books

2021 Queer Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy Books

Welcome to my ongoing and somewhat-regularly updated list of queer adult science-fiction and fantasy books published in 2021!

If you haven’t been around for my previous lists, this list and the ones before (see: 2020, 2019) – and the ones that will come after – are my answer to every, “Where are all the queer/LGBTQIA/QUILTBAG fantasy and science-fiction adult books?” or, worse, “only the Young Adult (YA) has any queer representation.”

So I’m doing my bit to prove that yes, the books are here and they’re queer.

The list is sorted by publication date. 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. Additions can be found in a change-log at the end of this post.

All of that admin stuff out of the way?

Onto the list!

PERSEPHONE STATION by Stina Leicht:
Pub Date: 1/5/2021
– f/f main, plus multiple queer perspectives
– grimdark feminist space opera western
– “beneficent criminals, wayward assassins, & washed up mercenaries” fight the MAN
LAVA RED FEATHER BLUE by Molly Ringle:
Pub Date: 1/5/2021
– m/m sleeping beauty retelling
– oks i found this hot prince and woke him out of an enchanted sleep
– oh shit I also woke the fairy queen?? oh shit oh siht oh stih
BLOODSWORN by Tej Turner:
Pub Date: 1/8/2021
– m/m with bi and pan secondary characters
– make a blood pact with a god? cool. break that pact? well, that’s going to cost you…
– the start of epic magical fantasy series where friends living a sheltered life get dragged into a magical conspiracy
ACROSS THE GREEN GRASS FIELDS by Seanan McGuire:
Pub Date: 1/12/2021
– intersex main, with affirming parents
– every horse girl’s dream world!!
– exploiting prophecy loopholes
– part of the Wayward Children series, but also a great entry point with all new characters
THE RUTHLESS LADY’S GUIDE TO WIZARDRY by C.M. Waggoner:
Pub Date: 1/12/2021
– f/f
– thief becomes bodyguard for a rich young lady and falls for… another bodyguard?? *fans self*
– I mean do you need to know anything else
– necromancy and an undead! mouse!! named Buttons!!!
THE FOREVER SEA by Joshua Phillip Johnson:
Pub Date: 1/19/2021
– bi MC, f/f romance
– epic environmental fantasy?? where ships sail on an endless grass sea???
– what lurks in those tall prairie grasses: politics, intrigue, deadly beasts, grandmother, all of the above?
WE COULD BE HEROES by Mike Chen:
Pub Date: 1/26/2021
– pan MC
– a super-powered vigilante and bank robber meet at a memory-loss-support group and become friends
– wholesome adventure with superheroes, villains, dastardly plots, and rooftop chases
THE MASK OF MIRRORS by M.A. Carrick:
Pub Date: 1/21/2021
– queernorm world, multiple queer characters
– orphan thief risks conning the upper class, only to discover everyone is hiding something: it’s cons all the way down, friend
– Venetian-inspired setting
A DOWRY OF BLOOD by S.T. Gibson:
Pub Date: 1/31/2021
– everybody’s bi!!
– dracula’s bride realizes her husband is hiding something dark & sinister and plots with her co-wives & husbands to undo him
– vaaaaaaaampiiiiiiiiiiiiiireeeeeeeeees
WINTER’S ORBIT by Everina Maxwell:
Pub Date: 2/2/2021
– m/m
– rushed marriage for political reasons!!! Distrust turning to love?? Put in my FACE
– all the best parts of fanfic
– cozy space opera political fantasy
THE WITCH’S HEART by Genevieve Gornichec:
Pub Date: 2/9/2021
– f/f
– sapphic yyyeeeearnning
– Norse myth reimagining
– Loki is a terrible boyfriend
– a woman declares war against the gods for her children
VELOCITY OF REVOLUTION by Marshall Ryan Maresca:
Pub Date: 2/9/2021
– poly/pan + queer found family
– dieselpunk fantasy!! Motorcycles and magic!!!!
– the faster you ride, the stronger your magic
FIREHEART TIGER by Aliette de Bodard:
Pub Date: 2/9/2021
– f/f
– Goblin Emperor meets Howl’s Moving Castle in a precolonial Vietnamese inspired universe
