books

2020 Queer Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy Books

Welcome to my ongoing and – hopefully – regularly updated list of queer adult science-fiction and fantasy books* published in 2020!

(*Since novellas are making a big comeback these days, and a lot of the novellas we’ve seen have been decidedly queer, I’m including them along with full-length novels.)

I’d intended to wait until the end of the year to give this list a permanent home – as I had with the 2019 list – but then the Pandemic happened and so many books got pushed out to late summer or even next year that I decided not to wait. Plus, it’s just easier to make updates in this format, versus the semi-permanent state of Twitter lists.

If you haven’t been around for my rants yet, this list and the ones before – and the ones that will come after – is my answer to every, “Where is all the queer/LGBTQIA/QUILTBAG fantasy and science-fiction in adult books?” or, worse, “Only YA has queer representation.” YA does in fact have a plethora of representation these days, but dismissing the diversity of rep that adult brings to the table is erasure and actively harmful. So I’m doing my bit to make it easier to find that rep, and harder to pretend it doesn’t exist.

The list is sorted by publication date, since about half of these books aren’t out yet. When possible, I included the specific queer rep, along with any side characters. “Queer” here is used as the inclusive umbrella term for anyone on the LGBTQIA/QUILTBAG spectrum. The reported representation on this list comes from reviews, readers, and the authors themselves. I’ll make note of additions in a change-log at the end of this post.

All of that admin stuff out of the way?

Onto the list!

