Book Recs: Adult Sci Fi

When I wrote up the schedule for this month’s posts, I was initially planning for this rec list to be a continuation of that sapphic series. But, at the eleventh hour, I changed my mind, and went with adult sci fi recs.

Sci fi is, in all honesty, one of my favourite genres. And particularly sci fi that leans towards being hard rather than soft (as such, if you don’t like hard sci fi, you may not find a whole lot on this list for you, for which I apologise). And when that sci fi is gay? It just makes it all the better.

So, here are ten of my absolute faves.

inbtwn

Machineries of Empire

Yoon Ha Lee
Goodreads
Rep: East Asian-coded lesbian mc, bi mc, trans mc, nonbinary side characters
CWs: rape, dubious consent relationships (unhealthy power dynamics), torture, death, implied rape in a flashback scene, implied suicide attempt, suicidal thoughts, incest

Why Should I Read It?

Alright so you might look at the CWs for this and think, no thank you (to which I obviously wouldn’t blame you), but I promise you, if you feel you can read it, it is so worth it. It’s about taking down a corrupt system, set in space clearly, and no one is cishet. It is truly one of my favourite series ever (and the whole reason I’m always on some level thinking of the line Now and forever, I’m your gun). Oh, and the wlw/mlm solidarity is strong in this one.

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This is How You Lose the Time War

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Amal el-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
Goodreads
Rep: wlw mcs

Why Should I Read It?

There was absolutely no way I could write this list and not include this book, let’s be real. I’ve read it three times in the past year, and every day I feel the urge to reread it. If you haven’t yet had the chance to pick this up, then please take this as a sign.

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The Light Brigade

Kameron Hurley
Goodreads
Rep: bi mc, bi side characters

Why Should I Read It?

The best type of sci fi is the type that includes a whole load of chaotic mindfuckery, in my opinion, which means this one ranks very highly for me. Not only does it chaotically mind-fuck you over, it is also so very engaging while it does so. You’ll be confused, for sure, but in the way that makes you just want to keep reading until it all becomes clear.

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A Memory Called Empire

Arkady Martine
Goodreads
Rep: lesbian mc, wlw li, mlm side character

Why Should I Read It?

My twitter handle is the main character of this book, so I think that should give you an idea of how much I loved it. Not only is it a fascinating mystery story, but it also has such detailed and intricate worldbuilding (even down to the language of the two cultures which, as a linguist, I could read about all day). Oh and it features that very specific sci fi trope of having someone else’s consciousness inserted into your own so that you don’t know where they end and you begin.

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The Switch

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Justina Robson
Goodreads
Rep: gay mc
CWs: rape/dubiously consensual sex (ch. 4)

Why Should I Read It?

This is somewhat a mix between sci fi and fantasy and, honestly, don’t you just love books which blur the two? I mean, in our world, magic and science are like two sides of the same coin – what used to be explained by magic is now explained by science – so really, why shouldn’t the two genres blend? Also I loved the mc in this one and the twist at the end.

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The Space Between Worlds

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Micaiah Johnson
Goodreads
Rep: Black bi mc, Japanese lesbian li

Why Should I Read It?

This is probably hands-down the best sci fi book I have read this year. It’s got parallel-universe hopping, doppelgangers, a sapphic romance… Literally everything you could want. And it uses the story very effectively as a vehicle through which to make social commentary (as the best sci fi, maybe even the best books, do(es)). It’s only been out two weeks but I can say for sure that you do not want to miss out on it.

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Ancillary Justice

Ann Leckie
Goodreads
Rep: nonbinary mc, lesbian mc

Why Should I Read It?

I’ve noted this down as having a nonbinary mc, but really, it’s more like the world in the book considers gender in a totally different way to us, so our labels wouldn’t work for them.

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A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe

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Alex White
Goodreads
Rep: wlw mc & li

Why Should I Read It?

The best kind of found family trope, I think we can all agree, is one where they’re forced into a situation and perhaps all kind of hate each other at first. Maybe there’s even some history between them. But they have to work together because the enemy is chasing them all. So take that, set it in space, and you have something a bit like this series. And boy, is it good.

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Not for Use in Navigation

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Iona Datt Sharma
Goodreads
Rep: wlw, mlm, nonbinary & genderfluid characters

Why Should I Read It?

One day, I will succeed in making everyone read Iona Datt Sharma’s works, and then you will all see just what you are missing. This collection is both sci fi and fantasy, and it’s so good and so creative. The stories aren’t all of them particularly big, bombastic adventures, but sometimes you just have to read slice-of-life science fiction books, am I right?

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The Vela

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Yoon Ha Lee, Becky Chambers, Rivers Solomon & S. L. Huang
Goodreads
Rep: trans lesbian mc, nonbinary mc, wlw & nonbinary side characters

Why Should I Read It?

I mean. Just look at who’s behind this book and try tell me why you shouldn’t read it. Think kind of mystery romp through space, but then the characters realise that perhaps everything they knew, or thought they knew, was a lie. And, if you read it now, you’re just in time for the second season of the serial to start (written by Ashley Poston, Sangu Mandanna, Maura Milan and Nicole Givens Kurtz).

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What would you rec?

charlotte

18 Replies to “Book Recs: Adult Sci Fi”

  1. Failure! To! Communicate! Failure to Communicate by Kaia Sønderby is about human/alien relations with an MC who’s bisexual and autistic and it’s very much implied she’s gonna be in a M/F/F relationship and !! IT’s very good

    Like

  2. I tried reading A Memory Called Empire, and when I was starting to give up, I saw your review on Goodreads and it gave me hope again! But I have difficulties to read SF — I always feel so dumb haha… I DNF’ed it for now, but I’ll give it another go for sure later!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. honestly, if you’re looking for softer sci fi, it’s actually pretty good. the focus is more on the mystery than the science. but the ones on here that are genuinely softer are not for use in navigation, and a big ship at the edge of the universe.

      – charlotte

      Like

  3. I think sci-fi is the genre I read the least compare to fantasy and others. So this rec list is absolutely perfect for me and yessss sci-fi when it’s gay does make it all the more better!! Saving this post for future reference!

    Liked by 1 person

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