New and Noteworthy LGBTQ2S+ Science Fiction and Fantasy

June 1, 2021 | Isabel

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Working at the Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation and Fantasy, I get to see a lot of new books. One thing I've noticed is the huge increase of LGBTQ2S+ representation in the genres. Authors are creating worlds full of queer characters. And there is a proliferation of LGBTQ2S+ writers being published. It has lead to some fantastic books. Check out these great queer stories by queer authors.

Victories Greater Than Death

Victories Greater than Death by Charlie Jane Anders

Charlie Jane Anders' first YA novel tells the story of Tina, the human-raised clone of a brilliant alien commander. She's always known what she is and that she's meant for greatness. When her internal beacon is activated she is drawn into an intergalactic war. But Tina is not a perfect copy of Thaoh Argentian, the genius, deceased captain she was cloned from. She'll need to forge her own greatness to win this war. Tina assembles a crew of teenage nerds from Earth to hunt down a powerful artifact. As the team grows closer, feelings bloom between Tina and Elza, a brilliant trans hacker from Brazil.

There are many LGBTQ2S+ characters in this book. Characters also introduce themselves with their pronouns, normalizing diverse gender identities.

The Unbroken

The Unbroken by C. L. Clark

Touraine is a conscripted soldier, stolen from her conquered homeland, Qazāl, to fight for the Balladairan Empire. Luca is the heir to that Empire, hoping to replace her uncle on the throne. Rebellion is brewing in Qazāl and Luca needs Touraine's help to bring it to heel. The novel's world is based on colonized North Africa and it presents a stark look at colonialism and racism.

The relationship between Touraine and Luca mirrors the political struggle they're mired in. Their chemistry is complicated by the steep power imbalance between them. As she learns more about her past, Touraine starts to question her loyalties and where in this conflict she stands.

Upright Women Wanted

Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

"The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing." So says the dust jacket of this novella. In this future a bigoted, fascist government has a stranglehold on all information. Librarians, a " morally upright" order of women, travel from town to town bringing approved reading material to the populace.

After the public execution of her lover, Beatriz, Esther Augustus stows away in the Librarians' wagon to escape into their ranks. She soon finds that Librarians are not the virtuous purveyors of propaganda she thought. They are spies, smugglers and agents of revolution. Travelling across Arizona, Esther finds a community she never thought she could have.

The Vanished Birds

The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez

Nia Imani spends most of her time in the Pocket, a space outside of time that enables her interplanetary voyages. The upshot is that she lives months for every decade of the planetbound. With friends and family lost to time, Nia has few connections besides the fleeting relationships she strikes up when she makes port. Until she takes aboard a strange, lost boy with a mysterious past.

Fumiko Nakajima designed the four flagship space stations of the Umbai corporation. A thousand years later, she's still on Pelican Station. And she has plans for Nia and the boy, Ahro. Plans that could change everything.

The House in the Cerulean Sea

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Linus Baker is a respectable, middle-aged bureaucrat working for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He spends his days inspecting the orphanages that house children with strange abilities. But his new assignment is a bit different. Marsyas Island Orphanage is home to six extremely dangerous children. Extremely Upper Management wants him to spend a month there and report back. It may be too dangerous to exist.

As Linus spends time at the house, though, he realizes there is more to life than the rules. And a burgeoning romance with the orphanage's master, Arthur Parnassus, makes him question what he really values. This is a lovely, whimsical book sure to warm your heart.

Phoenix Extravagant

Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee

In a fantasy world inspired by Japanese-occupied Korea, Gyen Jebi is just an artist trying to get by. Taking a job in the secretive Ministry of Armor pays the bills and at least they'll get to paint, creating the magical markings that power the Razanei government’s automatons. There, apolitical Jebi learns about the regime's horrific crimes and finds they can't stand on the sidelines anymore. There's nothing left to do but team up with a dragon automaton, join the rebellion and take down the evil empire.

The Empress of Salt and Fortune

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

This story within a story is told by an old woman, Rabbit, to cleric Chih, a historian who uses they/them pronouns. The Empress In-yo, who united the rugged lands of the North and the Southern Anh Empire, has died. Rabbit, her one-time handmaiden, can finally tell the story behind the renowned historical figure. Nghi Vo highlights the voices that are often silenced in this slim, beautiful volume.

Cleric Chi appears again in Vo's second novella, When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain. Her first full-length novel, The Chosen and the Beautiful, is a queer, fantasy retelling of The Great Gatsby.

Shout Out

Shout Out

This gorgeous comics anthology was published by the local TO Comix Press. In its pages are bite-sized stories by diverse writers and artists. A forest guardian falls in love with a nonbinary ghost. Restaurant workers battle in a high tech city to beat their delivery times and find love along the way. A teen summons a demon to help him figure out if he likes boys. This book is not quite new. It came out in 2019. But it's a truly delightful read.

 

For more great reads, as well as videos, events and podcasts, visit our Pride Celebration webpage, tpl.ca/pride.

Do you have any favourite LGBTQ2S+ science fiction or fantasy books to recommend? Share below in the comments!

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