The best casually queer sci-fi fantasy books

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been a big fan of sci-fi and fantasy, especially anything involving superheroes or D&D-style adventure. For the longest time, I had to find queer representation through subtle glances and creative readings of characters. I loved these stories for the sci-fi and fantasy elements, but it was frustrating that every love story that came up was straight. It didn’t feel possible for queer love to be a part of a plot, and even when there was a queer character it had a “very special episode” vibe to it. Finally, queer characters are becoming part of the story, and it doesn’t have to be a “big deal.”

I wrote...

Tyranny of the Fey

By Terry Bartley,

Book cover of Tyranny of the Fey

What is my book about?

Tyranny of the Fey is a collection of short stories set in Galevyn, an original fantasy universe.

An Elven princess runs away from her arranged marriage to a parallel world. Will she be able to find the adventure she seeks? While she is in search of battles with dragons and quests to obtain sacred artifacts, she finds that what she was looking for may have been a true connection with someone who understands her. Two childhood friends, an orc and a goblin, have long dreamed of adventure. When a magic school dropout stumbles into their lives, they jump at the chance to realize their ambitions. This found family realizes the world of Galevyn is a much bigger place than the jungle they grew up in.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Carry On

Terry Bartley Why did I love this book?

It took me months to pick up Carry On after it initially caught my eye on the bookshelf. It was everything I could have wanted.

It is a less problematic Harry Potter, if Harry and Draco ended up getting together. It shows a really authentic representation of unrequited queer love and recognizing one’s own queer identity. It is character-driven, but also full of fun magic adventure. I love a book that knows how to give you exactly what you want.

By Rainbow Rowell,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Carry On as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times best seller!
Booklist Editors’ Choice 2015 - Youth!
Named a "Best Book of 2015" by Time Magazine, School Library Journal, Barnes & Noble, NPR, PopSugar, The Millions, and The News & Observer!

Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen.

That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right.

Half the time, Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's…

Book cover of The Flight of the Prince

Terry Bartley Why did I love this book?

I’ve been a big fan of James Tynion IV since his prolific run on Batman. He has a really strong understanding of how to write compelling characters while still exploring an interesting world.

In Wynd, he has created a wildly innovative world of magic creatures and political conflict. The love story is adorable and creates an interesting parallel to the exploration of Wynd’s character.

By James Tynion IV, Michael Dialynas (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Flight of the Prince as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The team of award-winning superstars James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas present the first graphic novel in the all-new fantasy epic about a boy who must embrace the magic within himself if he wants to save his friends from the shocking dangers that await!


In a world where magical heritage is punishable by death, a young boy named Wynd must hide his true identity - and pointy ears - from everyone in Pipetown, even if it means he'll never have the normal life he wants. But when his secret is…

Book cover of They Both Die at the End

Terry Bartley Why did I love this book?

I love a soft sci-fi and Adam Silvera knows how to deliver.

What makes his world different from ours is a technology that can let people know the day they are going to die, on that day, so they have a chance to say goodbye. It provides such potential for deep introspection (for his readers as much as his characters) and heartbreak. 

By Adam Silvera,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked They Both Die at the End as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

From the author of the INTERNATIONAL NO. 1 BESTSELLER THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END comes an explosive examination of grief, mental illness, and the devastating consequences of refusing to let go of the past.

Please note that covers may vary.

You're still alive in alternate universes, Theo, but I live in the real world where this morning you're having an open casket funeral. I know you're out there, listening. And you should know I'm really pissed because you swore you would never die and yet here we are. It hurts even more because this isn't the first promise you've…

Book cover of The Song of Achilles

Terry Bartley Why did I love this book?

The Song of Achilles is such as beautifully written book that perfectly weaves together a queer love story with a proper Greek epic.

It was so fulfilling to follow Patroclus and Achilles as they grew up. The attraction grows subtly and feels very natural. The fantasy elements feel very matter-of-fact and never take away from the incredibly relatable character moments.

By Madeline Miller,

Why should I read it?

29 authors picked The Song of Achilles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



'Captivating' DONNA TARTT
'I loved it' J K ROWLING
'Ravishingly vivid' EMMA DONOGHUE

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms…

Book cover of Aftermath: Star Wars

Terry Bartley Why did I love this book?

As a queer fantasy/sci-fi fan, I’ve always been a little jealous of the fact that there are so many straight stories that love doesn’t especially factor into.

The story is about the adventure. That is what I love about Aftermath: Star Wars. Sinjir Rath Velus is a former Imperial officer who also happens to be gay. He is allowed to be a flawed hero. That is so cool to see in a queer character!

By Chuck Wendig,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Aftermath as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The second Death Star has been destroyed, the Emperor killed, and Darth Vader struck down. Devastating blows against the Empire, and major victories for the Rebel Alliance. But the battle for freedom is far from over.

As the Empire reels from its critical defeats at the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance-now a fledgling New Republic-presses its advantage by hunting down the enemy's scattered forces before they can regroup and retaliate. But above the remote planet Akiva, an ominous show of the enemy's strength is unfolding. Out on a lone reconnaissance mission, pilot…

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A Particular Man

By Lesley Glaister,

Book cover of A Particular Man

Lesley Glaister Author Of A Particular Man

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

About myself: As a novelist I’m crazy for detail. I believe it’s the odd and unexpected aspects of life that bring both characters and story worlds to life. This means that I try to be an observer at all times, keeping alert and using all five – and maybe six – senses. My perfect writing morning begins with a dog walk in the woods or on a beach, say, while keeping my senses sharp to the world around me and listening out for the first whisper of what the day’s writing will bring.

Lesley's book list on relationships and sexuality in post-World War II Britain

What is my book about?

This book is a literary historical novel. It is set in Britain immediately after World War II, when people – gay, straight, young, and old - are struggling to get back on track with their lives, including their love lives. Because of the turmoil of the times, the number of losses, and the dangerous and peculiar circumstances people find themselves in, sexual mores have become shaken and stirred.

But what happened after the war, in the time of healing and settling down? This novel examines the emotional, romantic, and sexual lives of three characters searching for a way to proceed.

A Particular Man

By Lesley Glaister,

What is this book about?

Love never dies in this novel by “a writer of addictive emotional thrillers” (The Independent).

Told from three perspectives A Particular Man is about love, truth and the unpredictable consequences of loss.

When Edgar dies in a Far East prisoner-of-war camp it breaks the heart of fellow prisoner Starling. In Edgar’s final moments, Starling makes him a promise. When, after the war, he visits Edgar’s family, to fulfil this promise, Edgar's mother Clementine mistakes him for another man.

Her mistake allows him access to Edgar’s home and to those who loved him, stirring powerful and disorientating emotions, and embroiling him…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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