100 books like Light From Uncommon Stars

By Ryka Aoki,

Here are 100 books that Light From Uncommon Stars fans have personally recommended if you like Light From Uncommon Stars. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Gideon the Ninth

Morgan Biscup Author Of In Spite of the Inevitable

From my list on sci-fi books moral and perspective dilemmas.

Why am I passionate about this?

In writing character-driven space fantasy, heavily influenced by my training as an electromechanical engineer, I’ve realized a love for stories with a heavy emphasis on moral dilemmas and shifts in thinking. How does a character change direction after realizing much of what they always believed was a lie? When well-trained instincts pull them backward instead of propelling them forward? I love these stories, mirroring my own messy self-discovery journey through life. The settings and stakes are more fantastical, but that makes them more appealing. A way to confront my own trials without becoming burdened by them. If the characters can do it, so can I.

Morgan's book list on sci-fi books moral and perspective dilemmas

Morgan Biscup Why did Morgan love this book?

I love necromancers in space settings and opinionated characters with a strong voice, and Tamsyn Muir’s book did not disappoint. The book gradually ramps the action, emotion, and secrets until I couldn’t put it down. I was pulled into Gideon’s plight, first as she attempts to yet again escape indentured servitude to the necromancer Harrow, then as she helps Harrow navigate the deadly mysteries of Caanan House in exchange for her freedom.

I loved the fraught relationship between Harrow and Gideon as they navigated their complicated emotions and expectations of each other. The ending was particularly poignant, as their earlier assumptions were shattered in magnificent fashion, thrusting them into a situation neither wanted and revealing the true lengths they’d willingly go to for each other.

By Tamsyn Muir,

Why should I read it?

22 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…


Book cover of A Wrinkle in Time

David Mack Author Of Star Trek: Picard: Firewall

From my list on science fiction and fantasy books with a heroic female coming-of-age story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been an avid reader, ever since I was old enough to hold a book upright. Today, I’m a writer of science fiction, fantasy, and thrillers, with credits spanning novels, short fiction, television, comic books, and video games. I’m especially fond of heroic tales that feature female main characters, both in books and on-screen. Several of my nearly 40 novels have featured heroic female main characters, including my newest book, Star Trek: Picard: Firewall, which is a coming-of-age tale about Seven of Nine’s journey to becoming a Fenris Ranger.

David's book list on science fiction and fantasy books with a heroic female coming-of-age story

David Mack Why did David love this book?

I must have re-read this wonderful book half a dozen times in my youth. I first read it when I was in middle school. Though I had discovered science fiction and fantasy books a few years earlier, most of them had been heavy on action and light on ideas.

This was one of the first books I read that really made me think about how strange and wonderful the universe might really be and see how that might provide a context for telling profoundly moving human stories. It filled my young mind with awe and wonder, as well as a desire to tell my own stories.

By Madeleine L'Engle,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked A Wrinkle in Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Puffin Classics: the definitive collection of timeless stories, for every child.

We can't take any credit for our talents. It's how we use them that counts.

When Charles and Meg Murry go searching through a 'wrinkle in time' for their lost father, they find themselves on an evil planet where all life is enslaved by a huge pulsating brain known as 'It'.

Meg, Charles and their friend Calvin embark on a cosmic journey helped by the funny and mysterious trio of guardian angels, Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which. Together they must find the weapon that will defeat It.…


Book cover of This Is How You Lose the Time War

Ira Nayman Author Of The Dance: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction

From my list on wildly entertaining journeys around the multiverse.

Why am I passionate about this?

I, Ira Nayman, have been writing stories set in the multiverse for almost twenty years, first with the Alternate Reality News Service set of books, then with my Transdimensional Authority/Multiverse novels and, most recently, with multiverse triptychs (the spark for The Dance). One of the things that I recently realized about my writing is that a lot of it focuses on the factors that shape our lives and make us the people we are. My ongoing fascination with the multiverse is because it is a great vehicle for exploring this idea by showing us how our lives could have turned out if circumstances or our choices had been different.

Ira's book list on wildly entertaining journeys around the multiverse

Ira Nayman Why did Ira love this book?

Bigolas Dickolas Wolfwood famously rocketed this book to the top of the bestseller list four years after its publication. Whatever you’ve heard about this inventive epistolary time travel romance, I promise you that it lives up to that hype. It won me over immediately with its lyrical prose, clever sci-fi conceit, and charged romantic tension between dueling protagonists.

