The Future is Queer: 11 LGBT+ Contemporary Authors Writing Speculative Fiction That You Should Know

From Octavia Butler, author of multiple Nebula- and Hugo-award-winning novels, to longtime Star Trek scriptwriter David Gerrold, LGBT+ creators have long played a major part in steering the direction of speculative fiction. And the canon has never been more diverse and fascinating than now, with authors from a wonderfully wide range of backgrounds and experiences.

In this post we want to particularly spotlight all the contemporary LGBT+ writers of speculative fiction who are bringing their own perspective to science fiction and fantasy. Whether it’s semi-autobiographical surrealism or a unique, intricately imagined other world, you’re sure to find something on this list that piques your interest. Perhaps you’ll even discover a new favorite author, or one who motivates you to write your own book!

So without further ado, here they are, for your enjoyment and inspiration: 11 LGBTQIA authors of contemporary spec fic that you should know.

1. Michelle Ruiz Keil (author of All of Us with Wings)

Keil just exploded onto the scene with the June release of her YA fantasy debut, All of Us with Wings. This elegantly crafted novel follows seventeen-year-old governess Xochi — who, like Keil, is bisexual and Latinx — after she and her young charge accidentally summon a pair of vengeful demons to attack people from Xochi’s past. If you’re looking for an own voice LGBT author whose stories involve fantastical elements, yet still feel incredibly down-to-earth and authentic, Keil is definitely one to add to your list. “My favorite books make me feel seen and known and accompanied… less alone,” she noted in a recent interview with mitú. “My deepest hope is that is that All of Us with Wings will be that kind of company for its readers.”

2. Malinda Lo (author of Adaptation)

Like your reads dark, dystopian, and with a distinctly sophisticated voice? Lo and behold (no pun intended), you’ve found your literary champion. Malinda Lo, a Chinese-American author with several speculative fiction books under her belt, has also written for LGBT culture site AfterEllen and helped co-found Diversity in YA. (Talk about a woman of many talents!) After the success of her first novel, a queer retelling of Cinderella, Lo went on to write the sci-fi/thriller series Adaptation, which centers on a young woman named Reese as she attempts to make sense of the world in the wake of an unprecedented natural disaster — discovering herself in the process.
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Interview with Richard Kadrey

Recently I reviewed Richard Kadrey’s The Grand Dark for Green Man Review. I enjoyed the book and kept thinking about it, so I had some questions. Richard kindly agreed to a follow-up interview. Here’s his answers to those questions.

Q: What was it about the setting of The Grand Dark that drew you? It feels as though it came first and then the story within it – or was it the other way around?

RK: All of my previous work had been set in real places, primarily Los Angeles and San Francisco. With The Grand Dark, I wanted to build my own world from the ground up. The character of Largo appeared pretty much at the same time as I was creating the city of Lower Proszawa in my mind. I wanted someone somewhat innocent and with very little power to contrast with the weight and complexity of the city. But he had to be fluent in the streets. Largo could have been a crook, but instead I made him a bicycle messenger. Someone at the mercy of the weather, the traffic, and moody cops.
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Where I’ll Be: DragonCon 2019

Title: 15-Minute Mentor Session
Description: A chance for budding authors to talk one-on-one with a successful industry professional about business, promotion, the writing process, & career advice. Sign up in the Writer’s Track. (Embassy C-D)
Time: Fri 04:00 pm Location: Embassy G – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Cat Rambo, D.J. Butler, Toni Weisskopf)

Title: Her-storically Speaking: Meet the Women of War
Description: History books would have you believe that men did all the fighting while women kept the home life thriving. But those history books are wrong. Join us as we peel back the layers of fiction and reality and talk about both real and imagined women of warfare.
Time: Fri 07:00 pm Location: Macon – Sheraton (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel
(Tentative Panelists: Tamsin L. Silver, Tina Glasneck, Cat Rambo)

