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“On Beyond Cisgender IV: Or, Shirley You Can’t Be Serious” – Boogieman in Lavender

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On Beyond Cisgender IV, or: Shirley You Can’t Be Serious

by Jeff Baker

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is an occasional feature of this column where I spotlight (or at least mention) writers who aren’t in the White, Male, Cisgender paradigm as possible reading material for High School age readers.

She was a housewife, a mother, a writer and (she claimed) a witch. Her work remains familiar today and may not be as obscure as some of the writers mentioned for “On Beyond Cisgender.” In fact when I was in Grade School in the 60s, her novels were still sought-out in school libraries. A few years later, in Junior High I read her most disturbing story in an English textbook. Her work has been praised by Stephen King among others. Her novel “The Haunting of Hill House” is still in print and has been filmed several times. Her sense of humor was spotlighted in her memoirs about her family: “Life Among the Savages” and “Raising Demons.”

Of course, she is Shirley Jackson, author of the story “The Lottery.” A successful author during her short lifetime (she was not quite fifty when she died) her works are still being read. Library of America put out a collection of her works, edited by Joyce Carol Oates and there was a recent release of unpublished fiction, “Just An Ordinary Day.” But is she being taught or read today? If Jackson is still known in today’s schools, let me know.

Two works now by authors I was not familiar with. First off, “Sword in the Stars” a YA adventure fantasy novel by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy, who are partners in life as well as writing. Not much more need be said about this sequel to a YA novel about the Rainbow Knights who travel back in time to steal the Grail from King Arthur.

“Out Now,” is another sequel, this one to “All Out,” both edited by Saundra Mitchell, both anthologies of YA LGBT stories. I’m a total sucker for anthologies and nobody should be able to resist a book that includes a title like “Seditious Teapots.”

And (full disclosure) a writer I know: ‘Nathan Burgoine whose website describes his work as “Mostly short queer fiction from a tall queer guy” recently published “Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks,” a YA novel set in a young gay man’s last weeks in High School who, while surrounded by a diverse group of accepting friends suddenly is thrown a curve ball when he begins to teleport. Learning to master this power while suddenly realizing there are people after him is half of the fun of the book, told in an engaging first-person style.

So, those are the pics for this edition. Happy reading, and the good news is there are more where these came from!

I would like to acknowledge A. M. (Amy) Leibowitz, whose suggestion prompted this “On Beyond Cisgender” feature over a year ago. Thanks!

Here are the links to the books mentioned above:,, Sword in the Stars: A Once & Future Novel (9780316322164): Cory McCarthy, Capetta, A. R.: Books,

Jeff Baker’s fiction has appeared in “The Necronomicon of Solar Pons” among other places. His non-fiction has been posted to the Lambda Literary and Amazing Stories sites. He blogs about reading and writing sci-fi, fantasy and horror around the thirteenth of each month in this same space. He and his husband Darryl live happily with enough books to inspire columns for another decade. And Jeff regularly posts fiction on his blog wastes time on Facebook at

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