Every Month is Pride: Queer Adult SFF For the Rest of 2023

Posted 11th August 2023 by Sia in Lists, Queer Lit / 4 Comments

Was this post meant to be ready on July 1st? Yes, yes it was. Is it July 1st? It most certainly is not! But hopefully you can enjoy this list anyway, even if it’s terribly late!

Or: post-Pride, queer SFF you ought to know about (in my distinctly unhumble opinion)!

The Saint of Bright Doors by Vajra Chandrasekera
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Brown queer MC
Published on: 11th July 2023

Nestled at the head of a supercontinent, framed by sky and sea, lies Luriat, the city of bright doors. The doors are everywhere in the city, squatting in walls where they don’t belong, painted in vivid warning. They watch over a city of art and avarice, of plagues and pogroms, and silently refuse to open. No one knows what lies beyond them, but everyone has their own theory and their own relationship to the doors. Researchers perform tests and take samples, while supplicants offer fruit and flowers and hold prayer circles. Many fear the doors as the source of hauntings from unspeakable realms. To a rare unchosen few, though, the doors are both a calling and a bane. Fetter is one of those few.

When Fetter was born, his mother tore his shadow from him. She raised him as a weapon to kill his sainted father and destroy the religion rising up in his sacred footsteps. Now Fetter is unchosen, lapsed in his devotion to both his parents. He casts no shadow, is untethered by gravity, and sees devils and antigods everywhere he goes. With no path to follow, Fetter would like to be anything but himself. Does his answer wait on the other side of one of Luriat’s bright doors?

First up is one of the strangest books I’ve read this year – and I mean that as a compliment. Absolutely nothing about Saint of Bright Doors did what I thought it would; it doesn’t so much subvert expectations as toss them out the window without looking back. It’s definitely not going to be for everyone – it doesn’t follow the familiar three-act structure we’re used to with fantasy, and nothing about the story itself is straightforward or obvious; there are no huge battles against evil, a lot of it is wrestling with awful politics, and there are layers and layers to everything. But if you’re looking for something Very Different, I must point you most urgently in Chandrasekera’s direction!

My review!

The Pomegranate Gate (The Mirror Realm Cycle, #1) by Ariel Kaplan
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Portal Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Jewish cast, queer MC
Published on: 20th July 2023

Two worlds bound by a pomegranate gate...

Toba Peres can speak but she can’t shout; she can walk but she can’t run; and she can write in five languages… with both hands at the same time.

Naftaly Cresques dreams every night of an orange-eyed stranger; when awake, he sees things that aren’t real; and he carries a book he can never lose and never read.

When the Queen of Sefarad orders all the nation’s Jews to leave or convert, Toba and Naftaly are forced to flee, but an unlucky encounter leaves them both separated from their caravan. Lost in the wilderness, Toba follows an orange-eyed stranger through a mysterious gate in a pomegranate grove, leaving Naftaly behind.

With a single step, Toba enters an ancient world that mirrors her own. There, she finds that her fate—and Naftaly’s—are bound to an ancient conflict threatening to destroy both realms.

Out in July in the UK but not until September for the US, The Pomegranate Gate is a lush, gorgeously strange debut that takes a few crumbs of Jewish folklore and spins them into an utterly dazzling story that bucks convention at every turn. Part historical fantasy, part portal fantasy, Kaplan had me entranced from the first pages – and hyperventilating by the last! I’m so excited for everyone else to get to read this!

The Water Outlaws by S.L. Huang
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy
Representation: Chinese setting and cast, major sapphic PoV character, minor nonbinary characters
Published on: 22nd August 2023

Inspired by a classic of martial arts literature, S. L. Huang's The Water Outlaws are bandits of devastating ruthlessness, unseemly femininity, dangerous philosophies, and ungovernable gender who are ready to make history—or tear it apart.

In the jianghu, you break the law to make it your own.

Lin Chong is an expert arms instructor, training the Emperor's soldiers in sword and truncheon, battle axe and spear, lance and crossbow. Unlike bolder friends who flirt with challenging the unequal hierarchies and values of Imperial society, she believes in keeping her head down and doing her job.

Until a powerful man with a vendetta rips that carefully-built life away.