Title: 15-Minute Mentor Session
Description: A chance for budding authors to talk one-on-one with a successful industry professional about business, promotion, the writing process, & career advice. Sign up in the Writer’s Track. (Embassy C-D)
Time: Sat 04:00 pm Location: Embassy G – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: S.M. Stirling, Cat Rambo, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Anne Sowards)

Title: Her-storically Speaking: The Lost Women Of History
Description: Well-behaved women rarely make history, as they say. We’ll talk about some of the women who made waves, with their resourcefulness, ambition and a rebellious nature. History professors, writers, and all-around smart ladies talk about the stories we may not have been taught in history books.
Time: Sat 08:30 pm Location: Macon – Sheraton (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel
(Tentative Panelists: Cat Rambo, Amanda DeWees, Leanna Renee Hieber, Esther Friesner)

Title: Courtesans, Mistresses & Madams: History’s Most Famous Working Women
Description: History has a lot of unsung heroes, specifically in this profession. Contrary to what you may have read, some of the most notorious and celebrated madams and ladies of ill repute have shaped and often guided our history. This survey panel showcases some you should know about.
Time: Sat 10:00 pm Location: Macon – Sheraton (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel
(Tentative Panelists: Cat Rambo, Gail Z. Martin, Cecilia Dominic, Jean Marie Ward)

Title: Reading Session: Cat Rambo
Time: Sun 11:30 am Location: Vinings – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Cat Rambo)

Title: Dragon Awards Ceremonies
Description: Presentation of the 2019 Dragon Awards in 15 categories! Who will you choose as the fan favorites this year? Come & find out the results!
Time: Sun 05:30 pm Location: Centennial I – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Dr. Charles E. Gannon, Tim Powers, George Pérez, Mike Capps, Cat Rambo, Larry Niven, Brandon Sanderson, Katherine Kurtz, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Peter David)

Title: All the Subs
Description: Fantasy is filled with all kinds of stories, but sometimes a trend pops up that turns into a sub-genre. Supervise? Gamelit? LitRPG? Cozy? Noir? There are so many, & a few that don’t really fit in any…yet.
Time: Mon 01:00 pm Location: Embassy EF – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel
(Tentative Panelists: L. Jagi Lamplighter, James A. Hunter, Aaron Crash, G. Scott Huggins, Cat Rambo, K. M. Herkes)

Where will I be most of the rest of the time? I’ll be hanging out at the Bards Tower in the dealers room – come say hi and buy a book!

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Where I’ll Be: Confluence 2019

Friday 7 pm: Opening Ceremonies [Ballroom]
Participants: Tobias Buckell, Michael Longcor, Cat Rambo, Kevin Hayes (M)

Saturday 10 am to noon: Writers Workshop for 10
Participants: Cat Rambo

Saturday 2 pm: Beginnings and Endings [Commonwealth East] (moderator)
Participants: Cat Rambo (M), Tamora Pierce, Frederic Durbin

Saturday 4 pm: What Was Your Craziest Story Idea, and How Did That Work Out for You? [Commonwealth East]
Participants: Tim Esaias (M), Brenda Clough, Cat Rambo, R.K. Thorne

Sunday 10 am to 1 pm: Writers Workshop for 9
Participants: Cat Rambo

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Guest Post: TJ Kahn Reveals the Unheard of in Fantasy

The Unheard of in Fantasy: Advocacy for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing in fantasy and science-fiction

Imagine that you are a huge fantasy or science-fiction fan. You’ve watched every Game of Thrones episode. You own all of the merchandise. You’ve seen the “Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars” trilogies so often your friends never need to ask what gifts you want for the holidays. Even your cat is named ‘Aragorn’.

Now picture the next big movie you’re excited about is announced. You watch all the actor interviews, cling to every spoiler and hint dropped by the studios, and the week before the premier you have your head shaved to carve your favorite clan symbol into your left temple.

