Queer SFF I’m Excited For This Pride Month!

Posted 30th May 2021 by Sia in Lists, Queer Lit / 2 Comments

June is Pride Month, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen as glorious a Pride lineup as we’re getting this year! There are so many amazing queer sff releases this month, and these probably aren’t even all of them, but they are the ones I insist on making sure everyone knows about!

They’ll all be getting mentioned again in their relevant Must-Have Monday posts, but I wanted to list them all together already. Besides, this gives you a little more time to get your pre-orders in, if you’ve missed some of these until now!

Water Horse by Melissa Scott
Genres: Queer Protagonists, High Fantasy
Representation: Queer MC
Published on: 1st June 2021
Goodreads

For the last twenty years, Esclin Aubrinos, arros of the Hundred Hills, has acted jointly with Alcis Mirielos, the kyra of the Westwood, and the rivermaster of Riverholme to defend their land of Allanoth against the Riders who invade from Manan across the Narrow Sea. He has long been a master of the shifting politics of his own people and his independently-minded allies, but this year the omens turn against him. The Riders have elected a new lord paramount, hallowed servant of the Blazing One, a man chosen and fated for victory.

The omens agree that Nen Elin, Esclin’s stronghold and the heart of Allanoth, will fall when a priest of the Blazing One enters its gates. Esclin needs a spirit-bonded royal sword, a talismanic weapon made of star-fallen iron, to unite the hillfolk behind him. But the same vision that called for the sword proclaimed that Esclin will then betray it, and every step he takes to twist free of the prophecies brings him closer to that doom.

NEW MELISSA SCOTT NEW MELISSA SCOTT AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

…What? I’m not hyperventilating, you are! Nyeh!

No but seriously, Melissa Scott is (you may have guessed) one of my die-hard favourite authors, and this is a standalone queer high fantasy that sounds freaking amazing??? The premise alone makes me do a grabby hands, but I also know that the story from the blurb is going to be done in Scott’s prose with Scott’s attention to worldbuilding and characters and I just want to SHRIEK with anticipation and joy, I NEED TUESDAY TO GET HERE FASTER, OKAY?

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Historical Fantasy
Representation: Asian-American queer MC
Published on: 1st June 2021
Goodreads

Immigrant. Socialite. Magician.

Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society—she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.

But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.

Nghi Vo’s debut novel The Chosen and the Beautiful reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.

Listen. Listen. If, my darlings, you have not heard of Nghi Vo by now, well, you are in for a delight, because she is amazing and she has written two breathtaking novellas (which you must read) and on Tuesday we get her debut novel, and I cannot even. !!!

Do I know a thing about the Great Gatsby? Nope. Nothing. Nadda. Leonardo DiCaprio was in a movie adaption, maybe? That’s all I’ve got. Do I care? NOT EVEN A LITTLE. It’s Vo, I would read her shopping list, and no, I will not be reading the original Great Gatsby to compare, why the hells would I care about the original when I can have The Chosen and the Beautiful instead??? I haven’t read it yet, but clearly The Chosen and the Beautiful is going to be my forever-canon. End of discussion.

The Witch King (The Witch King, #1) by H.E. Edgmon
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: Trans MC, M/M or mlm
Published on: 1st June 2021
Goodreads

To save a fae kingdom, a trans witch must face his traumatic past and the royal fiancé he left behind. This debut YA fantasy will leave you spellbound.

Wyatt would give anything to forget where he came from—but a kingdom demands its king.

In Asalin, fae rule and witches like Wyatt Croft…don’t. Wyatt’s betrothal to his best friend, fae prince Emyr North, was supposed to change that. But when Wyatt lost control of his magic one devastating night, he fled to the human world.
Now a coldly distant Emyr has hunted him down. Despite transgender Wyatt’s newfound identity and troubling past, Emyr has no intention of dissolving their engagement. In fact, he claims they must marry now or risk losing the throne. Jaded, Wyatt strikes a deal with the enemy, hoping to escape Asalin forever. But as he gets to know Emyr, Wyatt realizes the boy he once loved may still exist. And as the witches face worsening conditions, he must decide once and for all what’s more important—his people or his freedom.

Hi, yes, please and thank you??? I have been WAITING for this book since it was first listed on Goodreads and I am READY and hi, who do I call to complain about the fact that it SOMEHOW ISN’T TUESDAY YET???