Disgraced, tattooed as a criminal, and on the run from an Imperial Marshall who will stop at nothing to see her dead, Lin Chong is recruited by the Bandits of Liangshan. Mountain outlaws on the margins of society, the Liangshan Bandits proclaim a belief in justice—for women, for the downtrodden, for progressive thinkers a corrupt Empire would imprison or destroy. They’re also murderers, thieves, smugglers, and cutthroats.
Apart, they love like demons and fight like tigers. Together, they could bring down an empire.

There’s a lot going on in Water Outlaws, but it never feels messy or over-full. Somehow Huang manages to give us the best kind of indulgent fun – think great, physics-defying anime battles! – alongside and woven through much more serious themes and subplots. I don’t think I’ve ever seen quite that combination before, and it’s ridiculously impressive! (And succesful!)

My review!

The Free People's Village by Sim Kern
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Speculative Fiction
Representation: Queer cast
Published on: 12th September 2023

From environmental journalist and founder of the #TransRightsReadathon Sim Kern, comes the eat-the-rich climate fiction you won't want to put In an alternate 2020 timeline, Al Gore won the 2000 election and declared a War on Climate Change rather than a War on Terror. For twenty years, Democrats have controlled all three branches of government, enacting carbon-cutting schemes that never made it to a vote in our world. Green infrastructure projects have transformed U.S. cities into lush paradises (for the wealthy, white neighborhoods, at least), and the Bureau of Carbon Regulation levies carbon taxes on every financial transaction.

English teacher by day, Maddie Ryan spends her nights and weekends as the rhythm guitarist of Bunny Bloodlust, a queer punk band living in a warehouse-turned-venue called “The Lab” in Houston’s Eighth Ward. When Maddie learns that the Eighth Ward is to be sacrificed for a new electromagnetic hyperway out to the wealthy, white suburbs, she joins “Save the Eighth,” a Black-led organizing movement fighting for the neighborhood. At first, she’s only focused on keeping her band together and getting closer to Red, their reckless and enigmatic lead guitarist. But working with Save the Eighth forces Maddie to reckon with the harm she has already done to the neighborhood—both as a resident of the gentrifying Lab and as a white teacher in a predominantly Black school.

When police respond to Save the Eighth protests with violence, the Lab becomes the epicenter of “The Free People’s Village”—an occupation that promises to be the birthplace of an anti-capitalist revolution. As the movement spreads across the U.S., Maddie dreams of a queer, liberated future with Red. But the Village is beset on all sides—by infighting, police brutality, corporate-owned media, and rising ecofascism. Maddie’s found family is increasingly at risk from state violence, and she must decide if she’s willing to sacrifice everything in pursuit of justice.

"Full of furious kindness, radical community, passionate politics, and authentic friendships, The Free People's Village is a sharply-written paean to hope, set in a vivid, brilliantly imagined future that alternately filled me with loathing and yearning. From the carefully crafted timelines to the intensely real characters, this was a story that yanked me into its world and didn't let me surface for hours. You live because you still can, and you organize because you still can, and you fight because you still can."– Premee Mohamed, Nebula Award-winning author of And What Can We Offer You Tonight

“A thought-provoking, exciting ride. The Free People's Village is a mesmerizing portrait of revolutions — the internal ones that call us to find and fight for the best versions of ourselves; the external that consume, invigorate, and demand as they explore paths to justice. Grounded in an imaginative landscape and rounded out by an inclusive, complex cast, this novel masterfully explores identity, morality, and the choices we make as vehicles that hold radical power in the quest for liberation. More than a love letter to Houston, its bayous, and people forgotten and remembered, Sim Kern's world sings with possibility, hope, and joy that will leave you laughing--and crying — -long after the last bomb has dropped." — Ehigbor Okosun, author of Forged by Blood

"Beautiful, brilliant, and unflinching, The Free People's Village will both inspire you and devour you...in the best possible way." — Nicky Drayden, author of Escaping Exodus and The Prey of Gods 

Sim Kern created the Trans Rights Readerthon earlier this year, but regardless, The Free People’s Village sounds like the QUEER AS IN FUCK YOU book the world needs right now. I know I need it – I’ve been dying to read this for ages!

Cursebreakers by Madeleine Nakamura
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer MC with bipolar disorder
Published on: 12th September 2023

Adrien Desfourneaux, professor of magic, must survive his own failing mental health and a tenuous partnership with a dangerous ally in order to save the city of Astrum from a spreading curse.

