Miss Gail, you cry, The 5th Gender was like my FAVORITE new thing.
Please write more?
Why thank you, Gentle Reader.
OK, how about recommending something to tide me over?
Now that, I can do!
Queer sci-fi is a tiny niche in romance but it is one I happen to love. So I definitely have some books for you. Please remember one of my fav tropes is also culture conflict, and sci-fi is the perfect space for exploring that.
See what I did there? Space. Heh heh.
Gail’s List of Fab FUN Queer Sci Fi!
I’ve chosen human/alien pairings, like my book. As opposed to humans together in space. Not that I don’t read that, it’s just I enjoy it when the alien-ness is an integral part of the plot and relationship. We are back to that culture conflict thing that I love so much.
Some of these are sexier than others.
As always I lean towards lighter stuff, which is why finding f/f was a challenge. Books like Ascension, while critically acclaimed, are too dark for me.
I also left off books where the aliens aren’t really alien ~ as in they are just bigger than us and green, or what have you. One of my reasons for reading sci-fi is enjoying a really well developed alien culture, so I only chose ones that satisfy that particular criteria.
One last point, ARGH THESE COVERS. Some of them are truly truly heinous. I promise the words inside are so much better than many of these covers make them seem. Please forgive the book and give it a chance.
Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts by Lyn Gala
(M/M & gentle BDSM)
A favorite comfort read of mine. It has several follow up books that are also excellent, but first one stands alone. The aliens are VERY alien despite cover image. It’s charming and absorbing and heartwarming and full of nuances of language and concepts of acceptance.
Missy Welsh’s Destination Lost books (specifically Healing Touch & Warrior Mine)
(M/M higher heat level, alien biology)
The alien love interests have animal genetic alterations, dolphin and cat respectively, plus lots of sex. So if any of that wigs you out, avoid. But otherwise the premise is super fun: three space-born humans are sucked through a worm hole, then separated, then meet aliens while trying to find each other.
Breeding Stations by Chris T. Kat
(M/M military space opera, sexy)
Aliens are big alpha warrior type humanoids, kind of Klingon-ish, lots of fighting and death of side characters but if you’re one for more military sci-fi this might work for you. If you liked Tanya Huff’s Valor series but wanted more gay sex and shorter books, try this two book series (first one stands alone fine).
Changing Worlds by Cari Z.
(M/M, planetary adaptation)
One of the better covers, if a tad old school, the aliens are humanoid with some fascinating porcupine-like adaptations, some great world building and a lovely complex culture. Most of the romance takes place in the first 1/3 of the book the rest is more alien world sci-fi politics. Bonus yummy Korean food.
Taji from Beyond the Rings by R. Cooper
I already love R Cooper and this is (I think) their first foray into sci-fi. It’s really touching and complex. Essentially it is a human planetfall story, which is to say the human is the fish out of water on an alien planet with a complex political system. As one might expect from Cooper, there is a lot of romantic pining, a few deftly handled sex scenes, and some very interesting complexities around sexual representation and gender fluidity that will appeal to fans of my book The 5th Gender.
Sunder by Lexi Ander
(M/M mixed high fantasy elements)
Aliens are mostly humanoid, edging towards elves and mythos, but with some inventive biological repercussions. The titular character is the love interest and way more interesting, to me, then the human POV character. It waffles a bit as the author finds her voice, but still interesting. Closest I can think of is something like Grace Draven.
Safety Protocols for Human Holidays by Angel Martinez
(f/f short sweet funny Christmas in space)
The aliens in this story range from humanoid to not at all human. The love interest, and POV character, is an alien who is confused by a human crew mate suffering from seasonal depression. She tries to cheer her up with charming results.
Alien ‘N’ Outlaw by KC Burn
(M/M, lots of sexitimes)
Possibly the most similar to The 5th Gender, although character personalities are different. This one contained a lavender alien love interest from a herbivore based tri-romance culture who is unexpectedly fascinated by a street-rat human. The alien is a noble looking for adventure, the human is a smuggler on the wrong side of the law. Hi-jinks ensue.
Earth Fathers are Weird by Lyn Gala
Might as well start and end with Lyn Gala, since she is my queen of this genre. Did you want your sic fi with a big helping of found family AND some serious tentacle action? Then this one is for you. (You don’t have to take my word for it, here’s Jay’s review.) It has only one relatively low heat sex scene near the end, but it’s achingly sweet. I adore it and I can tell I’ll be rereading it over and over.
There is also an early little known character I want to bring up… gender bending possible split personality Beka/Tarnekep from the Mageworlds series.
“… gave one of Tarnekep Portree’s better smiles, the kind that tended to make law-abiding citizens suddenly remember urgent business elsewhere.”
~ By Honor Betray’d by Debra Doyle & James D. Macdonald
Tarnekep is a male pirate and Beka is a female politician, and they are also the same person. It’s a three book series I loved as a kid, not quite sure how well it has stood the test of time but worth trying, I think.
Other blog posts recommending queer fiction:
Other People’s Lists
- Trans SFF
- 11 Works of Trans-Positive Science Fiction & Fantasy
- Joyfully Jay (mostly gay & m/m romance reviews)
- The Lesbrary (sapphic reviews, lots of lists, responsive to questions, a fantastic resource) here’s her: Every Bi & Lesbian Sci Fi Book I’ve Read and Loved!
Want more Gail Book Recs?
If you want to know when I post a review, follow me on BookBub or Goodreads.
Yours, with a side of purple aliens,
- Want more book recs? I include monthly things that made e happy in the Chirrup: Sign up here.
Book de Jour!
The 5th Gender (A Tinkered Stars Mystery as G. L. Carriger).
Amazon | Elsewhere | Direct from Gail
Audio is coming.
Sci-fi queer romance meets cozy mystery in which a hot space station cop meets the most adorable purple alien ever (lavender, pulease!) from a race with 5 genders.
GAIL’S DAILY DOSE
Your Moment of Parasol . . .
Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Our Bookstore Reading Meet-Cute
Your Tisane of Smart . . .
From the inestimable Awful Library books blog . I just couldn’t believe it when it popped up in my feed because Tristol’s hair is such a big deal in The 5th Gender.
As Drey puts it:
“Your hair alone is a goddam gift to mankind, and I’m just selfish enough to keep it all to myself.”
Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
“Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.”
~ Mark Twain
Check this out! Talking about The 5th Gender on Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast
Quote of the Day:
“There are some things one can only achieve by a deliberate leap in the opposite direction.”
~ Franz Kafka
Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? Wiki that sheez!Tags: 5TH GENDER, Gail Carriger Recommends, Tinkered Stars
Queer Sci Fi? There’s a website for that 🙂 https://queerscifi.com/
(Thank you so much for the lovely mention!)
My pleasure! Thanks for writing such fabulous books.
Thank you so much for the recs! I love science fiction with aliens who are really alien, and Earth Fathers are weird really filled the bill. I had passed on the other Claimings, Tails, etc because of the cover, so I really appreciated the rec. So hard to find romantic science fiction with really different non-humans, let alone the queer variety.
You honestly won’t regret it, it truly is wonderful.
Hooray hoorah so good!