5 Non-Heteronormative SciFi Romances to Heat Up Your Escapism

  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 …

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Review: Company Town

Company Town by Madeline Ashby

Technology is status. Technology is power. And when technology becomes part of our bodies, the distance between the haves and the have-nots becomes wider than ever. In Madeline Ashby’s Company Town, every child is engineered to correct genetic “defects,” and everyone has technological augmentations to enhance their organic abilities. Well, almost everyone. Hwa’s family is poor. Not only does she lack the augmentations other people rely on, but she has a medical condition that in most people would have been corrected long ago. When a new company takes over her town, her “organic” status becomes an unexpected asset — it …

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Harlots is the Most Feminist Show You’re Not Watching

There has been much buzz about Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale — the dystopian drama set in a theocratic future where women are owned and bred like animals. Less talked about but just as good is their other series Harlots, which is an exercise in the power of the female gaze.   Harlots is the story of two rival brothels in 18th century London run by madames Margaret Wells and Lydia Quigley. Harlots is unique as a feminist show in two ways. The first is that the entire creative team behind the show — the producers, director, writers, and most of …

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Exit West’s Magical Realism Is a Blueprint for Compassionate Policy

Moshin Hamid’s ethereal, richly detailed world of magical realism simultaneously captures the minutia of human relationships and the sweeping tide of globalization in a beautiful study of character and culture. But its most impressive accomplishment is creating an effective blueprint for compassionate immigration policy in an increasingly bleak landscape. Exit West maps the relationship between fiercely independent Nadia, who wears traditional robes as battle armor while navigating a society hostile to women, and introverted Saeed, a thoughtful romantic torn between tradition and modernity. They meet in an intentionally non-specific war-torn city in the Middle East, their budding love a fresh and …

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Review: Infomocracy Gives Us Democracy at its Best and Worst

Democracy is the worst system of government, except for all the others. This is the central tenet of Malka Older’s debut novel Infomocracy, which does in fine form what I wish more speculative fiction would attempt: she uses fiction to imagine better ways for our society to operate. Then, of course, it all goes to hell. In Infomocracy, set decades in our future, modern nation-states no longer exist. Instead, the globe is divided into centenals: regions with a population of 100,000 that vote to choose their own local government. In sparsely populated rural areas, one centenal could cover hundreds of …

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Book Review: The Fifth Season

This has been a pretty sweet week for me, book-wise. First, I re-read The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin, which is among my favorite books of all time. Then its sequel, The Obelisk Gate, came out, so of course I devoured that. (This is how I spent my Saturday night, and it was a great decision.) Then, yesterday, The Fifth Season was announced as the winner of this year’s Hugo Award for best novel. So I can’t state this strongly enough: if you haven’t read The Fifth Season, go do it now. You’re lucky, because you can go on …

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