Tag Archives: Animal Rights
When you are vegan for compassionate reasons like I am and enjoy reading it’s often a question when buying a book whether it is going to be animal friendly, or not.
I more than often start a book, only to be disappointed how non-human animals are being portrayed and treated.
A book description doesn’t always prepare or warn us and I have come across too many, especially fantasy books, whereby violence against other creatures is accepted and tolerated. Even riding on horses, or how they are used for war, can bug me. And don’t get me started on the subject of dragons! When is someone ever going to save a dragon instead of treating them like monsters and slaying the poor mythical creatures in the fantasy genre? I think I might devote an entire article on that, or better yet, write my own dragon story!
Also, the story line may be good enough in many a book, but what if our characters gorge on the flesh of other animals or have hunting and fishing as their hobbies? Can, or should we, see past this? After all, we pick up a book to be entertained, to escape, or to even fight the good cause with the main character, not to be exposed like we already are in real life to the cruelties of human kind.
How then and where can we find vegan friendly fiction books?
When doing a search on Amazon for ‘Vegan Fiction’ you’ll get over a 10.000 results. That’s great you think, right? Wrong. Most of these are vegan cook books. . . That’s not fiction. Don’t get me wrong, it’s positive there are so many vegan cook books at the moment, but those books should really fall under non-fiction to make it easier for the reader to find. Sadly it’s all been thrown in one pile. You can, of course, also find vegan fiction books there. I know, as I have gone through most of the list.
I have also typed in Vegan Fiction in Google and found a vegan publisher: Ashland Creek Press. Their Website has tons of eco-friendly and vegan fiction books (VegLit).
And if you’re patient enough I’ll give you even more books! The list is at the bottom of the article.
First, let’s try to break vegan fiction down into two types: the entertainment side and the educational side. Vegan fiction can cover both types of fiction, but that is easily enough to determine from the book blurb.
- Entertainment and escapism. To not be confronted with the habits of the meat-eating and animal abusing world. To simply relax and enjoy a good story. To be entertained, and to forget. These books in any genre have a normal plotline with main characters that just happen to be vegan.
- Education and activism. The author has a clear vegan or eco-message wrapped up in the story with vegan or non-human characters. The author’s intention is to speak up for the animals, for the planet, and ultimately, for us all. For the reader to find a connection with the characters whom we as a vegan can easier relate to. To be faced with the current problems, future ones, or possible struggles. To help us think about our own situation, and what we could, or would do, to solve them. These novels can be dark, but they can also give us hope. They are often speculative and written to challenge us, vegan or not, to make us think hard about our values and questions our unquestioned morals. These books can even be life-changers for those who are not vegan yet.
So, I have created a list of vegan fiction books that are currently available for all ages and covers most genres (although I do favour fantasy and lesfic for obvious reasons). It is not a complete list of course and I haven’t read all of them, but it gives a good idea of what is out there. I have also created a Top10 list of my favourite vegan books with short reviews which will be published on The Vegan Society’s website soon. I’ll post the link once it’s life.
On Amazon you can also read the blurbs of every book and samples by clicking on the “Look Inside” feature.
Also, if you have read a vegan fiction book that is not yet included in the list below, let me know: CONTACT ME as my aim is to compile a complete list to share with the vegan and literary communities world-wide!
