With Pride Month upon us, it's a great time to dive into the wonderful world of LGBTQ genre fiction. I've picked out 30 LGBTQIA+ SFF books you should read this month and beyond — and you're going to love them all. Whether you like YA fantasy, classic sci-fi, or something in between, there's bound to be a book on this list you'll enjoy.
These stories are fun to read any time of year, but are particularly important this month as a way of celebrating Pride, as well as a reaction to the many political goings on, including President Trump erasing transgender healthcare rights.
Science fiction and fantasy have always tackled issues related to identity, social justice, and environmentalist causes, and that isn't likely to change any time soon. By featuring protagonists and other characters in the LGBTQ spectrum, these books buck cisnormative and heteronormative cultural traditions — an act that is inherently political.
In addition to highlighting some of the best in recent, LGBTQ SFF stories, this list also features a few classics of speculative fiction. Whether you're new to sci-fi and fantasy or trying to broaden your horizons, any of the books on this list will make a fantastic addition to your Pride Month TBR.
Check out the 30 queer works of sci-fi and fantasy I've picked out for you below:
'Ninefox Gambit' by Yoon Ha Lee
Disgraced for using unconventional battle tactics in an ongoing war, Captain Kel Cheris has been given the near-impossible task of liberating the Fortress of Scattered Needles from an occupying, heretical force. The only person on her side is the ghost of an undefeated military commander named Jedao, who once destroyed his own army in a madman's gambit.
'We Set the Dark on Fire' by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Like all students at the Medio School for Girls, Daniela will graduate with a husband, a young man whose affections she will share with another wife. Detection could spell disaster for Daniela, whose parents have falsified her identity in order to secure her future, which makes the threat of forbidden love all the more dangerous.
'The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet' by Becky Chambers
The crew of the Wayfarer have taken a lucrative job, carving out wormholes to drastically reduce travel time between planets. The pay is relative to the amount of danger that the crew find themselves in, but for Rosemary Harper, the newest person aboard the Wayfarer, the mission becomes a lesson in learning to trust — and to love.
'The Brilliant Death' by Amy Rose Capetta
The daughter of a powerful mafia family, Teodora has a longkept secret: She is a strega, a magician capable of transforming people into objects. When someone in the capital attacks her family and others, leaving the mafia in turmoil, Teo must transform herself into a boy and travel with fellow strega Cielo to investigate the conspiracy.
'A Study in Honor' by Claire O'Dell
In this Sherlock Holmes retelling, Janet Watson, a homeless army doctor discharged from the New Civil War is taken in by Sara Holmes, a queer, black woman like Janet, who does her own work to fight the resurgence of the Confederacy. When New Civil War veterans begin to die, and their deaths appear to be connected to a conspiracy at the highest levels of the state and private industries, Watson and Holmes must join forces to solve the mystery and put a stop to the deaths.
'Every Heart a Doorway' by Seanan McGuire
Nancy spent years in the Halls of the Dead, where she danced with the Lord of the Dead and learned to serve in his court. But now she has been sent back, to parents who cannot understand her, in a world that no longer feels like home. Carted off to Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children, Nancy discovers that she is not the only child to have found a passage into another world in Every Heart a Doorway.
'Provenance' by Ann Leckie
Set in the same world as her Imperial Radch Trilogy, Ann Leckie's Provenance centers on Ingray, the adopted child Netano, and her aspirant heir. Determined to usurp her brother's position as their mother's favorite, Ingray arranges a prison break for the infamous thief known as Pahlad Budrakim, who may be able to steal back their planet's lost riches.
'Kushiel's Dart' by Jacqueline Carey
Sold into slavery as a child and later trained as a courtesan and a spy, Phèdre has a unique blessing — or perhaps a curse — that causes her to feel pain and pleasure as the same sensation. When she discovers a plot against her homeland, however, Phèdre must put all her guile and wit to the test if she wishes to save the people and things she loves.
'A Matter of Oaths' by Helen S. Wright
In contention for a promotion aboard the Bhattya, Rafe comes to the attention of his superior, Commander Rallya, who discovers that the young man has had his memories erased, for no discernible reason, and that he is the target of pursuers from across the galaxy.
'The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy' by Mackenzi Lee
In this work of historical fiction bordering on fantasy, aspiring doctor Felicity Montague must leave England to try her luck in Germany when no medical school at home will admit her. Disguised as a lady's maid to a strange woman willing to pay for her passage to the continent, Felicity soon finds herself involved in a series of dangerous missions.
'The Luminous Dead' by Caitlin Starling
In desperate need of funds, Gyre Price took her caver job without being fully cognizant of all it would involve. Placed under the supervision of a cruel leader called Em, she finds herself addled and on her own in the depths of the frightening caves. As her paranoia mounts, Gyre can't help but wonder if she is really alone in the darkness.
'The Priory of the Orange Tree' by Samantha Shannon
Long ago, the ancestors of the current Berethnet rulers sealed the Nameless One, the leader of a horde of fire-breathing dragons, in the Abyss. But the Nameless One will soon return, and it will take a rare alliance of opposing philosophies — held by the Queen Berethnet, a mage from the Priory, and an aspiring dragonrider — to keep the land safe from chaos and terror.
