Do you have any recommendations for interesting wlw relationships in media? Lots of them seem super minor or irrelevant in their source material
in . . . in all of media? Uuuuuh, alright, yeah, buy my book
It's a fantasy and science fiction collection featuring lagoon mermaids falling in love with deep sea mermaids in zoos, cursed princesses sprouting flowers from their skin, dying astronauts, and floating continents
All the wlw relationships are amazing and good and front and center due to the fact I wrote it!
Get a copy today! Or otherwise order at your local library 😊
As of June 22nd, ya girl is now in the top 100 best seller list on Barnes & Noble! For those who don’t know, I wrote a poetry book called Brown Clay and published with B&N but I was told I wouldn’t be in store which is what I thought I was signing up for when I published with them.
When I called my local B&N, the manager was super rude & unprofessional. He said if social media made a lot of noise about my book, & proved there is a demand for my book by getting a lot of sales, they might put my book in stores! I’m not sure how many I need, but I’ve gotten 23 sales so far!
My poetry book is about love, identity, trauma, healing, sex, wlw relationships, & Black empowerment & liberation written by a Black queer writer and it’s rare we get this type of visibility in the author industry. So please, if you’re in the US or Canada, grab a copy from Barnes & Noble’s website! For international folks, I have an ebook on my ko-fi shop
This was so hard! I’ve been tracking and reading LGBTQA+ books for 10 years and picking 3 for each was tough! There are so many more I love so if you have specific ones you are looking for, or want more in these sub-genres you can totally ask me for recs. I’ll do my best.
fanart credit: @ace-artemis-fanartist
Below undercut is the Goodreads links to these books:
Hi–I’m briefly returning from my tumblr hiatus out of spite because i’m lowkey salty disappointed that every list I see recommending SFF novels with queer themes are just the same couple of books over and over again.
Are those books good? Sure! But there’s so much more.
So here’s my list of lesser-known SFF novels with queer characters:
Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner: Originally published in 1987, this classic novel is set in a bisexual society and features political machinations, drama and intrigue, and lots and lots of swordfighting. This was the first novel with prominent LGBT themes that I ever read, and it aces the test of time.
Tremontaine by Ellen Kushner, Etc.: This is a serial novel and a prequel to Swordspoint, but they can be read independently of one another. Tremontaine has the benefit of being much longer, so there’s much more to enjoy, and has 100% more lesbians and PoC.
The Warrior’s Path by Catherine M Wilson: All I had to be told to be sold on this book was “historical fantasy based on the bronze age, with a matriarchal society and lots of lesbians.” These are more character-driven than plot-driven, which I think really, really works. Book 1 of 3.
The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this book, even though Hurley’s work is consistently too biopunk squicky for me. This is a book about space warfare and intrigue, and there are absolutely zero male characters. It is. Very very icky, though. Lots of blood and viscera and other fluids.
Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee: Military scifi. Super interesting technology all based on every world in the empire sticking to the same calendar (no really, but it works). To put down a calendrical rebellion, they turn to a disgraced (lesbian) soldier and an undead traitor (bisexual) general. The sequel, Raven Stratagem, has a trans man as one of the major PoV characters, and it’s worth noting that the author himself is also trans.
Fire Logic by Laurie J. Marks: This is a slow-paced character driven fantasy. A country has been overrun by invaders, and though there’s an active rebellion, the situation is desperate. It focuses on three very different (though equally queer) people, who, together, can change the course of history. The sequel, Earth Logic, is also fantastic. (There is a 3rd one but I haven’t read it yet)
Warchild by Karin Lowachee: This is a space opera, but also a portrait of the effects of PTSD on children. It’s also the book that convinced me that second-person narration is good, actually. There are several significant queer characters in this book, and the sequels, Burndive and Cagebird (PoV character in this one!), though the first book is my favorite. Major CW for child abuse, though.
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie: It’s no secret that I love this book and its sequels, Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy. If you’re hoping for overt queer romance you’ll be disappointed, but if you’re interested in reading a quasi-military scifi series set in a space empire that has no concept of gender, you’ll love this. Every person in the Radch is referred to as “she,” regardless of what body parts they have or their presentation. The first book is about an AI who used to be a spaceship, on a mission to bring down the person who killed her favorite lieutenant.
Provenance by Ann Leckie: set in the same universe as the Ancillary trilogy, but can be read as a standalone. The planet that Provenance takes place on has three genders, and uses a neutral pronoun for the third gender. Additionally, children are viewed as genderless and choose their gender as part of becoming an adult. The book is about a young woman who comes up with an audacious plan to impress her mother--and how it all goes horribly wrong (and right, and wrong again, and right). She also gets a cute girlfriend along the way!
The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson: The titular character is from a small island where homosexuality and polyamory are widely accepted, but then the island is taken over by a deeply repressive and homophobic empire. This story is how Baru plots to take down the empire that destroys her homeland from the inside out. It’s dark but very very good (and yes the main character is a lesbian).
Dreaming the Eagle by Manda Scott: I confess I’ve only read the first book in this series, but I enjoyed it very much. This is a historical fantasy based on the Celtic queen Boudica, and it seems like almost everyone is bisexual.
The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow: This book is divisive--people either seem to love it or hate it. It takes place in a near-ish-future Earth. An AI has taken over the world, and demands a royal hostage from the ruler of each country. If a country chooses to go to war, their heir is killed. The main character is one of these royal hostages, and her country is on the brink of war. There’s a pseudo love-triangle in this one (m/f/f), but it didn’t much bother me, honestly. I also greatly enjoyed the sequel, The Swan Riders (moreso than the first book actually)
The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers: This is a delightful, cheerful, and optimistic space opera. Reading this book is a lot like drinking a warm cup of cocoa on a chilly night--it’s just warm and comforting. The crew of the Wayfarer is diverse, loveable, and pretty queer, too. The standalone sequel, A Closed and Common Orbit, is also a wonderful book.