Vegan Fiction (A-Z) with vegan characters or an animal rights’ plot:
A Report to the Academy – Franz Kafka (literary)
Amanda the Teen Activist – Feathers & Freedom (children’s fiction)
Among Animals 1 & 2 (a collection of stories) – several authors
Among Animals (Tiergeschichten) – Manfred Kyber
Animals: A Novel – Don LePan (sci-fi)
Animal Lex talionis – Sunny Augustine
Balance of Fragile Things – Olivia Chadha
Beasts – Ana Levley (dystopian, lesfic)
Beef – Mat Blackwell (dystopian, humor)
Best Vegan Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2016
Best Vegan Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2017
Bestiary: Three Weird Tales – Nicholas P. Oakley
Chained Freedom – Natasja Hellenthal (fantasy, lesfic)
Diary of a Dieting Madhouse – Paige Singleton
Don’t Bang the Barista! – Leigh Matthews
Escape (Diamond Song Book 1) – E.D.E Bell (fantasy)
Elizabeth Costello – J.M. Coetzee
Falling into Green: An Eco-Mystery – Cher Fisher
Fire Bringer – David Clement Davies (fantasy)
Float – JoeAnn Hart eco/romance
Forgetting English – Midge Raymond
Hackenfeller’s Ape – Brigid Brophy
Holy Cow – Ruth Hawe
Kings of the Jungle – Daniel S. Fletcher
Love & Ordinary Creatures – Gwyn Hyman Rubio
Lithia Trilogy: Out of Breath (1), The Ghost Runner (2), The Last Mile (3) – Blair Richmond (YA)
Memoirs of a Fighting Dog – Kaida Ashia
Mort (e) (War with No Name #1) – Robert Repino
Mother Nature’s Secret – Marian Hailey-Moss (children’s fiction)
My Year of Meats – Ruth Ozeki
My Last Continent – Midge Raymond
Minny’s Dream – Clare Druce
Outside Inside – Anne Grange
Oryx and Crake – Margaret Atwood (sci-fi)
Off the Reservation – Glen Merzer
Persimmon Takes on Humanity (The Enlightment Adventures: Book 1) – Christopher Locke (YA)
Popco – Scarlett Thomas (contemporary, adventure, science)
Quarterling – Natasja Hellenthal (YA lesfic fantasy)
Salazar – Seth Lynch (noir mystery)
Something in the Water – Ben Starling
Spireseeker – E.D.E Bell (fantasy)
Survival Skills – Jean Ryan
Strays – Jennifer Caloyeras (contemporary, YA)
Skinny Bitch in Love – Kim Barnouin
SkyWhisperers – Natasja Hellenthal (YA lesfic fantasy)
The Soul Thief – Beth Lyons (lesfic fantasy)
The Adventures of Vivian Sharpe, Vegan Superhero – Marla Rose (children’s fiction)
The Awareness – Gene Stone
The Banished Craft – E.D.E Bell (fantasy)
The Bees – Laline Paull
The BFG – Roald Dahl (children’s fiction)
The Boy from Tomorrow – Camille DeAngelis historical/timetravel/paranormal/children’s fiction
The Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way – Frances Metzman
The Trap and the Chain (The Kinship Series) – Robin Lamont
The Comyenti Series (Call Off The Search (1), Children of The Sun (2) – Natasja Hellenthal (Supernatural Fantasy)
The Crows of Beara – Julie Christine Johnson
The Dragon Keeper – Mindy Mejia (thriller)
The Earthling Rebellions – Andi Hayes
The Echo of Others – S.D. Rowell
The Exile of Elindel – Carol Browne (fantasy)
The Fettered Flame – E.D.E Bell (fantasy)
The Green and the Red – Armand Chauvel (romance, eco)
The Gift that Time forgot – T.M. Dewfall (children’s fiction)
The Humans – Matt Haig (sci-fi, eco)
The Plague Dogs – Richard Adams (YA)
The Promised Land – Manfred Kyber
The Stone Gods – Jeanette Winterson – (sci-fi lesfic)
The Three Candles of Little Veronika – Manfred Kyber
The Tourist Trail – John Yunker
The Names of Things – John Colman Wood
The Lives of Animals – J.M. Coetzee
The Longing – Bridget Essex (lesfic)
The Ugly Princess: The Legend of the Winnowwood – Henderson Smith
The World of Wickham Mossrite – J.L. Morse
The Year of the Flood, (MaddAddam #2), MaddAddam (#3) – Margaret Atwood
Thornfruit – Felicia Davin (lesfic fantasy)
Vincent and the Dissidents (The Enlightment Adventures Book 2) – Christopher Locke (YA)
Watership Down – Richard Adams (YA)
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves -Karen Joy Fowler (contemporary)
Today my new book goes life! If you haven’t already pre-ordered it, here is your chance to get the e-book on your Kindle app or convert it to any e-book of your choice.
This is the direct link: Quarterling You can also read a sample there.
