As is undoubtedly no surprise to anyone who’s heard of me, I really really love giving recommendations for books featuring asexual characters. As a reader and writer on the asexual spectrum, this is a topic near and dear to my heart. I’ve seen plenty of recommendations lists that are about asexual characters or that include asexual characters that repeat the same books over and over. Indeed, I’ve seen recommendations lists that explicitly stated that the handful of books the writer managed to find was all the asexual fiction out there. Considering it was missing several easy-to-find well-known and traditionally published books by respected authors… I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
But it is true that, for many readers, books with asexual characters in them are difficult to find. Many aren’t readily available in bookstores even when they’re pretty popular and well-respected. When I was in Cambridge, I saw displays of several books nominated for the Hugo Awards because they were nominated for the Hugo Awards, but Every Heart a Doorway? Couldn’t find a single copy anywhere. Not on display and not on the shelves. They didn’t stock it. And I wish I could say it was just one bookstore, but it was every major chain I visited. Likewise, in libraries you’ll have more luck finding books featuring asexual characters if you already know the titles before you enter. In both cases, you’ll probably have to ask the staff to order a copy specifically, so venturing into bookshops or libraries and hoping to find books featuring asexual characters just isn’t likely to happen.
Especially in combination with the way recommendation lists for books with asexual representation are usually styled, this difficulty to find books if you don’t already know they exist feeds into a negative spiral where recommendations lists repeat the same books over and over with the same note that this is all there is or this is all the writer could find. Yet there is so much more available to readers…
This is a series that aims to present small lists of books featuring asexual characters with some brief personal commentary on the books. Each list consists of 3 books centred around a single, relatively broad theme. While, sadly, I have had to restrict my recommendations lists to 3 books instead of the more usual 5 found in recommendations lists, each list does consist of 3 unique books. There are no repeats of titles in this series of recommendation posts. This series consists of 10 posts for a total of 30 books featuring asexual characters in various roles.
Unless otherwise noted, assume that books mentioned either seem to assume all asexuals are aromantic or that they’ll erase aromanticism altogether.
I hope you’ll find something terrific to read in these lists! Most all categories have more than three books I could put there, but as I mentioned I only had space for a handful of books or stories. If you’d like to see even more of then, check out Claudie Arseneault’s database of aromantic and asexual (speculative) fiction, which features many more books starring asexual characters!
This week’s theme is…
3 Thriller/Horror Books with Asexual Characters
This week’s topic is thrillers and horror books! This is very much not my genre, so I don’t quite know where to draw the line between thrillers and horror (or, for that matter, horror and dark fantasy), so it was a bit harder for me than usual to find 3 books that fit one genre or a good overarching title for the lot of them.
Still, these are some lovely books and I’m excited to share them with you, so without further ado…
When a technology company can buy your personal freedom Scott is a hacker ready to prove that a single voice can be a powerful weapon.
Scott’s skills as a surveillance expert are useful when he’s breaking down firewalls. But hacktivism isn’t enough; he’s going after the holy grail—UltSyn’s Human Information Drives, human assets implanted with cerebral microchips. After digging deeper into restricted databases, he discovers that those who enlist with UltSyn get far more than they bargained for. Plunged into a world of human trafficking and corporate espionage, Scott is determined to find his sister, no matter the cost. But when the information reveals the people closest to him have been working for UltSyn all along, he has to find her—before UltSyn finds him.
This is a near-future thriller. It’s a little too light on the details of futuristic tech for me to feel really comfortable calling it science fiction, but you could also put it there.
Scott, if I recall, is graysexual, but I could be wrong. Claudie’s database lists him as biromantic asexual. He’s a delightfully sarcastic and witty narrator and I adore his banter with Sonia. It’s a fast-paced, action-packed near-future hacktivist thriller.
After attacking Devil’s Reef in 1928, the U.S. government rounded up the people of Innsmouth and took them to the desert, far from their ocean, their Deep One ancestors, and their sleeping god Cthulhu. Only Aphra and Caleb Marsh survived the camps, and they emerged without a past or a future.
The government that stole Aphra’s life now needs her help. FBI agent Ron Spector believes that Communist spies have stolen dangerous magical secrets from Miskatonic University, secrets that could turn the Cold War hot in an instant, and hasten the end of the human race.
Aphra must return to the ruins of her home, gather scraps of her stolen history, and assemble a new family to face the darkness of human nature.
Winter Tide is the debut novel from Ruthanna Emrys, author of the Aphra Marsh story, “The Litany of Earth”–included here as a bonus.
Winter Tide is a sequel, of sorts, to Shadows over Innsmouth, but you don’t have to read it to be able to follow the narrative along. I know next to nothing about Lovecraftian lore and I was fine when it comes to interpreting the narrative. However, Winter Tide does directly address some of Lovecraft’s problematic aspects, such as misogyny and if you want to be able to understand what Emrys is doing there you’ll need to have read that story prior to picking up Winter Tide if not even more of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu myhos.
I’d argue that it’s closer to dark fantasy than outright horror too, but it’s just about the only horror novel I know of that stars an asexual character.
There are no happy endings here.
In the town of Inverse, Silvino and Scott Orellano discover the darkness in their deepest hearts. At the cusp of a new life, Kane Orwell learns terrible truths whispered by a black and eldritch mouth. Torn between one identity and another, Shania Logan struggles to hold on to the fragments of her self.
And standing on the threshold of the afterlife, a grieving wife balances between life and death on the flicker of a candle’s flame.
Four tales of horror, written from a queer perspective. In this collection of short stories and novellas, our heroes and heroines will explore the depths of terror both macabre and mundane–and live their darkest fears, reflected in the whites of their eyes.
As you can see, The Whites of Their Eyes is actually a collection of horror stories, rather than a book on its own. I can’t find too much about it, so I don’t know which of the four stories contains ace rep. I can only say the author’s confirmed it. Like I said, it’s not my genre at all, so I really don’t know much about these except that by all accounts these are a terrifying read, so if you like horror this may appeal to you.
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