– former lover is the princess to the colonial power, ahah this reunion got awkward
WONDERSTRUCK by Allie Therin:
Pub Date: 2/9/2021
– m/m
– magic and mayhem and the Paris World Fair – oh my!
– last book in the Magic in Manhattan series, a paranormal historical romance
THE GALAXY AND THE GROUND WITHIN by Becky Chambers:
Pub Date: 2/16/2021
– nonbinary, queernorm
– fourth in the Wayfarers series, aka cozy space stories
– FOUR STRANGERS ENTER A ROOM!! AND! – all of them leave, just a little more knowledgeable about dessert and love
SOULSTAR by C.L. Polk:
Pub Date: 2/16/2021
– bi, m/m and f/f from previous books
– third & final in the Kingston Cycle, a series about the consequences of persecution
– also SNOW STORMS and BIKE CHASES and ASSASSINS
THE BLACK COAST by Mike Brooks:
Pub Date: 2/18/2021
– multiple queer MCs
– war dragons!!!
– end of the world prophecies
– maybe this time the sea raiders are your friends
OUT PAST THE STARS by K.B. Wagers:
Pub Date: 2/23/2021
-f/f + queer in general
-final in the Farian War trilogy, epic space opera
-supposed to be rebuilding your empire, not stopping interstellar wars UGH
TRANSGRESSIONS OF POWER by Juliette Wade:
Pub Date: 2/23/2021
– bi MC
– sequel to MAZES OF POWER
– delicious political machinations
– underground alien city straining under an untenable caste system
– when everything you do seems to be part of someone else nefarious plan
SYMBIOSIS by Nicky Drayden:
Pub Date: 2/23/2021
– bi MC, poly relationships
– sequel to ESCAPING EXODUS
– humans have colonized space-faring beasts in matriarchical societies
– what if WE were the microbiome??
SUN-DAUGHTERS, SEA-DAUGHTERS by Aimee Ogden:
Pub Date: 2/23/2021
– trans and bi MCs, queernorm world(s)
– space roadtrip to find a cure for a disease and also your old relationship
– also a Little Mermaid retelling?? what if Ursula was your old fling???
THE COUNCILLOR by E.J. Beaton:
Pub Date: 3/2/2021
– bi MC, m/m side characters, queernorm world
– scholar turned politician has to appoint the next monarch, while balancing her own ambition and hiding her drug addiction
– maybe wants to throttle the morally gray ruler, maybe wants to kiss them??
A DESOLATION CALLED PEACE by Arkady Martine:
Pub Date: 3/2/2021
– f/f
– mysterious alien threat
– your gf is now the envoy to those aliens
– and you love an empire that doesn’t love you back 😦
– sequel to the award-winning A MEMORY CALLED EMPIRE
BLOOD MOON by Catherine Lundoff:
Pub Date: 3/15/2021
– f/f
– middle-aged women who become werewolves – YES PLEASE
– found a body in the trunk of your car? maybe don’t confess to a murder you don’t remember
– a little murder, a little smalltown domestic dispute, a little ticking clock until the next full moon to figure it all out
– sequel to Silver Moon
GALACTIC HELLCATS by Marie Vibbert:
Pub Date: 3/9/2021
– f/f
– “female space biker gang rescues gay prince”
– space heist!! while evading space repo men!!!
– quirky and fun adventure with a wannabe gang of thieves
THE UNBROKEN by C.L. Clark:
Pub Date: 3/23/2021
– f/f
– those ARMS are REAL
– 1 queen fighting for her throne + 1 conscript fighting for her soldiers + 1 revolution = lots of romantic tension + a side of betrayal
THE PRINCESS AND THE ODIUM by Sam Ledel:
Pub Date: 4/1/2021
– f/f
– final book in the Odium trilogy
– a princess and her social-outcast lover fight the fae to save their kingdom
– swords and silk fantasy ❤
FIRST, BECOME ASHES by K.M. Szpara:
Pub Date: 4/6/2021
-m/m
-you’re part of a secret group to fight monsters with magic, but what happens when you find out it was all a lie?
-& you still want to fight monsters?
– heed the content warnings!
PEACES by Helen Oyeyemi:
Pub Date: 4/6/2021
– m/m
– fever dream mix of literary & fantasy
– boyfriends on an odd train journey with their pet mongoose and a stranger who knows more than she should
THE LIGHT OF THE MIDNIGHT STARS by Rena Rossner:
Pub Date: 4/13/2021
– f/f
– girl who falls in love with a star
– three Jewish sisters with magic fight the darkness spreading across their land
MALICE by Heather Walter:
Pub Date: 4/13/2021
– f/f
– dark retelling of Sleeping Beauty
– when you’ve cursed ALL the princesses but oh shit, you might have fallen in love with this one
THE HELM OF MIDNIGHT by Marina J. Lostetter:
Pub Date: 4/13/2021
– bi MC, pan second, queernorm world
– the death mask haunted by the soul of a famous serial killer has been stolen
– and now it’s stalking the city, looking for answers
– intricate magic plus steampunk plus Jack-the-Ripper-esque murder spree = yes please
DEFEKT by Nino Cipri:
Pub Date: 4/20/2021
– sequel to the exceedingly queer and anti-capitalism FINNA
– MC’s loyalty to his job is questioned when he takes a sick day
– now he has to hunt defective products like killer toilets
– with a team who looks… like… him?
FIREBREAK by Nicole Kornher-Stace:
Pub Date: 5/4/2021
-aro/ace
-platonic m/f friendships yes!!
-post-corporate-apocalypse sci-fi where bucking the system will get your water cut but you also can’t pretend to believe the lies anymore
BLACK WATER SISTER by Zen Cho:
Pub Date: 5/11/2021
– f/f
– grandma’s great until she’s literally haunting you
– now grandma wants to highjack your body when you move back to Malaysia so she can fight a gang boss who offended a god
EREBUS DAWNING by A.J. Super:
Pub Date: 5/11/2021
– generally queer
– villain origin story!!
– Nyx is an AI/human hybrid who’s wanted by a power-hungry queen
– space pirates, AI gods, uncontrollable power – oh my!
WE ARE SATELLITES by Sarah Pinsker:
Pub Date: 5/11/2021
– f/f family
– everybody’s getting the brain implant, why aren’t you?
– what happens when clearly invasive tech becomes the norm and you’re one of the few who says no
A MASTER OF DJINN by P. Djèlí Clark:
Pub Date: 5/11/2021
– f/f
– we met Agent Fatma in A DEAD DJINN IN CAIRO, now we get a full novel to enjoy her grump and excellent fashion sense
– your hero is now a murderer – or IS HE?
THE HOUSE OF ALWAYS by Jenn Lyons:
Pub Date: 5/11/2021
– bi MC, plus many other queer folk
– 4th in the Chorus of Dragon series, a subversion of epic fantasy, with dragons, prophesies, and KRAAAKEEN
– maybe your MC is really the antagonist??
BLACKHEART KNIGHTS by Laure Eve:
Pub Date: 5/13/2021
– queer Arthurian urban fantasy
– with motor bikes?? And illegal magic???
– and your knights compete in televised fights????
– and your girl just wants VENGEANCE
EDGE OF THE WOODS by Jules Kelley:
Pub Date: 5/18/2021
– Bi MC and love interest, gay & trans & more queer side characters
– somebody’s attacking innocent people on a werewolf pact’s territory and unfortunately their in-the-know liaison on the local police force has retired
– fortunately?? their replacement is really hot??? oops, that’s distracting
THE LIGHTS OF PRAGUE by Nicole Jarvis:
Pub Date: 5/21/2021
– bi MC with m/f romance
– gaslamp fantasy with creeptastic monsters!
– secret society of lamplighters fighting the good fight!!
HARD REBOOT by Django Wexler:
Pub Date: 5/25/2021
– f/f
– a junior researcher visits the ruins of earth
– finds herself betting on mech fights with university money
– and falls in love with one of the mech pilots, whoops
THE KINGDOMS by Natasha Pulley:
Pub Date: 5/25/2021
– m/m
– alt-history quiet time travel adventure
– London is ruled by France and Scotland is full of rebels
– MC has amnesia and only clue to his identity is a postcard of a lighthouse signed by “M”
THE CHOSEN AND THE BEAUTIFUL by Nghi Vo:
Pub Date: 6/1/2021
– f/f
– queer fantasy reimagining of the Great Gatsby
– do you really need anything more??
– all the glitz and glam and glitter of the jazz age but now! with!! black magic and demons!!!
FUTURE FEELING by Joss Lake:
Pub Date: 6/1/2021
– gay, trans
– when you hex a pic of an aloe plant but it curses the wrong person
