List In Progress: Inclusiveness

Sure, fantasy and sci-fi have increasing diversity now. But a lot of books don’t offer much more than the traditional normative values. On a fantasy thread on Goodreads about a million years ago in Internet Time, a group created a ‘recommended list’ for those that would like to read something more inclusive. For my own use, I’ve tagged books I’ve read and reviewed on this site with have more diverse characters ‘multi-culti.’ I find this list useful for potential reads.

Series that aren’t full of misogyny and racism

The original request also included the caveat that the books not include rape scenes; however, later in the post commenters opened up the topic to include books that addressed rape from an anti-sexist, responsible, and non-gratuitous perspective. The fact remains, though, that some of these books will contain triggering scenes. I recommend you do a little research before buying a title, just to make sure the book is what you’re expecting.

I’ve listed particular authors as well as standalone titles and series’ names. Asterisks indicate authors/series that were recommended multiple times.

  • * Sheri Tepper (recommended by PaulCH)
  • Mary Gentle (recommended by PaulCH)
  • The Flora Segunda series by Ysabeau S. Wilce (recommended by Snail in Danger [Nikki])
  • The Steerswoman series by Rosemary Kirstein (recommended by Snail in Danger [Nikki])
  • Heroes series by Moira J. Moore (recommended by Snail in Danger [Nikki])
  • Cecilia and Kate series by Patricia C. Wrede (recommended by Snail in Danger [Nikki])
  • A College of Magics and When The King Comes Home by Caroline Stevermer (recommended by Snail in Danger [Nikki])
  • Patricia McKillip (recommended by Janny)
  • Jennifer Roberson (recommended by Janny)
  • * Juliet Marillier (recommended by Janny)
  • Guy Gavriel Kay (recommended by Janny)
  • The Masters of Solitude and Wintermind by Parke Godwin and Marvin Kaye (recommended by Janny)
  • * Robin Hobb (recommended by Machavelli)
  • Symphony of Ages series by Elizabeth Haydon (recommended by Betelgeuze)
  • * Chronicles of Elantra series by Michelle Sagara West (recommended by Betelgeuze)
  • Raine Benares series by Lisa Shearin (recommended by Betelgeuze)
  • The Drowning City by Amanda Downum (recommended by Greyweather)
  • * Chalion series by Lois McMaster Bujold (recommended by Phoenixfalls)
  • Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson (recommended by Phoenixfalls)
  • Zoo City by Lauren Beurkes (recommended by Phoenixfalls)
  • * Damar series by Robin McKinley (recommended by Phoenixfalls, with the caveat that there are some ‘vaguely imperialist undertones’. I read and loved those books in my teens, but I was pretty ignorant about racism then.)
  • Chicks in Chainmail short story anthology (recommended by Leigh)
  • Dossouye by Charles R. Saunders (recommended by Milton)
  • Martin Millar (recommended by Kirk, ‘largely because he’s one of the few people in fantasy, specifically urban fantasy, whose treatment of disability (mental and physical) doesn’t drive me up the wall.’)
  • * Ursula K. LeGuin (recommended by Silvio)
  • The Study Series by Maria Snyder (recommended by Tad)
  • * Kate Elliott (recommended by Kernos)
  • Andre Norton (recommended by MrsJoseph)
  • L. A. Banks (recommended by MrsJoseph)
  • * His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman (recommended by mark)
  • Chronicles of Tornor by Elizabeth Lynn (recommended by mark)
  • Brandon Sanderson (recommended by Sandi)
  • * Dreamsnake by Vonda McIntyre (recommended by Sandy)
  • * The Mists of Avalon and Sword and Sorceress series by Marion Zimmer Bradley (recommended by Carolyn)
  • Judith Tarr (recommended by Carolyn)
  • Fern Capel series by Jan Siegel (recommended by Carolyn)
  • Paper Mage by Leah R. Cutter (recommended by Carolyn)
  • Deverry series by Katherine Kerr (recommended by Carolyn)
  • * Mercedes Lackey (recommended by Carolyn)
  • Kristin Cashore (recommended by Carolyn)
  • * Jo Walton (recommended by Carolyn)
  • * Tanya Huff (recommended by Carolyn)
  • Secret Texts series by Holly Lisle (recommended by Carolyn)
  • Jane Yolen (recommended by Carolyn)
  • The Dragon Quartet by Marjorie B. Kellogg (recommended by Carolyn)
  • Mad Kestrel by Missy Massey (recommended by Carolyn)
  • Path and Crosspoint series by Diana Pharoah Francis (recommended by Carolyn)
  • Mother Ocean, Daughter Sea by Diana Marcellas (recommended by Carolyn)
  • Princess series by Dawn Cook (recommended by Carolyn)
  • * Cherie Priest (recommended by Rexton)
  • Lisa Shearin (recommended by Ben)
  • * Elizabeth Bear (recommended by Ben)
  • Ekaterina Sedia (recommended by Ben)
  • * Octavia E. Butler (recommended by Julia)
  • * Nnedi Okorafor (recommended by Julia)
  • Waking the Moon by Elizabeth Hand (recommended by Sarah Pi)
  • Tam Lin by Pamela Dean (recommended by Sarah Pi)
  • Nini Kiriki Hoffman (recommended by Sarah Pi)
  • * N. K. Jemisin (recommended by Deena)
  • Ilona Andrews (recommended by Carol)
  • Sharon Shinn (recommended by new_user)
  • Laura Resnick (recommended by new_user)
  • Patricia Briggs (recommended by new_user)
  • Louise Marley (recommended by new_user)