Adrien Desfourneaux, professor of magic and disgraced ex-physician, has discovered a conspiracy. Someone is inflicting magical comas on the inhabitants of the massive city of Astrum, and no one knows how or why. Caught between a faction of scheming magical academics and an explosive schism in the ranks of the Astrum’s power-hungry military, Adrien is swallowed by the growing chaos. Alongside Gennady, an unruly, damaged young soldier, and Malise, a brilliant healer and Adrien’s best friend, Adrien searches for a way to stop the spreading curse before the city implodes. He must survive his own bipolar disorder, his self-destructive tendencies, and his entanglement with the man who doesn’t love him back.

I’m actually not sure if I’ve ever come across a fantasy novel with a main character with bipolar disorder before? And honestly, everything I hear about this book just makes me more excited for it!

Mammoths at the Gates (The Singing Hills Cycle, #4) by Nghi Vo
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Nonbinary MC
Published on: 12th September 2023

The Hugo and Crawford Award-Winning Series!

The wandering Cleric Chih returns home to the Singing Hills Abbey for the first time in almost three years, to be met with both joy and sorrow. Their mentor, Cleric Thien, has died, and rests among the archivists and storytellers of the storied abbey. But not everyone is prepared to leave them to their rest.

Because Cleric Thien was once the patriarch of Coh clan of Northern Bell Pass--and now their granddaughters have arrived on the backs of royal mammoths, demanding their grandfather’s body for burial. Chih must somehow balance honoring their mentor’s chosen life while keeping the sisters from the north from storming the gates and destroying the history the clerics have worked so hard to preserve.

But as Chih and their neixin Almost Brilliant navigate the looming crisis, Myriad Virtues, Cleric Thien’s own beloved hoopoe companion, grieves her loss as only a being with perfect memory can, and her sorrow may be more powerful than anyone could anticipate. . .

The novellas of The Singing Hills Cycle are linked by the cleric Chih, but may be read in any order, with each story serving as an entrypoint.

If you’re not reading Nghi Vo, then WOW do you have a delightful surprise coming! Mammoths at the Gates is the fourth book in her Singing Hills Cycle, although each book works as a standalone too. But why would you want to skip the earlier books? They’re fantastic! And this one in particular sounds like it’s going to be very interesting!

A Market of Dreams and Destiny by Trip Galey
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: M/M, secondary nonbinary character
Published on: 12th September 2023

Enter the bazaar of the bizarre where fate and fortunes are for sale in this high-stakes magical adventure across a London not quite like our own, perfect for fans of Neverwhere and The Night Circus.

Below Covent Garden lies the Under Market, where anything and everything has a price: a lover’s first blush, a month of honesty, five minutes of strength, a wisp of luck and fortune. As a child, Deri was sold to one of the most powerful merchants of the Under Market as a human apprentice. Now, after seventeen years of servitude and stealing his master’s secrets, Deri spots a chance to buy not only his freedom but his place amongst the Under Market’s elite.

A runaway princess escapes to the market, looking to sell her destiny. Deri knows an opportunity when he sees it and makes the bargain of the century. If Deri can sell it on, he’ll be made for life, but if he’s caught with the goods, it will cost him his freedom forever. Now that Deri has met a charming and distractingly handsome young man, and persuaded him that three dates are a suitable price for his advice and guidance, Deri realises he has more to lose than ever.

News of the princess spreads quickly and with the royal enforcers closing in, Deri finds himself the centre of his master’s unwanted attention. He’ll have to pull out all the stops to outmanoeuvre the Master Merchant, save the man he loves, make a name for himself, and possibly change the destiny of London forever.

I adore magical markets of all kinds – ESPECIALLY ones where you can sell intangible things like wishes and dreams! Alas, Market of Dreams and Destiny didn’t quite work for me – but it’s an objectively marvellous book that is going to work really well for most other readers!

The Death I Gave Him by Em X. Liu
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: Queer MCs
Published on: 12th September 2023

A lyrical, queer sci-fi retelling of Shakespeare's Hamlet as a locked-room thriller

A Twenty-First Century Hamlet.

