Author Melissa Scott on the 2021 #PrideStoryBundle of Queer SF/F

2021 Pride StoryBundle

This year’s Pride Story Bundle is out! And it’s available only for the month of June. Put together by Melissa Scott and Catherine Lundoff, the bundle features ebooks of queer sf/f  to celebrate Pride month and the breadth of LGBTQ science fiction and fantasy. My contribution is Spellbinding–the Magic University anthology of short stories, half by me, half by other writers playing in my sandbox.

Pay what you want to get the main bundle of five books (pictured above) including Catherine Lundoff’s Silver Moon, Melissa Scott’s Burning Bright, AJ Fitzwater’s No Man’s Land, Highfell Grimoires by Langley Hyde, and Dropnauts by J. Scott Coatsworth. If you pay at least $15, though, you get 11 more bonus books, including mine. For deets: https://storybundle.com/pride

Today here on the blog, we have a little interview with Melissa Scott about the book Burning Bright, which is included in the bundle!

Can you tell us about the book you have in this StoryBundle?

Pilot and amateur game-creator Quinn Lioe comes to the planet Burning Bright, an independent world built on trade between the human Republic and the alien empire of the Hsaioi-An. It’s also a hub of the Game, and Lioe is delighted when she’s able to cut a deal to run one of her sessions at a high-level house. But she inadvertently gets involved with an ex-Gamer-turned-artist who is himself deeply enmeshed in local and off-world politics, and finds herself trapped in that new and deadly game. Burning Bright is about the intersection of art and politics, and the many prices one can pay for power.

What do you find engaging or important about writing LGBTQ+/queer fiction?

First, of course, there’s the simple pleasure of writing about my own culture, of creating stories about people who are something like me (though, of course, this being fiction, they’re generally bolder and braver and more dangerous than I usually manage to be). One of the nicest things about the way the field has evolved over the years is that I no longer need to say “I’m writing the books that I wanted to read but couldn’t find” — there is so much good queer fiction out there now.

Second, though, and perhaps more importantly, I think that queer culture is itself a unique and valuable world, full of stories that everyone can enjoy. We are shapeshifters, mask-wearers, flaunting and stealthy, quarrelsome and fiercely protective of each other; we find family in the most unlikely places, and the bonds we invent are as strong as any ties of blood. Of course there are stories there.

What other books or stories do you have out that readers of this StoryBundle might enjoy?

If you like Burning Bright, I think you would like Finders, a story of a team of salvage operators — a m/m/f threesome — who get more than they bargained for when they claim a piece of an Ancestral orbital palace. If you’re more of a fantasy reader, you might like Water Horse, just out from Candlemark & Gleam. It’s the story of the queer king of a beleaguered kingdom, trying to twist free of the prophecies that say he will destroy his own kingdom.

Aside from your own work, what are some of your favorite queer reads you would recommend to folks?

Oh, there’s so much! I’d recommend everything in this bundle, for a start, and then, in no particular order, half a dozen faves: Elizabeth Bear, Karen Memory (I’m a sucker for steampunk Westerns); KJ Charles, The Casebook of Simon Feximal and Spectred Isle (I’m also a sucker for Edwardian ghost stories, and these are brilliant updates); Craig Laurence Gidney, A Spectral Hue (another sort of ghost story, deep and evocative); Jo Graham, Stealing Fire (historical fantasy set in the aftermath of Alexander the Great’s death); Ginn Hale, Wicked Gentlemen (theoretically tamed demons); Jacqueline Koyanagi, Ascension (space opera with an all-too-true take on family). And there’s more out there, particularly from small presses.

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