Korey’s Fave Queer & Trans Science Fiction Books for 2022
I love reading sci-f and fantasy books by and about queer and trans people and characters. Here are some of my recent queer and trans faves that I read in 2022. All descriptions are from Goodreads.
Founder’s Mercy by Owen Lach
Owen Lach’s Founder’s Mercy is a thrilling, young-adult sci-fi adventure set in a well-developed world filled with likable, relatable characters
The Bolvar Union provides everything a good citizen needs, only asking one thing in return: total devotion to the State. Teenage best friends Adan Testa and Bo Shen have other ideas. They plan an unlikely heist to earn their way over the wall, escaping Bolvar before serving their mandatory five years in the Bolvar Union Defense Force. But Adan doesn’t know he possesses a secret talent that no one has seen in the five centuries since the First Explorers colonized Neska. And when the Union discovers Adan’s hidden gift, they’ll do anything and everything they can to discover his secret. Even if it kills him.
A Psalm For the Wild Built by Becky Chambers
Becky Chambers’ A Psalm for the Wild Built is a lovingly crafted, low-stakes peek into a post-calamity utopia
It’s been centuries since the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and laid down their tools; centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again; centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend.
One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of “what do people need?” is answered.
But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how.
They’re going to need to ask it a lot.
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
Xiran Jay Zhao’s Iron Widow is a tense, dramatic tale of overcoming war, disability, and patriarchal oppression set in a fascinating world filled with giant robots and monsters.
When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.
To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.
Into the Lightning Gate by Robert Roth
Robert Roth’s Into the Lightning Gate is an exciting, fresh take on the sci-fi thriller, with grand, multi-dimensional set pieces, an intriguing storyline, and a diverse cast of enjoyable, well-conceived characters.
Cameron Maddock always knew he was different somehow. Not just for the obvious reasons, either, but in ways he couldn’t quite put his finger on. Still, he was at the top of his game, and life was good.
But Cam discovers just how different he really is when an ordinary day turns into a nasty encounter with an otherworldly foe. Suddenly, he’s running for his life in a high-stakes, interdimensional game of cat and mouse that leads him to places he’s never even imagined. And after a pair of mysterious new companions miraculously come to his aid, Cam discovers that he’s at the center of a cosmic conspiracy that shakes the foundations of everything he knows.
Don’t miss this fun, fast-paced, sci-fi action thriller that will keep you guessing right up until the explosive ending!
All That’s Left in the World by Erik J. Brown
Erik J. Brown’s debut novel All That’s Left in the World is a touching, earnest story of young, queer love in a post-apocalyptic world.
When Andrew stumbles upon Jamie’s house, he’s injured, starved, and has nothing left to lose. A deadly pathogen has killed off most of the world’s population, including everyone both boys have ever loved. And if this new world has taught them anything, it’s to be scared of what other desperate people will do . . . so why does it seem so easy for them to trust each other?
After danger breaches their shelter, they flee south in search of civilization. But something isn’t adding up about Andrew’s story, and it could cost them everything. And Jamie has a secret, too. He’s starting to feel something more than friendship for Andrew, adding another layer of fear and confusion to an already tumultuous journey.
The road ahead of them is long, and to survive, they’ll have to shed their secrets, face the consequences of their actions, and find the courage to fight for the future they desire, together. Only one thing feels certain: all that’s left in their world is the undeniable pull they have toward each other.
Hell Followed With Us by Andrew Joseph White
Andrew Joseph White’s Hell Followed With Us is a heartfelt, hope-filled allegory for defeating personal and societal persecution lovingly wrapped in an angsty, gory, monster-filled fight for your life.
But when cornered by monsters born from the destruction, Benji is rescued by a group of teens from the local Acheson LGBTQ+ Center, affectionately known as the ALC. The ALC’s leader, Nick, is gorgeous, autistic, and a deadly shot, and he knows Benji’s darkest secret: the cult’s bioweapon is mutating him into a monster deadly enough to wipe humanity from the earth once and for all.
Still, Nick offers Benji shelter among his ragtag group of queer teens, as long as Benji can control the monster and use its power to defend the ALC. Eager to belong, Benji accepts Nick’s terms…until he discovers the ALC’s mysterious leader has a hidden agenda, and more than a few secrets of his own.
Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders
But when the beacon activates, it turns out that Tina’s destiny isn’t quite what she expected. Things are far more dangerous than she ever assumed. Luckily, Tina is surrounded by a crew she can trust, and her best friend Rachael, and she is still determined to save all the worlds. But first she’ll have to save herself.