For the love of Fantasy.

When I was around ten I discovered an author named David Eddings. That was when I truly learnt how to read. Mechanically I’d been doing reading for years and there had even been occasional joy in it, but the passion didn’t come until I discovered Eddings and his Belgariad series. As an adult I’m not very keen on Eddings but at the time it was a gateway into a completely new and fantastical world (something I’ll be forever grateful for). Everything I could possibly imagine and so many more things which I learnt to imagine were served to me through this author and his various universes. I remember devouring one after the other of the Mallorean books and then spending most of my summer holiday stalking our local library hoping I’d be able to get my hands on the next one. Moping when it wasn’t there, but eagerly returning the next day or the day after that to try my luck again. There began my love affair with the fantasy genre (and libraries, but that’s another story). I’ve held a candle for it ever since.

But as I grew older so many of these stories lost their charm as their content became formulaic or even offensive and over time I’ve drifted a little more towards science fiction and urban fantasy as my go-to genres (even if those two struggle with the same problems but at least they much more often contain interesting female protagonists worth any potential pain). Always the fantastical and imaginative, but the High Fantasy became much less frequently featured in my to-read pile.

This spring a friend pushed me back into my old stomping grounds by firmly suggesting I read Luck In the Shadows and I did. Something that made the passion for the genre return, and with a vengeance. I’d forgotten how much I love to traverse new worlds, learn to navigate their systems of power, of culture and governing, and slowly being invited into and behind their magic. I’ve seriously missed the sword fighting and cheese eating heroes riding across the windy plains and through the thick forests as they hunt the almost unattainable and always mysterious on quests given to them by fate or gods or honour, or all of the above. Luck In the Shadows wasn’t a crystal clear match because I felt it lacked a little in the emotional core of the characters, their relationships and emotions stated clearly on the page but never explored in any real nuance. Even if the writing was good and the world even better. Still this reminded me of old loves and I decided I had to go a-hunting for more Epic/High Fantasy and this time zone in on the ones with a queer content. That’s when I came across Fire Logic by Laurie J. Marks.

Sadly the book is out of print and it took me almost four months to get my hands on a copy, which is such a shame. Honestly, how is it even possible that this classical fantasy with it’s extremely refreshing approach to gender and sexuality is not receiving higher praise and topping all kinds of genre lists!? Or at least remain in print. But maybe people at a large are not interested in reading about well-crafted worlds in which gender is no divider and sexuality a consequence of desire and not a taboo. A world in which emotion and people rule and weave the fabric of reality. I am however. I most certainly am. And this immediately climbed high up on my list of favourites and get to rub elbows with my personal greats such as the Farseer trilogy, Katharine Kerr’s early work, or that adolescent favourite of The Deed of Paksenarrion.

tldr; if you’re looking for good epic fantasy where the protagonist is a lesbian woman of colour find a copy of Fire Logic by Laurie J. Marks.

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~ by Ape on October 27, 2012.

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