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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 a whole lot of these exist yet (2014). 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 offsite link, which is far more comprehensive in that regard. They also maintain a Directory of Otherkin Writings and Other Works offsite link, 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 recommendations from other people and I haven't personally read/viewed/listened to them all.

For further reading (pun intended), see also: the Media category offsite link on AnOtherWiki, Wildmuse's Bibliography of Faerie external link, and the bibliography from GURPS Faerie offsite linkg (yes, really! some RPGs are fairly well-researched).


Non-Fiction
  |  Fiction and Poetry  |  Film & TV  |  Music  |  Not Recommended


 

Fiction

Elves | Faery | Dragons | 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 sizable 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".

A useful genre to find otherkin-relevant fiction in is urban fantasy. Whereas classic or high fantasy features a completely fantastic setting, 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 with a 'kin and form a useful point of reference to say "we were sort of like that".

Note 8/7/12: The links to reviews at Green Man are all broken because they reorganized their site. I'm working on getting those corrected.

 

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 offsite link 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 offsite link. 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 offsite link! As of late 2013, there is now a new series available in comic shops, ElfQuest: The FInal Quest offsite link, which is also available in EQ's online comic viewer offsite link.

The Silver Elves. Caressed by An Elfin Breeze: The Poems of Zardoa Silverstar offsite link. "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."

C.J. Cherryh. The Dreaming Tree.


Faery (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.

Other recommended authors: W.B. Yeats

William Shakespeare. A Midsummer Night's Dream.


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 offsite link for further information.

Bob Eggleton and John Grant. Dragonhenge and The Stardragons.


Other Types (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).

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 offsite link, a group of angels.

Patricia Kennealy-Morrison. The Keltiad: The Silver Branch; The Copper Crown; The Throne of Scone. Recommender said this was "Tuatha de Danann in space."

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.


Urban Fantasy (return to top)

Charles de Lint's works. 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 offsite link: "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.)

Emma Bull. War for the Oaks.

Michael Reaves. Street Magic.

Laurell K. Hamilton. Merry Gentry series: A Kiss of Shadows; A Caress of Twilight; Seduced by Moonlight; etc. Features sidhe, other faery creatures of both 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.

Neil Gaiman. Neverwhere. A secret magical world under the streets of London.

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.

Ian McDonald. King of Morning, Queen of Day. From the review at Green Man offsite link: "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."

James A. Hetley. The Summer Country. From the review at Green Man offsite link: "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."

The Bordertown offsite link 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 offsite link. Check out:

Terri Windling and Mark Alan Arnold (eds.), Borderland and Bordertown
Terri Windling (ed.), Life on the Border
Will Shetterly, Elsewhere and Nevernever
Emma Bull, Finder
Terri Windling and Delia Sherman (eds.), The Essential Bordertown
Holly Black and Ellen Kushner (eds.), Welcome to Bordertown

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."

Laurel Winter. Growing Wings. From the review at Green Man: "There's no explanation given for why Linnet or Sarah grew wings — or why any of the other winged characters in the story did. There are hints, guesses, but no facts. It is not important where the wings came from, only that they are there — and that they are as painful as they are joyful."

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."


Fantastic Realms, Magic, Dreams (return to top)

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 offsite link: "...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 offsite link, 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 offsite link: "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 9/2/2014