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bisexual MC, lesbian Chinese-American love interest, F/F or wlw, trans secondary character, secondary M/M or mlm
Published on: 1st June 2021
Goodreads

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don't exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can't imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there's certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.
But then, there's this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August's day when she needed it most. August's subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there's one big problem: Jane doesn't just look like an old school punk rocker. She's literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it's time to start believing in some things, after all.

Yes, I just finished my ARC (and am trying to rewrite my review so it’s actually legible instead of being a constant stream of !!! and gifs and caps lock), yes I will be immediately rereading it when it releases on Tuesday. No I will not be taking questions at this time (except yes, it actually is so fucking awesome that an immediate reread is the only rational response to finishing it. YOU WILL SEE!)

Future Feeling by Joss Lake
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Magical Realism
Representation: Trans cast
Published on: 1st June 2021
Goodreads

An embittered dog walker obsessed with a social media influencer inadvertently puts a curse a young man—and must adventure into mysterious dimension in order to save him—in this wildly inventive, delightfully subversive, genre-nonconforming debut novel about illusion, magic, technology, kinship, and the emergent future.

The year is 20__, and Penfield R. Henderson is in a rut. When he’s not walking dogs for cash or responding to booty calls from his B-list celebrity hookup, he’s holed up in his dingy Bushwick apartment obsessing over holograms of Aiden Chase, a fellow trans man and influencer documenting his much smoother transition into picture-perfect masculinity on the Gram. After an IRL encounter with Aiden leaves Pen feeling especially resentful, Pen enlists his roommates, the Witch and the Stoner-Hacker, to put their respective talents to use in hexing Aiden. Together, they gain access to Aiden’s social media account and post a picture of Pen’s aloe plant, Alice, tied to a curse:

Whosoever beholds the aloe will be pushed into the Shadowlands.

When the hex accidentally bypasses Aiden, sending another young trans man named Blithe to the Shadowlands (the dreaded emotional landscape through which every trans person must journey to achieve true self-actualization), the Rhiz (the quasi-benevolent big brother agency overseeing all trans matters) orders Pen and Aiden to team up and retrieve him. The two trace Blithe to a dilapidated motel in California and bring him back to New York, where they try to coax Blithe to stop speaking only in code and awkwardly try to pass on what little trans wisdom they possess. As the trio makes its way in a world that includes pitless avocados and subway cars that change color based on occupants’ collective moods but still casts judgment on anyone not perfectly straight, Pen starts to learn that sometimes a family isn’t just the people who birthed you.

Magnificently imagined, linguistically dazzling, and riotously fun, Future Feeling presents an alternate future in which advanced technology still can’t replace human connection but may give the trans community new ways to care for its own.

This one has gotten mixed reviews, but with that premise, I really do not care; I am more than willing to make this gamble. I am HERE for this gamble. TRANS WITCHES FUCKING THINGS UP WITH HEXES, WHERE DO I SIGN, I AM READY.

The Nichan Smile (The Lost Faces, #1) by C.J. Merwild
Representation: M/M
Published on: 1st June 2021
Goodreads

The Gods smiled upon their offsprings from the skies, loving, generous. But that was before. For the sky is now tainted, and the people deprived of their creators overnight have been orphans for nearly two centuries.

Since that fateful day, the Corruption has reigned over the world. It defiled the clouds, covered the lands with a veil of darkness. The first conflicts arose in the east of the Coroman continent, some under the impulse of beliefs calling for blood and flames. As hatred continues to spread, the vanished Gods no longer answering any prayers, some fight for a peaceful life.

In the midst of this madness, two children meet each other. One of them is human.The other is nichan.The boys are two opposite minds and fates, yet connected irrevocably. The days, then the passing years bring them together. But life reminds them of their differences and works to crush the remnants of their innocence. Between joys and sorrows, friendship and savagery, a smile is sometimes enough to change everything…

Trigger Warning: this novel contains graphic violence, violence against children and animals, explicit sexual content (including sexual violence and underage sex), and explicit language. Reader discretion is advised.

I think this might the be only self-published book on this list, which is a shame – I’m sure there are lots of awesome self-pubs and indies coming out (hah!) in June that I’m just not aware of. But I follow CJ Merwild on insta for their art, and I fell in love with the characters ages ago, so yes, I’ll be reading their story. Duh.

