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10 Queer Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novels That’ll Rock Your World

by  | June 18
The First Sister Cover

Today, it’s our pleasure to welcome author Linden A. Lewis to Get Lit to recommend 10 epic queer science fiction and fantasy reads! Linden’s debut space opera, The First Sister, comes out August 4, and you’d best start preparing for it now. The titular first sister is a comfort woman, a la The Handmaid’s Tale, who lives to serve soldiers of Earth and Mars, but begins to question her perceptions of freedom when she’s forced to spy on Captain Ren. Told from an alternating POV, the book also follows a soldier questioning his ties to Venus and a nonbinary hero. Fans of James S. A. Corey, Pierce Brown, and Margaret Atwood will especially enjoy this extraordinary debut. Thanks for joining us, Linden!

I live in Chueca, known as the gay neighborhood of Madrid, Spain, and it’s around this time of year that people usually start flocking into the city for the month’s Pride festivities, increasing the population to well over one million. Unfortunately, with all that’s gone on in 2020, many of the Pride parades and other functions have been canceled due to the pandemic. Now, rainbow flags flutter over empty streets, a silent reminder that we are here, queer, and deserving of equal rights.

But just because the parades might not be happening doesn’t mean that Pride Month isn’t. So whether you’re in your home quarantining, out in the streets protesting (let us never forget that the first Pride at Stonewall was a riot), or working out in the world in these uncertain times, here are ten absolutely do-not-miss queer reads.

I Hope You Get This Message

I Hope You Get This Message

by Farah Naz Rishi

After NASA intercepts a message from aliens promising “Earth’s judgment” in one week, humanity collectively loses its marbles and decides to live it up like there’s no tomorrow—considering there might not be. Enter Jesse, who decides to use a machine his father left behind to make a quick buck. For a little cash, he’ll “send” your message to the aliens. But once the handsome Corbin enters the scene, wanting to help his dying sister, Mari, send a message, Jesse begins to feel conflicted. Does he keep his lucrative scam going, or does he admit he’s a fraud and potentially lose Corbin? And that’s just one of the three great teen POV story lines that this book offers.

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Gideon The Ninth

Gideon The Ninth

by Tamsyn Muir

When I first read that this book was about “queer necromancers in space,” I thought, “Wow, that’s a lot to unpack.” I never could have imagined how amazingly Muir would pull this off. From the world-building to the witty banter between characters, Gideon the Ninth hit me right in the funny bones (see what I did there?) and hooked me from the first page. Harrow the Ninth, the second book in the planned trilogy, coming out this August, is perhaps my most anticipated read for 2020. I’m dying for this book. And hey, if I actually do die, Harrow can always reanimate me so I can read her story.

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The Priory of the Orange Tree

The Priory of the Orange Tree

by Samantha Shannon

This is one of those books some of my friends have called “intimidating.” Yes, Priory is thick (more than 800 pages), but every single page is worth its ink. From the cover, you know there will be dragons (and there are), but what sold me (and those intimidated friends of mine) beyond the premise of “cool dragons” was the delicious, delicious queer content. Want a tale of love between a handmaid and her queen? Look no further. This fantasy is going to be the measuring stick I use for royal romances for years to come. Also, I may have gotten misty-eyed at the end.

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Dreadnought

Dreadnought

by April Daniels

I love superheroes; that’s no secret (one of my most prominent tattoos is Iron Man). So when I found a book that pitched “trans girl becomes the next Superman,” I was in. One day, Dreadnought drops out of the sky, and Danny Tozer inherits his powers, which transforms her into her ideal body, as well as gives her super strength and the ability to fly. Of course, that doesn’t magically fix Danny’s problems; there are still the supervillains to deal with, and Danny’s parents, who don’t know that she is trans. Oh, and some of the other superheroes (cough TERFs cough) aren’t exactly happy to have a new Dreadnought on the team. There’s also an amazing f/f romance in an action-packed plot in a story that I couldn’t put down.

