The best LGBT-friendly SFF you haven’t (but absolutely should) read

Who am I?

It took me far too long to realize that I, childhood absorber of all things fantastical, counted as an SFF fan; all the books I saw listed as “popular” or “classic” SFF were cis/het white dude parties. But SFF at its best uses the fantastical as metaphor for the mundane; imagines better (or worse) worlds; does something different, in screaming color! Who can do that better than the books lost on the fringes? To that end, I’ve organized this list based on rough reverse popularity, so if you don’t find something new by the beginning, you’ll almost certainly get it by the end. Happy reading!


I wrote...

Something's Not Right

By yves,

Book cover of Something's Not Right

What is my book about?

In this flash-to-short-fiction collection, a tangled cast of monsters and humans grapple with societal not-quite-rightness. From the lesbian ice cream vendor dealing blood on the side to the single father with evil plant worries to the Black divination contractor who doesn’t see the cute vampire in her future: this is a book for anyone who’s ever felt the slightest bit askew.

The books I picked & why

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Gideon the Ninth

By Tamsin Muir,

Book cover of Gideon the Ninth

Why this book?

Gideon is finally picking up a cult gay following on the Internet, and when I finally read it, my only question was: why isn’t it bigger?! The Locked Tomb series easily holds its own in the SFF world with a wide cast of well-rounded characters, genre-busting worldbuilding, repeated narrative innovation, and influences as far-ranging as Greek classics and modern fanfic culture. Muir’s skill is undeniable, and I’ve yet to meet someone—genre, sexuality, literary preferences be damned—who could resist; one refrain I hear often (and echo myself) is “By all rights, I shouldn’t have liked it… but I loved it!” No matter your tastes, if “lesbian necromancers” compels you, you’re sure to have a good time. 

Gideon the Ninth

By Tamsin Muir,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Gideon the Ninth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

15+ pages of new, original content, including a glossary of terms, in-universe writings, and more!

A USA Today Best-Selling Novel!

"Unlike anything I've ever read. " --V.E. Schwab

"Lesbian necromancers explore a haunted gothic palace in space!" --Charles Stross

"Brilliantly original, messy and weird straight through." --NPR

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead nonsense.

Tamsyn Muir's Gideon the Ninth, first in The Locked Tomb Trilogy, unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as…


The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror

By Daniel M. Lavery,

Book cover of The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror

Why this book?

The Merry Spinster falls into my big bucket of fairytale retelling faves, but it hardly sticks to tradition: rather than simply following old plots, Lavery draws on the tone and style of classic fairy tales to create a gender-warped world where daughters use he/him pronouns and mermaids are sort of, but distinctly not, girls. Even better, the playful attitude towards gender now seems to foreshadow Lavery’s own coming out and transition, both occurring after he published this book—something that fills me with a special kind of trans-author love. Reading this for the first time, I had the sensation of slipping pleasantly into an utter dreamworld of gender/sexuality beauty, like a warm bath: I recommend you fall in, too.

The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror

By Daniel M. Lavery,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A collection of darkly mischievous stories based on classic fairy tales"--Front flap.


When I Arrived at the Castle

By Emily Carroll,

Book cover of When I Arrived at the Castle

Why this book?

With her singular art style and effortless storytelling skill, Emily Carroll has long been a favorite of mine. When I Arrived at the Castle is a tour de force in erotic horror, comic artistry, and, yes, a very complicated catgirl x vampiress relationship. This is one of those books I am shocked even exists, so thoroughly does it cater to my deepest desires: lush shots of catgirls in bathtubs, peeks at vampiresses through their bedroom keyholes, metaphors so subtle I always find something new when I reread. Carroll outdoes herself with suspense, sexuality, and a sexy red-black-and-grey limited color palette.

When I Arrived at the Castle

By Emily Carroll,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When I Arrived at the Castle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Like many before her that have never come back, she’s made it to the Countess’ castle determined to snuff out the horror, but she could never be prepared for what hides within its turrets; what unfurls under its fluttering flags. Emily Carroll has fashioned a rich gothic horror charged with eroticism that doesn’t just make your skin crawl, it crawls into it.


O Human Star: Volume 1

By Blue Delliquanti,

Book cover of O Human Star: Volume 1

Why this book?

As a friend sputtered to me over a voice call: “I don’t understand. It’s free to read online; where is everybody?!” 

I agree wholeheartedly. O Human Star is that rare breed: a webcomic taken up over a decade ago, thoroughly plotted from the start, executed with masterful grace and gravitas by an author who loved it enough to do it justice. While executing this story of gay and trans self-understanding, Delliquanti themself realized they were trans, so the pronouns in my (signed!!) copies are different based on when they came out. Finding even a well-written cis gay man was hard in 2012, let alone such a deeply loving story about the entire LGBT community—and all that is to say nothing of the robots. Trans robots FTW!

O Human Star: Volume 1

By Blue Delliquanti,

Why should I read it?

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


The Dark and Other Love Stories

By Deborah Willis,

Book cover of The Dark and Other Love Stories

Why this book?

This final book is the catalyst for my own: the book that, resting in my hands at the library, made me realize that I could just do this. If I loved reading short stories so much, if I so deeply enjoyed reading about gay girls with horses and game show contestants going to Mars, why couldn’t someone love my own body of work, transsexually languishing in my Google Drive? There can never be enough praise for The Dark, which delivers tonally consistent and individually unique stories that glue me to my seat every time. A big thank you to Deborah Willis, and to whoever put her book on hold that day I was volunteering at the library: I loved her work, and it inspired me to put mine out there. 

The Dark and Other Love Stories

By Deborah Willis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dark and Other Love Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The characters in these thirteen masterful and engaging stories exist on the edge of danger, where landscapes melt into dreamscapes and every house is haunted. A drug dealer's girlfriend signs up for the first manned mission to Mars. A girl falls in love with a man who wants to turn her into a bird. A teenaged girl and her best friend test their relationship by breaking into suburban houses. A wife finds a gaping hole in the floor of the home she shares with her husband, a hole that only she can see. Full of longing and strange humor, these…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in castles, fairy tales, and lesbian topics and characters?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about castles, fairy tales, and lesbian topics and characters.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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