– now you have to rescue that person
– and along the way you create your own trans family ❤
THE JASMINE THRONE by Tasha Suri:
Pub Date: 6/1/2021
– f/f
– a maidservant and a captive princess go on an adventure!
– morally grey lesbians just want to set an empire ablaze
– enemies to lovers, wet sari scene, and REVENGE
BLEEDING HEARTS by Ry Herman:
Pub Date: 6/10/2021
– f/f
– relationship problems are a bother, but they’re even worse when your girl is (un)dead and you’re dealing with your own strange new powers
– sequel to LOVE BITES
STAR EATER by Kerstin Hall:
Pub Date: 6/22/2021
– bi MC
– star-eating, cannibalistic nuns who fight zombies!!
– when one nun is done with the cannibalism, she jumps at the chance to become a spy instead
– and discovers more political intrigue than she can stomach
THE ALL-CONSUMING WORLD by Cassandraw Khaw:
Pub Date: 6/22/2021
– “gay lady criminals in spaceships”
– gays vs AI in a race to find their missing comrade
– sentient spaceships, a universe controlled by AI, and space brawls
CATALYST GATE by Megan E. O’Keefe:
Pub Date: 6/24/2021
– casually queer universe
– third in Protectorate Series
– ragtag crew of hackers, fighters and spies + alien intelligence bent on humanity’s destruction + a determined captain and her sentient ship = an explosive ending to fabulous space opera
THE BONE WAY by Holly J. Underhill:
Pub Date: 6/26/2021
– f/f retelling of the orpheus and eurydice myth
– stubborn women
– creepy kingdom of the dead
– plus facing the princess of the dead
CINDERS OF YESTERDAY by Jen Karner:
Pub Date: 6/29/2021
– f/f
– slow burn
– two girls fight together against necromancy
– plus dysfunctional families, paranormal hunters, and facing your trauma ❤
THE BLOOD OF THE CHOSEN by Django Wexler:
Pub Date: 7/8/2021
– f/f & m/m, queernorm world
– sequel to ASHES OF THE SUN
– oops let my terrifying warrior magician sister free
– still got a civil war on our hands
– CONSEQUENCES
A PSALM FOR THE WILD-BUILT by Becky Chambers:
Pub Date: 7/13/2021
– queer solarpunk
– the self-aware robots that left us behind are BACK
– and they want to check in on us?
– this sounds like a cup of warm tea when we need it most
THE FALLEN by Ada Hoffman:
Pub Date: 7/13/2021
– lesbian MC + other queer characters
– sequel to The Outside
– the laws of physics of Jai have changed and now the AI gods that once ruled the galaxy have become the planet’s jailers
– now mysteries of a fractured planet must be solved to save a fading world
SHE WHO BECAME THE SUN by Shelley Parker-Chan:
Pub Date: 7/20/2021
– m/m, genderfluid MC
– a monk claws fate into her own hands, daring to steal her brother’s greatness
– even if it means taking on ever increasingly dangerous roles for that power
– so. much. pining.
HOLD FAST THROUGH THE FIRE by K.B. Wagers:
Pub Date: 7/27/2021
– nonbinary MC
– sequel to the very queer A PALE LIGHT IN THE BLACK
– coast guard in SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE
– ruthless trade deal threatens space peace
THE SEA WOLF by Anna Burke:
Pub Date: 7/27/2021
– f/f
– sequel to COMPASS ROSE
– man-eating squid, jellyfish swarms, and hurricanes – oh my!
– a captain with an uncanny sense of direction must face her own worst enemy – herself
WINDFALL by Shawna Barnett:
Pub Date: 8/12/2021
– bi MCs, plus asexual side character
– pirate escaping her past as a princess
– when she’s blackmailed into protecting another princess, she hopes to discover who killed her parents
– lightning magic! love triangles!! deadly secrets!!! PIRATES!!!!
THE SECOND REBEL by Linet A. Lewis:
Pub Date: 8/24/2021
– f/f, other queer characters
– sequel to THE FIRST SISTER
– dystopian space opera with Handmaid’s Tale overtones
– TIME TO DESTROY THE SYSTEM FROM WITHIN
IN THE WATCHFUL CITY by S. Qiouyi Lu:
Pub Date: 8/31/2021
– MC who uses neopronouns
– the city is always watching. for your own good, of course