I was also interviewed and feature on a week long blog post. Read it here: Interview link
You may or may not know that The Comyenti Series, from which ‘Quarterling’ is a part of being a spin-off novel, is a fantasy series that as a whole is really close to my heart. It always has been, more so than all my other books. Being a huge animal lover, vegan, and empath myself writing about an alien humanoid species, who are all mind-speaking empaths, and have all these amazing animal abilities, but with their own weaknesses comes almost natural to me. That probably shouldn’t come as a surprise for those that know me. Especially since most of my life I have almost felt like an alien on this world myself! Being sensitive to noise, bright lights, strong smells, fainting in crowds, wanting different things in life than others my age, reading different books, being vegan, and lesbian! I am also quite a private person, so I guess not many people know much about me at all, hence why I started this newsletter in the first place.
But, I digress. All of the main characters certainly feel like different parts of me I wanted to explore. Especially Sula Comyenti who started it all in book 1: ‘Call Off the Search’ which was originally called ‘Small Sacrifice’, and who has been with me from the start shaping the story and series with me, always insisted in getting heard. For a writer it is almost impossible not to listen to those voices in your head! They won’t leave you alone until you write their stories down. No, you are not insane, you are a writer. That is our excuse, at least.
Still, I just love writing every book that is either part of the series or a spin-off story such as Quarterling is, so I really don’t mind. Besides, Sula is always great company.It became clear to me though that after writing the first two books the characters had much more to say and to do before I started writing book three. I knew I just couldn’t fit it all in without losing the main thread of the book and for the readers to lose the plot. These characters, once an adult, deserved each their own story, their own novel. And that is what I am doing. That is the plan at least. Sula has five children so they all get their own book, some even more than one. There are three so far and a fourth is in the making!
Fay started to tell me her story from the time she left home. It was easy to let her live some of my own experiences and see what she would have done, with or without her super powers. And how I would wish I had those powers often! But then again, she is restricted in some ways. How? Well, you will just have to read the story.
Speaking of superpowers though, especially a female superhero, saving animals, not people this time, was needed, desperately I felt. I have researched but only found one or two other books with a vegan superhero, but they were all for children… Why, I wonder are animals always associated with children or children’s stories? Don’t adults love animals? Do we outgrow them and their cuteness? Don’t we want to read about their happy ending? Adults love their pets, but often can’t extend it to other animals. Most don’t want to think about the suffering, the exploited animals, at least not enough to want to save them. Vegans do. Luckily. Thus a story was born. Fay was going to be a superhero for the animals with an older audience, okay young adults more precisely as she herself is only seventeen when the story starts, but still, it’s a start. I do hope to reach a broad audience with Fay’s story. That is why there are many more subjects thrown in: coming of age, parents, adventure, romance and a touch of magic.
Well, I won’t ramble on too much as this should just be a little post about what made me want to write ‘Quarterling’. Whilst writing I did try to have an audience in mind. I can imagine other vegans want a hero they can relate to or look up to, so it is for them to have a story to feel at home in without too much violence or visual content. But is still is a story about animal activism and what we can all do, or can’t and about hoping to change people, but how? And if we can, should we and to what ends? There are many questions of a deeper nature. Of right and wrong, of grey areas, and that even if we have certain powers there are even more powerful forces at work we cannot always control, and we find ourselves powerless. It’s a story of wanting to save the world, of change both in and outside of us, of being different and finding our way in the world, of acceptance, of having responsibilities and what it means to be an adult. And I also hope to reach those hearts that haven’t quite made compassionate choices yet. For those who say they love animals. Who knows what changes they will make? One can always hope.
Read more about my inspiration and need for wanting to write this story in the Afterword in ‘Quarterling’, now ready for pre-order here:
‘Fay, there is no need to lie to me, you know. I have observed you and seen what you can do. You are clearly not from Bhan. If you were, your kind would have surely taken over from the humans.’
‘Why would you say that and what exactly have you see me doing? Wait, it’s from around the time of the market day I have sensed your presence, isn’t it? What did you see me do?’
‘Enough to know that you act as if these animals are your responsibility, but they are not.’
Fay’s eyes widened and she was numb for a moment as if shocked to hear that. ‘Then whose? If it wasn’t for me they would all still be suffering or dead by now!’
‘It’s not for you to decide, to interfere.’
‘What? So, you’re saying that if you see an injustice done to another soul, or an injured creature, you walk away from it? What if it had been members of your own kind caged in that market?’
