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o t h e r k i n - r e l a t e d b o o k s a n d m e d i a
compiled by Arethinn
ongoing early 2000s-present
My definition of "otherkin-related" is fairly loose for the purposes of this list. There are some items (particularly books) that are about or directly mention/relate to otherkin as such, but not very many of these exist. Therefore, a lot of items in these lists are there because they might be of interest to otherkin for one reason or another: they offer lore or depictions of a certain 'kin-type, they have a feeling of glamour/the Majik, they are related to spiritual traditions otherkin are commonly involved in, etc.
That said, generally I have not included things that make only very brief mentions of otherkin. If that kind of thing interests you, you may want to check out Orion Scribner's Books About Otherkin and Therianthropes: An Annotated Bibliography , which is more comprehensive in that regard. They also maintain a Directory of Otherkin Writings and Other Works , which mingles all kinds of shorter works together.
Please note that a listing here does not necessarily constitute a personal endorsement. Some of these are old recommendations from other people I collected back in the early 2000s, and I haven't personally read/viewed/listened to them all.
For further reading (pun intended), see also: the Media category on AnOtherWiki, Wildmuse's Bibliography of Faerie , and the bibliography from GURPS Faerie (yes, really!).
Non-Fiction | Fiction and Poetry | Film & TV | Music | Not Recommended
Elves | Faery/Sidhe | Tuatha De Danann | Dragons | Unicorns | Other Types | Urban Fantasy | Fantastic Realms, Magic, Dreams | Science Fantasy / Speculative Fiction / Misc
You'll actually turn up a surprising amount of hits on Amazon these days if you use "otherkin" as a keyword (this definitely did not use to be the case!). Take the results with a large serving of salt, however. Many of them are misusing the term, sometimes in ways that seem exploitative to me, and do not actually mean roughly "people who feel that their soul, energy, etc. is that of a mythical or fantastic being".
Urban fantasy is a useful genre to look in to find otherkin-relevant fiction. Whereas classic or high fantasy features a completely fantastic setting (although frequently based on a mishmosh of ideas about medieval, Renaissance, or early modern Europe), in urban fantasy the magic and otherworldly beings are set against an otherwise "normal" modern backdrop, just as the lives of actual otherkin are. Of course, there's plenty of straight fantasy that is germane to otherkin too; often certain details about races or realms will resonate and form a useful point of reference to say "my kind of ____ were sort of like that".
(I'm aware that some of the links to Green Man Review are broken, but they've been through a couple of website changes since 2012 and by this point -- 2019 -- I think that the ones that are still missing are just going to be that way.)
Elves (return to top)
J. R. R. Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings; The Silmarillion; and various other works (many posthumous) dealing with the "Legendarium". Perhaps more clichéd than ever for otherkin since the release of Peter Jackson's films, but still one of the grandaddies. The Elves are the thing most obviously related to otherkin (hence the inclusion in this section), but angelics might find relevance in the Valar or Maiar, and I've known a person or two who said they were a hobbit. The ideas of half-elven people and of humans carrying non-human blood in their ancestry also appear.
Gael Baudino. Strands of Starlight; Maze of Moonlight; Shroud of Shadow; Strands of Sunlight. The elves in these books are said to be "starlit", which is a self-description that works well for a number of elven otherkin. In the first book the protagonist effectively transforms from human to elven, as well. Personally, I enjoyed the first two more than the last two (if I remember correctly, Shroud of Shadow especially gets quite dark, no pun intended), but your mileage may vary. See also the novella collection set in the same universe, Spires of Spirit; Rialian Ashtae especially recommends the story "The Shadow of the Starlight" (previously published in the April 1985 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction).
Wendy and Richard Pini. ElfQuest . Presents a variety of elf body and culture types, from tall, slender, and artistic to smaller-than-human and feral, living in a variety of environments besides just the stereotypical forest. The print collections are out of print and pricy on the used market, but fortunately, the entire series is available to read online at ElfQuest.com ! As of late 2013, there is now a new series available in comic shops, ElfQuest: The FInal Quest , which is also available in EQ's online comic viewer .
The Silver Elves. Caressed by An Elfin Breeze: The Poems of Zardoa Silverstar . "These are some of the poems of Zardoa Silverstar. ... Some of these poems are from songs that he wrote, many of them from over 30 years ago. ... They are all, to us at least, evocative in their way of Elven Magic."
Bernhard Hennen. The Elven. A Germanic/Norse flavor, but does not follow that lore as such. Epic in scope, with the protagonists jumping across time through gates (basically the confluence of ley-lines) and the reader given a long view of changes in the world over time. Several people in reviews compare it to The Lord of the Rings in respect of the sense of vast history, and I would agree.
