Bending the Genres: An aspiring sci-fi writer at the Naked Heart Queer Literary Festival

by MJ Lyons

Steampunk Naked Heart

Toronto, 1893. The bustling Canadian city has stolen the World’s exposition from Chicago due in no small part to the incredible creations and revolutionary inventions of the Teston & Tinker workshop. Airships cloud the skies, a novel automaton driven streetcar system crisscrosses through the streets, a gentle but inquisitive young man is faced with the murder of a foreign dignitary, and must untangle a web of mystery that seems to hinge on the New World Exhibition.

Over the past five years my friends have heard me claim I have “a half-written YA steampunk novel,” but a lack of time and energy as a stereotypical young, poor student has meant that it’s remained half-written, though always there in my mind waiting to be all-written.

This month I’m going to be participating in “BENDING THE GENRES OF SCI-FI, FANTASY & THRILLER,” part of the Naked Heart LGBTQ Festival of Words.

Naked Heart LGBTQ Festival of Words

This weekend long event is being organized and hosted by Glad Day Bookshop, the world’s oldest surviving LGBTQ bookstore. They’re an incredible force in the community, and this festival is as ambitious as it’s going to be amazing.

The reason I wanted to share my little steampunk story on here is because being part of the “Bending the Genres” panel has inspired me to pick up my story and start working on it again, and I think I’ll even be reading a selection of it during the festival! So, I guess, if you’re around Toronto and want to support an aspiring sci-fi writer, come out to this event, and the tons of other amazing events!

Events will have a $5 cover or will be free with a Naked Heart Festival pass, and today is the last day for people to buy a festival pass at the reduced rate of $39. At 11:55pm EST tonight, the passes will increase to $47. (Youth/Senior passes are $25 and will increase to $27. Youth is 24 and under.)

There are over 120 writers & presenters, and all of that money helps pay the writers and ensure Glad Day Bookshop can keep doing this sort of work. $39 gets you $150 worth of events (if you paid for them individually), and I’m planning on going to a bunch of the readings and panels, so you’ll always have a friend to go with!

Hope to see you out there, my queer lit enthusiasts and fellow writers!