Hayden Lichfield’s life is ripped apart when he finds his father murdered in their lab, and the camera logs erased. The killer can only have been after one thing: the Sisyphus Formula the two of them developed together, which might one day reverse death itself. Hoping to lure the killer into the open, Hayden steals the research. In the process, he uncovers a recording his father made in the days before his death, and a dying wish: Avenge me…

With the lab on lockdown, Hayden is trapped with four other people—his uncle Charles, lab technician Gabriel Rasmussen, research intern Felicia Xia and their head of security, Felicia’s father Paul—one of whom must be the killer. His only sure ally is the lab’s resident artificial intelligence, Horatio, who has been his dear friend and companion since its creation. With his world collapsing, Hayden must navigate the building’s secrets, uncover his father’s lies, and push the boundaries of sanity in the pursuit of revenge.

I fell head over heels for Liu’s debut novella earlier this year, If Found Return To Hell, so obviously their debut novel is on my list of must-reads! I’m a heathen who doesn’t care for Shakespeare particularly, but I’ve enjoyed a lot of Hamlet retellings and this one sounds very interesting. (Although personally, I would never name a project after Sisyphus…)

The Undetectables by Courtney Smyth
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer MC with fibromyalgia, major sapphic BIPOC character, minor nonbinary characters
Published on: 26th September 2023

Be gay, solve crime, take naps—A witty and quirky fantasy murder mystery if a folkloric world of witches, faeires, vampires, trolls and ghosts, for fans of Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey and T. J. Klune's Under the Whispering Door.

A magical serial killer is stalking the Occult town of Wrackton. Hypnotic whistling causes victims to chew their own tongues off, leading to the killer being dubbed the Whistler (original, right?). But outside the lack of taste buds and the strange magical carvings on the victims’ torsos, the murderer leaves no evidence. No obvious clues. No reason – or so it seems.

Enter the Undetectables, a detective agency run by three witches and a ghost in a cat costume (don’t ask). They are hired to investigate the murders, but with their only case so far left unsolved, will they be up to the task? Mallory, the forensic science expert, is struggling with pain and fatigue from her recently diagnosed fibromyalgia. Cornelia, the team member most likely to go rogue and punch a police officer, is suddenly stirring all sorts of feelings in Mallory. Diana, the social butterfly of the group, is hitting up all of her ex-girlfriends for information. And not forgetting ghostly Theodore – deceased, dramatic, and also the agency’s first dead body and unsolved murder case.

With bodies stacking up and the case leading them to mysteries at the very heart of magical society, can the Undetectables find the Whistler before they become the killer’s next victims?

Startled, but pleasantly, to see fibromyalgia featured here, but even without it this sounds like a ridiculous amount of fun. Plus, Be Gay. Solve Crimes. Take Naps. is a motto I can definitely get behind! (And as I’m currently reading an arc of this, I can assure you that The Undetectables is even better than it sounds!)

Pluralities by Avi Silver
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: Queer MCs
Published on: 3rd October 2023

"Wait—rewind. I was still a girl back then, before the universes converged."

Guided by premonitions and a fateful car ride, a burned-out retail worker stumbles into the grand exit from womanhood. Meanwhile, in a galaxy not so far away, an alien prince goes rogue with his sentient spaceship, seeking purpose in the great glimmering void. As the two of them come together in a fusion of body and mind, they must reckon with their assigned identities.

Tender, witty, and daring, Pluralities is a slipstream-meets-space-adventure story honoring the long and turbulent journey into gender euphoria.

Avi Silver is a fave of mine (I strongly recommend their Sãoni Cycle) and I’ve been waiting for Pluralities for YEARS (its first publishing deal fell through, way back when). I’m deep into an advanced reading copy at the moment, and it’s so soft and deep and wonderful, in the very best kind of weird way!

The Dead Take the A Train (Carrion City, #1) by Cassandra Khaw, Richard Kadrey
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Sapphic MC, F/F
Published on: 3rd October 2023

Bestselling authors Cassandra Khaw and Richard Kadrey have teamed up to deliver a dark new story with magic, monsters, and mayhem, perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman and Joe Hill.

Julie Crews is a coked-up, burnt-out thirty-something who packs a lot of magic into her small body. She’s been trying to establish herself in the NYC magic scene, and she’ll work the most gruesome gigs to claw her way to the top.

Julie is desperate for a quick career boost to break the dead-end grind, but her pleas draw the attention of an eldritch god who is hungry for revenge. Her power grab sets off a deadly chain of events that puts her closest friends – and the entire world – directly in the path of annihilation.