‘We’ve never been captured,’ Zemandu answered calmly, unaffected.
‘Perhaps you should be so you know what it’s like.’
‘And you do?’
‘Even if I didn’t I would still care. It’s called having a heart. Besides, all of us carry the painful memories of our ancestors in us. It’s enough for us to feel empathy for other species, because we were treated not too dissimilarly. My kind were trapped, not for food, but as curiosities, and when humans couldn’t get what they wanted from us, killed. We were seen as a threat and menace to humanity, not allowed to live side by side with them like you are.’
‘You can fly, you are immensely strong, you can make fires like I can, and you can communicate with all these anima—’ ‘Argh,’ Fay grunted. She had seen all that? How had she let this happen?
‘No need to be shy or worried. I won’t tell anybody. There is always one dominant species on any planet. What, you didn’t think this was the only habitable planet in the entire universe, did you?’
Feel free to contact me:
Interview Sula Comyenti – Main character of Fantasy ‘Call Off The Search’ Book One (Free novel on Amazon until the 20th of February)
I have a confession to make: this is something I don’t normally do; talk to my characters. Usually it’s the other way round; they tell their story to me and I listen, and at best write it down. I don’t make myself known to them, but rather lurk in the back ground. I am an observer.
Therefore this is very new to me, but exciting all the same. I feel it is a privilege to be able to finally ‘meet’ Sula Comyenti, the main character from my ‘Comyenti Series’.
She first appeared in ‘Call Off The Search’ and again in the sequel ‘Children Of The Sun’. Both full novels are available in e-book and paperback.
This is my interview with her.
I’m slightly nervous as Sula comes closer. I haven’t seen her in a while so I’m thrilled. We agreed to meet in a clearing in the woods near her house, just outside of Rosinhill. It is a sunny afternoon and the low rays shine through the spruce and pine trees down onto Sula’s face. Her dark long hair shines and appears more honey coloured brown at one side and black on the other. Her cheekbones are high and feminine, her skin is bronze and flawless as ever, but her almond shaped eyes are the most intriguing thing about her; they are a vivid green, like that of new leaves, but when I look again they are darker; jade. Is she reading me?
We greet and sit down on a fallen tree. She appears strong and charismatic and I understand why both Felix and Feline fell for her.
After the initial stage of awkwardness we begin to feel more comfortable and I ask her if she is ready for my questions. She smiles lightly and nods.
How do you feel about your mother, now that you’re an adult?
My mother, rest her soul, I still miss her dearly. She did what she had to do for the continuance of our species and later she had my best interest at heart, I know that, but at the same time it hasn’t been easy to accept that I had to do the same thing; especially when I thought time was running out. Had I known, I perhaps would have waited. She knew so little about our kind, our physics; only from what she was taught as a child before the killings.
So you’re saying you regret meeting Felix and having Fay?
No, not at all. I regret acting so soon whilst, in hindsight, I could have waited. I didn’t think straight when I met Felix, all I could think of, after saving his village, was him and how special he was. He wasn’t like any human I’d ever met. The promise I had made to my mother came to my mind and a decision was easily made. Felix knew of course, I had no secrets, but he didn’t object. In fact I believe he even suggested it, not with so many words but still.
What would have happened do you think if you hadn’t met Felix?
If I hadn’t crashed into him that day you mean, ha ha? No seriously, I would have done the same thing with someone else. That was the promise I was nearly forty after all. I might not have stayed though. Now I know of course that comyenti women are fertile until they are seventy, so yes I think I would have rather waited. But then again it’s no use speculating. What’s done is done and I’m happy with how things have turned out.
But do you have any other regrets? Do you regret staying with him?
Yes and no, sometimes.
That’s too vague. Can you explain?
I’m a half-breed and I still don’t really know much about my species. What I’m sometimes feeling; that need for freedom and solitude: is it me or is it the comyenti in me? Feline understood, but Felix is not ready to find out about her and my feelings for her. I will tell him one day, but not now.
Alright. How do you feel about Shazar? He could have told you more since he is a full comyenti?
Don’t get me started on him. He has his own hidden agenda. I’m sure he is a nice person underneath, but he lets his personal feelings and his task of ‘saving our species’ cloud his judgements. Even though I can read his mind, literally, I still don’t trust him completely. He is definitely blocking things from me, but it’s not comyenti things as he told me everything I needed to know. I’m not entirely sure what it is he’s hiding, but I will find out somehow.