COME TUMBLING DOWN by Seanan McGuire:
Pub Date: 1/7/2020
– multiple queer MCs
– mad scientist’s apprentice Jack is in need of saving, and who’s to help her but a school of children searching for their doors?
– 5th in the Wayward Children series
LADY HOTSPUR by Tessa Gratton:
Pub Date: 1/7/2020
– lesbians, everywhere lesbians
– historical fantasy inspired by Henry IV with royalty making bad decisions and being gay about it
BURN THE DARK by S.A. Hunt:
Pub Date: 1/14/2020
– start of a very queer series
– “punk YouTuber on a mission to bring down witches” UM
– seriously look at that fucking cover
THE BROKEN HEAVENS by Kameron Hurley:
Pub Date: 1/14/2020
– normalized bisexuality, multiple genders, polyamory
– are there even any cishet characters??
– third book in the Worldbreaker saga, a bloodsoaked multiple universe epic fantasy
THE SEEP by Chana Porter:
Pub Date: 1/21/2020
– f/f with a trans MC
– creepy utopian specfic a la VanderMeer
– all about grief, alienation, and the ache of moving on ❤
CITY OF A THOUSAND FEELINGS by Anya Johanna DeNiro:
Pub Date: 2/1/2020
– trans MCs ❤
– huge, lyrical fantasy epic about exclusion and loneliness and fighting through the darkness together
– hopepunk??
UPRIGHT WOMEN WANTED by Sarah Gailey:
Pub Date: 2/4/2020
– alt-future America full of “full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing.”
– *slams fists down* QUEER LIBRARIAN SPIES
MAZES OF POWER by Juliette Wade:
Pub Date: 2/4/2020
– bi male MC
– two very different brothers + plague + one throne = fast-paced political sci-fi
– underground city on an alien world wrought with inequality and turmoil
GRAVITY’S HEIR by Sara Bond:
Pub Date: 2/6/2020
– Everybody’s super bi!!
– What’s a desperate shipper to do when she finds a gravity bomb that can vaporize entire cities?
– Pass the whiskey.
STORMSONG by C.L. Polk:
Pub Date: 2/11/2020
– f/f main, queer side characters
– what happens after the lies & suffering that built a society are exposed?
– gaslight/bicycle fantasy
THE UNSPOKEN NAME by A.K. Larkwood:
Pub Date: 2/11/2020
– f/f main, + m/m side and other queer characters
– orc assassin priestess + awful wizard dad + FUCKING TAL + necromantic cults = epic fantasy quest across worlds
THE LIGHT YEARS by R.W.W. Greene:
Pub Date: 2/11/2020
– both MCs are bi!
– complex world(s)building around the effect of time dilation
– ancient secrets! aging starships! odd-couple comedy!
THE BLOOD-DIMMED TIDE by Michael R. Johnston:
Pub Date: 2/13/2020
– established m/m relationship ❤
– space opera, where the destination has been Earth all along
– sequel to THE WIDENING GYRE
FINNA by Nino Cipri:
Pub Date: 2/25/2020
– enby MC
– IKEA + interdimensional portals + chasing after a missing customer + the aftermath of a recent break-up = ugh, I’m not paid enough for this shit
CARVED FROM STONE AND DREAM by T. Frohock:
Pub Date: 2/25/2020
– m/m
– sequel to Where Oblivion Lies
– historical horror/fantasy with magic based on singing
– angels! demons! wars!!
DOCILE by K.M. Szpara:
Pub Date: 3/3/2020
– THERE IS NO CONSENT UNDER CAPITALISM
– m/m
– story about exploitation and choice, debtors and creditors, that is uncomfortably plausible
A PALE LIGHT IN THE BLACK by K.B. Wagers:
Pub Date: 3/3/2020
– established married f/f couple (bi and lesbian) and an ace MC
– great entry to Wagers’ inclusive and explosive sci-fi
– SPACE COAST GUARD EFF YEAH
THE LOST FUTURE OF PEPPERHARROW by Natasha Pulley:
Pub Date: 3/5/2020
– m/m
– historical fantasy with ghoooooooooooooooooooooosts
– sequel to THE WATCHMAKER OF FILIGREE STREET
FROM THE DARK WE CAME by J. Emery:
Pub Date: 3/16/2020
– demisexual MC with chronic pain rep
– music teacher who is secretly a monster hunter
– who is then hired by one of the monsters he’s hunting
– appropriate shenanigans ensue
THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA by T.J. Klune:
Pub Date: 3/17/2020
– m/m
– are six kids the end of the world as we know it? or are we?
– found family a la The Umbrella Academy
– sweet & hopeful
EMPRESS OF SALT AND FORTUNE by Nghi Vo:
Pub Date: 3/24/2020
– enby MC, queer empress
– epic high fantasy novella
– elegant and delicate, + politics and war
THE CITY WE BECAME by N.K. Jemisin:
Pub Date: 3/24/2020
– lesbian, gay, & trans MCs
– uh it’s the sequel to THE CITY BORN GREAT which was a mindfuck of good so idk do you even need to know anything else?
– cities BEING BORN. cities BECOMING. ELDRITCH DARKNESSES.
BONDS OF BRASS by Emily Skrutskie:
Pub Date: 4/7/2020
– m/m
– space opera with there’s only one bed trope
– pining for the secret heir to brutal galactic empire?? what could go wrong????
SHOREFALL by Robert Jackson Bennett:
Pub Date: 4/21/2020
– f/f main!
