Getting Wet: Tales of Lesbian Seduction

I knew that would get your attention. If I’d written “RTL Bibliography Updated,” most of you would have ignored this post, right?

That sexy title is only one of the many titles in our Bibliography of Lesbian and Lesbian-Friendly Anthologies of Short Fiction on the RTL site. After the recent update, the list has grown to about 175 entries.

Not all of them are erotica titles, of course. In fact, the scope of the “Bib” is very broad. Our ambition is to record as many anthologies of short stories and poems by and about lesbians and queer-identified women as we can find, both in print and out of print, including those in languages other than English.

Why are we doing this? It just seemed appropriate, since Read These Lips itself is an ongoing lesbian anthologies project with an international bent. Not to mention that some of us on the RTL team are Virgos and therefore obsessively driven to make lists and to organize chaos.

By definition, an anthology is a collection by multiple authors—of lesbian stories, in this case. We couldn’t decide on the cut-off, though. Would a collection by five authors be included in our Bibliography? Sure, why not? Then what about a book by only three? Well, okay, I guess. And so on. We finally decided to include any book of lesbian stories by more than one author. We had to draw the line somewhere, so we don’t include single-author collections.

Since the Bibliography’s purpose is to gather together lesbian stories and poems, the “Lesbian-Friendly” and “Poetry” sections do have some anthologies in which other kinds of stories and poems are included. Leaving these collections out would mean missing many fine lesbian works.

Some of you will probably have noticed that the Bib is not arranged in traditional bibliography format; that is, not by name but by title. The martinet in charge of the duct tape convinced me that browsing by titles would be more fun. After initially balking at this blasphemy, I had to agree. It would be kind of boring to come upon editor after editor’s name with a list of all their titles underneath. This way they’re mixed in with the rest, to be found serendipitously. If you do want to find quickly all the books in the Bib from your favourite editor, you can still do that by simply using the find-on-page search. Eventually, if the Bib becomes too long and unwieldy for browsing, we may reorganize it.

Just an explanation about the link after each entry. When a book is in print, there’s a link to the publisher for more information. When the book is out of print, there’s a link to the WorldCat union catalogue if it includes that title; this catalogue will tell you which of thousands of libraries around the world have the book. There may also be online bookstores, both new and antiquarian, where you can buy it, but we don’t link those.

I hope you enjoy browsing through our Bibliography. Comments and title suggestions are always welcome.

Thanks to our webmaster, Anni, for making the Bib look so good.

Renée (Bibliographer & Copy Editor)


5 Responses

  1. This list (aka: bibliography) is wonderful!!
    I don’t know whether to start with ‘A’ or just jump around.

    Thank you, thank you!

  2. Renee, how did you go about searching for lesbian anthologies to create the Bib, and how easy is it to update the Bib? What’s your favourite or the most interesting anthology you’ve discovered so far?


  3. To answer Evecho’s questions:

    I find titles both by design and by chance, searching in many places. I always check authors’ bios—in books and on their websites—for their publications, in case anthologies are listed that I don’t have. I check the back pages of books for what else is available from that publisher. I routinely check websites of various publishing houses who publish LGBT stuff, not just English-language ones. I check the websites of editors who are known to publish anthologies. I try to keep up on discussion lists, forums, and other sites which advertise new pubs and send out calls for submission to new anthologies. I do subject and keyword searches (in various languages) in online sites such as other bibliographies, booksellers (new and antiquarian), and libraries. And of course I really appreciate it when people send me suggestions.

    Often I have titles with no picture of the book cover, so that might take some extended searching, especially if the book is out of print. Always fun (aha, gotcha!) if I find it.

    Ann should get a lot of credit for the Bibliography as she’s the one who puts it on the website—including all the ongoing corrections and updates—and makes it look so attractive. I know it’s a lot of work, especially keeping the zombies from eating the hyperlinks—I love that, whatever it means.

    I don’t know if I any one anthology stands out for me. One of my favourites, though, is The Golden Age of Lesbian Erotica, 1920-1940 for its historical (not to mention erotic) interest. There are other historical (and scholarly) lesbian anthologies in the Bibliography, too. Those are the most interesting to me from a bibliographer’s perspective, and I’m always pleased when I find another one. There are also many titles on our list that include stories by popular contemporary authors and range from science fiction to romance to erotica to horror to you name it. Something for everybody.

    By the way, soon we’ll be adding a new section to the Bibliography which will be a selected list of one-author collections, also ongoing like the rest of the Bib. “Selected” as in there won’t be any attempt to make it universal and all-encompassing like the listing of anthologies. Strictly speaking these aren’t anthologies, but it seems a disservice to our readers to ignore them. And sometimes we get really excited about an author’s short fiction or poetry and just want to spread the word.

  4. Dang, Renee!
    You should get a raise!!
    I hearby double your pay. You’ll let the Pooh-bah know, ok?

    Art Slave

  5. Hi Anni.
    She’s out buying more duct tape for us irrepressibles. I told her we were tired of the grey kind so she’s gone out to look for purple. She may be a while.

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