This book explores the ways in which contemporary writers, artists, directors, producers and fans use the opportunities offered by popular fantasy to exceed or challenge norms of gender and sexuality, focusing on a range of media, including television episodes and series, films, video games and multi-player online role-play games, novels and short stories, comics, manga and graphic novels, and board games. Engaging directly with an enormously successful popular genre which is often overlooked by literary and cultural criticism, contributors pay close attention to the ways in which the producers of fantasy texts, whether visual, game, cinematic, graphic or literary texts, are able to play with gender and sexuality, to challenge and disrupt received notions and to allow and encourage their audiences to imagine ways of being outside of the constitutive constraints of socialized gender and sexual identity. With rich case studies from the US, Australia, UK, Japan and Europe, all concentrating not on the critique of fantasy texts which duplicate or reinforce existing prejudices about gender and sexuality, but on examining the exploration of or attempt to make possible non-normative gendered and sexual identities, this volume will appeal to scholars across the social sciences and humanities, with interests in popular culture, fantasy, media studies and gender and sexualities.

chapter |7 pages


ByJude Roberts, Esther MacCallum-Stewart

chapter 1|13 pages

Hiding in plain sight

The invisibility of queer fantasy
ByStephen Kenneally

chapter 2|14 pages

Queering magic

Robin Hobb and fantasy literature’s radical potential
ByLenise Prater

chapter 3|18 pages

‘It takes a pack to raise a child’

Anti-conservatism and non-normative families in Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series
ByKatharine Harris

chapter 4|15 pages

Strange boys, queer boys

Gay representations in young adult fantastic fiction
ByAndrew M. Butler

chapter 5|17 pages

Even better than the real thing

Fantasy and phantasy in Boys’ Love manga
ByAnna Madill

chapter 6|12 pages

Turning people into things

Object relations and posthuman reproduction in weird short fiction
ByLisa Bennett

chapter 7|20 pages

‘Everything’s interconnected’

Anarchy, ecology and sexuality in Lost Girls and Swamp Thing
ByMatthew J.A. Green

chapter 8|16 pages

Playing past the ‘straight male gamer’

From modding Edwin(a) to bisexual Zevran in BioWare games
BySteven Holmes

chapter 9|17 pages

Playing with gender

(Re-)imagining women and men in fantasy board games
ByAdam Brown, Deb Waterhouse-Watson

chapter 10|15 pages

Supernatural hymens and bodies from hell

Screening virginity through the gothic body
ByKatherine Farrimond

chapter 11|17 pages

The tale of the women

Female gender, gender roles, and sexuality in Emma Donoghue’s Kissing the Witch
ByKeridwen N. Luis