20 Books That Put the F/F in SF/F

In speculative fiction, the possibilities are endless—and in the past couple decades, women who love women (and girls who love girls) have pushed their way into larger and more mainstream spec-fic titles, from lesbian pirates to lady-loving superheroes to bi demigods and much more.

Here, I’ve compiled a list of as many science fiction & fantasy books featuring lesbian or bisexual protagonists or deuteragonists as I could find. (As a disclaimer, not all of the books featuring bisexual women end with a F/F pairing.) I’m sure there are more to add, so definitely let me know about any I’ve missed in the comments!

If you want more on the subject of lesbian and bisexual SFF books, you can check out The Sapphic Fantastic: Lesbian & Bi Women Fantasy Books. You can also check out this guide to Where to Start with Bi & Lesbian YA.


Science Fiction

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily SkrutskieThe Abyss Surrounds Us and The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrutskie

Emily Skrutskie’s The Abyss Surrounds Us duology is probably my favorite on this list. All you really need to know is “lesbian pirates and giant sea monsters.” Bam.

Barbary Station by R.E. Stearns

This debut space opera features lesbian space pirates and crazy AI. (You’re probably noticing my thing for lady-loving pirates. It’s there. I’m not ashamed.)

The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley

Another space opera to add to your TBR, following amnesiac prisoner Zan as she tries to rediscover her identity as she falls in love with one of her captors—and maybe not for the first time. The Stars Are Legion sets Hurley’s signature brutal spec-fic style in a space adventure comprising entirely female characters.

Adaptation and Inheritance by Malinda Lo

Malinda Lo is one of the most established writers publishing speculative F/F young adult titles, and her classics Adaptation and Inheritance are must-reads for anyone interested in F/F young adult spec-fic.

 

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

Jane’s Aunt Magnolia always told her that if she gets an invitation to Tu Reviens, she has to say yes. And then the invitation arrives. Styled like a choose your own adventure novel, Jane, Unlimited sends its protagonist along potential decisions to follow different people, and along the way, Jane may even find her delightfully nerdy true love. Also, there’s a transdimensional raptor. Who doesn’t love transdimensional raptors?

Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

Jess is stoked when she lands the perfect internship with her longtime crush Abby—only to find out the internship is with the most infamous villain in town. Lee’s Sidekick Squad series is great not only in terms of F/F representation, but for LGBT representation in speculative fiction overall.

Sovereign by April Daniels

After her body is transformed into her ideal in Dreadnought, Danny Tozer has a lot on her plate—because it’s not exactly easy being the first girl and the first trans person to take on the mantle of Earth’s greatest hero. But thankfully, she has some incredible people in her corner—including one girl whose friendship may turn into something much more.

Everfair by Nisi Shawl

In this decolonial alt-history, American abolitionists and British missionaries buy a piece of the Belgian Congo to create a new nation that suits both of their purposes. The pairing in this novel get a happily-ever-after ending after a rollercoaster romance over the course of the novel.

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

Somehow, Grant manages to fit a romance between two perspective characters around the murder mermaids and the arguing scientists. If you’re looking for a sci-fi story with a more near-future or contemporary style, check out Into the Drowning Deep.

Fantasy

The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

Told in letters between lovers, The Tiger’s Daughter is the first in an epic fantasy trilogy about a warrior and a warrior empress.

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

A few years ago, my best friend complained to me that she just “wants to read about kissing princesses.”

And Coulthurst’s debut young adult fantasy delivers kissing princesses: Denna and Mare. There’s also politics and scandal and a broken marriage arrangement, but mostly kissing princesses.

Inkmistress by Audrey Coulthurst

Okay, so technically this title is part of the same universe as Of Fire and Stars. The central characters in Inkmistress, though, are completely different from the ones in Coulthurst’s debut novel. The protagonist of Inkmistress is clearly and canonically bisexual, and her story is very different from that of Denna and Mare.

labyrinth lost cover imageLabyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Córdova’s Brooklyn Brujas series follows a family of brujas, and the first novel in the series focuses on Alex, a powerful bruja who accidentally sends her family to Los Lagos. As she journeys to find them and bring them home, she becomes entangled in a love triangle between a brujo boy and her female best friend.

The Defiant Heir by Melissa Caruso

The openly bi character Zaira appeared in The Tethered Mage first, but the sequel gives Zaira an Actual Girlfriend—who also made her first appearance in The Tethered Mage—and their love is adorable to watch.

Magical Girlfriends = win.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

This novel spins the tale of Mina, who married the king after the passing of the previous queen, and Lynet, a princess made from snow in the image of the dead queen. Bashardoust’s gorgeous fantasy standalone is a simultaneous retelling of Snow White and the Snow Queen fairy tales with a lot less patriarchy and a lot more happy ending.

Passing Strange by Ellen Klages

Historical fantasy is one of my not-super-secret weaknesses, and Klages paints a gorgeous picture of a 1940s lesbian bar in San Francisco, from the dangers and prejudices of the era to the way different women handled those dangers while finding peace and, in some cases, real happiness. This Nebula nominee is incredibly gorgeous with a light touch of the fantastic perfectly suited to the novella’s roots in ’40s pulp.

Huntress by Malinda LoAsh and Huntress by Malinda Lo

As I mentioned above, Lo’s work was really foundational for F/F stories in young adult science fiction and fantasy. If you’re more into fantasy than science fiction, her fairytale retellings Ash and Huntress may be for you.

As I Descended by Robin Talley

Up for even more retellings? Enter Talley’s contemporary fantasy retelling of the Scottish Play—with Macbeth and Lady Macbeth played by high school power couple Maria and Lily.


What are your favorite lesbian and bisexual SFF books?

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