The first explosive adventure in the Carrion City Duology, The Dead Take the A Train fuses Khaw’s cosmic horror and Kadrey’s gritty fantasy into a full-throttle thrill ride straight into New York’s magical underbelly.

If a project involves Khaw, I will read it – even if it’s going to give me nightmares. The Dead Take the A Train will probably keep me from sleeping, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be worth it. You can read an excerpt of it here!

Menewood (The Light of the World Trilogy #2) by Nicola Griffith
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bi/pansexual MC
Published on: 3rd October 2023

In the much anticipated sequel to Hild, Nicola Griffith's Menewood transports readers back to seventh-century Britain, a land of rival kings and religions poised for epochal change.

Hild is no longer the bright child who made a place in Edwin Overking's court with her seemingly supernatural insight. She is eighteen, honed and tested, the formidable Lady of Elmet, now building her personal stronghold in the valley of Menewood.

But Edwin needs his most trusted advisor. Old alliances are fraying. Younger rivals are snapping at his heels. War is brewing--bitter war, winter war. Not knowing who to trust he becomes volatile and unpredictable. Hild begins to understand the true extent of the chaos ahead, and now she must navigate the turbulence and fight to protect both the kingdom and her own people.

Hild will face the losses and devastation of total war, and then she must find a new strength, the implacable determination to forge a radically different path for herself and her people. In the valley, her last redoubt, her community slowly takes root. She trains herself and her unexpected allies in new ways of thinking as she prepares for one last wager: risking all on a single throw for a better future...

In the last decade, Hild has become a beloved classic of epic storytelling. Menewood picks up where that journey left off, and exceeds it in every way.

Hild is a jewelled casket of a book, and Menewood is its sure-to-be-exquisite sequel! And yes, okay, fine, technically this series is Historical Fiction – but speculative history is speculative fiction, okay? It counts!

Traitor of Redwinter (The Redwinter Chronicles, #2) by Ed McDonald
Genres: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bisexual MC, secondary gay character
Published on: 24th October 2023

The second in Ed McDonald’s Chronicles of Redwinter, full of shady politics, militant monks, ancient powers... and a young woman navigating a world in which no one is quite what they seem.

The power of the Sixth Gate grows stronger within Raine each day—to control it, she needs lessons no living Draoihn can teach her. Her fledgling friendships are tested to breaking point as she tries to face what she has become, and her master Ulovar is struck by a mysterious sickness that slowly saps the vitality from his body, leaving Raine to face her growing darkness alone. There’s only one chance to turn the tide of power surging within her—to learn the secrets the Draoihn themselves purged from the world.

The book can teach her. She doesn’t know where she found it, or when exactly, but its ever changing pages whisper power that has lain untouched for centuries.

As the king’s health fails and the north suffers in the grip of famine, rebellious lords hunger for the power of the Crown, backed by powers that would see the Crowns undone. Amidst this growing threat, Raine’s former friend Ovitus brings a powerful new alliance, raising his status and power of his own. He professes support for the heir to the throne even as others would see him take it for himself, and desperately craves Raine’s forgiveness—or her submission.

But the grandmaster has her own plans for Raine, and the deadly training she has been given has not been conducted carelessly. In Raine she seeks to craft a weapon to launch right into her enemy’s heart, as Redwinter seeks to hold onto power.

Amidst threats old and new, Raine must learn the secrets promised by the book, magic promised by a queen with a crown of feathers. A queen to whom Raine has promised more than she can afford to give…

Good gods, I was not expecting to love the first book in this series – Daughter of Redwinter – like I did, but it blew me away! Leaving me IMMENSELY excited for book two – we have so many unanswered questions… (Only the least of which is: how is the bisexual love triangle going to resolve itself???)

A Power Unbound (The Last Binding, #3) by Freya Marske
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: M/M
Published on: 7th November 2023

A Power Unbound
is the final entry in Freya Marske’s beloved, award-winning Last Binding trilogy, the queer historical fantasy series that began with A Marvellous Light.
Jack Alston, Lord Hawthorn, would love a nice, safe, comfortable life. After the death of his twin sister, he thought he was done with magic for good. But with the threat of a dangerous ritual hanging over every magician in Britain, he’s drawn reluctantly back into that world.

Now Jack is living in a bizarre puzzle-box of a magical London townhouse, helping an unlikely group of friends track down the final piece of the Last Contract before their enemies can do the same. And to make matters worse, they need the help of writer and thief Alan Ross.

