Book Review: “Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi Anthology”

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Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi Anthology (edited by Hope Nicholson) was suggested to me by a co-worker and I was thrilled when I heard the premise – stories that sit in the middle of a Venn diagram of science fiction, Indigenous, and queer themes. Hitting even two of the three at a time is impressive, but the stories are also mostly Canadian (!) and some are even femme-centric (!!!). There are big names like Richard Van Camp and new voices like Gwen Benaway, and all contributing authors are Indigenous.

Each story varies considerably as to how heavily sci-fi, queer, or Indigenous themed it is and I didn’t feel like any aspects were forced into the stories. I read a lot of science-fiction short stories and I find the genre, like some queer fiction, thrives in short story format because the length means some exposition has to be eradicated. Concepts like interplanetary travel or gender transition are not new things for the narrator, so the story and the characters are able to shine.

Colonization and objectification of bodies are common themes in Indigenous and queer literature, but also in science fiction. Notions of Indigenous nationhood and identity tend to be framed historically rather than in the future tense, and it was refreshing to read such explicit depictions of Indigenous characters outside of stereotypical environments. When you actually read the words of Indigenous or queer (or both!) people, there is both a universality of emotion as well as insights that you will not get with non-Indigenous or non-queer writers. Love is beyond stereotypes as well as body, space, and time.

Stand-outs for me were: Perfectly You, by David A. Robertson, Legends Are Made, Not Born, by Cherie Dimaline Néle, by Darcie Little Badger, Transitions, by Gwen Benaway, and Valediction at the Star View Motel, by Nathan Adler. I would have happily read a full length novel of Néle, and Transitions is a stand-out introduction to Gwen Benaway.

Some similar titles to seek out are: Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature (various contributors), Walking the Clouds: an anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction (edited by Grace L. Dillon) and mitêwâcimowina: Indigenous Science Fiction and Speculative Storytelling (edited by Neal Mcleod)

 

Ginny Landry is Métis and Swedish, and does library work on Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh territories in the Lower Mainland of BC.

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Introducing Your New Co-Chairs!

Hello wonderful group members!

If you are subscribed to the group’s listserv you will know that there are two new Co-Chairs, Amara Charters (myself) and Lindsay Russell. We would like to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves:

18673186_10155313139451798_4603409787857854048_oAmara Charters is a queer femme born in Vancouver and currently living in New Westminster. She has worked as a Library Technician for the Vancouver Public Library since January 2015, specializing in children’s and teens services (specifically programming and reader’s advisory). Her favourite part of her job is interacting with people and helping connect them with the resources and information that they need.

In her down time, Amara likes to embroider (she even has an Etsy shop), watch Netflix, and (of course) read. Her career goal is to work primarily with kids and their caregivers in the library. She was probably a social worker in another life.

unnamedHi everyone! I’m Lindsay, one of the new co-conveners of this group. I’m a Library Technician working at the Port Moody Public Library, doing everything from shelving, to circulation, to working on the information desk. I’m also currently working on my BA in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at SFU, en route to eventually getting my MLIS.

After spending my young teen years desperately (and unsuccessfully) seeking out any LGBTQ+ books, I finally read my first YA book with a bisexual character at the ripe old age of 22 (Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith if you’re curious). That has since stoked a fiery passion for any and all LGBTQ+ books, especially YA and children’s. I am thrilled by the boom of diversity that has been happening in YA books, especially as they explore more nuanced sexualities and gender identities.

When I have any free time I like to play board games and tabletop games, watch TV shows, and lift weights.

You can find our contact information on the BCLA page for the group. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, ideas, or comments! We are both excited to work with everyone and are looking forward to coming up with and implementing ideas.

29th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalists

The finalists for the 29th Annual Lambda Literary Awards have been announced! With 23 categories and over 130 books, there is certainly something for everyone to be excited about.

Lambda-Medal

Personally, I am looking forward to getting my hands on copies of Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir  by Kai Cheng Thom, Small Beauty by jia qing wilson-yang (both nominated for Best Transgender Fiction), Im Just a Person  by Tig Notaro (nominated for Best Lesbian Memoir/Biography), and Girl Mans Up by M.E. Girard (nominated for Best LGBTQ Children‘s/Young Adult). What nominated books have you read/are excited about reading?

You can check out the whole nomination list here. The awards ceremony will be held on June 12th.

2017 LGBTQ+ YA

2017 is looking like it’s going to be a great year for LGBTQ+ YA books, with at least one being published almost every month! This is by no means all the LGBTQ+ YA books arriving this year. I’ve only included ones that have a concrete release date, so we have even more to look forward to!

Which one are you looking forward to the most? Click “Read More” to see the full list!

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