A few days before I sat down to write this post, I asked a wide range of my acquaintance on the hellsite known as Twitter whether there were any novels or novellas featuring f/f relationships or starring queer women that they knew and were looking forward to in the second half of 2019 or definitely earmarked for 2020. It turns out that there are quite a few—forty-odd, in fact.
Progress is a fine thing.
Some of these novels were personally recommended to me by people who’ve previously had good form on telling if I’d like something. Some of them are sequels to novels that I deeply enjoyed, or from authors with a track record of writing things I enjoy. And some of them I know almost nothing about, besides their cover copy and the news that they’re queer. A handful I’ve already read. I’ll make it clear which is which, as I list them below.
Max Gladstone’s Empress of Forever (July 2019) is among the ones I’ve already read, and it is fantastic. Big and thinky and vastly full of space operatic madness. I’ve read The Hound of Justice by Claire O’Dell (July 2019) as well—it’s a satisfying sequel to A Study in Honor, her near-future Sherlock reimagining. And Fran Wilde’s The Fire Opal Mechanism (June 2019) is also a sequel of sorts, standing alone in the world of The Jewel and Her Lapidary, exploring love and growth, power and the tension between knowledge’s specificity and its accessibility, in a world threatened by totalitarianism. And Aliette de Bodard’s delightfully queer collection Of War, and Memories, and Starlight (September 2019) is a glittering group of stories that have a lot of queer women in them.
From friends who have been right before when they recommended me things comes word of A.K. Larkwood’s The Unspoken Name (February 2020) and Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth (September 2019), space opera Seven Devils by Laura Lam and Elizabeth May (June 2020) and fantasy The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith (September 2019), The Outside by Ada Hoffman (June 2019) and Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger (September 2019).
Sequels or new works from authors I’ve enjoyed before is a longer list. Of course I’m deeply eager for C.L. Polk’s Stormsong (February 2020) and Arkady Martine’s A Desolation Called Peace (March 2020), sequels to Witchmark and A Memory Called Empire respectively. K.A. Doore’s The Impossible Contract (November 2019) and The Warrior Moon by K. Arsenault Rivera (September 2019); The House of Sundering Flames by Aliette de Bodard (July 2019) and Floodtide by Heather Rose Jones (November 2019). But this list also includes Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan (November 2019), City of Stone and Silence by Django Wexler (January 2020), The Forbidden Stars by Tim Pratt (October 2019), Alex White’s The Worst of All Possible Worlds (January 2020), Moontangled by Stephanie Burgis (February 2020), Unsung Heroine by Sarah Kuhn (July 2019), Lost Boys, the new Laundry novel by Charles Stross (late 2020), Down Among the Dead by K.B. Wagers (December 2019), and A Pale Light in the Black, also by K.B. Wagers (March 2020), which will start a new series in a different setting.
There remain fifteen titles of which I know almost nothing beyond title, cover copy, and a promise that it fits the criteria. Here they are, in (alleged: we all know the 2020 titles, at least, may yet move around) publication order:
- The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall (June 2019);
- Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells (July 2019);
- A Song for a New Day by Sarah Pinsker (September 2019);
- Crier’s War by Nina Varelas (October 2019);
- Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor (October 2019);
- The Never-Tilting World by Rin Chupeco (October 2019);
- Sisters of the Vast Black by Lina Rather (October 2019);
- Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton (January 2020);
- Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire (January 2020);
- Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey (February 2020);
- Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcoran (2020);
- The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska (2020);
- Belle Révolte by Linsey Miller (2020);
- When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey (2020);
- Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer (2020).
So tell me. What have I missed? Who else should be on this list? What are you most looking forward to?
Liz Bourke is a cranky queer person who reads books. She holds a Ph.D in Classics from Trinity College, Dublin. Her first book, Sleeping With Monsters, a collection of reviews and criticism, was published in 2017 by Aqueduct Press. It was a finalist for the 2018 Locus Awards and was nominated for a 2018 Hugo Award in Best Related Work. Find her at her blog, where she’s been known to talk about even more books thanks to her Patreon supporters. Or find her at her Twitter. She supports the work of the Irish Refugee Council, the Transgender Equality Network Ireland, and the Abortion Rights Campaign.