2019 has been a bumper year for queer books of all flavors and genres, and especially within the science fiction & fantasy genre. While representation continues to grow within the genre, it’s important to keep highlighting queer and QUILTBAG books, since often their being queer isn’t a part of the marketing. The number of times I’ve heard someone go “oh, I didn’t even know that was gay!” and then immediately buy a book continues to underline how very important it is to shout about these books.
I’ve already highlighted many of the queer debut novels that came out this year (over both the first half and the second half of the year) and I’ve done a few threads on twitter yelling about specific representation and genres. Just recently I researched and shared a thread about all the queer adult science fiction and fantasy I could find that had come out this year, and it was far more books and novellas than even I’d expected.
But Twitter, while a great place to shout about queer books, is also a shifting, ephemeral space where things quickly get lost to the depths of the Endless Scroll (TM).
So I’m bringing that list over here for easier searching and posterity. Besides, it could be fun to do this every year and see how the list – and diversity in representation – grows!
Without further ado, and in no particular order:
2019 Queer Adult SFF Gift Guide!
| The Sol Majestic by Ferrett Steinmetz:
– gay male MC (and romance!)
– sumptuous feast of a book
– srsly Kitchen Wars but like, in space
| A Choir of Lies by Alexandra Rowland:
– Gay MC, queernorm world
– Stories have power!!
– Fantasy tulip mania
| Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh:
– Gay MC, m/m relationship
– all my exes are in the trees whoops
– One bed trope, but it doesn’t go as expected
– Sweetly sad, good for a drizzly day and then a looong walk in the nearby woods
| The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht:
– Gay MC, m/m relationship
– Pretty hot if you’re into gore
– Everybody’s awful and I love it
– Sexy, spooky, fucked up in the best ways
| Lord of Secrets by Breanna Teintze:
– FAB QUEER NECROMANCER
– f/m main, but very important m/m relationship
– Bone monstrosities
– Action adventure, good for a binge read
| Alice Payne Rides by Kate Heartfield:
– f/f lead romance
– steampunk time-travel shenanigans
– story about family ❤ and their chaos
– sequel to Alice Payne arrives, so you've got a box set!
| A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine:
– Main f/f romance
– Most of the cast is queer ❤
– Court intrigue!! Murrrderrr
– Intricate worldbuilding
| The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons:
– Bisexual disaster MC (and disaster might be an understatement) with some m/m flirting
– Queer side characters
– Epic af
– Did you want MOTHERFUCKING DRAGONS
– It’s already got a sequel out so BOX SET
| The Name of All Things by Jenn Lyons:
– sequel to Ruin of Kings, so maybe get these together
– queer ladies!
– did you want MORE DRAGONS
– jfc how did this get even more epic
| The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie:
– bi, transmasc MC!
– queernorm epic fantasy
– 2nd person POV
| Empress of Forever by Max Gladstone:
– lesbian space adventure!!
– feminist Guardians of the Galaxy??
– pew pew excitement
| This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone:
– enemies-to-lovers f/f
– spy vs spy but time traveler vs time traveler!!
– epistolary format
| The Outside by Ada Hoffman:
– queer autistic MC, f/f main
– space opera with Lovecraft flavor
– blurs the line between sci-fi and fantasy
| The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling:
– f/f strangers-to-enemies-to-lovers
– creepy deep-cave diving
– are there ghosts or is everyone just hallucinating WAS THAT A CAT OR IS THERE A GHOST IN YOUR HOUSE
| The Library of the Unwritten by AJ Hackwith:
– Bi MC, queernorm world
– Hell’s librarian!!
– Every writer’s secret dream/nightmare, having their characters step out of their books
| The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz:
– Queer women protags
– FIGHT AGAINST THE PATRIARCHY but with time travel
– Bloody and complicated and full of revolution
| A Song for a New Day by Sarah Pinsker:
– Queer women MCs
– Post-apocalyptic scifi where public gatherings are illegal
– Fuck capitalism!!!
