Welp, might as well hop on the Pride Month bandwagon and crank out a list of sci-fi and fantasy books centered around LGBTQ+ characters. These picks are straight from my Favorites list on my blog, so they’re all fantastic reads, and the main character to each one is a part of the LGBTQ+ community.
- Ice Massacre – YA Fantasy
One of these days, I’m going to read books two and three and actually finish this damn trilogy.
Ice Massacre is about an ongoing war between carnivorous mermaids and humans in the north Pacific. It used to be the people on the tiny island of Eriana Kwai would send out a ship full of young men every year to kill as many mermaids as possible. More often than not, none of the men would return home, largely because of the mermaids’ siren-like powers. So this year, they decide to send out a ship full of young women.
Just one teensy little problem: one of those women, our main character Meela, is in love with a mermaid.
Basically it’s same-sex, interracial Romeo & Juliet, minus the creepiness, plus killer mermaids.
2. The Wolf in the Whale – Grimdark(ish) Adult Historical Fantasy
The Wolf in the Whale combines Inuit and Norse mythology, as humans and gods fight for control and survival in the Arctic. In the middle of it all is Omat, the young Inuit shaman (that’s not his actual title, but I’m speaking in layman’s terms here) whose access to the gods is cut off by an immortal who fears he’ll bring an end to them all.
Because if there’s one surefire way to get a guy to not kill you, it’s to take away everything he holds dear and then let him live out the rest of his life.
Also, Omat is trans. Ish. More genderfluid? He’s under that umbrella, that’s for sure.
3. Nemesis Series – YA Superhero
This two-book series asks and answers the question, “What if Superman was a trans lesbian?”
Also, “What if we took racism, classism, sexism, transphobia, and childhood abuse seriously in this genre, actually applying it to the worldbuilding and characters’ narrative arcs?”
Basically, these books decide to write about all the things without coming across as preachy. With superhero fights. In space!
4. Dread Nation – YA historical horror
It’s the Civil War AU: zombie edition!
Well, maybe not Civil War, per se, since it takes place in 1880. But the zombies started popping up in the Civil War and thus changed the entire trajectory of American history. But not so much that it’s completely unrecognizable, because there’s still the mess of the Reconstruction Era and the whole racism thing.
On a side note, we don’t find out that Jane, the main character, is bisexual until about three quarters through the book, and it’s more of a throwaway line than anything else. So her sexuality is not as defining a trait as it is with the characters in the other books mentioned on this list. I’m throwing it in here because A) it’s a really good book, and B) she’s canonically bisexual, so it counts.
And finally, let’s break out the ol’ broken record to talk about Rick Riordan!
Riordan wrote the Percy Jackson series, a five-book middle grade/young adult series about modern-day Greek demigods. After that, he extended it with another five books, called The Heroes of Olympus, which is where we meet our first LGBT hero.
(Actually, we’d already met him in Percy Jackson. But he doesn’t come out of the closet until HOO, book four, and I ain’t spoiling it here.)
After that, Riordan went off. The sequel series to HOO—The Trials of Apollo–is ongoing, and told from the point of view of the now-mortal god Apollo. Fun fact: he was actually bisexual in the Greek mythos, to which Riordan stays true. There are also a couple of other same-sex couples we’ve so far met in this series working hard to save poor Apollo’s ass.
Parallel to the Trials of Apollo is the Magnus Chase trilogy, which is about Norse gods. (Yes, they’re in the same universe as Percy Jackson. No, it doesn’t make sense. But it’s still awesome.) While Magnus never goes in-depth about his own sexuality, he does end up dating a genderfluid child of Loki.
So that’s it! What are your favorite sci-fi and fantasy books that feature LGBTQ+ characters? Let us know in the comments!