C.J. Cherryh. The Dreaming Tree, which contains the novels The Dreamstone and The Tree of Swords and Jewels, known as the Ealdwood stories or sometimes "Arafel's saga" after the name of their protagonist. ("Elf" and "sidhe" are both used in this book, but I consider its feel more elven.)
The Bordertown series. This features "a city on the border between our human world and the elfin realm. Where both magic and technology refuse to follow anyone's rules. Where Elves play in rock bands and race down the street on spell-powered motorbikes. Where human kids recreate themselves in the squats and clubs and artists' studios of Soho." A variety of authors have written short stories and novels in this shared universe. There are some sample stories and poems here . Check out:
Terri Windling and Mark Alan Arnold (eds.), Borderland and Bordertown
Terri Windling (ed.), Life on the Border
Will Shetterly, Elsewhere and Nevernever -- you can read the first chapter of Elsewhere, "On the Elflands Express", here
Emma Bull, Finder -- read the first chapter, "Falling Out of Paradise", here
Terri Windling and Delia Sherman (eds.), The Essential Bordertown (see the Green Man review )
Holly Black and Ellen Kushner (eds.), Welcome to Bordertown
Faery/Sidhe (return to top)
(See also the urban fantasy section below.)
White Wolf. Changeling: The Dreaming. (The 1997 2nd ed. is superior to the 1995 1st ed. in terms of gameplay, but if you're just interested in the concepts and atmosphere, it may not matter much.) An old joke among 'kin used to be "okay, who blabbed?" Yes, it's a role-playing game, hence my listing it as fiction, but some of the concepts are intriguingly close to how things actually seem to work for some people: banality vs. glamour; the importance of dreams and creativity; the existence of chimerical, that is, spiritual/noncorporeal creatures; sidhe or Tuatha de Danann houses; freeholds and balefires; etc. (The New World of Darkness analogue, Changeling: The Lost, trades on much different concepts.)
Parke Godwin. The Last Rainbow. An imaginative interpretation of (not-yet-Saint) Patrick trying to spread Christianity among the Faerie people, or Prydn, as they call themselves. This is a literal, physical small-dark-elder-race setting, rather than the Prydn being supernatural with respect to humans, although there is a fantasy take on both pagan and Christian magic in it.
Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi. The Spiderwick Chronicles.
Eloise McGraw. The Moorchild. A changeling tale about a half-human, half-"moorfolk" (read: faery or elven) girl banished to live among humans.
Gael Baudino. Gossamer Axe. An ancient Celtic harper emerges in the 1980s and forms a heavy metal band in order to free her lover from faery prison. (Yes, really.) Involves themes of magic, Druidry, musical theory, lesbian relationships, and feminism.
William Shakespeare. A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Laurell K. Hamilton. Merry Gentry series: A Kiss of Shadows; A Caress of Twilight; Seduced by Moonlight; etc. Features sidhe, other faery creatures of Seelie and Unseelie courts, and plenty of sex. It wasn't ever much more than erotica with a magical cast on it, but even given that, general opinion still seems to be that the later books lose something. Still, I found some aspects of the depiction of sidhe to be relevant.
Holly Black. Tithe; Valiant; and Ironside. "Sixteen-year-old Kaye Fierch is not human, but she doesn't know it. Sure, she knows she's interacted with faeries since she was little--but she never imagined she was one of them, her blond Asian human appearance only a magically crafted cover-up for her true, green-skinned pixie self." I've only personally read Tithe, but I find it worth recommending.
James A. Hetley. The Summer Country. From the review at Green Man : "The Summer Country evokes some of the best of Charles de Lint, with roots both in gritty urban reality, and a fantastic otherworld filled with dangers and magic. [...] In short, they're the Fae of Tam Lin, of Thomas the Rhymer, of La Belle Dame Sans Merci, the otherworldly creatures named the Fair Folk because you fear or respect them, but don't know or trust them."
