Sometimes you just need a little break from reality. Science fiction, fantasy, and romance are favorite escapes, but it can be hard to break the cis-boy meets cis-girl monotony. To kick off “beach read season”, here are five scifi and fantasy books that feature people of many genders falling in love in fantastic settings.
Reintegration by Eden French
Lexi is a cyborg with a unique mind reading implant, and she’s being hunted by a ruthless organization who will stop at nothing to regain their technology. She falls in with a group of misfits who might be the key to unlocking her past and her future. Reintegration has a lot of gender and sexual fluidity that feels like a natural part of the story and the inner lives of the characters. Contains some steamy scenes.
Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
A re-telling of the classic greek tale, Song of Achilles follows the sweet coming-of-age romance of Patroclus, King Peleus’s awkward ward and the king’s perfect son Achilles. When Achilles is called away to war, Patroclus goes with him and fights to prove their love. In the tradition of other re-tellings like Mists of Avalon, Song of Achilles fleshes out well-known characters with inspiring new passions, peeves, and longings in a world loosely rooted in real history.
Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
Phèdre nó Delaunay was born with a scarlet mote in her left eye — Kushiel’s Dart, a sign that she experiences pain and pleasure together. She is trained to be both courtesan and spy and thrown into the treacherous machinations and conspiracies of the royal court. Kushiel’s Dart is epic worldbuilding at its finest, full of richly immersive culture, language, and traditions. Sexuality is only loosely related to gender, and instead exists in a complicated web of religion, power, money, and even occasionally love. Very graphic scenes.
My Fair Captain by J.L. Langley
Intergalactic Navy Captain Nathaniel Hawkins is a rogue hiding a dark secret. Prince Aiden Townsend is a sensitive aspiring artist. The two are thrown together when Captain Hawkins investigates a missing weapons stash and can’t ignore the attraction growing between them. My Fair Captain turns a lot of of tropes on their heads — male virtue is jealously guarded, male/male love is tender and romantic, and space adventures can co-exist with regency romance. Some steamy scenes.
The Tea Machine by Gill McKnight
Millicent Aberly wasn’t looking for love when a time-travel accident sent her into an alternative reality. But when Sangfroid, a sexy Roman centurion saves her from a giant space squid, Millicent can’t stop herself from being fascinated. The result is as hilarious and absurd as you think it should be.