Except when the movie comes out, you can’t watch it. It’s in a foreign language and the only way for you to enjoy it is with a small glass device attached to your chair that keeps slipping. You can watch the words or the action, but not both. At the end of the film all of your friends are going on and on about the wonderful fight scene with the main heroes but all you saw was your subtitles dropping away when someone bumped your chair going to the bathroom and you scrambled to put it back.

Oh sure, you could wait for it to come out dubbed in English, but you’ll have to wait for an entire week. A week of all of your friends ruining the best scenes because they’ve seen it already. Or avoiding all social media and TV because you don’t want to stumble on any spoilers. And when it does come out, you’ve scene all the best scenes already because it’s all people put on your fan sites since opening night.

Now imagine you’re Deaf.

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So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

The Nebulas this year were an amazing, dazzling, staggering blur, and an overall splendid time. (I got a selfie with William Gibson plus shared french fries with an astronaut!). But there was one sad thing for me, which was that in all the shuffle and mistimings, I didn’t get a chance to deliver the speech I’d prepared.

I’ve been spending some time post-Nebulas thinking and reflecting on everything I’ve learned from the SFWA Presidency, and all the valuable things I’ve discovered and learned as a result of my time in office. Over the next few weeks, I’ll publish the blog posts I have been putting together, one dedicated to each year, and then a final recap. It seemed a logical thing to kick that series off by sharing that speech, which contains a number of things I wanted to say to the SFWA family at large. I hope this serves.
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Where I’ll Be: Cascade Writers Workshop

If you’re coming to the Cascade Writers Workshop, this is where you’ll find me.


9:30-10 AM: Registration and meet & greet with tea & coffee! Conference Room

10 AM-11:50 AM: Critique group meeting 1:
Curtis Chen & Cat Rambo: Breakfast Area

3 PM-4:50 PM: Critique group meeting 2
Curtis Chen & Cat Rambo: Breakfast Area

8 PM- 8:50 PM: Getting To The Finish Line, Cat Rambo, Conference Room
Do you have trouble saying goodbye–or getting through the middle? Cat Rambo will show you strategies to get from a kernel of an idea, a stalled beginning, a soggy middle, or a dead-at-three-quarters to the end.


9 AM-10 AM: Meet & greet with tea & coffee! – Oak room

10 AM-11:50 AM: Critique group meeting 3:
Curtis Chen & Cat Rambo: Breakfast Area

3 PM-3:50 PM: Respect The Hustle, Spencer Ellsworth, Cat Rambo & Jaym Gates, Conference Room
Selling a short story, a book or an article will net you a paycheck–but how do you turn that into income? How do you take freelancing seriously, and combine fiction writing with other ventures to make your writing and editing skills bankable? In other words, how do you get the hustle, keep that hustle, and respect that hustle?

7:30 PM-11 PM: PUB NIGHT! Lovecraft Brewing, 275 5th St, Ste 101, Bremerton, WA 98337
Come across the street to Lovecraft Brewing to drink, eat, buy books from the Liberty Bay Books table, and hear our panelists read from their work!


9 AM-10 AM: Meet & greet with tea & coffee! – Conference room

10 AM-10:50 AM: Critique group one-on-one meetings:
Curtis Chen & Cat Rambo: Breakfast Area

2 PM-2:50 PM: Workshop wrap-up, board meeting & feedback! – Conference room

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Guest Post: Walnut & Pumpkin Risotto by Ben Isham-Smith

Raised by an Italian mother (don’t let my embarrassingly anglicized name fool you), the kitchen formed the hub of all activity in our home growing up. Not just for cooking meals, but also entertaining, welcoming guests, and even eating.

If anything happened in our home, it happened in the kitchen.

Few recipes stir up the memories and emotions I associate with then as risotto does. My mother had her own go-to risotto recipe that had evolved over the years she had learned it from her own mother, and it became a monthly tradition for her to cook up a batch of risotto rice, leek and chicken, which would keep us going for days.

I’m a big fan of meals that can be cooked in a pot. Not just because they can often be a bit more ‘hands off’ than other types of recipe (I’m infuriatingly lazy), but also because I find there’s more room to improvise and tweak it in line with your own personal preferences.

