Book RecsNov 6, 2021

Queer Scifi:
Fury Road Style

Credit: ARTWORK by Liu Zishan from | QUOTE from Babylon’s Ashes by James S A Corey

This post is part of 2021’s scifi month, A yearly celebration of all things science fiction, hosted by @deargeekplace and @imyril

Mad Max: Fury Road is one of my absolute favorite movies for so many reasons: it has awesome, kick-ass characters, takes place in a desert setting, is a post-apocalyptic western, and comes with non-stop action. The movie also stuns with some of the most beautiful shots I’ve ever seen in a movie.

Every now and then I come across a book that just screams FURY ROAD!!! at me. Books that combine all the things I love so very much about that movie. They all easily become favorites too, especially when they are queer on top of everything else too.

If you are like me and can’t get enough of Mad Max: Fury Road, need you fix of stories with similar settings and world building, I’ve got you covered with a list of queer science fiction books combining those elements.

Queer Scifi To Read If You Like Fury Road

Please be aware that the following books aren’t “just like” Mad Max: Fury Road. They have similar themes, settings and kickass characters that just give off the same “feel” as that movie. Obviously the plot is in no way similar.

God’s War by Kameron Hurley

On a ravaged, contaminated world, a centuries-old holy war rages, fought by a bloody mix of mercenaries, magicians, and conscripted soldiers. Though the origins of the war are shady and complex, there’s one thing everybody agrees on–

There’s not a chance in hell of ending it.

Nyx is a former government assassin who makes a living cutting off heads for cash. But when a dubious deal between her government and an alien gene pirate goes bad, Nyx’s ugly past makes her the top pick for a covert recovery. The head they want her to bring home could end the war–but at what price?

The Bel Dame Apocrypha series by Kameron Hurley definitely has the battle-scarred women, explosive action and desert setting you would want if you need your next Fury Road fix. It gets bonus points for being set on a different planet and also having weird bug magic.

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

Multiverse travel is finally possible, but there’s just one catch: No one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive. Enter Cara, whose parallel selves happen to be exceptionally good at dying—from disease, turf wars, or vendettas they couldn’t outrun. Cara’s life has been cut short on 372 worlds in total.

On this Earth, however, Cara has survived. Identified as an outlier and therefore a perfect candidate for multiverse travel, Cara is plucked from the dirt of the wastelands. Now she has a nice apartment on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley City. She works—and shamelessly flirts—with her enticing yet aloof handler, Dell, as the two women collect off-world data for the Eldridge Institute.

But trouble finds Cara when one of her eight remaining doppelgängers dies under mysterious circumstances, plunging her into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and her future in ways she could have never imagined—and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world, but the entire multiverse.

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson is very much about an all too real problem that is also covered in Fury Road: lack of resources. The desert/wasteland setting is given too and yes, this one’s MC kicks ass just as Furiosa does. That there is multiverse travel just makes this all the more epic.

Hunger Makes the Wolf by Alex Wells

The strange planet known as Tanegawa’s World is owned by TransRifts Inc, the company with the absolute monopoly on interstellar travel. Hob landed there ten years ago, a penniless orphan left behind by a rift ship. She was taken in by Nick Ravani and quickly became a member of his mercenary biker troop, the Ghost Wolves.

Ten years later, she discovers the body of Nick’s brother out in the dunes. Worse, his daughter is missing, taken by shady beings called the Weathermen. But there are greater mysteries to be discovered – both about Hob and the strange planet she calls home. 

If you are very much into the chases in Fury Road, then The Ghost Wolves duology by Alex Wells might be for you. This is the western but make it space-y of your dreams! The idea of a mercenary biker gang was what first drove me to these books and I have zero regrets. This one is set on a different planet, got a desert setting AND magic too.

Ten Low by Stark Holborn

Ten Low is eking out a living at the universe’s edge. An ex-medic, ex-con, desperate to escape her memories of the war, she still hasn’t learnt that no good deed goes unpunished.

Attempting to atone for her sins, she pulls a teenage girl from a crashed lifecraft. But Gabriella Ortiz is no ordinary girl – she is a genetically-engineered super soldier and decorated General, part of the army that kept Ten prisoner. Worse, Ten realises the crash was an assassination attempt, and that someone wants Ortiz dead…

To get the General off-world, they must cross the moon’s lawless wastes, face military hit squads, savage bandits, organ sharks and good old-fashioned treachery. But as they race to safety, something else waits in the darkness. Something ancient and patient. Something that knows exactly who she is, and what she is really running from.

My interest in Ten Low by Stark Holborn actually came from seeing it compared to Fury Road so of course I was giving it a chance and yes, it very much deserves that comparison. Its western-style and desert setting had me all heart eyes and the non-stop action was exactly what I was hoping for. It’s got some super rad gunfights / fighting scenes and lots of morally gray characters.

If you do like Mad Max: Fury Road I hope you give every single one of these books/series a chance, they are all amazing and definitely helped with me craving more of its kind. And I’m always happy to get more (queer) recommendations of similar books.

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