As an author of a couple of books about queer menopausal werewolves who are transformed by magic, it’s not surprising that I have a soft spot for queer monsters and magic as a reader too. What follows is a mix of book recommendations in which there are queer magic users and monsters, as well as queer monsters who are magic users, plus one additional book that I think is worth checking out. (I should also note that instead of relying solely on my memory and bookcases alone, I crowdsourced to see what suggestions other people might have and included a couple of stories that looked interesting.) I weighted more heavily toward the queer monsters, but all of these have some element of magic to them as well. What are some of your faves that I didn’t include? I don’t read much young adult fiction, for example, and I thought I would bow to Sirens attendee expertise in that arena.
(Editor’s Note: Given that until only recently, many mainstream publishers shied away from publishing books with LGBTQ+ protagonists, each entry includes the original publisher in English as well as the publication year. Title links lead to Bookshop.org book pages if available, or are otherwise linked to purchase pages.)
This is the first of a four-book series set in Europe during World War II and features Lucy Harker (Dracula) and Carmilla (Sheridan Le Fanu’s famous lesbian vampire) as vampire lovers and spies—fighting zombies, Nazis, and sundry foes mortal and otherwise. There’s a ton of mashed up, pulpy adventure to be found in these volumes. There are also lots of guest star appearances that include many of the luminaries and creatives of the time. Ward also does a nice job of touching on the status and experiences of LGBTQ folks during the time period while keeping things fast-paced and engaging.
Silver Kiss is the first book in Clark’s sexy f/f werewolf detective series, Urban Wolf. The series tackles mystery and homophobia amongst supernatural creatures and has one of the most glorious drag queen werewolves I’ve ever encountered on the page. They are marketed as erotic romance/urban fantasy, with several books and published stories in the series.
The celebrated, classic African American lesbian vampire book has been in print for over twenty years, and has also been adapted for the stage. Gilda’s story moves through time from the 1850s to the
fairly recent past, tackling timely and timeless issues along the way.
A young ace Lipan Apache woman, her family, and her ghost dog travel through a landscape of monsters and magic—in order to solve a murder in a North America that’s not quite the one we know.
One of the novels that’s on everyone’s recommended list of queer literary horror with bisexual characters. A scholar and a werewolf meet in modern India, beginning a twisted journey through history, shapeshifting, sexuality, love, and more.
I’ve been fascinated by McGuire’s monstrous mermaids since I read her story “Each to Each” in the anthology Women Destroy Science Fiction. Please note that this is Seanan McGuire writing as Mira Grant, and that this is the first book of a two-book arc. A lesbian couple, as part of a team, solves an aquatic mystery involving murder, mermaids, and more.
An excellent collection of biographical sketches featuring women—including some queer women—who created and wrote about monsters of varying kinds. If you ever wanted to know more about our forebearers in the genre, this nonfiction book is a great introduction.
Technically the second book in the series, but stands alone pretty well. Two queer women confront a demon who runs a temp agency in an office building, and face angels, financial shenanigans, and more! Pollack is one of the best writers of queer fiction, as well as being one of the first out transwomen in the field. This and the first book Unquenchable Fire are both quirky and brilliant. Though no longer in print, it can still be found used and as an ebook.
A novella about gay werecockroaches, aliens, and more! This was one of my crowdsourced recommendations, but it’s been on my radar for a while. Reviews say that it’s a wry commentary on Kafka’s Metamorphosis.
Another one of my crowdsourced titles that looked interesting! This novel features an aroace protagonist who chooses to become a Medusa to deal with trauma from her past.
Catherine Lundoff is an award-winning queer writer, editor and publisher from Minneapolis where she lives with her wife and the cats who own them. She is the author of over 100 published short stories that have appeared in venues ranging from Fireside Magazine to Sherlock Holmes and the Occult Detectives. Her books include Silver Moon, Blood Moon, Out of This World: Queer Speculative Fiction Stories and Unfinished Business: Tales of the Dark Fantastic and as editor, Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space). In addition, she is the publisher at Queen of Swords Press, a small press specializing in fiction from out of this world. Websites: Catherine Lundoff and Queen of Swords Press