Whew! I’ll also clarify that I, ahem, ignored the recommendations by the few users who defended the concept of ‘reverse racism‘ and ‘race blindness‘.

And now for the next list. Same qualifications apply to this one as the prior. You may notice a few overlapping authors — that’s intentional. :)

Series featuring well-written people of color

This list shares the first list’s focus on female characters, but isn’t limited to females.

  • * Octavia E. Butler (recommended by k-r)
  • * Nalo Hopkinson (recommended by k-r)
  • Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (recommended by MrsJoseph – this is science fiction, not fantasy)
  • * Zoo City by Lauren Beukes (recommended by MrsJoseph)
  • Neveryon series by Samuel R. Delaney (recommended by MrsJoseph)
  • * Nnedi Okorafor (recommended by MrsJoseph)
  • the first Promethean Age duology by Elizabeth Bear (recommended by MrsJoseph, who also writes, ‘Bear was attempting to subvert a lot of the tropes surrounding race, but opinionsdiffer on whether or not she succeeded or simply reinforced them. (Obviously I think she succeeded, or I wouldn’t recommend these, but YMMV.)’)
  • * N. K. Jemisin (recommended by MrsJoseph)
  • * Earthsea series and Gifts series by Ursula K. LeGuin (recommended by MrsJoseph)
  • The Orphan’s Tales by Catherynne M. Valente (recommended by MrsJoseph)
  • Vampire Huntress series by L. A. Banks (recommended by MrsJoseph)
  • Moon-Flash by Patricia McKillip (recommended by Phoenixfalls)
  • Carnival by Elizabeth Bear (recommended by Phoenixfalls)
  • City of Sorcery (Renunciates #3) by Marion Zimmer Bradely (recommended by Phoenixfalls, who adds, ‘it’s been a lot of years since I read it, so it’s possible it’s been visited by the racism fairy in the interim. Also, you should probably read the other two Renunciate books first. . . and that world is one of the reasons my unconscious goes to that “redheads are perfect” place.’)
  • Ancient Shores by Jack McDevitt (recommended by Samantha)
  • City of Golden Shadow series by Tad Williams (recommended by Samantha)
  • The Oathbound and its sequels by Mercedes Lackey (recommended by Samantha)
  • Cemetary Road by Anthony Garr Haywood (recommended by Johnny)
  • * Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch (recommended by Ala)
  • Once a Hero by Elizabeth Moon (recommended by Karen)
  • Matador series by Steve Perry (recommended by bookstothesky)
  • Laura Anne Gilman (recommended by Carol)
  • * The Long Fall and Known to Evil by Walter Mosley (recommended by Destructo)
  • The Steerswoman series by Rosemary Kirstein (recommended by Carolyn)
  • Cold Magic by Kate Elliott (recommended by Kerry)
  • * Honor Harrington series by David Weber (recommended by Starfire)
  • Charles de Lint (recommended by Julia)

7 Responses to List In Progress: Inclusiveness

  1. Busty Book Bimbo says:

    This is awesome Carol.

  2. Rabindranauth says:

    A lion’s share of these authors are award winners and more. Have you ever come across this site before? Based on this list, I think you may do well on it:

    I think that site essentially redefined how I look at fantasy these days, lol.

  3. C.J. Cherry for the first list? I’ve only read Cyteen, but I really didn’t like the way the rape scene in it was handled.

    You should add Three Parts Dead to the second list!

    • thebookgator says:

      Agree on Three Parts Dead!
      The lists came from a fantasy reading group I was in and I had saved the list at the time because it was so awesome and I didn’t want it lost forever. Maybe that’s a project for me some day–my own list of recommended. I do tag books that are more inclusive or have non-white-straight male and female viewpoints as ‘multi-culti’ as my way of remembering.

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