Exploring Queer Sci-Fi and Fantasy: Beautiful Worlds and Diverse Narratives

Sci-fi and fantasy are some of the most LGBTQ inclusive genres. Read on to explore a few of our favorite recommendations.

Author's Corner Fantasy LGBTQ Voices Recommendations Science Fiction
Book covers of 'The Space Between Worlds,' 'The Sun and the Void,' and 'The Cybernetic Tea Shop' against an abstract rainbow background.

Sci-fi and fantasy are known for breaking the rules we consider normal. Whether it’s magic or intergalactic travel, they give us a break from reality. This may be why they are some of the most LGBTQ-inclusive genres: they can explore relationships, themes, etc. that may not be as accepted in our world. And the books on this list do just that.

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

'The Space Between Worlds' by Micaiah Johnson book cover showing two people walking against parallel worlds.

People can travel between dimensions but can’t visit a world where their counterpart is still alive. Cara’s counterparts, however, are skilled at dying and have died in 372 different worlds. This makes her an outlier but also perfect for dimension-hopping, and she is brought from the wastelands to an apartment in the wealthy sector of Willey City. She collects data and flirts with her handler, Dell, and tries to keep her head down. But when one of her last counterparts dies mysteriously, Cara discovers old secrets that connect her past and future, and her role in life that may endanger the entire multiverse.

The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz

'The Cybernetic Tea Shop' by Meredith Katz book cover showing a cup of steaming tea with two gears next to it.

Clara Gutierrez is a wanderer and an AI repair technician. She doesn’t like to linger anywhere too long due to growing up in a migrant family, so she’s always moving around retro-futuristic America. Sal is an autonomous robot, and she’s older than laws that call robots like her illegal because of ethical reasons. This makes her out of place at best but villainized at worst. She runs her former master’s tea shop, lost in the past and struggling to make her master’s dream for the tea shop come true. Their meeting is purely by chance, but the longer they’re around each other, the harder it is to let go.

Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

'Light From Uncommon Stars' by Ryka Aoki book cover showing what looks like a fish in the sky.

To escape damnation, Shizuka Satomi makes a deal with the devil: she needs to convince seven other violin prodigies to give up their souls for success. She’s already delivered six, and when she hears Katrina Nguyen, a transgender runaway, playing, she knows she’s found her seventh. But Shizuka meets Lan Tran, a retired starship captain and mother to four children, in a donut shop. Shizuka doesn’t have time for romance since her soul is at risk of damnation, but Lan’s gentle smile and sparkling eyes might define what a soul is worth. And perhaps even something as little as a donut could break a powerful curse.

Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree

'Legends & Lattes' by Travis Baldree book cover showing two women standing back to back in a coffee shop.

Viv is tired of bloodshed and bounties, so she hangs up her swords for good. The orc wants a new start, so she opens the first-ever coffee shop in the city of Thune. But rivals pop up to block her path — not to mention that nobody even knows what coffee is. If Viv really wants this new life, she’s going to need help. She meets all sorts of people and travelers on this uncharted path. Whether they’re drawn together by pastries, coffee, or old magic doesn’t matter — they become partners, family, and perhaps even something Viv could only have dreamed of.

Black Water Sister by Zen Cho

'Black Water Sister' by Zen Cho book cover showing a young woman with hanging lanterns in the background.

When Jessamyn Teoh starts hearing voices, she blames it on stress. After all, she’s closeted, poor, homeless, and moving back to Malaysia with her parents, a place she hasn’t been to since she was very young. Soon, she learns that the voice she’s hearing isn’t her own, but rather the ghost of her estranged grandmother. Ah Ma had been a spirit medium and avatar of a deity named Black Water Sister. She wants to settle a score with an important businessman who offended the deity, and she makes Jess help. Jess learns that making deals with impulsive spirits is challenging, but so is dealing with her grandmother. Especially when said grandmother snoops on her personal life, threatens to tell all her secrets, and uses her body to commit crimes. Jess must fight in her grandmother’s stead but also for herself.

The Sun and the Void by Gabriela Romero Lacruz

'The Sun and the Void' by Gabriela Romero Lacruz book cover with antlers. cheetahs, and various plants surrounding a building.

Reina is trapped on the edges of society, and her only potential escape is an invitation from her grandmother, whom she’s never met. But the journey is perilous, and after being attacked by night creatures, she almost dies. Her grandmother, a dark sorceress, intervenes and saves Reina. Now dependent on her magic for survival, Reina will do whatever it takes to keep living and stay in her favor. Eva Kesaré is illegitimate and unwanted. She tries her best to be the perfect daughter, but it’s difficult with her secret magic calling to her. She should ignore the temptation, but it’s hard when she’s never had power before. She may end up becoming something she never could have imagined.

These books and others similar to them are a great way to celebrate Pride, even after Pride Month is gone. Happy reading!

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