Sunday, October 5, 2014

Black, Queer and Awesome: Twinja Book Reviews Top Ten List of Black Queer protagonists in Speculative Ficiton

While it is Black Speculative Fiction Month, it's also LGBTQ Month too! Queer main characters are often the most difficult to find when looking for characters of color, that are also with the Speculative Fiction Club. For the most part these books highlight main characters whom are of African Descent who identify as queer. Unless stated otherwise, every book features a major character who is Black and Queer.
 We've complied a list of the coolest books in Science Fiction, Horror, Fantasy, Weird Fiction, Hybrids of many, or just Speculative Fiction as a whole! Hope you hop over to GoodReads to check these out! Side Notes: Some books have several cover versions. If they were too difficult to decide which cover was more awesome, both a listed. Our efforts to highlight black authors only were difficult, so there two authors whom are white, and one whom is mixed race(Asian and white).

Smoketown by Tenea D.Johnson
This is actually on my bookshelf, but I havent gotten to it yet, but I bought it solely on the fact the main character was Black, a woman, and queer, but in my preferred realm of Speculative Fiction. 

West of Sunset by Dennis Upkins
Twinja Book Reviews regular Denny Upkins, his second novel doing so, features a Black teenage wizard, who is also queer. His first novel Hollowstone also features a Black teen, who isnt queer, but I just have a thing for wizards, so I had to throw this on the list!

Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson
Midnight Robber explores a Black woman's experience through many ways, including her sexuality.

Ascension (Tangled Axon) by Jacqueline Koyanagi
Ascension may come up on a future list. Jacqueline really through her foot in the grapes with this main character. She's Black, Queer, and suffers from a chronic illness.

The Salt Roads by Nalo Hopkinson
It's no surprise Nalo Hopkinson comes up more than once. Nalo, like Octavia Butler, don't stop until they push envelopes. Like many of her books, The Salt Roads features a main protagonist who is queer.

Dawn(Xenogenesis series) by Octavia E.Butler
As disturbing as this book is, it's amazingly written. It's dangerously thought provoking, and goes beyond the "typical" dystopian environment. While I would've loved to have a human transgender character, this book features a race of aliens, that are female, male and a third sex known as "Ooloi." 
Fledgling by Octavia E.Butler
This too may come up on another list. That's just how great Octavia and Nalo are. They dont just stop at the topic of race. They often explore disability, class, sexism, and most of all sexuality. Fledgling features a Black immortal girl, who comes from a race of pansexual vampires.

Cold Fire/The Will of the Empress/Daja's Book(Circle of Magic/The Circle Opens series) by Tamora Pierce
 One of Tamora Pierce's most popular series' features Daja, a black girl who is queer.

Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson
If seeing her name twice hasnt been enough to convince you before, think again. It's typical Nalo Hopkinson. If Im not mistaken, the main character on the cover isn't queer, but another major character in the book is.

The Warrior's Code by David James
Surprisingly, I just found out about this book's main character being queer. There are so few good speculative fiction books with queer characters, let alone with Black men as the main protagonists, we just thought it deserved a mention.


For comic lovers! While Im a big fan, I can understand why some may be on the fence with the Marvel Comic Runaways. It took a negative turn with one of it's major Black characters, which many weren't happy about, showcasing, that even when something is progressive in some ways, it can be problematic in others.
 But the character that stands out the most to me is Xavin, the fiancee of Karolina Dean, and a later addition to the Runaways team. Xavin came from an alien race known as "Skrulls", a race with the ability to change their sex at will. They were able to shift from male, to female, and to their Skrull true form, but Xavin often took the form of a Black girl, to cater to Karolina's preference in women.

Being a woman in comic books is hard enough. But Runaways is one of the few comics I've read that allowed women to not be overly sexualized, and have real relationships with each other. While Im on the fence about turning Alex Wilder into a villain, you have to admit, having a Black trans-woman main character is pretty awesome! 

If anyone has any other suggestions, please, feel free to Tweet us @dos_twinjas or comment below who we missed!


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