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Moving Beyond MM in Fantasy, Sci Fi and Paranormal

Frodo and Sam

I know I came to the party a little late. I’ve been writing since I was in my early years, and really made a go of it in my early twenties. But then after a string of rejections, I put things on the back burner, and didn’t really pull it off again until about a year ago.

I’m now in my mid-forties. I always kind of figured that I would do some of my best writing at this point in my life, when I had more life experience under my belt.

So anyhow, the party. As I’ve gotten more and more connected to the LGBT writing world this last year, I’ve realized that there are a whole bunch of authors out there writing LGBT fantasy, sci fi, and paranormal. But the vast majority of them seem to be writing in the MM romance space.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. *grin*

One of the reasons for creating Queer Sci-Fi was to form of a community for these writers, where they could exchange ideas and promote their works. But another reason, near and dear to my own heart, was to encourage us as a community to branch out a little more.

And when I say branch out, I mean in terms of the characters that we choose – not just cute young gay men in love, but also older men, men who don’t fit the typical mold, female characters, transgender characters, bisexual characters – the whole gamut of who we are as an LGBT community. And let’s add asexual, questioning, and intersex characters to the list as well.

But I’d also like to see us do a little guerrilla action in the mainstream sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal space. While I think there will always be a great market for MM romance in these sub-genres, I like to see more works that didn’t depend on the romance, but instead were more driven by the genre premise.

For instance, what Hari Seldon, if the main character in Asimov’s Foundation series had been a lesbian? Or what if Frodo had been actually portrayed as gay? What if Rand Al Thor had swung both ways? How would that have changed your perception of the world growing up, to have read strong LGBT characters in mainstream sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal?

To my question today – what should our next step be to broaden the work that we do in the fantasy, sci-fi, and paranormal genres?

4 thoughts on “Moving Beyond MM in Fantasy, Sci Fi and Paranormal”

  1. If Hari Seldon was a lesbian I might actually have enjoyed Foundation. There are literally no women in that entire book. Unforgivable.

    I agree as well that we need to be put the emphasis back on the genre aspects, not simply the romance (unless you are writing in the romance genre).

    Great article.

    Reply
  2. I think you are answering that question already, with this blog.

    I see a lot of people get into mm romance who really truly don’t like to read or write romance all that much, but they feel it is the only welcoming place for LGBT themes. This blog, the queer sci-fi space on facebook, and hopefully other similar sites in the future, perform a valuable service for these writers. You give them encouragement to write their stories their way, and a place to promote themselves without fear.

    I also think that each person can do their small part by continuing to submit to mainstream sci-fi blogs, publishers, magazines, and promotional sites. Keeping safely within the mm romance community will not broaden the reach of queer sci-fi stories. (no matter how fun it is there :) )

    Reply
    • Don’t forget contests. I write both m/m and m/f and I’ve entered both in the same contest several times. Results have been mixed – most lower level judges give me honest feedback without a flinch and only once have I felt unfairly targeted because the book was m/m. I have yet to final in a mainstream contest with an LGBT book but I’ll keep submiting anyway. Sooner or later one of those books will place.

      PS – Last year I saw zero LGBT books being promoted at the mainstream Seattle romance conference we went to. This year we were one of three. Slow progress but progress all the same.

      Reply

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