– language as magic with literal grammars and codices
– ancient evil gods unleashed!!
– sequel to FOUNDRYSIDE, heist book to end all heists books
MACHINE’S LAST TESTAMENT by Benjanun Sriduangkaew:
Pub Date: 5/4/2020
– lesbian cyberpunk
– a world under the “benevolent” control of an AI
– a petty bureaucrat all too aware of her outsider status
– and the new arrival who brings a revolution
SOUL TO STEAL by M.A. Guglielmo:
Pub Date: 5/21/2020
– f/f, urban fantasy
– supernatural girlfriends
– also contains: a mythical Persian bird and a bratty cyberpunk shark
THE OBSIDIAN TOWER by Melissa Caruso:
Pub Date: 6/4/2020
– bi MC, enby side, multiple other queer characters
– accidental murder (yay!) and unstable magical powers
– MC must guard a tower but what’s in the tower??
– twisty political maneuvering
The Land of Milk and Honey (from WALK AMONG US) by Caitlin Starling:
Pub Date: 6/16/2020
– f/f
– pastoral vampire novella with lots of sheep?!!
– opinions about Portland public transit and gentrification
– Blood. Farm.
THE UNCONQUERED CITY by K.A. Doore:
Pub Date: 6/16/2020
– pan MC, enby love interest
– aftereffects of trauma
– undead monstrosities, malevolent spirits, and cranky necromancers – oh my
– there’s only one bed trope but make it there’s only one caravan
THE ORDER OF THE PURE MOON REFLECTED IN WATER by Zen Cho:
Pub Date: 6/23/2020
– queer MC
– “a bandit walks into a coffeehouse and it all goes downhill from there”
– novella about identity and how it evolves across time, peoples, and cultures
UNCONQUERABLE SUN by Kate Elliot:
Pub Date: 7/7/2020
– f/f
– gender-swapped Alexander the Great IN SPAAAACE
– space opera to beat every other space opera into submission
LOVE BITES by Ry Herman:
Pub Date: 7/9/2020
– f/f
– LESBIAN VAMPIRE ROMANCE
– i mean srsly do you need anything else
– FINE
– MC has anxiety and depression
– 90s nostalgia
I COME WITH KNIVES by S.A. Hunt:
Pub Date: 7/21/2020
– queer characters, even more this time around
– LET’S DESTROY EVIL
– oh shit serial killer
– sequel to BURN THE DARK
ASHES OF THE SUN by Django Wexler:
Pub Date: 7/21/2020
– lesbian MC, queernorm world
– action epic fantasy
– haven’t seen my sis in a few years oh there she is and now she’s a TERRIFYING WARRIOR MAGICIAN
THE WORST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS by Alex White:
Pub Date: 7/28/2020
– established f/f relationship
– magic! sci-fi! treasures! SPACEWRECKS!
– sequel to A BIG SHIP AT THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE
THE SPACE BETWEEN WORLDS by Michaiah Johnson:
Pub Date: 8/4/2020
– f/f main
– multiverse shenanigans: you can travel between ‘verses, but only if your alternate self is dead or missing
– so when your alt selves start to disappear… well…
THE FIRST SISTER by Linden A. Lewis:
Pub Date: 8/4/2020
– Mostly queer cast, enby side character
– dystopian space opera with Handmaid’s Tale overtones
– oops fell in love with the person you’re supposed to be spying on
– surviving despite government machinations
HARROW THE NINTH by Tasmyn Muir:
Pub Date: 8/4/2020
– f/f
– BONES. NECROMANCY. BONES IN SPACE. NECROMANCY IN SPACE.
– it’s the sequel to GIDEON THE NINTH so I’m assuming it’s also going to beat up every other book while they ask for more
SEVEN DEVILS by Laura Lam and Elizabeth May:
Pub Date: 8/4/2020
– queer as a rainbow
– heir to a ruthless empire fakes her death and then gets recruited by the resistance
– be gay, do crime, but in space
THE TYRANT BARU CORMORANT by Seth Dickinson:
Pub Date: 8/11/2020
– f/f
– Baru Cormorant finally has the power to destroy what she’s always wanted to destroy – but will she?
– aftermath of colonization and its consequences
– sequel to THE MONSTER BARU CORMORANT
DROWNED COUNTRY by Emily Tesh:
Pub Date: 8/18/2020
– m/m
– softest of magic & myth
– even the Green Man must answer to his mother
– “Rude Young Lady With A Cleaver”?!
THE VANISHED QUEEN by Lisbeth Campbell:
Pub Date: 8/18/2020
– bi female MC in a queernorm world
– character-driven political epic fantasy
– crumbling kingdom led by a corrupt king who might have killed his wife but nobody really knows
MEMORY OF SOULS by Jenn Lyons:
Pub Date: 8/25/2020
– bi MC, +100s of other queer characters
– epic, world-ending saga with DRAGONS
– demons! rampaging! ancient rituals! immortality!
THE BLACK COAST by Mike Brooks:
Pub Date: 9/1/2020 MOVED TO 2021
– multiple queer MCs
– war dragons!!!
– end of the world prophecies
– maybe this time the sea raiders are your friends
DEPART, DEPART! by Sim Kern:
Pub Date: 9/1/2020
– trans man and his found queer family ❤
– cli-fi story of survival – from both flooding and homophobia
– plus being literally haunted by your grandfather
THE FOUR PROFOUND WEAVES by R.B. Lemberg:
