Recognized as a time to raise visibility and address issues faced by community members, November 13-19 is Trans Awareness Week. As members of various nerd spaces, we understand the power of storytelling and storytelling. So, in honor of this week, we’ve put together a list of some of the many science fiction and fantasy (SFF) books by trans authors.
Some of these books seek to use the present, past, and alternate worlds to talk about contemporary issues. At the same time, others are just contributing to genres that make them feel seen or safe, like cis readers. Although the authors are all trans, these books feature trans characters explicitly, in the subtext, and sometimes not at all.
As Sigourney Rose was the only person left alive after the colonizers slaughtered her family, she began plotting her revenge. Now, years later and on the brink of stormy season, the childless king requests the presence of the ruling families to choose his heir. As a lonely black woman with many reasons to kill, Sigourney becomes the prime suspect as members of the ruling families begin to be taken down one by one. She is used to working alone without the help of slaves or colonizers, and she is forced to (try to) make allies, but it may be too late.
If you like Callender’s work, I want to point out that this one is very different, and not just because it is aimed at adults. I loved this Caribbean-inspired fantasy. However, it’s incredibly dark, and basically all of the characters are monsters. The second book, King of the climb, concludes the duology.
One of last year’s most popular YA fantasy new novels is Aiden Thomas’ Boys cemetery. Already attached to trying to prove her gender to her traditional Latinx family, Yadriel and her best friend Maritza perform a ritual to find the ghost of her murdered cousin.
Being a new brujo, Yadriel is horrified when, instead, he summons the spirit of the school’s resident (old) bad boy – and a ghost that won’t quietly disappear, either. They work together to find out what happened in the two murders, and Yadriel’s affection for the once boring ghost grows as they get closer to the truth.
If you’ve read Thomas’ 2020 novel before, check out his 2021 fantasy thriller YA Lost in the woods ever.
This gothic sci-fi novel (you don’t often see these descriptors together) follows a seven month pregnant woman named Vern. After fleeing a strict religious complex to the nearby woods, she gives birth to twins. Sadly, the story doesn’t end there, as she is cast out and her body’s reaction to the repressed trauma and anxiety causes external changes. To understand these changes and, most importantly, protect his family, Vern must seek to uncover and confront the secrets of the past and the land.
It was hard to find the right Solomon book to feature, given that they have so many excellent and acclaimed works within SFF. Consider checking out their 2017 post-apocalyptic space opera A ghostly wickedness or their collaborative literary novel 2019 The abyss.
Before losing control of her magic and fleeing to the human world, Wyatt, a trans witch, was engaged to Prince Fae Emyr. Now Emyr has hunted down Wyatt and urges him to conclude the marriage, otherwise Emyr’s family will lose the throne.
While Wyatt has several concerns about returning to the wizarding world (including the fact that he has built a safe life for himself in the human world), he plans to return, not just because he sees the Emyr. that he knew before everything went to hell, but because the witches of Asalin need his presence.
Contemporary Fantasy YA will be completed in May 2022 when the second book of the duology, The fairy keeper, frees.
Per her deal with the devil, Shizuka must convince seven other violin prodigies to trade their souls for success. Six down and one to go, Shizuka finds her final candidate in a young transgender runaway named Katrina. Plans go wrong when they encounter an interstellar refugee and mother of four, Lan, thus entangling three women in an unexpected way that complicates Shizuka’s mission.
Aoki has written on his book’s themes, science fiction, California history and more in his guest essay Of Galaxies, Sprinkles, and Glazes: Lessons from the Donut King and La Science Fiction’s Golden Age.
This YA Western (like pan Pan) fantasy features a gang of five girls known in Arketta as the “Good Luck Girls”. The joke is that the name is incorrect because they have the worst of luck. After one of the five girls accidentally kills a man, they risk death on a journey for freedom and revenge. As Arketta’s forces both human and inhuman stalk them, they find hope in sharing stories.
Initially self-published (the cover chosen above), Tor took over the book, and it’s marketed as something in between Handmaid’s Tale and Westworld. Book two, The Sisters of Judgment, released in August.
Presented by Charlie Jane Anders, favorite of TMS, The Trans Space Octopus Congregation is a collection of science fiction short stories by the Hungarian Jewish author Takács. Centered in speculative LGBTQ + fiction, the stories range from magical space opera to body horror. Each story gives the reader a different flavor and subgenre of sci-fi, and often brings various elements of Takács’ cross identities.
(Aka books we mentioned too recent to include)
What are your favorite works by trans authors?
(Image: MCD, Swoon Reads and Tordotcom)
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