Cagey and argumentative, Alan is only in this for the money. The aristocratic Lord Hawthorn, with all his unearned power, is everything that Alan hates. And unfortunately, Alan happens to be everything that Jack wants in one gorgeous, infuriating package.

When a plot to seize unimaginable power comes to a head at Cheetham Hall—Jack’s ancestral family estate, a land so old and bound in oaths that it’s grown a personality as prickly as its owner—Jack, Alan and their allies will become entangled in a night of champagne, secrets, and bloody sacrifice . . . and the foundations of magic in Britain will be torn up by the roots before the end.

A Marvellous Light was lovely, and A Restless Truth was superb – so I doubt I’m the only one making grabby-hands at the last book of the trilogy, A Power Unbound! If you’ve not read this series yet, you absolutely should, because these books are pretty much never-ending delight in literary form!

System Collapse (The Murderbot Diaries, #7) by Martha Wells
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: Agender asexual MC
Published on: 14th November 2023

Am I making it worse? I think I'm making it worse.

Everyone's favorite lethal SecUnit is back in the latest installment in Martha Wells's New York Times bestselling Murderbot Diaries series.

Following the events in Network Effect, the Barish-Estranza corporation has sent rescue ships to a newly-colonized planet in peril, as well as additional SecUnits. But if there’s an ethical corporation out there, Murderbot has yet to find it, and if Barish-Estranza can’t have the planet, they’re sure as hell not leaving without something. If that something just happens to be an entire colony of humans, well, a free workforce is a decent runner-up prize.

But there’s something wrong with Murderbot; it isn’t running within normal operational parameters. ART’s crew and the humans from Preservation are doing everything they can to protect the colonists, but with Barish-Estranza’s SecUnit-heavy persuasion teams, they’re going to have to hope Murderbot figures out what’s wrong with itself, and fast!

Yeah, this plan is... not going to work.

Another series that will become your next obsession, if you’re not obsessed with it already, is the marvellous Murderbot – and System Collapse, the upcoming 7th instalment, follows on from the events in Network Effect, aka book 5! There was some confusion when book 6 didn’t, but we will at last find out what happens to our favourite SecUnit and ART!!!

Til Death Do Us Bard by Rose Black
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: M/M
Published on: 21st November 2023

Marriage isn't always sunshine and unicorns... sometimes it's monsters and necromancy.

It's been almost a year since Logan 'The Bear' Theaker hung up his axe and settled down with his sunshiny bard husband, Pie. But when Pie disappears, Logan is forced back into a world he thought he'd left behind.

Logan quickly discovers that Pie has been blackmailed into stealing a powerful artifact capable of creating an undead army. With the help of an old adversary and a ghost from his past, Logan sets out to rescue his husband.

But the further the quest takes him, the more secrets Logan uncovers. He'll need all his strength to rescue his husband - but can he save their marriage?

Here’s a hack for making me zero in on your book: put a unicorn (or three!!!) on your cover! Jokes aside, Til Death Do Us Bard was on my radar even before the (gorgeous) cover reveal, because it sounds like fun – and in combination with that cover, I suspect it’s more likely to be sweet than grim. (I fully expect the marriage to be saved – don’t you?)

We Are the Crisis (The Convergence Saga) (Convergence Saga, 2) by Cadwell Turnbull
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: QBIPOC cast
Published on: 7th November 2023

The long awaited sequel to No Gods, No Monsters from award-winning author Cadwell Turnbull, We Are the Crisis sees humans and monsters clash as civil rights collide with preternatural forces.

Three years after the Monster Massacre, members of Rebecca’s old wolf pack have begun to go missing without a trace. The world has undergone many changes in the years since monsters came out of the shadows. An anti-monster group known as the Black Hand has started to organize across the United States. In response, pro-monster organizations have been growing in numbers and militancy. Targeted killings of suspected monsters and their allies, monsters spirited away in the dead of night, and the beginnings of pro-monster legislation are all signs of cosmic shift on the horizon.

Is there any hope for lasting peace? Or are these events just precursors to a devastating monster-human war?

Meanwhile, beneath it all, two ancient orders escalate their mysterious conflict, revealing dangerous secrets about the gods and the very origins of magic in the universe …

The first book in the Convergence Saga, No Gods No Monsters, was a QBIPOC fever-dream that I couldn’t get enough of. So it goes without saying that I need the sequel MOST URGENTLY! Will we start getting answers in book 2? I don’t know, and I almost don’t care; We Are the Crisis is sure to be epic either way!

