Books! They’re great! Pride is almost at an end but that’s no excuse for you all to stop supporting your friendly neighborhood trans and non-binary authors. I’ve compiled a list of only ten writers whose work you can throw your hard-earned pennies at right now but rest assured, there are way more out there waiting for you to discover them and share the good word. If there are any other books or authors you’d like to recommend, please feel free to do so in the comments below.
The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders
DOUBLE WHOA. I literally had to sit down when Connie said my title. I'm so grateful to everybody who championed this book and to @MiriamAnneW, Russ Galen and everyone at Tor who believed in my bizarre vision of a tidally locked world. This book in particular needed a lot of help. https://t.co/0E5HW8Un8j— Charlie Jane Anders *on hiatus* (@charliejane) June 27, 2020
Anders is a big name in 21st-century sci-fi, not only because of her wonderful writing and organizing but because of her status as the co-founder of io9.com. By the time she started writing science-fiction novels, she was already a Hugo winner with many awards to her name. Her latest title, The City in the Middle of the Night is already up for another Hugo Award and it’s not hard to see why. The planet January is dying, no longer turning and leaving one side of the world in frozen darkness while the other side burns under the ceaseless power of the sun. In the sliver of land that is habitable for humanity, various cities try to survive. Our protagonist Sophie is supposed to be dead, having been exiled to the dark side, but she has no plans to stay hidden.
Machineries of Empire trilogy by Yoon Ha Lee
@deuceofgears in with Dragon Pearl (nothing short of a masterpiece), the Machineries of Empire series (including Extracurricular Activities, Ninefox Gambit, Raven Stratagem, Revenant Gun, and Hexarte Stories) Comservations of Shadows, the upcoming Phoenix Extravagant, and more. pic.twitter.com/pCpgtXtW1P— Brad “[email protected]” Krautwurst (@bkrautwurst) June 7, 2020
Ninefox Gambit, the first book in Yoon Ha Lee’s award-winning Machineries of Empire trilogy, was described by Stephen Baxter as ‘Starship Troopers meets Apocalypse Now — and they’ve put Kurtz in charge.’ That’s a hook, right? A big warning, however: Lee’s work is not for sci-fi starters. It’s Hard Space Opera with no interest in holding your hand. Still, for lovers of the genre, there is much to recommend in this story of war among factions of an interstellar empire that feels so wholly alien to us flesh-bag readers.
The Tensorate Series by JY Neon Yang
HAPPY #BOOKBIRTHDAY to THE ASCENT TO GODHOOD, the fourth Tensorate novella now out in ebook and paperback!! Can you believe? Book FOUR??— JY Neon Yang ✍🏼 (they/them) (@jyneonyang) July 30, 2019
I wrote a small essay about hitting this milestone, how I feel about it, and where I want to go next:https://t.co/rdrsYOVJA7 pic.twitter.com/w7NJjWjcph
Can you tell I’ve been on a real SFF kick lately with these recommendations? One of the leading writers of silkpunk — a general label given to East Asian inspired sci-fi fantasy that employs elements of tropes of steampunk — Yang’s work is often inspired by their background in molecular biology as well as their Singaporean roots. The Tensorate quadrology of novellas follows a set of twins, Mokoya and Akeha, who are sold to the Grand Monastery as infants by their mother, the Protector of the Empire. Both twins possess unique gifts that prove enticing to all sides of the land. Do they side with their scheming mother or join with the rebels?
Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey
Fancy reading a fantasy novel about a school for magic that isn’t, you know, the other one? Sarah Gailey’s got you covered. Ivy Gamble has spent her entire life being tormented by the fact that she is the twin sister who wasn’t born with magical powers and the tension between the siblings has defined their relationship practically since birth. Now working as a P.I., Ivy spends most of her days tailing cheating spouses but finds herself back in the world of magic when a gruesome murder is discovered at The Osthorne Academy of Young Mages, a school of magic that also happens to be the workplace of her sister, Tabitha.
