The best books for space lesbians

Who am I?

In my day job I’m a professor in a hard science and, unsurprisingly, a lesbian. I love sapphic fiction, especially speculative sapphic fiction, but it can be hard to find as the books are seldom labeled as such. Because I write in this genre I’ve been able to ferret out a lot of them, and have made it a mini mission to read as many as possible. I’m particularly drawn to those that get science right (bad science to a science professor is like nails on a chalk board), and those that have at least a little bit of kissing.

I wrote...

Ardulum: First Don

By J. S. Fields,

Book cover of Ardulum: First Don

What is my book about?

Neek makes a living smuggling questionable goods across systems blessed with peace and prosperity. She gets by—but only just. In her dreams she is haunted by Ardulum, the traveling planet that, long ago, visited her homeworld. The Ardulans brought with them agriculture, art, interstellar technology…and then disappeared without a trace, leaving Neek’s people to worship them as gods.

Neek does not believe—and was exiled for her heretical views. Yet, when the crew stumbles into an armed confrontation, fate deals Neek an unexpected hand in the form of a child whose telepathic abilities are reminiscent of an Ardulan god. Forced to reconcile her beliefs, Neek chooses to protect her, but is the child the key to her salvation, or will she lead them all to their deaths?
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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Wrong Stars

J. S. Fields Why did I love this book?

Good space opera is built on time-honored tropes, and Pratt hits them all on the head. Space princess? Check. Ragtag crew? Check. Strange, otherworldly aliens and a dash of romance? Double check. The Wrong Stars is space opera at its finest, with a classic adventure between humans and aliens, good versus evil, and technological innovation that makes you stop and consider current trends. 

The romance line is sapphic, age gap, flirtatious and commanding. Callie is our commanding captain, cool and in charge. Elena has been in cryosleep on a generational ship that was attacked by violent aliens and has some trauma to work out. Who better to help than Callie? And of course the whole crew needs to go investigate these new aliens. The fate of the galaxy is at stake!

By Tim Pratt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The shady crew of the White Raven run freight and salvage at the fringes of our solar system. They discover the wreck of a centuries-old exploration vessel floating light years away from its intended destination and revive its sole occupant, who wakes with news of First Alien Contact. When the crew break it to her that humanity has alien allies already, she reveals that these are very different extra-terrestrials... and the gifts they bestowed on her could kill all humanity, or take it out to the most distant stars.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Adrift | Liar Liar | Golden…

Book cover of Barbary Station

J. S. Fields Why did I love this book?

Straddling the line between space opera and military sci-fi, Barbary Station scratches the itch for those who like their space lesbians already in a relationship, and just focusing on the adventure. Recent college graduates Adda and Iridian have a ton of student debt and real jobs just aren’t going to pay the bills. Hence they turn to piracy (of course), and things get sticky, fast, when the space station they are on starts to crumble apart, and killer AIs come after them.

There aren’t a lot of sapphic space books where the main pair are already together. Watching a married couple navigate a more mature relationship while still battling aliens and technology is a refreshing take, and one that will definitely appeal to older sci-fi fans.

By R. E. Stearns,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Two engineers hijack a spaceship to join some space pirates-only to discover the pirates are hiding from a malevolent AI. Now they have to outwit the AI if they want to join the pirate crew-and survive long enough to enjoy it.

Adda and Iridian are newly minted engineers, but aren't able to find any work in a solar system ruined by economic collapse after an interplanetary war. Desperate for employment, they hijack a colony ship and plan to join a famed pirate crew living in luxury at Barbary Station, an abandoned shipbreaking station in deep space.

But when they arrive…

Book cover of Ascension

J. S. Fields Why did I love this book?

Finally, a sapphic space book with a humanly complex protagonist. Alana Quick lives in poverty, barely making ends meet as a spaceship mechanic. Her chronic illness takes whatever money she can come by, for her meds. She finally takes life by the wolf-paws (read the book, you’ll get it) and stows away on a ship, determined to find a better life. Of course then chaos ensues, there’s a hot captain to fall in love with (yes, fight authority, Alana. It makes it that much more fun when you two eventually kiss), and Alana must continually navigate her disease, save her sister, and negotiate for a position on the spaceship Tangled Axon.

