Paranormal – those stories that fall outside what can be explained using what is known about the universe. Ghosts. Vampires. Werewolves and so on and… What’s that? All queer paranormal fiction is the same? All tropey and stuff so you don’t want to read it?
There’s nothing wrong with tropey fiction of course. We all have our favorite comfort tropes and types of stories we enjoy reading. But what I’d like to do today is take a look at some examples of queer paranormal fic that doesn’t adhere so closely to the tropetastic side of things. Please note that these are just examples and I’m not trying for an exhaustive list by any means. I’ll want your examples at the end, too.
The Werewolf Story
OK, we all know the tropes that go with this – all the shifter tropes about packs and Alphas and m-preg and…yeah. I don’t have to tell you guys. So a couple of offerings that go a different route:
An anthology of wolfy stories with works from Jamie Fessenden, Kim Fielding and Eli Easton, this collection mines older legends and folklore about werewolves instead of relying on modern pack shifter themes.
A lesbian romance by Rae Magdon about shifters – though this takes place in a fantasy world where the rules are different and the pack is a more cooperative family structure than the usual pack heirarchy.
Ghost stories in queer fiction are so often romances between human and ghost that somehow works, the how of that being more or less successful depending on the writer. But what about some more traditional scary ghost stories with queer protagonists?
John Inman’s creepy, shivery ghost story kept me up a couple of nights (especially since I heard it read by Vance Bastian – something about a scary story out loud makes it scarier.) This is an old style ghost story where the scary stuff is front and center.
Rhys Ford brings us a familiar character in ghost fiction, the skeptic ghost hunter, but this is no ordinary haunted house and these are no ordinary happenings. The Hellsinger crew take us on a wild ride of paranormal shenanigans in this solid ghost story.
Witches/ Magic Users
Are there tropes about these? There probably are. Elements and pentagrams and summoning demons. The witch/warlock who can “cure” the tortured paranormal lover. OK, we won’t talk about those.
This series first came to my attention when Jamie Fessenden said something like, “this had a lot of Lovecraftian themes, I think you’ll like it.” Based mostly in the strange and eerie town of Widdershins, which knows it’s own, Jordan Hawk takes us on an ever-more complicated journey caught between the forces trying to keep the world together and those trying to rip it apart.
J.K. Pendragon writes a story where it’s not safe to be a magic user, but not for the reasons you might think. With a transgender hero who really just wanted to be left alone and some solid worldbuilding, this is a great story for a stormy autumn night.
The gay romance genre is rife with dominant vamps and their human (or not human) subs. There’s something to be said for the eroticism of submitting to such a dangerous predator. But there are plenty of queer vampire stories that are different, too.
Paranormal icon Jordan Castillo Price creates a world where vampirism is a disease, with all of the issues and stigmas attached to an infectious process. I love the title, so sue me.
JC Wallace brings us a vampire story where vamps are varied and various and have their own law enforcement. This is not your typical brooding goth vamp in his mansion pining for the right mate. (Full disclosure – have not had a chance to read yet, but this is on my TBR.)
My son was saying the other night that it was odd, Frankenstien’s monster becoming so iconic. I suppose it really isn’t that strange. We’ve had stories about created people for a long time. When you look at paranormal romance specifically, all too often these are beautiful creations. But it doesn’t have to be so.
Yes, I’m going back to the Gothika anthologies – I like the variety anthologies can present. This one, with stories by Sue Brown, Eli Easton, Jamie Fessenden and Kim Fielding, is a wonderful assortment of takes on the created person theme. Sometimes touching, sometimes scary, these stories don’t take the created beings for granted.
Talk about a shivery story, Mina MacLeod writes a lesbian love story that will make you turn the lights on by the end. I can’t say too much, since it would spoil the story, but how often do you get to say historical lesbian horror story in any sentence.
So there are some (but certainly not all) of my recommendations. What do you guys have for us? Paranormal queer stories without the heavy tropification?