– MC helps keep that watch – until a stranger comes to town, with curiosities from around the world and a story for each that makes ær start to question everything
THE ACTUAL STAR by Monica Bryne:
Pub Date: 9/7/2021
– queer MCs
– time-twisty saga of reincarnated souls centered around a missing teen
– traveling from the collapse of ancient Maya to a post-climate-apocalypse utopia
AMONG THIEVES by M.J. Kuhn:
Pub Date: 9/7/2021
– f/f
– gay heist book!!! Slowburn sapphic romance!!!
– a team of queer misfits start to care for each other
– but also each secretly plans to betray the rest
FIRST LIGHT by Casey E. Berger:
Pub Date: 9/14/2021
– distinguished, functional, AND disaster bisexuals
– space opera with assassins!, shadowy research groups!!, and scrappy underdogs!!!
– political thriller in SPACE about resilience & compassion ❤
TRAITORS OF THE BLACK CROWN by Cate Pearce:
Pub Date: 9/22/2021
– f/f main
– duchess falls for a lady assassin disguised as a male knight
– maybe the enemy of our enemy is our friend – or maybe they’re actually our real enemy
UNDER THE WHISPERING DOOR by T.J. Klune:
Pub Date: 9/21/2021
– m/m
– cozy story about a ghost and the tea shop owner who he falls for
– except the tea shop owner is also the local ferryman to souls
– learning about love, loss, and life ensues
SUMMER SONS by Lee Mandelo:
Pub Date: 9/28/2021
– m/m
– queer Southern gothic haunted by hungry ghosts
– plus street racing, academic intrigue, and drug-fueled late nigts
– tw: suicide
ACTIVATION DEGRADATION by Marina J. Lostetter:
Pub Date: 9/28/2021
– m/m, queer found family including intersex and bi rep
– Unit Four’s orders are to seek and destroy, but Unit Four isn’t so sure about
– a sci-fi thriller with interstellar conflict, misinformation, conflicted robot heroes, and missing primers
LIGHT FROM UNCOMMON STARS by Ryka Aoki:
Pub Date: 9/28/2021
– trans MCs
– a sweet , soothing, and unflinchingly real story about three women trying to escape their pasts
– a violin teacher, a teenage runaway, and a space captain walk into San Gabriel Valley
TRAILER PARK TRICKSTER by David R. Slayton:
Pub Date: 10/12/2021
– gay MC
– sequel to WHITE TRASH WARLOCK
– cinnamon roll magician, separated from his boyfriend, has to save his family from a dark druid
– with the complication that his father? might still be alive?? but a warlock now???
AZURA GHOST by Essa Hansen :
Pub Date: 10/19/2021
– ace-spec MC, nonbinary and genderfluid side characters
– sequel to NOPHEK GLOSS
– epic space opera!
– mysterious ships with souls!!
– big tech and bigger world-building
THE GOD OF LOST WORDS by A.J. Hackwith:
Pub Date: 11/2/2021
– bi MC, multiple queer side characters
– sequel to LIBRARY OF THE UNWRITTEN, our favorite librarian is back to save the library by outwitting hell with the help of a Hero, an angel, and a muse
– “where were you, when the library fell?”
A MARVELOUS LIGHT by Freya Marske:
Pub Date: 11/2/2021
– m/m
– administrative error makes you the liasion to a secret magic society and of course your counterpart is a sexy prick
– plus homicidal hedge mazes, Houses that Love You, and a murder mystery!
THE QUICKSILVER COURT by Melissa Caruso:
Pub Date: 11/9/2021
– bi MC, queernorm world
– sequel to THE OBSIDIAN TOWER
– sure it sounds cool to be able to kill someone just by touching them, but it really complicates relationships
– demons and apocalypses don’t help
THE BONE SHARD EMPEROR by Andrea Stewart:
Pub Date: 11/11/2021
– f/f
– sequel to the BONE SHARD DAUGHTER
– animal companions and migrating islands and BONE MAGIC – oh my
– so many questions left unanswered from book 1 omg omg omg
THE HOURGLASS THRONE by K.D. Edwards:
Pub Date: Late 2021
– m/m
– third in the Tarot Sequence series
– Atlantis-inspired urban fantasy
– government by Tarot-themed courts
– adventure and mayhem and snarking, oh my

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