I love dystopian fiction, but there’s something even more impressive about well-written utopian fiction. I’m even more impressed when authors remember that our various visions of utopia can be in conflict with one another and with our own individual connections and desires. Time War weaves poetry out of the multiverse and had me sobbing over two women who would rather burn down every world than lose each other.

By Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked This Is How You Lose the Time War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF The Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novella, the Reddit Stabby Award for Best Novella AND The British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novella

SHORTLISTED FOR
2020 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award
The Ray Bradbury Prize
Kitschies Red Tentacle Award
Kitschies Inky Tentacle
Brave New Words Award

'A fireworks display from two very talented storytellers' Madeline Miller, author of Circe

Co-written by two award-winning writers, This Is How You Lose the Time War is an epic love story spanning time and space.

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It…


Book cover of The Space Between Worlds

Hannah Fergesen Author Of The Infinite Miles

From my list on queer stories about time and space travel.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a queer writer whose early love of science fiction and fantasy gave me an outlet for my creativity and new ways of seeing myself in the world. It was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle and Timeline by Michael Crichton that first introduced me to time and space travel in fiction, but it was the new Doctor Who and shows like Twelve Monkeys that made me realize how mad and wonderful stories about time and space travel could be. And once I came to terms with my own queer identities, I saw an obvious space for my own contribution to the time travel canon. 

Hannah's book list on queer stories about time and space travel

Hannah Fergesen Why did Hannah love this book?

The Space Between Worlds is less time travel than it is parallel dimensional travel but I think it’s worth fibbing for.

Cara is a traverser – someone who can travel between different versions of her world. She retrieves data about those worlds – what went wrong and what went right – and brings it back to her own for study. She can do this because the Caras in these worlds are all dead. Except when one isn’t, royally mucking up her job.

This book is gritty and queer (though I’m not going to promise an ending wrapped up in a bow) and the method of travel the author created makes for a unique and thought-provoking read.

By Micaiah Johnson,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Space Between Worlds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Sunday Times bestseller. Winner of the Kitschies Golden Tentacle award.

A stunning science fiction debut, The Space Between Worlds is both a cross-dimensional adventure and a powerful examination of identity, privilege, and belonging.

'My mother used to say I was born reaching, which is true. She also used to say it would get me killed, which it hasn't. Not yet, anyway.'

Born in the dirt of the wasteland, Cara has fought her entire life just to survive. Now she has done the impossible, and landed herself a comfortable life on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley…


Book cover of Spellbound: A Graphic Memoir

Dorothy Woodman Author Of The Cancer Plot: Terminal Immortality in Marvel's Moral Universe

From my list on graphic literature and why to read them.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an Associate Lecturer and Adjunct in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta. After being a piano teacher, working in communications for an NGO, and heading up the children’s department at a public library, I returned to university. While in graduate school, I underwent treatments for breast cancer, leading me into researching and teaching medical narratives, while focusing on works by breast cancer survivors. Introduced to graphic literature by a colleague, I began exploring a whole new world of literature. I now teach courses on graphic literature: memoirs, histories, speculative fiction, and the occasional comic.

Dorothy's book list on graphic literature and why to read them

Dorothy Woodman Why did Dorothy love this book?

This queer memoir takes us to New York City to explore the unfolding queer life of a child of Bengali immigrants in her difficult decision to divest from parents, colleagues, and friends’ expectations for her life. After taking up architecture as a career and attending Harvard to the delight of her parents, Anjali realizes that her real interest lies in creating graphic literature. This coincides with another journey away from the expected future marriage and family toward exploring and affirming her sexuality and attraction to women. In often spare and simple settings with clean lines that let readers fill in the gaps – for example, with picture frames containing blank canvasses rather than pictures – Anjali creates her own pictures, both as a graphic artist and in imagining her own life. 

Love lies at the heart of this fictionalized memoir. A full recipe from Anjali’s father’s repertoire, a culinary interest…

By Bishakh Som,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Spellbound as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The meticulous artwork of transgender artist Bishakh Som gives us the rare opportunity to see the world through another lens.
This exquisite graphic novel memoir by a transgender artist, explores the concept of identity by inviting the reader to view the author moving through life as she would have us see her, that is, as she sees herself. Framed with a candid autobiographical narrative, this book gives us the opportunity to enter into the author's daily life and explore her thoughts on themes of gender and sexuality, memory and urbanism, love and loss.


