7 LGBTQIA+ Authors Write Chilling Speculative Short Stories

LGBTQIA+ authors need more recognition within the horror genre. They are breaking gender norms and stereotypes by tapping into speculative horror!

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3 book covers includes queer fear, singing with all my bone & skin, and her body and other parties

In horror stories, it’s predictable to go the simple slasher route or ghosts. Both are great! Don’t get it twisted; the problem is it can be overused. So instead, we are going to be focusing on speculative horror fiction. What the heck is speculative? It’s a fusion between horror and out-of-this-world fantasy. Essentially, your mind can get a little fuzzy at these strange elements. I’m going to be sharing different speculative fiction horrors that are underrated and need recognition for their art. We will find the best within the LGBTQIA+ community. Let’s get started.

1. Singing With All My Skin and Bone by Sunny Moraine

cover of "singing with all my skin and bone" on left. Sunny Moraine picture on left. LGBTQIA+

When I tell you, there will be a nauseating feeling in the pit of your stomach with a mixture of disbelief and curiosity as you read Sunny Moraine’s stories, I won’t be lying.

“I’m telling you this so you know: I don’t remember when I started eating myself.”

Singing With All My Skin and Bone, Sunny Moraine

Where else do you go? To the following sentence, that’s where! Moraine uses figurative language to convey differing themes that are well mixed in this self-induced journey.

2. Burning Sky by Rachel Pollack

cover of "burning skies" on left. Rachel Pollack on right.

It’s a high chance that you haven’t heard about this beloved collection. If you take a look at Burning Sky, you will come across many inviting stories. Take, for instance, her short story Angel Baby. Late at night, a young girl comes across what she believes to be an angel. He is darkly beautiful, with sharp nails and wings attached to him.

They partake in a sexual encounter but after, she doesn’t see him again. Obsessed with the angel, she vows never to have sex with anyone else except for him. After many years of waiting for the angel’s return, she comes across a painting of the same angel. She meets the painter and soon realizes they also have the same obsession. The two women engage in a sexual relationship because of the bond between the angel. Do you want to know what happens next? Check it out yourself and the rest of her amazing stories!

3. Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree Jr.

book cover of "her smoke rose up forever" on left. Picture of Alice Bradley Sheldon on left.

A classic must be mentioned if we’re discussing speculative fiction. Alice Bradley Sheldon used the pen name James Tiptree Jr. for this collection. Most of her work stemmed from the 70s, and it wasn’t until her untimely death that people recognized Sheldon’s talent. These eighteen amazing short stories reflect complex worlds of differing perceptions, love, sex, death, and questions about what humanity is in this darkly lit world.

4. Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

edit of a book cover for "her body and other parties" There is a quote reads: "I was a creature so small, trapped in some crevice of an indifferent universe." Right side is a picture of Carmen Maria Machado.

I don’t think we can talk about speculative horror without mentioning Machado’s masterpiece. She dives into different elements about women, queerness, and psychological realism mixed with other genres of science fiction, comedy, and horror. The first story, entitled The Husband Stitch, discusses a woman’s green ribbon around her neck and her husband’s desire to touch it. It’s such an odd request, but remember, this isn’t your typical run-of-the-mill story.

5. Sea Swallow Me and Other Stories by Craig Laurance Gidney

Sea Swallow Me book cover on the right. On the left is a picture of Craig Laurance Gidney.

These anthology-driven, out-of-this-world stories will take you on a journey of self-discovery. One short story has resonated with me and hasn’t let go of its grip. Gidney writes Etiolate, where we meet a young black gay man, Oliver, clubbing in a primarily white population. This story calls upon identity, desirability, and the acts of wanting to be desired by white people. It’s hard to describe this terrifying tale of having sex with different partners without giving it away. Still, you must decide for yourself if you can handle what Gidney gives readers!

6. Queer Fear Edited by Michael Rowe

Book cover of Queer Fear

Another anthology-driven horror collection. What’s the difference, you may ask? It’s an endless pothole of many different themes, but this time we have a plethora of talent to choose from: Douglas Clegg, Maciel Marano, Gemma Files, and many more. In 2000, it was considered the best horror anthology of the year and ultimately won the queer horror award.

7. Queer Fear II Edited by Michael Rowe

book cover of Queer Fear II

Yes, there is a sequel to the first. These stories touch upon nightmarish tales, the terror of AIDS, homophobia, and we can’t go without our usual ghostly stories. This series serves representation well while also giving you the same amount of terror you crave, so please take a peek at the sequel!

Horror, if done right, can be the best genre ever created. But within horror, we are limited to the same characters within the story. It’s nice to see representation done correctly with a well-lit horror or speculative fiction setting. Want more LGBTQIA+-themed reads? Click here! Want more horror content? Click here!