Guest blog by M.D. Neu
Why are Science Fiction and Fantasy so important to the queer community? It’s simple really; these two genres can show the world, or a world, as we want to see it and as we hope it to become one day. These worlds can show being queer isn’t anything different than being straight. Sci-Fi and Fantasy show worlds where queer authors can make the rules and build in what we want to see. What some people miss in these genres, is that they have always been a way for writers to explore the ‘other’ in a safe space.
Back in the early days of Science Fiction and Fantasy metaphors were huge. Readers may not approve of two men falling in love, but an alien falling in love with a human, that was fine. You see this in Fantasy too. Elves, Hobbits, Gnomes, Dwarves, etc. can and have been stand-ins for the Queer community. They all reflect the other. The outsider, but people didn’t always equate the two, many did of course, but for others these beings were only there to tell the story and show the world, they were nothing more or less. But, the seed was planted and people, might after reading the story, start to see their world in a different light. In a more welcoming and accepting light.
Of course, not every writer uses metaphor in this manner or goes to any length to cloak queer subtext, but as any reader will tell you there are many examples where this is the case. When you look at Science Fiction and Fantasy as a whole you realize how groundbreaking the genres have been. These stories, not only books but visual media as well, are a safe haven to explore current social issues, look no farther than Star Trek and the kiss between Kirk and Uhura (Shatner and Nichols). When it comes to Fantasy one only needs to look to JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series, of course the queer undertones are open to interpretation but for me Frodo and Sam always seemed a bit more than friends. Another pairing we can observe is Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac and Lestat de Lioncourt, they are never stated explicitly as a couple, but Louis and Lestat always came off as damaged lovers to me.
With these examples in mind and understanding that readers will bring their own story to whatever novel they read, it’s easy to understand why Science Fiction and Fantasy are favored genres amongst the queer community. Writers may not always agree with these interruptions of their stories and their characters, but they, in one form or another, manage to address greater issues in their works for us, the readers, to learn from and to hopefully grow from. As we continue our march into the twenty-first century expect to see more and more writers from all spectrums to infuse their stories with social issues and social commentary. And expect to see more and more of it in the mainstream. These stories may not be as up front as an, open out and proud, ACE character having a meaningful relationship, or a non-binary person being the hero of a story, but undertones will be there and should be looked at, explored, and celebrated.
M.D. Neu (he/him) When M.D. Neu and his husband aren’t off playing at Disney, Neu is an award winning inclusive queer author who writes epic Sci Fi, Fantasy, and Paranormal stories that reflect our diverse community. When not hanging with Mickey Mouse and the gang, Neu works for a non-profit trying to save the world one report at a time. Oh, and he also bakes!
Visit his Website here.
He will be reading during the sci-fi and fantasy hour (Reading A2). Check out the full IQARUS schedule HERE!