Book cover of Sarahland

Erin Slaughter Author Of A Manual for How to Love Us

From my list on magical short story collections written by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer working in multiple genres (I published two books of poetry before my debut story collection, A Manual for How to Love Us, and also write nonfiction), I’ve always been interested in bridging the ethereal gaps between forms and styles of writing. In college, I loved authors like Neil Gaiman and Ray Bradbury who portrayed fantastical worlds in a literary way. Later, I discovered great fiction in this same vein written by women, stories exploring the visceral, grotesque, and glorious from a distinctly female perspective. These became some of my favorite books, my favorite writers, and undeniably influenced the stories in A Manual for How to Love Us. 

Erin's book list on magical short story collections written by women

Erin Slaughter Why did Erin love this book?

I read an excerpt of Sarahland’s titular story online, and immediately knew I needed this book; I’ve never clicked an “order” button so fast, and when it arrived in my mailbox, it exceeded expectations.

The most obvious element that connects these stories are girls and women named Sarah (or Sara, or Sari), and each Sarah is struggling through an intense hunger and desperation to understand herself in relation to others and her strange, strange world.

These stories are delightfully queer, and bend gender as well as genre. 

By Sam Cohen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In SARAHLAND, Sam Cohen brilliantly and often hilariously explores the ways in which traditional stories have failed us, both demanding and thrillingly providing for its cast of Sarahs new origin stories, new ways to love the planet and those inhabiting it, and new possibilities for life itself. In one story, a Jewish college Sarah passively consents to a form-life in pursuit of an MRS degree and is swept into a culture of normalized sexual violence. Another reveals a version of Sarah finding pleasure-and a new set of problems-by playing dead for a wealthy necrophiliac. A Buffy-loving Sarah uses fan fiction…


Book cover of A Lady for a Duke

Seth Haddon Author Of Reborn

From my list on queer love stories that defy all odds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a queer writer whose latest novel explores destiny’s role in love, and what it means for love to triumph. I’m completely addicted to reading queer romances, and my favourite dynamics are always couples whose love beats the odds. I am a queer Australian writer of fantasy, as well as a video game designer. I live in Sydney with my partner and our two furry children. 

Seth's book list on queer love stories that defy all odds

Seth Haddon Why did Seth love this book?

I found this book through TikTok after a surge of booktokers started to recommend it.

I was instantly intrigued by the premise: presumed dead at Waterloo, a soldier decides to live as herself—trans woman Viola loses her wealth, her title, and her childhood friend Gracewood. But years later, fate draws them together again, and they must contend with their desires and their past together.

This book! I cried, I laughed, I had so many emotions reading this tale. Against all odds, they find each other, they communicate through the unique challenge of attraction after years and Viola’s new womanhood.

There are some incredibly hot scenes which feel all the more tantalizing for the novel’s historical setting. I’ve lent this book to several friends just hoping they experience the same joy I did. 

By Alexis Hall,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Lady for a Duke as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A lush, sweeping queer historical romance from the USA Today bestselling author of Husband Material—perfect for fans of Netflix’s Bridgerton, Evie Dunmore, and Lisa Kleypas!
When Viola Carroll was presumed dead at Waterloo she took the opportunity to live, at last, as herself. But freedom does not come without a price, and Viola paid for hers with the loss of her wealth, her title, and her closest companion, Justin de Vere, the Duke of Gracewood.

Only when their families reconnect, years after the war, does Viola learn how deep that loss truly was. Shattered without her, Gracewood has retreated so…


Book cover of Detransition, Baby

Tim Murphy Author Of Speech Team

From my list on LGBTQ+ characters who are a total mess.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a 54-year-old gay man who has led my own messy life here in New York City, marked as much by sex, romance, friendship, and culture as by drug addiction, relationship drama, mental illness and youthful trauma. I’ve published five novels, all of which contain queer characters who’ve not exactly been poster children for mainstream-world-approved LGBTQ behavior. I’m drawn to novels like the ones I’ve mentioned because they show queer people not as the hetero world often would like them to be—sanitized, asexual, witty and “fabulous”—but as capable of dysfunction, mediocrity, unwise choices and poor conduct as anybody else.

Tim's book list on LGBTQ+ characters who are a total mess

Tim Murphy Why did Tim love this book?

Like a hipster Brooklyn transgender Sex and the City, this novel is a chatty, hilarious, and moving look at queer folks grasping for parenthood and family in a world where all the rules have been thrown out.

The book’s narrator, transwoman Reese, takes us on this ride with such sardonic, poignant insight about the world she lives in that we begin to feel like we live in it, too. When Reese’s ex, Ames—who has detransitioned from his former transwoman identity, Amy—gets his straight female boss pregnant, the three of them begin negotiating how they might raise the child together.

