Supervillainz is not your normal superhero novel (if indeed there is such a thing). It is a small press publication (from Suspect Thoughts Press) which won something called the Project QueerLit contest and was also a finalist in the transgender category of the Lambda Literary Awards. In the front of the book author Alicia E Goranson says:

This book is dedicated to the next author who writes fun, believable trans folk into popular lit.

Perhaps that means Ian McDonald for Brasyl, but I may be missing someone. Anyway, Goranson does the job. Supervillainz is all about how two plucky trans people (one male, one female) and a bunch of assorted genderqueer friends (which Karen Burnham insightfully described in her ICFA paper as a Scooby Gang) take on a superhero group backed by right wing industrialists. Because there are many different types of trans people, I suspect some trans folks will be very annoyed to find a book that portrays them as part of a sexually enthusiastic lesbian community, but Bit and Devon are indeed fun and believable people and may well be very representative of their particular corner of transdom. Compared to the usual science fiction fare, in which trans people are either used as window dressing or to make a political point, it is all very refreshing. I’m not going to recommend the book as great literature, but it has a lot of interesting things to say. More in Karen’s review.

4 thoughts on “Supervillainz

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Actually, I can’t take credit for the Scooby Gang comment. Somewhere in the promotional material, the author describes her heroes that way.

    This book helped me understand the LGBT/Q (Queer) community a lot better – not as monolithic community but as a lot of individuals. One of the most memorable lines for me was when Ryan says “I wish there were just a little Ryan’s room” or words to that effect.

    And it’s fun! And that’s the important part.

  2. I think it is fair to say that its extreme diversity is both a strength and a weakness of the Queer community.

  3. Honestly, I’m not sure who wrote the “Scooby gang” comment. I stole it from the press materials on the TLA Video website, but I have no idea who wrote it:
    (Link leads to NSFW things)

    I thought that it was too good of a catchphrase to pass up.

    “I suspect some trans folks will be very annoyed to find a book that portrays them as part of a sexually enthusiastic lesbian community”

    Just to explain, in the early 2000’s, many Boston GLBT twenty-somethings were coming together through the community in Jamaica Plain, which was primarily dyke-oriented. It’s a product of the times, I’m afraid. This was the same community that made the anthology “Pinned Down By Pronouns”.

  4. The “Scooby gang” comment certainly is too good to pass up.

    As for images of trans people, the trans community is so wildly diverse that no matter how you portray trans people you are going to end up offending some of them who will cry “but we’re not like that”. The trick is to actually portray trans people that some trans folk will identify with, and Supervillainz does that, while much SF that uses trans ideas does not. So well done you, Alicia.

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