Luna Lindsey. Emerald City Dreamer. I was afraid at first this was going to be a human-hunters-only tale with the fae solely framed as monsters/bad guys, but the story definitely unfolds into something more sympathetic and complex on all sides, including a starcrossed romance between one of the hunters (who is a "dreamer", I suppose the eponymous one of the title) and one of the fae. The influence of ideas from Changeling: the Dreaming seems pervasive to me, which may put some off, but I was fine with it. For example, the concept that human creativity generates "toradh" or "aisling" which fae feed off of (glamour in Changeling terms); the power or force of fae magic in general is referred to as glamour, not just a specific tighter meaning of illusion; there are good and bad ways of taking glamour from dreamers, only taking what is given freely or instead "Rending" (in Changeling there are Reverie, Rapture, Rhapsody and Ravaging); and an otherworld called "The Dream" which overlaps in some places with the mundane world, but also goes much deeper (cf. Changeling's world of "The Dreaming"). The book uses the term "faeborn" to mean fae spirits born into human bodies, an idea which may sound familiar to real-world otherkin, some of whom use the same word. I wonder if it is coincidence or whether the author found it online and decided to use it. One thing that annoyed me is that the various spells characters (mostly Jina) utter are all on the level of bad children's doggerel. I am not sure if this is a weakness of the author or done intentionally to represent that they are not very good at it, but it kind of made it difficult to believe they would have the power they do in-universe. (And if Jina writes songs for her band that are at all popular even in an indie-scene sense, should she be bad at this kind of thing?) Overall, though, it's a shame that the sequels to this book never materialized.
Seanan McGuire. October Daye series. I have personally only read the first book, Rosemary and Rue. The reviews were pretty polarized, some characterizing the protagonist as "whiny" or "ineffectual", but I liked it. "The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose, one of the secret regents of the San Francisco Bay Area, pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening’s dying curse, Toby must resume her former position as knight errant to the Duke of Shadowed Hills and begin renewing old alliances that may prove her only hope of solving the mystery...before the curse catches up with her."
Emma Bull. War for the Oaks. On Green Man Review : "When the Fey go to war, then, what’s to give the matter any weight? If everyone’s immortal, what makes this battle any different from children jousting with wooden swords? Simple. The presence of a mortal, bound to the effort, whose existence and presence convey mortality to the Fey. So long as Eddi’s on the battlefield … the Fey can bleed and die just like any human. That’s why Eddi’s drafted. To serve as the harbinger of death to the deathless, to bring mortality to the immortal, and to serve as the price the Fey must pay for their war."
John T. Kruse. Albion Awake! Recommended with some reservations. "...follows the enchanted adventures of John Bullen as he travels in time and space, meeting inspirational figures from England's past and devising a plan to save present day Albion from its plight. The island is sick, damaged by pollution and poverty, and the fairy queen, Maeve, recruits John to save it." The book has a good message about proper human relationship to the land, but it is very much that: A Message Piece, heavy handed about its politics. It's also extremely dialogue heavy, including some looong bits taking up nearly an entire page in a single pargraph. I'm not sure it would appeal to people who don't already agree with its points. However, it's an interesting depiction of the Other Folk, and preferable to the author's The Elder Queen.
Tuatha De Danann (return to top)
Dennis Sweet. The Shee. Recommended with reservations. It's an extradimensional/extraterrestrial take on the sidhe. Warning for gratuitous violence (rather gross-out campy and schlocky in my opinion, but gruesome).
From its self-description: "A sídh ('shee'), or 'fairy mound,' has been discovered in western Ireland: the oldest artificial structure in the world. When opened, a rash of bizarre and inexplicable events occur throughout the region. A young American anthropologist and his friends try to understand the significance of these events in light of what was found in the shee...and what escaped from it."
The actual nature of the characters who turn out to be incarnated Tuatha De Danann, or the "Tribe" as they call themselves, is very interesting and creative, bordering on science fiction. I was annoyed by astronomical details, though. (The nights depicted seemed too long -- near Sligo at the end of June sunset should be after 9 PM and sunrise around 4 AM -- and Orion is not a summer constellation, dangit.) Also, I was over halfway through the book before things started to get interesting -- I think the first half could have been cut down quite a bit -- and everything kind of flies together again in a blur in the last 5%. There are some elements of spy intrigue, who's-really-the-traitor stuff that didn't appeal to me, but may to others.
Patricia Kennealy-Morrison. The Keltiad: The Silver Branch; The Copper Crown; The Throne of Scone. Recommender said this was "Tuatha de Danann in space."
Dragons (return to top)
(See also Baxil's list of urban fantasy books featuring dragons.)
Anne McCaffrey. Dragonriders of Pern novels. There are many of these, but I recommend the "original trilogy" Dragonflight, Dragonquest, and The White Dragon, plus the "Harper Hall Trilogy" of Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, and Dragondrums. In these "core" books the society is mostly Renaissance to early-modern in character, and the telepathic dragons partner with special humans to protect Pern from an extraplanetary threat known as Thread. Other books tell the higher-tech backstory, or stories in the same time period but about different characters. See the Wikipedia article on Dragonriders of Pern for further information.
Bob Eggleton and John Grant. Dragonhenge and The Stardragons.
