My first novel will be published in February… As many times as I see or think that phrase, it still seems surreal. To think the months spent writing, editing, submitting, waiting, editing, and waiting some more will finally pay off. I’m still in shock.
For my first foray into fiction (I’ve been publishing professionally for a few years now), I waded right in to science fiction. I’m talking straight up sci-fi here, like a space opera, dykes in space a kind of deal. I’m not denigrating other areas of speculative fiction, I love them all! From fantastic worlds with sorceresses and elves to urban fantasy settings with kick-ass werewolves and seductive vampires, I’ve spent wonderful hours being lost in them.
Since I got the The Hobbit for Christmas when I was eight, I’ve been hooked on sci-fi and fantasy. There’s something about fantastic worlds I find very exciting. While I love me some spec-fic, there’s a special place in my heart for a good, old-fashioned adventure story set among the distant stars. All things are possible on far-flung worlds and in the future.
While I loved the stories I found during my childhood and adolescence, female characters were mostly relegated to supporting characters. They were rarely the lead and I thirsted for a strong female protagonist. When I discovered Mercedes Lackey, I discovered what I hadn’t even realized I’d been missing. Here were female characters and gay characters. The first time I saw myself represented within a novel in the genre was her fantasy novel: Arrows of the Queen. Here was a book where the main character was female and she had gay friends, even a few lesbos! What wasn’t to love? Sure it was fantasy and not my most-beloved sci-fi, but I was hooked.
Imagine my excitement, then, when I discovered Katherine V. Forrest’s Daughters of a Coral Dawn! Finally, there was fiction not only for, but by someone like me! I raced through that and the sequels, then moved on quickly to Jean Stewart’s Isis Rising series. And then I stopped. The pickings suddenly got very slim. As a sub-genre within a sub-genre, lesbian sci-fi hasn’t had the strongest representation. As a group we seem to love our mysteries and thrillers, and of course romance. Oh, the romance!
That’s been changing recently. I think the emergence of urban fantasy as a genre has helped open doors and engendered more interest, and suddenly there’s room for dykes in space once more.
My book, Depths of Blue, is written in a similar vein to other fiction about lesbian utopian societies. But (in fiction anyway) utopias have a dark side and are created in response to something else, something even darker. What happens when a character who was raised in one of those utopian societies ends up alone on a world that couldn’t be more opposite of the one she grew up within? Torrin Ivanov finds out and is forced to place her trust in one who is the product of that alien society. Jak Stowell has more in common with her than Torrin could possibly imagine, but years of subterfuge and concealment make it impossible for her to trust this stranger who has dropped into her lap. She can’t trust Torrin, especially not with the biggest secret of her life: she isn’t a man.
Distant worlds and eras yet to be gave me the opportunity to explore how two different societies might evolve when completely isolated. In the case of Torrin and Jak, their worlds evolved in opposite directions. Hopefully for them, they aren’t so very different that their chance to be together is doomed before they can even start.
Depths of Blue is the first novel in the trilogy On Deception’s Edge. It will be released by Bella Books in February 2015, followed up by Heights of Green, and concluded in A Vortex of Crimson. Check out my website: lisemactague.com for more information on it and upcoming work.
What lesbian sci-fi have you enjoyed? I listed some of the stories that shaped me as a writer, but I know there’s more out there!
Lise MacTague left Winnipeg for the US to attend art school. Her first disappointment about the states was that it wasn’t all palm trees and sand from the Manitoba-North Dakota border. Her second disappointment had to do with health care… Seventeen years later, she’s working as a librarian in Wisconsin and telling everyone in earshot that if they think this is bad, they should try winter in Winnipeg. While she’s been in the US almost as long as she spent growing up in Canada, she identifies as a Canadian.
She writes science fiction and dabbles in painting and sculpting (vestiges of art school). When she needs to blow off steam, she plays hockey or listens to metal.
Connect with Lise on her website: http://lisemactague.com/
Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lise.mactague