The Jasmine Throne (Burning Kingdoms, #1) by Tasha Suri
Genres: Queer Protagonists, High Fantasy
Representation: Cast of colour, F/F, sapphic MCs
Published on: 8th June 2021
Goodreads

Author of Empire of Sand and Realm of Ash Tasha Suri's The Jasmine Throne, beginning a new trilogy set in a world inspired by the history and epics of India, in which a captive princess and a maidservant in possession of forbidden magic become unlikely allies on a dark journey to save their empire from the princess's traitor brother.

Imprisoned by her dictator brother, Malini spends her days in isolation in the Hirana: an ancient temple that was once the source of the powerful, magical deathless waters — but is now little more than a decaying ruin.

Priya is a maidservant, one among several who make the treacherous journey to the top of the Hirana every night to clean Malini’s chambers. She is happy to be an anonymous drudge, so long as it keeps anyone from guessing the dangerous secret she hides.

But when Malini accidentally bears witness to Priya’s true nature, their destinies become irrevocably tangled. One is a vengeful princess seeking to depose her brother from his throne. The other is a priestess seeking to find her family. Together, they will change the fate of an empire.

It’s Tasha Suri.

What else could you possibly need to know?

It’s TASHA SURI.

The Unraveling by Benjamin Rosenbaum
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: Neogenders, group marriage, nonbinary cast
Published on: 9th June 2021
Goodreads

In the distant future somewhere in the galaxy, a society has emerged where everyone has multiple bodies, cybernetics has abolished privacy, and individual and family success within the rigid social system is reliant upon instantaneous social approbation.

Young Fift is an only child of the staid gender, struggling to maintain their position in the system while developing an intriguing friendship with the poorly-publicized bioengineer Shria–somewhat controversial, since Shria is bail-gendered.

In time, Fift and Shria unintentionally wind up at the center of a scandalous art spectacle which turns into the early stages of a multi-layered revolution against their strict societal system. Suddenly they become celebrities and involuntary standard-bearers for the upheaval.

Fift is torn between the survival of Shria and the success of their family cohort; staying true to their feelings and caving under societal pressure. Whatever Fift decides will make a disproportionately huge impact on the future of the world. What’s a young staid to do when the whole world is watching?

I already wrote an essay about how epic this is and how much I loved it, and yes, this is another book I will be rereading.

What? Who knows what changed between the ARC and the finished copy! Maybe someone moved a comma. It could happen. What sort of reader would I be if I didn’t do a reread to check???

The Tangleroot Palace: Stories by Marjorie M. Liu
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: M/M, F/F
Published on: 15th June 2021
Goodreads

New York Times bestseller and Hugo, British Fantasy, Romantic Times, and Eisner award-winning author of the graphic novel, Monstress, Marjorie Liu leads you deep into the heart of the tangled woods. In her long-awaited debut story collection, dark, lush, and spellbinding short fiction you will find unexpected detours, dangerous magic, and even more dangerous women.

“The Tangleroot Palace is charming and ruthless. Tales that feel new yet grounded in the infinitely ancient, a mythology for the coming age.”—Angela Slatter, author of The Bitterwood Bible

“Marjorie Liu is magic! Her writing is passionate, lyric, gritty, and riveting. She belongs high on everyone’s must-read list.”—Elizabeth Lowell, author of Only Mine

Briar, bodyguard for a body-stealing sorceress, discovers her love for Rose, whose true soul emerges only once a week. An apprentice witch seeks her freedom through betrayal, the bones of the innocent, and a meticulously-plotted spell. In a world powered by crystal skulls, a warrior returns to save China from invasion by her jealous ex. A princess runs away from an arranged marriage, finding family in a strange troupe of traveling actors at the border of the kingdom’s deep, dark woods.

Concluding with a gorgeous full-length novella, Marjorie Liu’s first short fiction collection is an unflinching sojourn into her thorny tales of love, revenge, and new beginnings.

You’ve heard of Marjorie M. Liu, right? The Monstress graphic novels? First woman to win an  Eisner Award for Best Writer? Well, this is her short story collection, and I have just one thing to say.

GIMME!

Star Eater by Kerstin Hall
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Secondary World Fantasy
Representation: Bisexual MC
Published on: 22nd June 2021
Goodreads

From Nommo Award finalist Kerstin Hall comes "a layered and incisive examination of power.”—Rory Power, New York Times bestselling author of Wilder Girls

All martyrdoms are difficult.

