2020 was another year full of amazing queer science fiction and fantasy releases, too many for me to get to them all, and I’m just talking about the list of books I was personally interested in (you can find my list of queer SFF releases here), not even the huge amount that was published overall.
Instead of making this just a post of disappointments, books I haven’t read yet but certainly will for sure sometime soon-ish *ahem*, I want to turn this into the one thing I care about the most: recommendations of queer SFF books. While I’m very good at picking books for myself and place my expectations right, I wouldn’t just blindly recommend queer books without having read them. That’s why I’ll let the words of some fellow queer folks whose opinions I trust do the job for me.
Hench by Natalie Zina WalshotsAnna does boring things for terrible people because even criminals need office help and she needs a job. Working for a monster lurking beneath the surface of the world isn’t glamorous. But is it really worse than working for an oil conglomerate or an insurance company? “This novel starts out at a breakneck pace and doesn’t let up for the duration. My Scorpio heart loves a good revenge story, and I extra loved that the protagonist Anna is both queer and disabled”
Black Sun by Rebecca RoanhorseIn the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world. “I love how this isn’t a gender binary world. Dark and brutal it might be, but there are neopronouns and my nonbinary ass is here for this. There are also crows and political backstabbing and one of the sexiest bisexual pirates I’ve read in a while.”
Master of Poisons by Andrea HairstonThe world is changing. Poison desert eats good farmland. Once-sweet water turns foul. The wind blows sand and sadness across the Empire. To get caught in a storm is death. To live and do nothing is death. There is magic in the world, but good conjure is hard to find. “Sprawling over many years, Master of Poisons is bone-achingly beautiful, intensely emotional & brutally poetic. Pirates & poisonous storms & warhorses & floating cities & assassins & protective bees & lost souls & A Very Good Dog™. I was completely swept away by Hairston’s delivery of this highly intoxicating world! […] t is so fucking stunning, in part because of just how wonderfully queer it is.”
When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi VoThe cleric Chih finds themself and their companions at the mercy of a band of fierce tigers who ache with hunger. To stay alive until the mammoths can save them, Chih must unwind the intricate, layered story of the tiger and her scholar lover. “Vo once again writes two lush and intertwining narratives that are super queer. I loved this one even more than the last, and loved that we got to see more about Chih as a character. The stakes were high and it made for a wonderful reading experience.”
The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah JohnsonMultiverse travel is finally possible, but there’s just one catch: No one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive. “It combines so many of my favourite things: a dynamic bisexual woman as a protagonist, inter-dimensional travel, dystopian worldbuilding to die for, incredibly sharp sociopoltical commentary, and of course a slow burn WLW romance. I love some well crafted, diverse sci-fi, especially when written by a BIPOC author.”
Ashes of the Sun by Django WexlerLong ago, a magical war destroyed an empire, and a new one was built in its ashes. But still the old grudges simmer, and two siblings will fight on opposite sides to save their world. “It was so goddamn nice getting lost in this chonky fantasy. […] Oh how my little queer heart soared when I learned of the f/f relationship & reading through, seeing the normative queerness in the worldbuilding. There are many diverse relationships throughout.”
Bonds of Brass by Emily SkrutskieA young pilot risks everything to save his best friend–the man he trusts most and might even love–only to learn that he’s secretly the heir to a brutal galactic empire. “The tropes are fantastic. Found family, only one bed, and they were roommates, fake dating. So many more! Such a joy to read. […] Bonds of Brass is a wickedly fun, adventurous space romp that you’re going to love if you’re into Star Wars, Aurora Rising, & RW&RB”
I’m very excited to finally get to every single one of these and hope that all the new queer 2021 releases won’t distract me from reading them. Some of these have sequels coming out in 2021 as well, so at least that will be a good reminder for myself.