Planetfall by Emma Newman: This is... an interesting book. To be honest, I had mixed feelings about it. It has a plot, but it reads more as a character study on a mentally ill, grieving woman, who loved another woman so much she followed her to a new planet, and then had to learn to live without her.
HONORABLE MENTION TO...
Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series: You know I can’t do a rec list without these. Though the PoV characters tend to be straight (with the exception of the Rain Wilds books), there are quite a few queer side characters. Most notable is one very important character throughout most of the books, who is nonbinary and (arguably) genderfluid. I’ve heard the Fitz books in this series described as “one man’s 60-year journey to realizing that gender is a social construct.” It can be frustrating, and heartbreaking, but these are genuinely the best books I’ve ever read.
This book, which is about 800 pages long, is one of the best pieces of literature I have ever read. It follows four friends after they move to New York City and pursue their goals, but most of the story focuses on one of the men: Jude St. Francis, who has a mysterious past that has wrecked him emotionally and physically. But despite the darkness of the subject matter (and it gets DARK) the acts of love and kindness and friendship from the people in Jude's life will bring you to tears. It’s a gorgeous study of trauma, human relationships, and the marriage of joy and pain that inevitably comes with living. I read it two months ago and have thought about it every day since. It’s one of those books you want everyone to read and no one to read. (DEFINITELY check out the trigger warnings for this one.)
The Traitor Baru Cormorant, by Seth Dickinson
This book is a sprawling political fantasy, packed with detail and diversity and some of the best, most complex worldbuilding I've ever seen. Baru grows up under the shadow of imperialism and eventually joins a rebellion to break free of the empire that has begun to take over the world. She's also a lesbian, which is forbidden in the new empire, but against herself is drawn to the enigmatic Duchess Tain Hu. There are devastating twists, loves, and heartbreaks that will break your heart along with Baru's. To say anything else would be a spoiler, but if you like complex, morally ambiguous fantasy, check this one out.
As Meat Loves Salt, by Maria McCan
This book follows a man named Jacob as he slowly falls in love with a fellow soldier during the seventeenth century English Revolution. After the war, they attempt to establish a utopian farming commune and keep their relationship together. This book is a really interesting foray into 17th century England, but it is ultimately a dark, passionate tale of obsession and vindication that will leave you as sick with the actions of the protagonist as he is with himself.
The People in the Trees, by Hanya Yanagihara
This book is written as a memoir of a disgraced scientist, who discovers a hidden tribe in a small Pacific island that he believes holds the key to a longer (and even immortal) life. You almost forget that the events of the book are fiction and not a real memoir--everything described seems meticulously researched and vividly real. As always, Yanagihara’s writing is gorgeous, absorbing, and well-paced. It's a haunting tale of how science, hubris, and greed can lead to someone's personal downfall, as well as colonialism and cultural genocide.
The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
You might have already heard of this one, but I had to put it on the list anyway! After a traumatic accident kills Theo Decker's mother, his life is thrown into turbulence and eventual crime, all stemming from a stolen painting. The story is tense, beautifully written, and will make you root for yet another morally gray narrator. For fans of dark thrillers, art history, homoerotic friendship, and/or coming-of-age stories, this one is for you.
Daytripper, by Fàbio Moon and Gabriel Bà
Although Daytripper is a graphic novel, it deserves a spot on this list. It follows Bràs, a Brazilian writer, and his journey through specific turning points in his life, each represented as a "death." The art is gorgeous and the story flows impeccably, capturing the beautiful mundanities and joys of life. This book will leave you touched, inspired, and deeply affected.
The Vintner's Luck, by Elizabeth Knox
After a vintner saves his life, an angel named Xas visits him every year for a single night. As the vintner grows, so does their relationship, just like a fine vintage. It's difficult to say too much about the plot without spoiling the story, but I can say that this book explores the nuances of human relationships and the love we feel for each other, as well as the hate and fear that can pervade those relationships.
Beloved, by Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison is one of the greatest American novelists and Beloved is my favorite of her works. The book follows Sethe, an ex-slave, and her daughter Denver as they reckon with a ghost from Sethe's past that begins to haunt them more literally than metaphorically. The story is both captivating and difficult to read, but Morrison's writing is gorgeous and the characters come to life on the page. It superbly explores the depth of trauma and motherhood, as well as depicting the horrors of slavery in a way that doesn't feel cartoonish or exploitative.
Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng
Celeste Ng’s work has gotten a lot of hype recently, and for good reason. This book follows a family after the middle child, Lydia, drowns. We see the buildup to Lydia’s death and its brutal aftermath, as relationships are challenged within the family. It’s a brilliant look at familial dysfunction, generational curses, and interracial marriage in 1970s America, and a deeply haunting portrayal of how these issues can tear apart a family.
A Little Life: graphic self harm, suicide/suicidal thoughts, graphic child sexual assault, rape, domestic violence, child physical and emotional abuse, disordered eating, forced prostitution of a minor, discrimination against disabled characters, PTSD, drug abuse/addiction, child death, mental instability, emotional manipulation, gaslighting.
The Traitor Baru Cormorant: homophobia, eugenics, violence.
As Meat Loves Salt: rape, domestic violence, physical violence.
The People in the Trees: child sexual assault, child physical and emotional abuse, suicide, cultural genocide, animal abuse.
The Goldfinch: substance abuse, underage drinking and drug abuse, suicidal behaviors/attempts, age gap relationship, child neglect and abuse, violence, racial slurs, casual racism.