| The True Queen by Zen Cho:
– f/f main
– Sequel to the excellent Sorcerer to the Crown
– Regency fantasy novel with fae and politics
| The House of Sundering Flames by Aliette de Bodard:
– queer families ❤ ❤
– 3rd in a satisfying trilogy about a post-magical war Paris
– resilience and hopepunk and Vietnamese dragons and explosions
| Amnesty by Lara Elena Donnelly:
– so much gay longing
– 3rd in an excellent trilogy, you can gift it along with Amberlough and Armistice
– queer cabaret spy thriller steeped in politics and exquisite imagery
| The Warrior Moon by K Arsenault Rivera:
– f/f main
– awesome warrior ladies doing awesome warrior things
– 3rd in the trilogy, gift with The Tiger’s Daughter and The Phoenix Empress for a happy gift-receivee
| The Widening Gyre by Michael R Johnston:
– M/M main
– space opera, more on the “hard” sci-fi side
– disgraced MC must find their way again – and Earth
| The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley:
– Queer women everywhere
– FUCK CAPITALISM
– Lots of gore, I mean do you expect anything less from Hurley??
| The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon:
– F/F main
– Chonky boi of a book, good for steeping yourself in the read
– Epic fantasy with dragons and political intrigue and mystery
| Floodtide by Heather Rose Jones:
– F/f main
– Domestic fantasy focused on a laundry maid (<3 <3)
– Good introduction to Jones' entire repetoire of queer fiction
| The Fire Opal Mechanism by Fran Wilde:
– F/F main
– Sequel to The Jewel and Her Lapidary (buy that one too!!)
– Fahrenheit 451 inspired with a rumbled librarian and a thief
| The Ascent to Godhood by JY Yang:
– f/f villain romance
– queer af all around
– fantasy & intrigue & magic all wrapped up tight
– 4th in the Tensorate series, all excellent novellas, gift set!!
| Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson:
– multiple queer main POV characters
– longing, lyrical prose in a fantasy skin
– good for someone who “doesn’t like fantasy”
– idk if you haven’t read Jeanette Winterson before you’re missing out
– pairs well with Written on the Body
| To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers:
– trans rep, ace rep, overall A++ queer rep & queernorm
– space operay, sense of wonder sci-fi
– queering science!!
| Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger:
– multiple queer characters, including trans rep ❤
– fast-paced, excellent characterization
– magical! animal! companions!!
| Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir:
– lesbian necromancers
– this is the kind of book that beats up other books for their lunch money and the other books LIKE IT
– seriously gonna sweep all awards next year
| If, Then by Kate Hope Day:
– F/F main
– quiet, literary sci-fi with alt reality seeping into the lives of the characters
– imminent disaster
| Gamechanger by LX Beckett:
– NB, ace, aro, & bi POV characters
– + many more queeracters
– tasty mixture of sci-fi, mystery, & apocalyptic thriller
| The Hound of Justice by Claire O’Dell:
– ace rep! lesbian rep!
– reimagined Holmes and Watson, both ladies, both black, both queer af
– near-future U.S. devastated by a second civil war
– sequel to a Study in Honor, so get them both!
| Where Oblivion Lies by T Frohock:
– complicated relationships, but m/m main
– magic based on singing
– horror/fantasy set in-between the world wars with angels & demons
| The Ragged Blade by Christopher Ruz:
– bisexual main, m/m
– what do you do when your beau becomes a murderous magician?
– dad doing everything for his daughter in a world full of monsters ❤
| The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders:
– f/f, queernorm world
– set on a locked planet, where half the world is perpetual day and the other half perpetual night, and a city inbetween
– culturally aware social scifi
| The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall:
– f/f with a pansexual Lady Holmes and a trans Watson
– Lovecraftian steampunk, where reality is optional
– “punch a shark” is in the blurb idk why you haven’t bought this yet
| Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear:
– lesbian MC
– lesbian villain kissing???
– chonky boi sci-fi filled with adventure & complicated relationships
– pirates! old secrets! space chases!
| Escaping Exodus by Nicky Drayden:
– very queer, main f/f pairing
– New Weird but make it in Space
– takes place in a “biological, city-size starship carved up from the insides of a spacefaring beast” UM
| Fortuna by KS Merbeth:
– bi disaster MC, f/f romance
– space opera about a family of smugglers
– drunk, prickly, bad-decision-making spaceship captain ❤
| Salvage by RJ Theodore:
– ace engineer girl, demi gay boy, + trans & disability rep
– steampunk & airships but in space?!
– murdered gods & assassination attempts & floating countries oh my
– second book after Flotsam, buy them both!!
| The Perfect Assassin by K. A. Doore
– ace historian MC, many queer side characters
– murder mystery/fantasy, with intense research scenes
– queernorm desert world
| The Impossible Contract by K.A. Doore
– lesbian assassin, cinnamon roll healer
– necromancy!!, actiony
– queernorm world
– sequel to the Perfect Assassin, but works as a standalone