Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Nine Stories of Ace Spectrum SFF by Claudie Arseneault


Nine Stories of Ace Spectrum SFF

June is a great month. Summer is rolling back in up here in Canada, it’s Québec’s National Birthday, and it’s mine too (and my twin’s, fancy that!!). And as if that wasn’t enough to celebrate, June is also Pride Month!

I’m here today to share some love today. First for my favourite subgenres, science fiction and fantasy, and second for ace spec characters and fellow ace authors. Attachez vos tuques, my friends, you’re all in for some recs!

Novels by ace authors, with ace characters

THE SEA-STONE SWORD, Joel Cornah    Epic fantasy with a gay protagonist, and a great look into the hero’s journey. This universe has a comprehensive worldbuilding with super original races, and sailing! I do love so love crews. This book does not pull its punches, making it an intense story about legends and their costs. But be wary, characters die in it.

CHAMELEON MOON, RoAnna Sylver   Incredible story of resilient hope and friendship in a quarantined city literally standing on top of molten lava, and that could sink in at any moment. We have Word of God that Regan, your local chameleon MC with anxiety, is on the ace spectrum—which might get explored more in future books. Go read and stay tuned! RoAnna calls her novel “dys-hope-ia”, a term I love and will forever stand by. This novel is the kind of story I aspire to write.

FROM UNDER THE MOUNTAIN, Cait Spivey – Another epic fantasy, but this one isn’t Hero’s Quest revisited, it’s Terrible Dark Power Sealed Away is Returning. With a black demisexual lesbian Empress at its heart, and two minor ace characters (word of god for everyone, iirc). FUtM is chock-full of interested women and queer love, and draws its characters into a thrilling and dark adventure. Also a nice look at how one “normal” person matters, even among powerful beings. Be warned, though: lots of characters die!

FOURTH WORLD, Lyssa Chiavari – Mars lovers, mystery lovers, this
one is for you. This YA science-fiction adventure is one of the best written novels I’ve read all year. I love it, and I love it even more for featuring not one, but two ace spectrum leads. Isaak is demisexual (and uses the word) and Nadin is an asexual lady whose storyline showcases one of the most honest, solid rep I’ve seen (read here: I have lived through these exact feelings and want to hug her forever). Along with CHAMELEON MOON, this story might be one of my favourite things ever.

A WORD AND A BULLET, Rachel Sharp. Love stories where the world as we know it goes to shit, but not in a mood for something grim and depressing? A WORD AND A BULLET is your answer! This post-apocalyptic NA follows a trio of friends as they struggle to survive a world of constant earthquakes, and reach a safe haven. The rhythm kind of reminds me of Bilbo the Hobbit – a series of dangerous adventures you’re sure your hero will survive, on a background of darker events, with a final that deepens the characters. Bonus point for having it pass through Québec! I never see my home in fiction <3

Novels by ace spectrum author, without ace characters

ASCENSION, Jacqueline Koyanagi. Always on the lookout for more Awesome Space Opera? Craving for a lead that deals with chronic pain? Who is also a black woman and a lesbian? This  


is your novel. Honestly, if you love space sci-fi, you have to read ASCENSION. It’s a thrilling, deep, and all-around intense adventure that does just about everything right—theme, character arcs, pacing. Everything.

VIRAL AIRWAVES, Claudie Arseneault (I get to mention mine right??). I write books. My first doesn’t feature an asexual character, but it’s good. I promise it is. VIRAL AIRWAVES follows Henry, a noodle-loving reluctant hero, as he tries to overthrow a corrupt government from the top of his hot air balloon. Radio show, explosion, and queer characters included!

Novellas with ace protagonists

THE GALLOWAY ROAD, Catherine Adams Half travel fantasy, half Skyrim, this short book has a great atmosphere and a nice story centred on friendship and grief, with an ace woman who has been in an f/f as your central character. It makes good use of the date format, although if you’re the kind to hate “real world calendar in a fantasy setting”, then maybe think twice about it. I had a lot of fun.

THE CYBERNETIC TEA SHOP, Meredith Katz. Fluff f/f romance between an old robot and an ace engineer. Sweet and short, with very light writing and a nostalgic feel. I started wary of the rep (that happens when you put “ace” and “robot” in the
same sentence) but felt that while this does encourage a narrative I’m not thrilled about (romance with robots), it’s fairly clear within the context of the story that it’s not the Only Happy Ending Possible for an ace. YMMV on this one.

So there you go! There’s so much more out there I haven’t read (like Seanan McGuire’s EVERY HEART A DOORWAY), and some I’ve read but that aren’t out yet (keep an eye out for DAYBREAK RISING, this fall!). Part of me wishes I knew it all, but at the same time, I’m thrilled by every increase in our otherwise minuscule representation.
Enjoy the reads, everyone!