This risotto recipe is a bit braver than more traditional takes on the Northern Italian dish. It matches traditional risotto elements, like white wine, onion and garlic, with a much more outlandish pumpkin and walnuts. If I’m honest, I don’t think my Italian grandparents would approve (in fact, I know they wouldn’t – they never forgave me for my lazy tiramisu recipe) but if I didn’t deliberately undermine them at every given opportunity, then what kind of grandson would I be?
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Where I’ll Be: Origins 2019 Author’s Library Panel Schedule

Thursday, June 13:

10am-11am: Short Stories: How do you plot something that’s only 5k? How do you know it’s going to come out that long? Tips and tricks to crafting a good short story. Lucy Snyder (M), Carlos Hernandez, Cat Rambo

3pm-4pm: Reading for Writers: How important is it for a writer to be well-read? Are there books every writer should know? Come for a lively debate on something every writer knows something about: reading. Mercedes Lackey, Cat Rambo, Tracy Chowdhury, Addie J. King, Gregory A. Wilson (M)

Friday, June 14:

10am-11am: Effective Illusions: How do you make a reader feel as though they’re actually there in the world you’ve created? Join our panelists for tips and tricks on building worlds that are evocative, enchanting, and above all, so immersive you can lose yourself in it and forget you’re reading. Carlos Hernandez, Cat Rambo (M), Doc Myers

Saturday, June 15:

10am-11am: Professional Writing Organizations: What is SFWA and what does it offer? What about HWA? IAMTW? Which ones should you join—if any? Cat Rambo, Jennifer Brozek, Aaron Rosenberg (M)

3pm-4pm: Branding & Marketing Yourself and Your Content: Running a podcast, releasing short fiction for free, blogging, Tweeting, etc. All the different ways to identify and bring more attention to your writing and your brand. Larry Dixon, Michael R. Underwood, Robyn King, Cat Rambo, Gregory A. Wilson (M)

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Where I’ll Be: Gen Con Writer’s Symposium 2019

A favorite moment with Rich Lescouflair from last year’s Gen Con!

I’m looking forward to another chance to participate in the Writers Symposium at Gen Con this summer! Indiana is the state I was raised in, and there’s lots of chances to see old friends as well as my brother Lowell. I also did well in this year’s hotel lottery, so socializing will be easier.

The first Gen Con I ever went to was back when I was a teenager and first playing D&D. It’s always amazing to see how far the game has come as well as how much more mainstream it’s become, as well as how much more diverse. The Writers Symposium is always well-organized and a great chance to hang with fellow writers who also happen to be gamers.

I’ll be participating in the Worldbuilders fundraising event once again as well, come play Settlers of Catan with me.


12 PM Ballroom 2
What Can SFWA Do For You
Cat Rambo (M)

1 PM Signing Table
Cat Rambo, Patrick Tomlinson

2 PM Austin/Boston
Writing Steampunk and Weird Western
Cherie Priest, Cat Rambo (M)

5 PM Ballroom 1
Tee Morris, Anton Strout, Cat Rambo, Steve Drew (M)


10 AM Austin/Boston
Science Fiction: What’s Next?
Cat Rambo, Patrick Tomlinson, Toiya Finley, Corry Lee, Kirk Dougal (M)

4 PM Atlanta
The Ins and Outs of BookBub
Christopher Morgan, Elizabeth Vaughan, Cat Rambo, Corry Lee (M)

5 PM Atlanta
MESSAGE! Writing Books with Timely Themes
Carol Berg, Karen Bovenmyer, Melissa F. Olson, Cat Rambo (M)


1 PM Ballroom 2
Witty or Sh*tty?: How To Be Funny, and When Not To Be
Patrick Tomlinson, Bryan Young, Scott Lynch, Cat Rambo (M)

4 PM Ballroom 3
When the Mob Rules on Social Media
Patrick Tomlinson, Cat Rambo, Keith Law (M)

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