9 must-read science fiction and fantasy novels with lesbian characters

For Lesbian Visibility Day, Numerama chose to honor real lesbians, but also those who only live on the pages of books.

How about traveling through time and universes, riding dragons, or even leading your troops in epic battles in a fantastic China? If you like science fiction and fantasy books and are looking for stories where the main characters are lesbians, look no further.

For Lesbian Visibility Day, April 26, Numerama has prepared a selection of science fiction and fantasy books in honor of lesbians, all too often forgotten in classics and imaginary literature. We have selected 9 works, 7 books and 2 comics, but this is by no means a complete overview: there are other works not listed below that have not yet been translated into French, and certainly others that have not yet been translated. we have. uncovered.

The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon

The Orange Tree Priory, by Samantha Shannon // Source: De Saxus

Undoubtedly one of the most impressive novels published in recent years, Prayer it is above all a monument: it is an openly feminist book, whose heroines are strong and not afraid to assume their sexuality. Prayer it is also imposing in the literal sense of the word: it is a veritable block of a few thousand pages; in addition, it has been cut in two volumes for the paperback version. But don’t be put off by the length of the book: the novel takes readers to its universe very quickly, and the pages move by themselves.

The story of Priory follows the fate of several heroines: Sabran, the queen of the (yes) kingdom of Inys, Ead, the magician sent to court for a mysterious mission, and finally Tané, the warrior apprentice whose dream is to be able to ride someday. a devil. As tensions rise and old enemies reappear, the very different lives of the protagonists will intertwine, and they will have to work together to ensure their survival.

For fans of Priory Anyone who would like to continue the adventure should know that the author, Samantha Shannon, has just announced a prequel to the book: One night fall (One day after dark, editor’s note). The plot takes place long before the facts are told Prayerand focuses on new characters, and hopefully they return to rude lesbians. One night fall will be released in January 2023.

Translation by Benjamin Kuntzer, Jean-Baptiste Bernet.

Gideon The Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir

9 must-read science fiction and fantasy novels with lesbian characters
Gideon The Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir // Source: Act South

If I had to summarize Gideon ninth in a word, it would be: fun. The universe created by Tamsyn Muir, however, is not fun at first glance: the story begins on the dark and cold 9th planet, home of the Nonagesimus family, necromancers. individuals. The heiress, Harrowhark, is summoned by the Emperor with representatives of the other nine great families to take part in a mysterious tournament. Except that nothing goes as planned, and that Gideon, the rider who is supposed to protect Harrow, hates her.

Say that Gideon ninth is an unconventional story would be an understatement. Tamsyn Muir alternately manages to surprise us, worry us and make us really laugh out loud during the 500 pages of history.

We only warn you – don’t start reading this book before you go to bed – you just risk never sleeping and keep reading Gideon ninth until late at night. Gideon is the first volume of a tetralogy: the second book, Harrow The Ninth, was published in August 2020, but has not yet been translated into French. The next two volumes Ninth The Ninth i Alecto El Novèwill be released in 2023 in the United States.

Translation by Stephanie Lux.

The Birds of Time, by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

9 must-read science fiction and fantasy novels with lesbian characters
The Birds of Time, by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Glastone // Source: Mnémos

Full of poetry and travels through universes and time, The birds of the time it is a real gem. Numerama already recommended this book in a previous review: The birds of the time he conquered us. The book is written entirely in the form of letters, which the two heroines, Blue and Red, send to each other.

The two agents of opposing factions in a temporary war, Blue and Red, should not communicate. But after a singular defeat, the Red receives a first card from the Blue, which boasts of its victory. Thus begins the exchange between the two enemies, but what was at the beginning of the messages of provocation quickly becomes more sincere, something that could change the course of the war.

Translation by Julien Bétan.

The Song of the Ridersby Jeanne Mariem Correze

9 must-read science fiction and fantasy novels with lesbian characters
The song of the riders // Source: Hélios

The Song of the Riders is a unique novel. Not only because it is the only book of our selection written by a French author, but also because of its history. The summary could, however, suggest a story already read: this is absolutely not the case.

The Song of the Riders tells the story of a religious order made up of women who have something special: they ride dragons. The novel follows the story of Sophie, the descendant of the mythical Queen Margot, trapped in the midst of geopolitical conspiracies, and a geneticist. A search for the intimate self as much as a well-written political story.

The stars are legionby Kameron Hurley

A novel by space opera innovative and feminist: The stars are legion, by Kameron Hurley, surprised when it premiered in the United States in 2017, and has since been considered a lesbian SF reference. The story follows Zan, an amnesiac warrior who wakes up in the depths of the universe. She has been taken prisoner by a people, who claim to be her family, and who tell her that she must lead them absolutely to a mysterious ship, capable of ensuring their survival for all.

Between geopolitical conflicts, manipulation and theft of ships, The stars are legion it’s become a classic you can’t miss in just a few years – go read it fast.

Translation by Gilles Goullet.

She who became the Sun.by Shelley Parker-Chan

9 must-read science fiction and fantasy novels with lesbian characters
She who became the sun // Source: Bragelonne

Reading the back cover, it would be easy to think that it would be just a simple Mulan cover. She who became the Sun. it is something much bigger. The story takes place in a reimagined mystical China of the 14th century, invaded by the Mongols for almost a century. Zhu, born into a poor family, receives a prediction from a fortune teller: it will never be anything. To his brother, on the other hand, we preach glory and greatness. But when his people are attacked by bandits and his brother dies, Zhu decides to take his place and do everything in his power to claim his due: a legendary fate.

Presented by Zhu, an amazing character I have rarely read, Une Qui Devint Le Soleil is an awesome book. Epic battles, unforgettable protagonists and sublime writing, Celle Qui Devint Le Soleil is a must.

She who became the Sun. Not yet published: The novel will be available on May 18, 2022, but you can book it now.

Translation by Louise Malagoli.

The master illuminatorsby Robert Jackson Bennet

A ” main work of modern fantasy »: This is how Numerama introduced you The master illuminators a few months ago. The plot of Master Illuminators takes place in the city of Tevanne, a city ruled by a very particular type of magic: lighting. We follow the fate of Sancia, a young thief who has just arrived in Tevanne, who has an incomparable talent: she can to read objects and lighting. This particular gift will allow him to know the “key”, an unusual illuminated object, an encounter that will push him to challenge the whole city of Tevanne.

Translation by Laurent Philibert-Caillat.

In A Sunbeam, by Tillie Walden

There’s nothing like a space mission to beat your ex. Or so thought Mia, who embarked on a spaceship whose mission is to restore huge architectural structures of the past. Except Mia isn’t really at the end of her problems and she can’t forget Grace, whom she met a few years earlier.

Beautifully colored and aided by magnificent designs, In a ray of sunshine it is a delight, a moving and ambitious story that will carry all readers. The play has also won an Eisner Award, one of the most prestigious comics awards.

Translation by Alice Marchand.

The Daughter of the Sea, by Molly Knox Ostertag

Morgan is 15 years old and only dreams of one thing: leaving the island where she lives, where she feels alone and where no one understands her. Because Morgan has a secret: he has met Keltie, a strange girl who lives at sea, and dreams of kissing her.

A comic of extreme sweetness and beautiful drawings, which has become a special place in our hearts, and which will surely do the same with yours soon.

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