Unicorns (return to top)
Peter S. Beagle. The Last Unicorn. A unicorn questing for others of her kind gets turned into a human girl. Addresses themes such as the wrongness of the body, and it is mentioned that she will forget being a unicorn if she stays human too long.
Bruce Coville. The Unicorn Chronicles series: Into the Land of the Unicorns, Song of the Wanderer, Dark Whispers (2008), The Last Hunt (2010).
Simon Skiles. Memoirs of a Unicorn: Sanctuary. Recommended with reservations. I think this was written by a unicorn otherkin. I'm not sure if this is based on his memories, but it's presented as fiction. Overall, not too bad. The journey to find a safe place may not be the most original plot, but was serviceable. The different personalities of the unicorns, elves, and humans were all fairly well rendered. However, it left me feeling unsatisfied. I found it rather mixed up as to its setting in time and geographically; I had a hard time figuring out if it was in primeval Africa, a pseudo-medieval pseudo-Europe, or what. It seemed to have odd ideas about biology that made unicorns some kind of magical subspecies of horses (or at least that they interbreed). For example, I found descriptions of some of the unicorns' reactions odd. Feeling emotions is fine, but how can they grin, or frown, or blush, or cry? And I never understood how they made sounds with their horns -- are they supposed to be hollow, or something? (Yes, it appears to be physiological, not magic.) Also, there's a lot of violently orphaned characters, which I found myself getting a bit tired of. But I can see how some unicorns might find value in this.
Other Types (return to top)
Tad Williams. Tailchaser's Song. Semi-anthropomorphized cats, in the vein of the rabbits in Watership Down. The bits of cat-language are very neat, and seemed to function well as "words of power" for me when I was a teenager and young adult.
Storm Constantine. The Grigori Trilogy: Stalking Tender Prey; Scenting Hallowed Blood; Stealing Sacred Fire. Whoever recommended this for an old version of this list said "for angelics." In Western magical tradition the Grigori are the Watchers , a group of angels.
Cynthia Hand. Unearthly. "When Clara Gardner learns she’s part angel, her entire life changes. She now has a purpose, a specific task she was put on this earth to accomplish, except she doesn’t know what it is." This was recommended by an acquaintance on Dreamwidth.
Various authors. Shifting Hearts. A collection of seven short stories featuring otherkin of various types (in the broad sense of "anyone non-human", not just mythfolk). If these authors are not all otherkin or therians themselves, then they did good jobs researching. The seven stories are about a raven (or "sea raven" is said in the text, but Google tells me that is a a fish, and the story is definitely about an avian experience); some kind of alien beast; a margay (a kind of small wild cat) and a dhole (a kind of wild dog); possibly some sort of alien or otherworldly person (it was never made clear in the story); an angel; a wolf, coyote, and magpie; and a dragon. I wish that a couple more mythological sorts had been included, like an elf, sidhe, or faery, but for as short as it is, it's quite good.
Ashlyn Nafina. Soar. Written by an otherkin, based on their memories of their home world of winged people. From its self-description: Aile’s France is not too different from the one we know. The zeppelins fly overhead, shuttling passengers from city to city. The cars drive by, business continues as usual. Then one day a parallel universe touches hers, and suddenly everything changes. 'Les volants' soar through the skies like angels. Dreams become real. What isn’t possible?
Urban Fantasy (return to top)
Charles de Lint. Very enjoyable renderings of faery and magic at the edge of normal perception, and hiding right in the middle of the modern world. He set a bar for urban fantasy. Pretty much any title will be good, but see especially: Jack of Kinrowan; Dreams Underfoot; Memory and Dream; Moonheart; Spirits in the Wires. The book The Riddle of the Wren is closer to being regular fantasy, but the "home base" the story starts in is a kind of alternate Earth, and the first world the heroine jumps to seems to me to be a far-future ruined New York.
On The Wild Wood, from the review at Green Man : "It's a haunting that is peculiarly suited to an artist, to see things in one's work that one did not put there. But Eithnie's haunting grows; the creatures in her pictures step out into the world around her, and she begins to see them everywhere in the familiar woods around her home, overwhelming her with the beauty and terror of the unknown." Illustrations by Brian Froud.
Michael Reaves. Street Magic.
Neil Gaiman. Neverwhere. A secret magical world under the streets of London.
Ian McDonald. King of Morning, Queen of Day. From the review at Green Man : "Fans of Charles de Lint will delight in Enye's sword-wielding encounters with pookas and other mythic creatures in the back alleys and underpasses of modern Ireland. Anyone who has read Robert Holdstock as well as de Lint will certainly find ley lines of similarity between McDonald's "phaguses," Holdstock's "mythagos," and de Lint's "numena." Like his fellow authors, McDonald also asks serious questions about our modern, civilized world, which seems so stripped of the numinous."
Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon. Bedlam's Bard. From the review at Green Man: "Even after he makes it back home to L.A., with the aid of some sympathetic friends, he finds that life is stranger than ever before. For one thing, there's an elf in his apartment. A pointy-eared, cat-eyed, too-beautiful-for-words elf, wearing Eric's best cloak and making himself at home in Eric's apartment."
Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill. Beyond World's End. From the review at Green Man: "No one ever said it was easy to be a Bard in New York. Luckily, he's got friends and his own Bardic magic, and hopefully he'll be able to stop a three-way war between the good guys, the Sidhe, and the drug producers before it gets out of hand."
Terri Windling. The Wood Wife. From the review at Green Man : "Windling's Arizona desert comes alive with fey beings, shapeshifters small and great that are as mysterious and amoral as any European Fair Folk, yet practical and earthy and distinctively Native American in their coloration."
Dennis Danvers. Wilderness. From the review at Green Man: "With Wilderness we are exposed to the concept of werewolves living amongst us. In fact, one is living right next door to college professor Erik Summers, one he has actually met and spoken with in regard to her status as a career student."
India Drummond. Blood Faerie.
Ron C. Nieto. The Wild Hunt.
Fantastic Realms, Magic, Dreams (return
Robert Holdstock. Ryhope Wood series: Mythago Wood; Lavondyss; The Bone Forest; The Hollowing; Merlin's Wood; Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn; Avilion. A magical wood spawns mythic creatures from the minds and ancestral memory of those who enter it. This series just doesn't fit in any one category. It's part magical world, part dreams, part urban fantasy, part deep ancestral myth. The books are not a series in the linear sense (although you can place the events within them in a chronological order), but rather a collection of stories all looking in on the same wood from the view of different characters at different times, rather like the several paths into Ryhope Wood itself.
C. S. Lewis. The Chronicles of Narnia. Immersive fantasy.
Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Adventures in a bizarre dreamland with creatures and plants that talk, as well as plenty of nonsense that makes sense.
L. Frank Baum. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. A somewhat similar feel to Alice, though different characters and setting; bizarre and fantastical. Oz is one of those places that has old, old etheric reality, if not historical reality.
J. M. Barrie. Peter Pan. A boy who decides to never grow up lives in fantasy land with pirates, fairies, and all kinds of stuff.
P. L. Travers. Mary Poppins. Imaginging things and going to strange lands with your umbrella-wielding nanny is better than growing up to be a banker. Or something. (Travers actually wrote a series of books with various continuation titles, such as Mary Poppins in the Park and Mary Poppins Comes Back.)
Neil Gaiman. Sandman. Not a single work but a sprawling series of graphic novels, involving various other authors and artists. Modern myth and dreamlands.
Michael Ende. The Neverending Story. A regular mortal boy enters the world of all human stories and dreams (Fantasia) through identifying with the main character of a magical book. Some urban fantasy elements; much more philosophical or highbrow than the popular film.
Roger Zelazny, The Amber Chronicles. The Great Book of Amber compiles them all in one large volume. "A treatise on the manipulation of reality." From the review at Green Man: "...Amber, a place at the center of reality. All other places are mere shadows, and can be reached only by manipulating reality, changing it bit by bit until you arrive at the place you want to be. Earth is a shadow, too, you may be surprised to learn..."
Science Fantasy / Speculative Fiction / Miscellaneous (return to top)
Madeleine L'Engle. The Time Quartet: A Wrinkle in Time; A Wind in the Door; A Swiftly Tilting Planet; Many Waters. Strange tales of twisting time and space.
Robert A. Heinlein. Stranger in a Strange Land. A Mars-born human has trouble adjusting to Earthling humans. This novel was part of the inspiration for the Church of All Worlds , which has some links to the modern otherkin community, such as the Elf Queen's Daughters' letters being puiblished in their magazine Green Egg in the 1970s.
Storm Constantine. Wraeththu and related works. Metahumans; evolving genomes from humanity.
Lisa Goldstein. Dark Cities Underground. From the review at Green Man : "Dark Cities Underground is a story of what ifs. What if Alice in Wonderland was a true story, but rather than Lewis Carroll being the originator it was really Alice Liddell who experienced the adventure and told the story to Charles Dodgson?"
Karen Hesse. The Music of Dolphins. A girl raised by dolphins must choose between two worlds.
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last updated 9/30/2020