The best books that reimagine LGBTQIAP+ representation in fantasy/sci-fi

Michael Barakiva Author Of One Man Guy
By Michael Barakiva

The Books I Picked & Why

Dreadnought

By April Daniels

Book cover of Dreadnought

Why this book?

I agreed to do this list because I wanted to promote April’s book so much. Seriously. If I could recommend it in every slot I would. Trans superhero dealing with her rage and powers in an alternative USA where superheroes are real? Yes, please. The writing is like so good that sometimes I type chapters of this book as a warm-up (and writing procrastination technique). I re-read it as a treat to myself as a way of surviving the pandemic.   


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Elatsoe

By Darcie Little Badger, Rovina Cai

Book cover of Elatsoe

Why this book?

I encountered Darcie on the Cerebro podcast (a homo and his friends discuss the X-Men) and I was so taken by her insights, smarts, and obvious understanding of what makes a story tick. Elatsoe delivered on every one of those promises. Not only do you learn a ton about indigenous mythology, but the complexity and profundity of the world make it a must-read. Images so vividly depicted you can see why she’s such a good comic book writer also.  


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Proxy

By Alex London

Book cover of Proxy

Why this book?

This is one of those books where you’re like – the premise couldn’t possibly be as good as the execution.  And yet it is. The dystopic world in which Sid has to take the punishment for all of Knox’s behavior is so rich and dark and delicious it resonates as a class critique of our own world without even having to try. It’s a knock-out debut, and I can’t wait to jump into London’s Black Wings Beating, which is next on my Kindle.


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Luck in the Shadows

By Lynn Flewelling

Book cover of Luck in the Shadows

Why this book?

You gotta give props to Flewelling, who wrote a fantasy series with queer male protags in 1996! Just imagine – before Will & Grace, before Queer as Folk, before gay marriage was even a thing, she had the courage to write this deeply moving spy espionage fantasy book and the relationship between the noble rogue Seregil and his mentee/lover Alec was basically what I used as a model for every romantic relationship in my life. Also, the protag in my first two books was named Alek. Coincidence? I think not.


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The Chosen and the Beautiful

By Nghi Vo

Book cover of The Chosen and the Beautiful

Why this book?

Great Gatsby told through the POV of Jordan Baker, a queer, adopted Asian magician? Seriously, if I could’ve come up with this premise and written it, I would’ve. This is the kind of magical debut novel that makes you feel hopeful about how old stories can be repurposed in the most fascinating of ways, creating a dialogue between the classical and the contemporary that makes the world feel like a wonderful place.


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