Shadow Baron (Burnished City Trilogy) by Davinia Evans
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Achillean MC
Published on: 14th November 2023

'A firework of a fantasy vibrant, explosive, deliciously dangerous and impossibly fun. A must-read debut' Tasha Suri, author of The Jasmine Throne

Siyon Velo might be acknowledged as the Alchemist. He may have even stabilized the planes and stopped Bezim from ever shaking into the sea again. But that doesn't mean he has any idea what's he doing-and it won't be long before everyone knows it.

Then mythical creatures once confined to operas and myths are spotted around Bezim. A djinn invades one of Zagiri's garden parties, and whispers of a naga slithering through the Flower District are all Anahid hears at the card table.

Magic is waking up in the Mundane. It's up to Siyon to figure out a way to stop it, or everything he's worked hard to save will come crashing down.

Notorious Sorcerer was one of my best-beloved books of last year, and I’ve been pining for the sequel ever since! Evans has created a wonderful world for this series, and a cast it’s impossible not to adore – to say nothing of featuring my favourite take on alchemy ever! I NEED to know what happens next for Siyon and his extremely eclectic crew!

All the Hidden Paths (The Tithenai Chronicles, #2) by Foz Meadows
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Brown cast, M/M
Published on: 5th December 2023

The follow-up to Foz Meadows's A Strange and Stubborn Endurance , a sultry political & romantic fantasy exploring gender, sexuality, identity, and self-worth.

With the plot against them foiled and the city of Qi-Katai in safe hands, Velasin and Caethari have begun to test the waters of their relationship. But the wider political ramifications of their marriage are still playing out across two nations, and all too soon, they’re summoned north to Tithena’s capital city, Qi-Xihan, to present themselves to its monarch.

With Caethari newly invested as his grandmother’s heir and Velasin’s old ghosts gnawing at his heels, what little peace they’ve managed to find is swiftly put to the test. Cae’s recent losses have left him racked with grief and guilt, while Vel struggles with the disconnect between instincts that have kept him safe in secrecy and what an open life requires of him now.

Pursued by unknown assailants and with Qi-Xihan’s court factions jockeying for power, Vel and Cae must use all the skills at their disposal to not only survive, but thrive – because there’s more than one way to end an alliance, and more than one person who wants to see them fail.

I have yet to review this, but I have read it – and I love it even more than I loved A Strange and Stubborn Endurance, its predecessor!!! Meadows continues to delight and awe me in equal measure, and this is the perfect sequel, complimenting and completing the story begun in Endurance. I would never say no to more books about these characters, but this makes for a beautiful conclusion if that’s what Meadows intends it to be!

Him by Geoff Ryman
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Nonbinary or genderqueer MC
Published on: 5th December 2023

“Women, of course, can not be sons of God.”

In the village of Nazareth, virgin Maryam and the wife of Yosef barLevi gives birth to a miracle: a little girl. She is named Avigayil, after her grandmother. But as Avigayil grows, it’s clear she believes that she is destined to be someone greater than just the daughter of Maryam. From fighting with the village boys to challenging the priests in the temple, Avigayil is determined to find her way.

And then comes the day when Avigayil declares that not only is she a boy, but she is also the Son of God. A gripping, thoughtful sci-fi novel, tackling family, the multiverse and the survival of love through immense change and crisis.

I have no idea who Ryman is, but I am immediately here for trans/nonbinary Jesus, okay? I also consider it an excellent sign that it’s being published by Angry Robot, whose books are, as they say, ‘SF, F, and WTF?!’

I’m sure there are plenty more books I don’t know about yet – feel free to share them in the comments! – but hopefully this list is enough to get you started!

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4 responses to “Every Month is Pride: Queer Adult SFF For the Rest of 2023

    • Sia

      So much yes!!! And the author’s said books two and three are going to be even weirder and stranger than Saint, which just makes me more excited!

  1. Thank you for this post. Now, I know there are at least 2 books here I’m looking forward to read that are on hold because I need to read the previous entries (I didn’t know the order/part of a series).

    • Sia

      You’re welcome! And that happens to me too, learning about a book that sounds great, but is the sequel to something else. Just means more interesting things to read, though!

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