I always try to come up with new ideas for lists focusing on my two favorite things: science fiction and queer representation. In many cases, my mind often immediately jumps to the most recent releases, the newest favorites, not really forgetting about the old ones but also not having them fresh in my mind. So I thought why not highlight a favorite for each year of the last decade, my top ten science fiction books from and about queer voices!?
I don’t know why I thought this kind of list would be a good idea. Choosing just one book for each year was SO DAMN HARD! Especially 2019. It hurt how many books I wanted to include for that year alone. Actually, it was so hard, that I’ll probably follow up with another post just all about the glorious year that was 2019, because it was THE year for queer science fiction.
My Top Ten Queer Scifi Books of the Last Decade
2021: Firebreak by Nicole Korher-Stace
“One young woman faces down an all-powerful corporation in this all-too-near future science fiction debut that reads like a refreshing take on Ready Player One, with a heavy dose of Black Mirror.“
A “refreshing take on RPO” really doesn’t do this book justice. Is it for fans of RPO? Sure! But it’s also for those who didn’t like RPO, especially those who want a not-your-average-white-very-cis-straight-boy version of it (not the plot is that similar, but the base concept: evil corp + VR is there). Firebreak has the kind of queer rep I didn’t know I needed and just overall kicks ass.
2020: A Pale Light in the Black by K.B. Wagers
“A unique science fiction series that introduces the Near-Earth Orbital Guard—NeoG—a military force patrolling and protecting space inspired by the real-life mission of the U.S. Coast Guard.“
Will I ever shut up about this book? NOPE. Pale Light came out at the perfect time being a book that gives hope that just maybe humanity could still get their shit together in the future.
It also got one of my absolute favorite found families which I got way too invested in. Tears were shed is all I’m saying…
2019: The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley
“Soldiers are broken into light and sent to the frontline of a brutal interplanetary war.“
I love me a good time traveling story but this one is just so many levels above all the others I’ve read. A true mindfuck and so very well thought out.
2018: A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex White
“A crew of outcasts tries to find a legendary ship before it falls into the hands of those who would use it as a weapon.“
Found families in space will always be a big hit for me but Big Ship also comes with a shit ton of action and non-stop thrill. I especially love the whole enemies to friends/family thing. Also: MAGIC IN SPACE.
2017: Hunger Makes the Wolf by Alex Wells
“This thrilling sci-fi Western features “a dash of Dune, a bit of Fury Road, and a whole lot of badass female characters”
Badass female characters + Fury Roads is a like such a me thing, it’s no surprise I love this duology to pieces.
It also isn’t purely scifi but has magic too which is always a plus.
2016: Join by Steve Toutonghi
“What if you could live multiple lives simultaneously, have constant, perfect companionship, and never die? That’s the promise of Join.“
At first glance Join reads pretty much like an episode of Black Mirror and the idea of sharing a single consciousness with other people is both extremely weird and fascinating. Join is also very much about an all too real problem: environmental catastrophe.
2015: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
“This is the way the world ends…for the last time. A season of endings has begun. It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun.“
This book/series has one of the most imaginative world buildings in fantasy out there and I’m still in awe of the plot twist in the first book.
Beautiful writing and great characters easily make this a big hit for me.
2014: A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
“Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space-and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family.”
Becky Chambers just knows how to write amazing characters. For me, her stories are always extremely relatable and always shoot straight at the heart.
2013: Vicious by V.E. Schwab
“Two college students learn how to create superhuman abilities and later become archenemies.”
The book that started by Schwab fangirling. I’ve always had a soft spot for anti-heroes, the morally gray, and Vicious does that so damn well. I especially love that it isn’t just black and white, that there isn’t a purely good and bad guy.
2012: Rapture by Kameron Hurley
“Ex-government assassin turned bounty-hunter Nyx is good at solving other people’s problems. Her favorite problem-solving solution is punching people in the face. Then maybe chopping off some heads.“
Nyx is one of my absolute favorite characters. I keep saying how Hurley is especially good at writing assholes and Nyx definitely makes the top of the list of those. She’s just so unapologetically asshole-ish, it’s pure fun to read about her adventures.
When I now look at the list, there seem to be a lot of similarities: morally gray characters, world building based on climate, fighting corporations, kickass ladies,….
I’m excited to see if the next decade brings more of that (though I think I might be less into climate focused stories in the future….)
What were your favorites in the last ten years?
If you’re interested in joining this year’s SciFi Month as well,
check out this intro post on how to sign up for SciFi Month 2021!