Trans Panel Reading List

Suzanne may have some additions to this at some point. These are the books that I can remember us mentioning:

  • Lizard Radio — Pat Schmatz
  • Who Killed Sherlock Holmes — Paul Cornell
  • Gideon Smith and the Mask of the Ripper — David Barnett
  • The Rhapsody of Blood series — Roz Kaveney
  • Luna: New Moon — Ian McDonald
  • Every Heart a Doorway — Seannan McGuire
  • Karen Memory — Elizabeth Bear
  • Eon & Eona — Alison Goodman
  • “Coral Bones” in Monstrous Little Voices — Foz Meadows

There was a question about intersex characters in response to which we mentioned the following:

  • Ilario — Mary Gentle — great on intersex, but essentially contrasts “valid” intersex identities with “invalid” trans identities
  • Pantomime and Shadowplay — Laura Lam — shock reveal and use of circus freak symbolism
  • 2312 — Kim Stanley Robinson — most characters are intersex but this is not explored very deeply

I film/TV we mentioned Sense8, which is on Netflix, and Julie Taymor’s version of The Tempest. I completely mangled the cast on that. It has Helen Mirren as Prospera; Russell Brand is in it, but he plays Trinculo.

You can find Suzanne’s books here, and my short story here. I also have an academic paper on the history of trans themes in SF here. Most of the books mentioned in that didn’t get mentioned in the Finncon panel and we were looking mainly at new stuff.

One fairly new story we didn’t mention is “The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi” by Pat Cadigan, which you can find in Edge of Infinity (Jonathan Strahan, ed.). Pat is in the process of writing a novel based on that story.

The books I mentioned that I have seen recommended but have not read are:

  • The Fifth Season — NK Jemisin
  • Full Fathom Five — Max Gladstone
  • Wake of Vultures — Lila Bowen

If you have any other recently-published recommendations I would love to hear them as I have an essay to write for this.


1. On the plane on the way home I finished reading An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows. I can now add that to the list of recommended books. You don’t find out that one of the supporting characters is trans until the second half of the book, but the way the reveal is done is very well handled. The book is only the first one in a series, but I have a lot of confidence in Foz continuing to gets things right.

2. Vaarna’s comment below has reminded me of two things I should have linked to. First there is Vee’s article in The Gay YA, which is mainly about things to avoid when writing trans characters. Also there’s one by me in Strange Horizons on how to write better trans characters.

3. I also forgot links for my two friends from Bath. Fox Benwell’s author page (still under the old name until the publishers do new editions) is here. You can also find him on Twitter. And the website for Ray Gunn & Starburst, scripted by ‘Olly Rose, is here.

3 thoughts on “Trans Panel Reading List

  1. Great panel! One question though: one of you mentioned an excellent article on how to write transcharacters. You wouldn’t happen to have a link or the name of the article, would you? Thanks again.

  2. Thank you for the reading list, and for a very interesting panel! I will definitely look these up!

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