Elfreda Raughn will avoid pregnancy if it kills her, and one way or another, it will kill her. Though she’s able to stomach her gruesome day-to-day duties, the reality of preserving the Sisterhood of Aytrium’s magical bloodline horrifies her. She wants out, whatever the cost.

So when a shadowy cabal approaches Elfreda with an offer of escape, she leaps at the opportunity. As their spy, she gains access to the highest reaches of the Sisterhood, and enters a glittering world of opulent parties, subtle deceptions, and unexpected bloodshed.

A phantasmagorical indictment of hereditary power, Star Eater takes readers deep into a perilous and uncanny world where even the most powerful women are forced to choose what sacrifices they will make, so that they might have any choice at all.

I have been promised matriarchies and giant cats and religious cannabilism, and even without any of those things it is still Kerstin Hall, after her novella The Border Keeper I will read anything she chooses to write.

Even cannibalism. No questions asked. JUST GIVE ME THE BOOK!

The Witness for the Dead (The Goblin Emperor, #2) by Katherine Addison
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Secondary World Fantasy
Representation: Queer MC, past M/M
Published on: 22nd June 2021
Goodreads

Katherine Addison returns at last to the world of The Goblin Emperor with this stand-alone sequel.

When the young half-goblin emperor Maia sought to learn who had killed his father and half-brothers, he turned to an obscure resident of his Court, a Prelate of Ulis and a Witness for the Dead. Thara Celehar found the truth, though it did him no good to discover it.

Now Celehar lives in the city of Amalo, far from the Court though not exactly in exile. He has not escaped from politics, but his position gives him the ability to serve the common people of the city, which is his preference. He lives modestly, but his decency and fundamental honesty will not permit him to live quietly.

This was a lovely if not-quite-perfect read, and I’m really excited (and anxious) to see how other fans of The Goblin Emperor react to it. Basically: don’t go in expecting a sequel to Emperor, accept it for what it is and not what you want it to be, and it’ll be great.

Violet Ghosts by Leah Thomas
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: Trans MC
Published on: 22nd June 2021
Goodreads

Acclaimed author Leah Thomas tells the story of a teen determined to right the wrongs of female ghosts haunted in the afterlife.

Dani’s best friend, Sarah, is a ghost. But maybe that’s normal when you've spent your childhood running from an abusive parent.

Dani and Sarah might be more than friends, though Dani dares not say so. Dani is afraid that if he tells Sarah he’s trans, she won’t bother haunting him anymore. Sarah’s got good reason to distrust boys, having been strangled by one.After Sarah and Dani come across another ghost haunted by her own brutal murder, they set out to bring peace and safety to spirits like her. But when an old rival reenters Dani’s life, their unexpected friendship gives Dani a strange new feeling of belonging. As Dani starts to find his place in the living world, he’ll need to let go of his ghosts.

With her signature lyricism, Leah Thomas has woven a poignant supernatural story for the #MeToo age.

This could be a delight or a disaster, I really don’t know, but I’m massively interested in the premise and I am crossing my fingers for epic instead of epic fail.

The Bone Way by Holly J. Underhill
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: F/F or wlw
Published on: 26th June 2021
Goodreads

Teagan’s wife, Cressidae, is missing. She has left for the Shadow Realm, a kingdom of the dead filled with untold nightmares—and the only place that can save Teagan from a lethal poison that’s killing her slowly. It is ruled by a princess said to make powerful deals with those brave enough to find her, and Cressidae has gone to bargain for Teagan’s life. Cressidae has forgotten one very important thing: no one makes it out on their own.

Despite the risks to her own safety, Teagan is determined to save her wife—and perhaps even herself in the process. The princess of the Shadow Realm, however, doesn’t let mortals roam her territories without opposition. In this thrilling tale inspired by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, Teagan and Cressidae must face both the horrors of the Shadow Realm as well as their own past.

This was pitched to me as ‘Orpheus and Eurydice, but sapphic’ and honestly that’s really all I need to hear. I am, in fact, that shallow, and I’m not even a tiny bit sorry about it.

THAT’S MY LIST AND I’M STICKING TO IT! Let me know what’s on yours!

2 responses to “Queer SFF I’m Excited For This Pride Month!

  1. I am so excited about so many of these- The Chosen and the Beautiful, One Last Stop (pre-ordered a signed copy), The Tangleroot Palace, Future Feeling, and Star Eater have got me super excited for June!

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