A few months ago, I asked where are all the M/M queer books? Since then, I discovered where: fanfiction and indie publishers.
Earlier this year, Archive of Our Own user centeroftheselights compiled a list of the top 100 ships of all time. The vast majority of the ships on that list are men loving men. In fact, it’s 12 places until a M/F pair appears (Rey/Kylo Ren from Star Wars), 23 until a Gen pair appears (Peter Parker & Tony Stark from the Marvel Cinematic Universe), and 32 until a F/F pairing appears (Kara/Lena from Supergirl).
On the indie publisher side, my conclusion is mostly based on anecdotal evidence gathered by me on my pseudo-regular hunt for more queer contemporary romance. If you browse the selections available at Carina Press, for instance, you’ll notice that the numbers for M/M titles are much higher than the F/F ones. The same is true for Riptide Publishing.
I believe the question still stands for where the M/M love is with regards to traditional publishing. And while I continue to look into that, with what I hope to be verifiable evidence and researched conclusions, here is a list of M/M books currently in my TBR pile that I believe are also worth adding to yours.
Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo
It seems everyone is talking about this book lately. From the discussions I’ve been seeing, it is very gay but it is also very Southern. It’s also little more than gothic, atmospheric vibes until you get over halfway through the book, and then you can’t put it down. A great book if you are looking for something spooky where a lot of meaning comes from the subtext.
The Route of Ice and Salt by Jose Luis Zarate, translated by David Bowles
I had this book on me with the intention of reading it for Halloween (and then I did very little reading in October). I did read the introduction, which explained that this story was originally written in the 1990s and made a big wave in Mexico’s queer scene. This new translation was recently released and worth a read if you’re into lyrical prose singing the music of being a gay man stuck with other men on a ship. History aside, this tells the story of the sailor transporting Dracula’s coffin from Transylvania to England. Vampire gay shenanigans ensue, I’m told.
The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune
I’ve mentioned TJ Klune before when I recommended his novel The House in the Cerulean Sea. He also has another novel out (Under the Whispering Door) which is also on my list. But I want to talk about The Extraordinaries, which is the first book of his young adult trilogy. The story follows a teenaged fan who writes fanfiction, and then meets the object of his affection which completely turns his life around. Come for the fandom meta, stay for the endearing characters.
The Protectorate Series by Megan E. O’Keefe
This is a completed series that starts with Velocity Weapon, continues with Chaos Vector, and concludes with Catalyst Gate. As the series grows, the cast becomes more an ensemble cast and less focused on Sanda and her brother, and that ensemble cast includes their gay fathers, a gay criminal that happens to be one of their father’s exes, and NAME himself who starts a romance with another man in the second book. Very queer-friendly series, and despite the physical books being absolute bricks, I got through them pretty quickly.
Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell
I actually read this one and enjoyed it a lot. Two political figures are brought together through an arranged marriage, and somehow their marriage is the center plot of a conspiracy that they are trying to uncover before an intergalactic war can break out of a . . . you know what, that’s not important. What’s important is two people are shoved together with very little choice in the matter. BUT WAIT, for political reasons, they have to look like they’re a happy couple! There are a lot of things I like in this book. Yearning? Yep. Fake relationship? Check. Arranged marriage? Love it. There was only one bed? Be still my heart.
I totally missed something. Tweet me your M/M book recommendations @CallMeKT_91! I would love to hear from you.