Pub Date: 9/4/2020
– two elderly trans MCs
– who have twisty pasts and need to learn how to weave from Death
– exploration of gender and place and family and stories and ugggh it’s just really good
YELLOW JESSAMINE by Caitlin Starling:
Pub Date: 9/5/2020
– f/f
– creepy supernatural plague
– witchy and gothy and haunting
– botanical poisons???
ARCHITECTS OF MEMORY by Karen Osborne:
Pub Date: 9/8/2020
– bi MC, f/f main
– mystery/scifi adventure about alien first contact and some major communication problems
– nonstop, brutal, bittersweet af
– fuck capitalism!
THE BONE SHARD DAUGHTER by Andrea Stewart:
Pub Date: 9/10/2020
– f/f main
– holy fuck magic powered by SKULL SHARDS how effing metal is that?!
– sobbing i need this now
HELLION by S.A. Hunt:
Pub Date: 9/15/2020
– queeeeeer
– shapeshifters and demons and witches, oh my
– all through the lens of a YouTube videographer
– sequel to I COME WITH KNIVES
THE LIGHTS OF PRAGUE by Nicole Jarvis:
Pub Date: 9/22/2020 MOVED TO 2021
– bi MC with m/f romance (yes! need more of this!)
– gaslamp fantasy with creeptastic monsters!
– secret society of lamplighters fighting the good fight!!
HENCH by Natalie Zina Walschots:
Pub Date: 9/22/2020
– so queer is anyone even cis-het??
– superheroes are terrible and it pays better to work for the villain (plus they have health insurance)
– spreadsheets as superpower
BURNING ROSES by S.L. Huang:
Pub Date: 9/29/2020
– elderly queer MCs
– fairy tale retelling with Red Riding Hood and Hou Yi the Archer
– who then fight demons??!
– quest for immortality!!
SEVEN OF INFINITIES by Aliette de Bodard :
Pub Date: 10/??/2020
– f/f
– cinnamon roll scholar meets rogue thief spaceship
– silkpunk! with tea and space and murrrrdeerrrr
– “we’re attracted to each other but EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL” best trope
THE ARCHIVE OF THE FORGOTTEN by A.J. Hackwith:
Pub Date: 10/6/2020
– pan MC & multiple bi disasters in a queer norm afterlife
– hell’s! librarian!!!
– even the library keeps secrets
THE INVISIBLE LIFE ADDIE LARUE by V.E. Schwab:
Pub Date: 10/6/2020
– pan MC, pan love interest, lots of queer side characters
– whoops, prayed to the wrong god
– live forever, but never be remembered
MACHINE by Elizabeth Bear:
Pub Date: 10/6/2020
– lesbian MC, no romance
– Dr Jens hasn’t had a decent cuppa in 15 years and spends her days jumping out of perfectly good spaceships
– trauma doctors in spaaaaaaaaaaaace
– AI doing its best ❤
WHITE TRASH WARLOCK by David R. Slayton:
Pub Date: 10/13/2020
– gay MC
– urban fantasy
– cinnamon roll magician must bargain with the elf that broke his heart to save estranged brother and the rest of his family
PHOENIX EXTRAVAGANT by Yoon Ha Lee:
Pub Date: 10/20/2020
– enby MC, all queer cast
– silkpunk with dragon automatons
– magic! paint!!
– um dragon heist??
DEAD LIES DREAMING by Charles Stross:
Pub Date: 10/27/2020
– pretty much all queer protags
– that the existence of the Laundry (the shadowy gov’t org that keeps us all safe from otherworld horrors and brain-eating worms) is now public knowledge = oh shit
THE FACTORY WITCHES OF LOWELL by C.S. Malerich:
Pub Date: 11/10/2020
– f/f
– class warfare, but with witches
– break the line and get hexed
GIVE WAY TO NIGHT by Cass Morris:
Pub Date: 11/10/2020
– demi and lesbian MCs
– sequel to FROM UNSEEN FIRE
– Ancient Rome with elemental magic and political machinations
– ambitious ladies getting shit done
THE STONE KNIFE by Anna Stephens:
Pub Date: 11/12/2020
– multiple bi and gay MCs
– creepy af epic fantasy
– what happens when your magical pacification spell fails?
HOLLOW EMPIRE by Sam Hawke:
Pub Date: 12/1/2020
– f/f in a queernorm society
– sequel to CITY OF LIES
– dark plots and darker magic
– political machinations within machinations
– sibling MCs who actually care about each other
WHEN THE TIGER CAME DOWN THE MOUNTAIN by Nghi Vo:
Pub Date: 12/8/2020
– enby MC, with f/f
– let’s survive hungry tigers by talking about stories

Change-log
Added 5/28: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Mazes of Power, and Depart, Depart!

Added and changed 8/4: The Light Years, Machine, and Seven Devils; updated the publication date for Architects of Memory, The Black Coast, and the Lights of Prague

1 thought on “2020 Queer Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy Books”

  1. I love these lists and am so glad they exist! I’ve been looking for more books to read with enby, trans, and agender characters–so it’s super helpful to be able to identify books with these reps at quick glance. My book budget is blown…
    (pretending I ever even had a book budget)

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