books

2019 Queer Adult Sci-Fi & Fantasy Gift Guide

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 neabry 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
– Hamlet-inspired!
– 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 Amristice
– 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
promo, The Impossible Contract (Book 2)

Pride Month Pre-Order Extravaganza

It’s that time of year!

What, ant season?

No, it’s –

Oh yeah, hurricane season. Thanks for the reminder, I need to restock my –

No, I meant –

Oh! I remember now. Monsoon season. But that doesn’t start for another two weeks.

I mean, yes, all of those, but it’s also PRIDE MONTH. The time of year we queers celebrate how far we’ve come and reflect on how much further we have to go, when we remember that it takes standing up and making ourselves actually visible – however terrifying and dangerous that may be – to make any progress.

In that spirit of visibility, me and some other authors put together a special little pre-order campaign, just for Pride. We all know pre-orders mean the world to debut and small authors, and it means even more to marginalized authors. We’ve made some big strides in recent years when it comes to how many queer books are out there, but we’ve still got some ways to go.

So here’s what we got for you. For the month of June, for each of these four books that you pre-order, you’ll get a special, signed, Pride-themed bookplate. Each of us has made our own fancy bookplates just for this, and we’re excited to send them to you!

All you have to do is pre-order, and then fill out this form.

That’s it!

And here are

THE BOOKS

Lord of Secrets by Breanna Teintze
July 25th 2019 by Jo Fletcher Books
Magic is poison. Secrets are power. Death is . . . complicated.

A delightful necromantic romp through a dark and complex world with magic as boundless as it is painful, terrifying undead monstrosities, and secrets layered upon secrets.

Outlaw wizard Corcoran Grey is just trying to find his imprisoned grandfather. To do so, he’s just break out of prison, break into an ancient underground temple and avoid killing himself with his own magic in the process.

Oh, and handle a ego-centric, power-mad, necromantic demigod. You know. Easy stuff.

It’s also got some straight up gay necromancy and I loved this book so much.

Rep: M/M
Pre-order: Publisher | Dymocks | Amazon

The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith
October 1st, 2019 by Ace Books

A story about stories, ones we tell ourselves, the ones we tell others, and the ones buried so deep we hope no one ever finds them.

Hell’s Librarian is just supposed to tend to the unwritten books under her care, to keep the characters from escaping their stories, and mend any that manage to get away, only to inevitably be drawn back, battered and bruised.

She’s not supposed to let any of those characters stay free and she’s not supposed to leave the library for any length of time and she’s absolutely, 100%, No, Don’t, supposed to get involved a power struggle between Hell and Heaven.

Well, she tried not to. That should count for something, right?

Rep: F/F, Bi
Pre-order: Publisher | Indiebound | B&N | Amazon

Wild Life: Dispatches from a Childhood of Baboons and Button-Downs by Keena Roberts
November 12th 2019 by Grand Central Publishing

The memoir from the daughter of two famous primatologists, Wild Life describes an adolescence split between the wilds of an island camp in Botswana and the even more treacherous halls of an elite Philadelphia private school.

In Africa, Keena slept in a tent, cooked over a campfire, and lived each day alongside the baboon colony her parents were studying. She could wield a spear as easily as a pencil, and it wasn’t unusual to be chased by lions or elephants on any given day. But for the months of the year when her family lived in the United States, this brave kid from the bush was cowed by the far more treacherous landscape of the preppy, private school social hierarchy.

Wild Life is ultimately the story of a daring but sensitive young girl desperately trying to figure out if there’s any place where she truly fits in.

Rep: #Ownvoices lesbian
Pre-order: Publisher | Indiebound | B&N | Amazon

The Impossible Contract by K.A. Doore
November 12th 2019 by Tor Books

In this not-exactly-sequel to The Perfect Assassin, Thana’s got a huge reputation to live up to as the only daughter of the Serpent. When the opportunity to finally prove herself arrives in the shape of a particularly dangerous contract, she doesn’t think twice. Of course she’ll do it.

Even if the contract is on a foreign diplomat with the ability to bind a soul under his own control. Even if somebody else wants her mark dead, and doesn’t care who gets in their way. Even if it means pursuing her mark across the desert and into the heart of the Empire itself. Even if she’s got to tamp down on these feelings she has for the healer who’s come along for the ride.

Even if it turns out the man she’s supposed to kill might be the only one who can stop something far more evil?

Even if…

Rep: F/F
Pre-order: Publisher | Indiebound | B&N | Amazon