An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
An Unkindness of Ghosts:— JESSE(they/them) (@BowtiesBooks) June 22, 2020
asexual rep, non-binary rep, gender nonconforming queer male rep, autism rep, schizoaffective disorder rep, intersex rep. It’s important to talk about what diversity a book offers so readers who desperately need that diversity can feel seen pic.twitter.com/9w9erp9CKN
The debut novel of Solomon, who is currently nominated for a Hugo Award for The Deep, is a wildly imaginative sci-fi title centered on Aster, a young enslaved woman born on a segregated starship trying to escort the last dregs of the human race to a so-called Promised Land. Dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster suffer hard under this brutally racist system modeled after the antebellum south. She has plans to try and overthrow this hierarchy but soon finds curious connections between the fate of the ship’s sovereign and her late mother. I’ve seen Solomon’s work compared to everyone from Octavia Butler to Colson Whitehead to China Miéville thanks to their incredible sense of the intersections of the speculative and the political, but they’re really in a league of their own with stories like this.
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
Public Service Announcement: Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi is truly an astounding novel and if you haven’t read it yet, you should put it on your TBR list ASAP pic.twitter.com/41aD9dIXdo— MJ Franklin (@heyitsfranklin2) July 18, 2018
Emezi made history when they became the first non-binary author nominated for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, opening the door for the prize’s trust to create new guidelines for transgender, non-binary, and genderfluid authors. Freshwater, their semi-autobiographical debut, was certainly deserving of such an honor. Ada, the novel’s protagonist, explores her Igbo heritage and the many strange spirits and entities that live within her.
Little Fish by Casey Plett
Canadian author Casey Plett’s most recent novel dives into a family’s well-hidden secrets and the questions of identity they raise. Wendy is a 30-something trans woman who discovers that her late grandfather, a devout Mennonite and lifelong farmer, may also have been trans. As her own life, and that of her friends, fall to pieces, Wendy finds herself drawn to her grandfather’s story and seeks to unravel generations of concealed truths. If can also get a free PDF of Plett’s short story collection, A Safe Girl to Love, on her website!
Nevada by Imogen Binnie
Now reading Nevada by Imogen Binnie pic.twitter.com/YAthwmelmA— Assigned Cat At Birth (@Chateau_Cat) May 23, 2020
Author and sometime screenwriter Imogen Binnie made her literary debut with Nevada, a black comedy about a young trans woman named Maria trying to find the balance in her life between her punk values and the basic realities of living in New York City. To make things all the more complicated, Maria splits from her long-term girlfriend after discovering she has been lying to her. In an attempt to move on with her life, she does what we would all do: she steals her girlfriend’s car and takes a spontaneous road trip West, picking up a young man named James who’s going through his own issues with dysphoria.
The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Kiernan
"Ghosts are those memories that are too strong to be forgotten for good, echoing across the years and refusing to be obliterated by time.”— Kim Seokquindim (@rapmoonstarr) August 5, 2018
― Caitlín R. Kiernan, The Drowning Girl pic.twitter.com/s7HbH4EiOZ
Caitlín R. Kiernan has been a favorite feature of sci-fi and dark fantasy for over twenty years, and has the distinct honor of being described as ‘perhaps the best weird writer of their generation’ by none other than Ann and Jeff VanderMeer. Combining magical realism, horror, and semi-autobiographical elements, The Drowning Girl follows the story of a young woman struggling with mental illness who becomes untethered from her own reality. She soon becomes obsessed with the case of Eva Canning, a hitchhiker she picked up one night whose own past may be murkier than hers.
Wonderland by Juno Dawson
Juno Dawson is one of the top names in British young adult fiction, and for good reason. Her latest novel is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland with a scathing socially aware twist. One Amazon reviewer described Wonderland as ‘The Secret History on meth’, which only barely does Dawson’s work justice. Her Alice lives in a world of obscene luxury and boredom before falling down the rabbit hole and ending up with an invitation to a mysterious hedonistic celebration of excess beyond all reason. If you like HBO’s Euphoria then this will scratch that itch with zeal. Dawson is extremely skilled in balancing surrealist vibrancy with gritty dissections of mental health, gender, poverty, drug abuse, and much more. Not one for younger YA readers but a must for everyone else.