'The Outside' by Ada Hoffmann
Set in a world in which humans have been given magical cybertechnologies by the Gods and their cyborg Angels, Ada Hoffmann's The Outside follows Yasira, the lead physicist on a failed space station design, as she leads the Gods to her old mentor, a woman who stands accused of trying to usher in dangerous forces to destroy spacetime.
'Borderline' by Mishell Baker
Disabled following a failed suicide attempt, filmmaker Millie gets a new opportunity for success when she is invited to work on the Arcadia Project. Her mission involves tracking down a rogue fey nobleman, whose disappearance could mark the end of an eon of peace.
'Dreadnought' by April Daniels
Danny's life changes, practically overnight, when the death of the world's greatest superhero leaves her in possession of his powers — and the feminine body she has always wanted. Being a superhero might bring more challenges than blessings, however, as Danny must now deal with her father's desire to return her to her former, masculine appearance, as well as her best friend's newfound attraction to her.
'Not Your Backup' by C.B. Lee
In a world full of superheroes, Emma is incredibly... untalented. She doesn't have superhuman strength or speed, and she can't see through walls or jump over buildings. But what Emma does have are leadership skills, and that's exactly what the Resistance needs if it plans to take on the Heroes League of Heroes.
'Space Opera' by Catherynne M. Valente
Compelled to compete in the Metagalactic Grand Prix, an interplanetary talent show, Decibel Jones and the Absolute Zeroes must dust themselves off and prepare for the concert of their one-hit-wonder careers. It's glam rock in space in Catherynne M. Valente's Space Opera.
'The Deep' by Rivers Solomon
Based on a song by Clipping, Rivers Solomon's The Deep imagines a society of mermaids, born from the enslaved women who leapt from the decks of transport ships in the Atlantic. Living a utopic, aquatic life, the mermaids relegate the remembrance of their cultural history to a single citizen, Yetu, who must endure the isolation that being the sole member of her society to remember the trauma of its creation.
'River of Teeth' by Sarah Gailey
Set in an alternate history in which the U.S. introduced wild hippos into the bayous of Louisiana, River of Teeth follows Winslow Houndstooth as he leads a team of mercenary hippo hunters into the swamps to stem the tide of maneating beasts.
'Witchmark' by C.L. Polk
Living in hiding from his magical family, Miles works as a doctor in a veterans' hospital, treating the men who, like him, were forever changed by war. But when one of his patients is murdered, Miles must risk discovery in order to solve the mystery and avenge the man whose life was once in his hands.
'The Left Hand of Darkness' by Ursula K. Le Guin
Sent as an ambassador to the planet Gethen, Genly Ai finds himself confused by the native population, who can change their gender at will and have no concept of the gender roles that their new emissary is used to abiding.
'Ash' by Malinda Lo
In this Cinderella retelling, a young orphan named Ash finds herself rescued from abject misery by Sidhean, a dark fairy, who has claimed her for his future wife. But as Ash develops feelings for Kaisa, a powerful huntress, she discovers that life among the fairies is no less messy than it is in the real world.
'Karen Memory' by Elizabeth Bear
A steampunk western set in late-19th century Seattle, Karen Memory centers on its eponymous heroine, who works in an expensive brothel, as she and the other girls at Madame Damnable's attempt to solve a mystery involving a series of dead and injured sex workers — one of whom has turned up at their doorstep.
'Ascension' by Jacqueline Koyanagi
When the Tangled Axon, a ship with a chronically ill captain, comes to her sister looking for help negotiating with an interdimensional megacorporation for a cure, engineer Alana stows away on board, hoping the crew will accept and pay her. But Alana's in for a penny, in for a pound when the Tangled Axon crew are framed for a despicable crime they did not commit.
'Girls of Paper and Fire' by Natasha Ngan
Ten years after her mother was taken away by the royal guard, Lei becomes one of a handful of "lucky" girls who train to become the king's consorts. As she and the others are refined for the court, Lei begins to fall in forbidden love, and soon finds herself caught up in a conspiracy that could change her country forever.
'The Stars Are Legion' by Kameron Hurley
Zan doesn't remember what happened before she woke up amongst these people who call themselves her family. They say she can save them from Legion — a conglomeration of world-ships at war with one another — by piloting Mokshi, a world-ship capable of existing apart from the rest. In a war that has been raging for years, however, few things are as simple as Zan's family makes them out to be.
'The Gilda Stories' by Jewelle Gomez
After escaping enslavement in the 1850s, Gilda falls in with a self-made family of vampires. In an episodic format, The Gilda Stories follows her over the next 200 years, as she defends humans and adds vampires to her family.
'The Prey of Gods' by Nicky Drayden
As South Africa attempts to advance a utopic vision of the near future, complete with personal robot assistants and renewable energy, the country must also deal with a number of looming threats, including an angry demigoddess and a dangerous, new street drug. The fate of the country is up to a ragtag group of children and outsiders in Nicky Drayden's The Prey of Gods.
'Silver in the Wood' by Emily Tesh (June 18)
A retelling of the Green Man story, Emily Tesh's Silver in the Wood centers on Tobias, the guardian of the Greenhollow Wood, and his unlikely friendship — and deeper relationship — with the forests' owner, a man named Henry Silver.
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