Friday, April 11, 2014

Astrology in Fiction

New Composite Book Genres Featuring Astrology and Astrologers

© 2014 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

 A sampler of Astro-fiction books

I had never encountered anything like it when I first began writing my novel, The Crystal Ball, in 1989. I was still learning a lot about writing, and my book and I suffered from genre confusion. I didn’t know if The Crystal Ball (then called something else) was a romance, a mystery or some kind of yet-to-be-defined metaphysical and literary variety show. Looking back on the original manuscript, it was a cross between a Janet Evanovich/Stephanie Plum novel and a Harry Potter book for grown-ups—grown-ups who wished they could live forever in a Fantasyland called San Francisco. Mostly, it still is, throw in a lot of basic 101 presentations on metaphysical topics. I should add; it’s way more grounded than it might first sound.

In the intervening years, however, composite genre novels that feature astrology and other metaphysical tools have started to crop up more often. When I began The Crystal Ball, I had just fallen in love with Chiron, a composite planetary object, part asteroid and part comet. Chiron taught me the value of hybrids. Composites often beat putting things into tidy boxes, a principle that applies to book categories, too. Now that brick-and-mortar bookstores are dwindling in favor of virtual shopping experiences, a book’s single genre label is less important. In a store with shelves, it’s important to know which shelf to put it on. (Mystery? Romance? New Age?) In the virtual environment where key words are the stuff of searches, the more words or genres that describe a book, the more it will be found by diverse readers interested in its multi-topics or themes.

After feeling like the Lone Ranger and ahead of my time, wondering if I could really sell an astrologer protagonist: The next time I heard about an astrology-themed novel was when Donna Cunningham was writing her eBook  published in 2004, Hotline to Heaven followed by Angel in Peril. (More on this pair below.) Donna has been a friend and mentor for over 30 years, so I had the fun of hearing about these works in progress. Of course, I loved her idea.

Meeting author Sunny Frazier circa 2005 at one of my local Sisters in Crime writers’ meetings introduced me to my next astrological mystery, her first novel in the Christy Bristol series, Fools Rush In. Come to think of it, I just got the pun about how Sunny’s and Donna’s titles combined described my feelings in the late ‘80s—like a fool rushing into where angels dared not tread, thinking I could come out of the closet about astrology in a novel anyone, “New Age” or not, could read. Back then, I still often encountered conservative people who thought my belief in astrology was insane or as one man bluntly put it, “out of touch with reality.” No wonder it took me two-and-a-half decades to work up the courage to make the leap.

Thanks heavens we’ve come such a long way in the quarter century since then. More recently, astrologer Armand Diaz coined a new term for mysteries that feature astrologers. In his article The Astrologer Did It: A New Kind of Mystery, he calls this emerging genre Astro-detective fiction. In addition to The Crystal Ball, he mentions Scorpio Rising by Alan Annand and Stalking Anubis by Steven Forrest.

Being part of a new trend that “Chironizes” books by creating fascinating hybrids would, of course, turn me on.

Thanks to a number of synchronicities, I also heard about an increasing number of other Astro-detective and Astro-metaphysical type novels recently. I thought it would be fun to share the titles, a bit about them, and to give my readers the joy of discovering fiction that appeals to your love of astrology.

You know how Virgos love research. I knew there had to be others. Here’s what I dug up, so far. The author links have blurbs or author interviews with details about the books. Most can be purchased at the usual online stores, such as Amazon or B&N.

Fiction Astro-Bibliography with Links for More Info


Other Articles or Sites with More Astro-Fiction Lists

Not wanting to stop with my own limited list, I managed to discover a couple of places where others had gathered titles featuring astrology in fiction:

Donna Cunningham, Trailblazer

No surprise with her Aries Moon, Astrologer Donna Cunningham wrote Hotline to Heaven over a decade ago, a book she offers as a free PDF through her Sky Writer blog site. Learn more and download a copy here. (See Introducing Donna’s Two Mysteries about mid-page.) Donna also sells the sequel, Angel in Peril, on the same page for $6.

If You Know of Other Books to Add to the Biblio …

Please share in the Comments! I’d like to update the list periodically on The Radical Virgo. And if you’ve got a book review on any Astro-fiction title, contact me about possibly sharing it here.


 Send your Astro-fiction book suggestions to joyce [at]


Sunny Frazier said...

I, too, was afraid of coming out of the astrological closet. I wasn't happy with the way I'd seen astrology portrayed in novels and wanted to set the record straight--or at least be honest with my experiences. Turns out, people wanted more astrology in my books! I do try to use astrology in different ways to show how it can be used in real life situations. In the coming novel, "A Snitch In Time," I use reverse astrology to profile a killer.

Joyce Mason said...

Thanks for sharing, Sunny! Glad to know I wasn't alone in my trepidation--and getting past it! I look forward to your next Astro-novel. It's refreshing to see more and more "good astrology" in fiction.