But the novel’s true power lies in how Reese explains her life and her friends to us—bravely refusing to portray trans people as angelic role models and instead offering something deeper and more endearing: showing them as real people.

By Torrey Peters,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Detransition, Baby as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The lives of three women—transgender and cisgender—collide after an unexpected pregnancy forces them to confront their deepest desires in “one of the most celebrated novels of the year” (Time)

“Reading this novel is like holding a live wire in your hand.”—Vulture

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by more than twenty publications, including The New York Times Book Review, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Time, Vogue, Esquire, Vulture, and Autostraddle

PEN/Hemingway Award Winner • Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Gotham Book Prize • Longlisted for The Women’s…


Book cover of Didn't Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta

Tim Murphy Author Of Speech Team

From my list on LGBTQ+ characters who are a total mess.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a 54-year-old gay man who has led my own messy life here in New York City, marked as much by sex, romance, friendship, and culture as by drug addiction, relationship drama, mental illness and youthful trauma. I’ve published five novels, all of which contain queer characters who’ve not exactly been poster children for mainstream-world-approved LGBTQ behavior. I’m drawn to novels like the ones I’ve mentioned because they show queer people not as the hetero world often would like them to be—sanitized, asexual, witty and “fabulous”—but as capable of dysfunction, mediocrity, unwise choices and poor conduct as anybody else.

Tim's book list on LGBTQ+ characters who are a total mess

Tim Murphy Why did Tim love this book?

This remarkable novel, patterned lightly after James Joyce’s Ulysses, is the tale of Carlotta Mercedes, a Black and Hispanic transgender woman who returns to her Brooklyn neighborhood after serving decades in prison because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Unfolding almost in real time over the 2015 July 4 weekend, the book has a chaotic, madcap energy and toggles seamlessly throughout between a traditional third-person narrative and the hilarious, heartbreaking first-person monologue inside Carlotta’s brilliant, bonkers head.

Reading this novel is like getting on a nonstop rollercoaster with a narrator who will crack you up and make you root for her right up to the ecstatic final page.

By James Hannaham,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Didn't Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this “dangerously hilarious” novel (Los Angeles Times), a trans woman reenters life on the outside after more than twenty years in a men’s prison, over one consequential Fourth of July weekend—from the author of the PEN/Faulkner Award winner Delicious Foods.

Carlotta Mercedes has been misunderstood her entire life. When she was pulled into a robbery gone wrong, she still went by the name she’d grown up with in Fort Greene, Brooklyn—before it gentrified. But not long after her conviction, she took the name Carlotta and began to live as a woman, an embrace of selfhood that prison authorities rejected,…


Book cover of The Third Person

Joris Bas Backer Author Of Kisses For Jet: A Coming-of-Gender Story

From my list on authentic transgender characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a cartoonist with a transgender-biography and I write trans characters into my stories. Even though I value the growing awareness of transgender representation by all writers, those that were written by people with trans-experience carry special significance. I've written a graphic novel and many autobiographical, fictional, and documentary short stories. These works have centered on the themes sexual identity, gender roles, youth culture, family, social structures, and social history. With my work I aim to shed light on issues that are lesser known, with a strong social focus and the intention of using the storytelling medium and the comic format as a way of making the complex understandable.

Joris' book list on authentic transgender characters

Joris Bas Backer Why did Joris love this book?

This book impressed me because it doesn't shy away from its subject matter. The author tells about her journey and the struggles that pile up when she seeks professional help to transition but meets instead with a therapist who quickly becomes overwhelmed as they unpack trauma and dissociative identity disorder. With a whopping 904 pages, it's intense, but never gets dense. Entry is low-threshold and the quirky characters drew me in in no time. So much so that even when I didn't know who to believe, I was ready to believe anyone. This book perfectly illustrates the problems around gatekeeping of transgender healthcare and its complex intersections with mental health.

By Emma Grove,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A boldly drawn, unforgettable memoir about trauma and the barriers to gender affirming health care. In the winter of 2004, a shy woman named Emma sits in Toby s office. She wants to share this wonderful new book she s reading, but Toby, her therapist, is concerned with other things. Emma is transgender, and has sought out Toby for approval for hormone replacement therapy. Emma has shown up at the therapy sessions as an outgoing, confident young woman named Katina, and a depressed, submissive workaholic named Ed. She has little or no memory of her actions when presenting as these…


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