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The City We Became

The City We Became

by N. K. Jemisin

What if cities were trans-dimensional and had avatars that could fight for them when the darkness comes? Honestly, if that alone doesn’t catch you, Jemisin’s tight plotting, great cast of characters (many queer!), and lyrical prose will. When Jemisin taught at the Odyssey Writing Workshop in 2016, I, as a student, got a first look at her short story “The City Born Great,” which the author called a “proof of concept story” for The City We Became. After reading it, I knew, without a doubt, that the novel would be amazing, yet I was still blown away by it.

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Docile

Docile

by K. M. Szpara

In a world where trillionaires get richer while the poor lose more, Elisha, determined to release his family from crippling debt, becomes a Docile, a servant whose body and mind belongs to his contract holder. The one who purchases him turns out to be none other than Alexander Bishop III, whose family is at the center of both the drug Dociline (so named for its docile effect) and the Center for Debt Resolution. While this book is kinky in the extreme, it is also a tale of healing from trauma, taking back one’s agency, and defeating an unjust system.

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The Midnight Lie

The Midnight Lie

by Marie Rutkoski

You might see a hint of Marie Rutkoski’s fantastic The Winner’s Curse series in her new novel, The Midnight Lie. Set twenty years later, it also works excellently on its own. On an island ripe with magic, Nirrim and her people are punished by absence: a lack of sweets; forbidden from wearing color. But when Nirrim meets Sid, a handsome traveler from another land, she falls in love with both Sid and the world around her.

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The Empress of Salt and Fortune

The Empress of Salt and Fortune

by Nghi Vo

I was so enchanted by this novella that I read it in one sitting. While I’m not usually a fan of the “story within a story” format, this one was so well written that both plot threads had me on the edge of my seat. Chih is a nonbinary cleric, out to collect stories. Rabbit, an elderly woman who was once a handmaiden to the exiled empress, has one to tell. With prose like an elegant song, this story is not one to miss.

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Upright Women Wanted

Upright Women Wanted

by Sarah Gailey

Wild West. Rebels. Librarians. If any of those intrigue you, imagine them all together in Sarah Gailey’s Upright Women Wanted, and you’ve got only a hint of the greatness this novella offers. This story had me hooked from start to finish, particularly because of the nonbinary character, Cye, and their relationship with Esther, who recently lost their best friend and lover to the hangman’s noose.

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The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea

by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Florian is a pirate on the Dove. Evelyn is a noble traveling to a husband she doesn’t want. When the crew finds a mermaid, whose blood causes those who drink it to forget, Florian and Evelyn throw their fates together to save the mermaid and receive the blessing of the Sea. The story is especially beautiful because of Florian/Flora accepting their genderfluid identity and the nb/f romance between the main characters. And don’t even get me started on how cool the nonbinary Pirate Supreme, protector of the Sea, is.…

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The First Sister

The First Sister

by Linden A. Lewis

The First Sister comes out this August 4. Pre-order now!

First Sister has no name and no voice. As a priestess of the Sisterhood, she travels the stars alongside the soldiers of Earth and Mars—the same ones who own the rights to her body and soul. When her former captain abandons her, First Sister’s hopes for freedom are dashed when she is forced to stay on her ship with no friends, no power, and a new captain—Saito Ren—whom she knows nothing about. She is commanded to spy on Captain Ren by the Sisterhood, but soon discovers that working for the war effort is so much harder to do when you’re falling in love.

Lito val Lucius climbed his way out of the slums to become an elite soldier of Venus, but was defeated in combat by none other than Saito Ren, resulting in the disappearance of his partner, Hiro. When Lito learns that Hiro is both alive and a traitor to the cause, he now has a shot at redemption: track down and kill his former partner. But when he discovers recordings that Hiro secretly made, Lito’s own allegiances are put to the test. Ultimately, he must decide between following orders and following his heart.

For even more exciting science fiction, fantasy, and horror reads, check out Simon & Schuster's In Other Worlds page.

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