of her five Tom Ripley books)
  • March (Horror): Paul Bowles’s 1950 collection, The Delicate Prey & Other Stories (focus on The Circular Valley, Pages from Cold Point, The Delicate Prey, and A Distant Episode)
  • February(Fantasy): Ursula K. LeGuin’s 1968 novel A Wizard of Earthsea (optional: the other two books in the Earthsea trilogy – The Tombs of Atuan and The Farthest Shore, or any of her other books set in Earthsea)
  • January (Science Fiction): Melissa Scott’s 1995 novel Trouble and Her Friends

2003

2002

2001

2000

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Selected Links

  • QueerHorror.com is, in the words of the site’s creator, “devoted to exploring the horror genre and its inclusion of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered. It’s a place where queer folk can explore their interests in, or connections with, the horror genre.” This comprehensive site includes film, fiction, articles, and more, with sections focused on such horror icons as vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and demons — as well as non-supernatural thrillers. If you want to chat with other people about GLBT horror, the online community might be right up your (nightmare) alley.
  • Feminist Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Utopia — a wealth of resources, including bibliographies and links.
  • Award-winning Science Fiction author Suzy McKee Charnas offers a study guide for Walk to the End of the World, the first novel in her Holdfast Chronicles series, which she began in 1974. There are also excerpts from all volumes in the series, an exchange with a reader/writer about The Holdfast Chronicles, gender issues and writing, and more information about the Ms. Charnas and her works. (Thanks to Wiley Saichek for this information — photo of Ms. Charnas by Kyle Zimmerman.)
  • The Fantastic in Art & Fiction, from Cornell University, explores many themes of Fantasy through both literature and painting.
  • glbtq encyclopedia articles on: GLBT Science Fiction and Fantasy, GLBT Horror and Ghost Fiction, GLBT Gothicism, Lesbian Mystery Fiction, and Gay Male Mystery Fiction.
  • GLBT Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature — A Web Directory by Heather Elizabeth Peterson, includes awards, publishers, magazines, reading groups, reviews, recommendations, and more. Thank you, Heather, for creating this outstanding resource, and for linking to this site!
  • H.P. Lovecraft’s major fiction is available in free, unabridged online texts. If you are looking for a few stories to begin exploring this genius of Fantasy/ Horror/ Science Fiction, I recommend: “The Call of Cthulhu,” “The Colour Out of Space,” “The Rats in the Walls,” “Pickman’s Model,” “The Dunwich Horror,” and the representative Horror novella noted above, “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.” These classic stories, and more, are also available in H.P. Lovecraft (Library of America edition). Lovecraft is also the first great critic of the genre, as you can see in his still-provocative, and entertaining, 1935 study, Supernatural Horror in Literature.

Begun 1997 / Revised September 6, 2020

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