What is your greatest fear?
That something will happen to my children. Especially since we suffered those attacks from the mysterious shapeshifting ypaka I don’t know if we’re safe here. All we can do is prepare our children to be more powerful and train them.
What do you want from life?
What everyone else wants; a peaceful simple life whereby we can all live in harmony and safety. Perpetual happiness.
What, in yourself, is preventing you from getting it?
Like I mentioned before; I very much need my freedom and solitude, and sometimes I struggle with the right balance between being happy by myself and being there for everyone else and at the same time keeping them safe.
What, in the outside world, is preventing you from getting it?
I can’t wait for my children to grow up and leave the house, ha ha! No, I love them dearly and we are very close, but sometimes it gets too much and I need space. They accept the way I am and that is the best thing I could ask from them. I try to give them all the tools they need for life but somehow I fear it might not be enough. The ypaka and even Shazar might prevent our happiness, our safety.
How do you fall in love? At first sight? Over a long period?
Oh, another personal question. Ahem, well, I think with Felix I was quite taken from the moment I saw that single strand of blonde hair of his underneath his dark hood fluttering in the wind. It was quite a poetic moment. And when I met his eyes…and when he started talking… Er, so yes I suppose it was love at first sight, although I tried to deny it of course at first and was a bit harsh on him.
And with Feline?
That was different because I was already with Felix, so she was out of the question. I’m faithful when I’m with someone, but I’ve always felt an amazing attraction towards her and we soon became best friends. At first I thought it was because she was his twin sister and because I had a Heartmerge with her brother that it, somehow, stretched out to her. Now I know that it was more than just that and if it weren’t for Felix-
How do you decide whether you can trust someone? Is it from experience? Can you tell from first impressions? Is it more intuition? Do you test the person somehow? Or are you just generally disposed to trust or not to trust?
Before I met Felix, who is human of course, I generally distrusted every human. I had every right to as they almost exterminated my entire species. But it was an instilled distrust. Whether it was in my genes or if my mother is to blame I don’t know, but over time I learned to see not all people have bad intentions. That mistrust has kept me safe for years. My intuition is quite spot on, but if I’m not sure about someone, I will read their minds, not always literally their thoughts, as that’s beyond my limits with humans I haven’t merged with, but their intentions. They are easy to read for me. Body language is very important but also the images they send out, like any other animal does.
Is one sense more highly developed than another?
When I’m in a Mindmode it depends on what animal skills I have borrowed. If it’s just me; half-comyenti, half-human, I would say my sixth sense takes over. My vision and hearing are superb, but looking is not the same thing as seeing and listening is not the same thing as hearing.
What do you consider are your strengths?
I don’t give up easily. I try to get to the bottom of things to find out the truth, and try to set things right if I can.
What do you consider are your weaknesses?
I feel too much. All those triggers sometimes cause an overload on my senses and the world around me starts to spin. I am powerless in situations like that. It is the curse of the comyenti and we still haven’t found a way to beat it.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done? And why?
I lied to Felix. It is not in my nature and it feels really wrong.
If you could change into any animal, which would it be?
Why would I with my abilities? However, if I could literally change shape I would like to know what if feels like to have wings, so perhaps an albatross or goose.
When we say our goodbyes I can’t help but feel sorry for her somehow. I don’t know why. She is such a strong woman, but also vulnerable and sensitive. Only I know what will happen next, but I can’t tell her that. She knows it and doesn’t ask. I’m more than an observer of course. I can influence everything, for I’m the author after all; the author of her story; of both her and her family and of her kind. I am their judge and executioner. But even I don’t know the details yet. I first have to sit down and open my mind to it.
But I save that for another time.
Book 3 in the series, ‘Controller of The Senses’ is expected later in 2015, so stay tuned.
The e-book of ‘Call Off The Search’ (book 1) is currently free until the 20th of February. Keep reading in Book 2, ‘Children Of The Sun’, or get ‘The Comyenti Book Bundle Volume 1&2’ for an easy reading experience.
My books can be found here: www.amazon.com/author/natasjahellenthal