By Jacqueline Koyanagi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ascension as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Alana Quick is the best damned sky surgeon in Heliodor City, but repairing starship engines barely pays the bills. When the desperate crew of a cargo vessel stops by her shipyard looking for her spiritually-advanced sister Nova, Alana stows away. Maybe her boldness will land her a long-term gig on the crew. But the Tangled Axon proves to be more than star-watching and plasma coils. The chief engineer thinks he's a wolf. The pilot fades in and out of existence. The captain is all blond hair, boots, and ego... and Alana can't keep her eyes off her. But there's little…

Book cover of Space Unicorn Blues

J. S. Fields Why did I love this book?

I don’t even know where to start with this one. Our lead sapphic is married to a tree lady (dryad), captain Jenny, who once kept half-unicorn man Gary prisoner aboard her ship so she could harvest his horn for fuel. Gary’s out for revenge but the mystical Sisters of the Supersymmetrical Axiom have had a vision that involves Gary and Jenny working together. Also, Jenny’s wife has been kidnapped, which is never great. 

Space Unicorn Blues is another sapphic space book that doesn’t rely on romance for the plot, but does allow lesbians to simply exist. This book is a delight more for its absolute refusal of tropes than anything else, and constant weird fairy tale references thrown in throughout.

By T.J. Berry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Humanity joining the intergalactic community has been a disaster for Bala, the magical creatures of the galaxy: they've been exploited, enslaved and ground down for parts. Now the Century Summit is approaching, when humans will be judged by godlike aliens.

When Jenny Perata, disabled Maori shuttle captain, is contracted to take a shipment to the summit, she must enlist half-unicorn Gary Cobalt, whose horn powers faster-than-light travel. But he's just been released from prison, for murdering the wife of Jenny's co-pilot, Cowboy Jim... When the Reason regime suddenly enact laws making Bala property, Jenny's ship becomes the last hope for…

Book cover of Safety Protocols for Human Holidays

J. S. Fields Why did I love this book?

For a more romance-driven option, Safety Protocols for Human Holidays is a sweet winter holiday-themed novella, wherein Raskli, an alien security officer, is asked to check in on human Jen, who is exhibiting odd behavior. Jen is the only human on the ship and is depressed, and it is up to Raskli and the rest of the ragtag crew to sort out how to cheer her up. Perhaps a holiday! But what human holiday to pick? 

This book is straight-up joyful fluff. Yes, it’s in space, and yes, the pairing is sapphic, but it’s also a cute human/alien romance. No stress on this read, and no heavy thinking. Just, well, kissing. And antics. And Christmas.

By Angel Martinez,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Safety Protocols for Human Holidays as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Someone has to fix their broken human. Raskli's not sure why it has to be her.

As a security officer on an interspecies ship, Growlan Raskli's experienced in heading off species-specific aberrant behaviors in order to keep the peace. But when her captain asks her to find out what's bothering their sole human crew member, Raskli's out of her depths. She hardly knows anything about humans and she's not a psych doctor.

Something's definitely upset Human Jen, something to do with human holidays. The more time Raskli spends studying humans and interacting with the intriguing Human Jen, the more personal…

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The Olympus Project

By Zoe Routh,

Book cover of The Olympus Project

Zoe Routh Author Of The Olympus Project

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Leadership futurist Adventurist Former bellydancer Historical and speculative fiction nut Marathoner

Zoe's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

The future is uncertain, and the stakes are high. Climate change has wreaked havoc on the planet, and humanity is on the brink of extinction. The only hope lies in the Olympus Project, a plan to colonise the moon and build on the Artemis Base.

Led by three of the best and brightest--Troy Bruin, Xavier Consus, and Xanthe Waters--they must battle both winner-take-all competition and their own differences in order to save humanity from destruction. But even as they search for a way to reconcile, a secret organisation is lurking in the shadows, threatening to extinguish their efforts and ensure humanity's downfall.

A gripping tale of leadership, ambition, and the indomitable human spirit.

The Olympus Project

By Zoe Routh,

What is this book about?

***WINNER: GOLD MEDAL in Fiction - Thriller - Environmental, Readers' Favorite Awards 2023***

They are the best. The brightest. The hope of humanity.

And they might destroy us all…

The future. Climate change has rendered much of the world desolate. Crops are failing. Rising seas have flooded coastal communities. The earth is dying, and humanity careens toward extinction.

Enter the Olympus Project—a plan to colonise the moon, building on the Artemis Base, led by three of humankind’s best and brightest: Troy Bruin, Xavier Consus, and Xanthe Waters.

But even the best and brightest can fall prey to humanity’s failing. Soon…

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