In this episode of The Lesbian Review Podcast JS Fields Recommends 5 Lesbian Sci Fi Books
They also talk about:
- Lesbians On Boats
- Killer Mermaids
- Wood Science
Listen to this episode here
The Books We Talked about
The Wrong Stars by Tim Pratt
Publisher Angry Robot
Finalist for the 2018 Philip K. Dick Award
A ragtag crew of humans and posthumans discover alien technology that could change the fate of humanity… or awaken an ancient evil and destroy all life in the galaxy.
The shady crew of the White Raven run freight and salvage at the fringes of our solar system. They discover the wreck of a centuries-old exploration vessel floating light years away from its intended destination and revive its sole occupant, who wakes with news of First Alien Contact. When the crew break it to her that humanity has alien allies already, she reveals that these are very different extra-terrestrials… and the gifts they bestowed on her could kill all humanity, or take it out to the most distant stars.
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The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Publisher Hodder & Stoughton
Narrator Patricia Rodriguez
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet: Booktrack Edition adds an immersive musical soundtrack to your audiobook listening experience!*
Short-listed for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction.
The beloved debut novel that will restore your faith in humanity.
When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn’t expecting much. The ship, which has seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy and distance from her troubled past.
But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the Wayfarer. The crew is a mishmash of species and personalities, from Sissix, the friendly reptilian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the constantly sparring engineers who keep the ship running. Life on board is chaotic but more or less peaceful – exactly what Rosemary wants.
Until the crew are offered the job of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet. They’ll earn enough money to live comfortably for years…if they survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space without endangering any of the fragile alliances that keep the galaxy peaceful.
But Rosemary isn’t the only person on board with secrets to hide, and the crew will soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed.
*Booktrack is an immersive format that pairs traditional audiobook narration to complementary music. The tempo and rhythm of the score are in perfect harmony with the action and characters throughout the audiobook. Gently playing in the background, the music never overpowers or distracts from the narration, so listeners can enjoy every minute. When you purchase this Booktrack edition, you receive the exact narration as the traditional audiobook available, with the addition of music throughout.
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Safety Protocols For Human Holidays by Angel Martinez
Publisher Mischief Corner Book
Part of the “A Holiday to Remember 2017 Series”
As a security officer on an interspecies ship, Growlan Raskli’s experienced in heading off species-specific aberrant behaviors in order to keep the peace. But when her captain asks her to find out what’s bothering their sole human crew member, Raskli’s out of her depths. She hardly knows anything about humans and she’s not a psych doctor.
Something’s definitely upset Human Jen, something to do with human holidays. The more time Raskli spends studying humans and interacting with the intriguing Human Jen, the more personal the assignment becomes. Determined to lift the dark cloud from Human Jen, Raskli will do whatever it takes—within safe parameters, of course.
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Santa Olivia by Jaqueline Carey
Publisher Grand Central Publishing
Narrator Susan Ericksen
Loup Garron was born and raised in Santa Olivia, an isolated, disenfranchised town next to a U.S. military base inside a demilitarized buffer zone between Texas and Mexico. A fugitive “Wolf-Man” who had a love affair with a local woman, Loup’s father was one of a group of men genetically manipulated and used by the U.S. government as a weapon. The “Wolf-Men” were engineered to have superhuman strength, speed, sensory capability, stamina, and a total lack of fear, and Loup, named for and sharing her father’s wolf-like qualities, is marked as an outsider.
Into the Drowning deep by Mira Grant
Narrator Christine Lakin
New York Times best-selling author Mira Grant, author of the renowned Newsflesh series, returns with a novel that takes us to a new world of ancient mysteries and mythological dangers come to life.
The ocean is home to many myths,
But some are deadly….
Seven years ago the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a mockumentary bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a tragedy.
Now a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart, this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost.
Whatever the truth may be, it will be found only below the waves.
But the secrets of the deep come with a price.
About JS Fields
J.S. Fields is a scientist who has perhaps spent too much time around organic solvents. They enjoy roller derby, woodturning, making chainmail by hand, and cultivating fungi in the backs of minivans. Nonbinary, and yes, it matters.
Fields has lived in Thailand, Ireland, Canada, USA, and spent extensive time in many more places. Their current research takes them to the Peruvian Amazon rainforest each summer, where they traumatizes students with machetes and tangarana ants while looking for rare pigmenting fungi. They live with their partner and child, and a very fabulous lionhead rabbit named Merlin.
JS Fields Online
please note this transcript has not been edited and is automatically generated meaning certain words will be incorrect
hi there I’m Sheena and this is the lesbian review podcast this podcast is a spin-off of the popular review site thelesbianreview.com where we review the best books movies and music was leading lesbian bi or queer woman the goal of this podcast is to bring you closer to the best queer media and give you access to interviews with people who are behind the scenes in creating it today joining me is also Jay is fields and they’re here to recommend five lesbian sci-fi books J.S. thank you so much for joining me today thank you for having me I appreciate it so you’re a huge sci-fi buff right so yes and write science fiction novels yes I grew up on those really trashy serial science fiction serials in the 80s and 90s in the u.s. that were just horrible but amazing what is you’ll you’ll favorite one that you remember I really enjoyed time tracks which I don’t even know how I can explain it was about a white dude from the future who had to come back to like the 1990s to stop killers who had also come from the future and then we’re going I think back in the past to kill if I’m remembering right but he had a computer named Selma that was like a hologram that was like a really unattractive hologram but then he met a friend who had like a really attractive hologram it was a I don’t think there was a plot is what I’m saying it was just very awesome it’s all you need okay so you’re here to recommend five books that you really love in the sci-fi sector right yes let’s get cracking with your first one all right so these are in no particular order so I read a ton of sci-fi but I’m very particular about my sci-fi having queer characters and I really want to see SF relationship in them for the most part so I’ve got five books here that all showcase some type of less fit content although it is not necessarily the predominant theme so the first one is the wrong stars by Tim Pratt and this is just one of the most quintessential space opera adventures that you can have it it has you know your ragtag crew on a kind of a crappy ship who finds what is very trope really known as a Space Princess more or less who’s made first contact with aliens but she’s been in a hibernation in sleep and so she doesn’t realize that they made first contact decades ago and so you get to unwind this whole are the aliens good or the aliens bad what’s the deal with the hot chick in the suspension chamber you know it’s it’s got those really good lesbian vibes while also having fantastic space battles much pew pew that’s my my highest praise for a book yeah and really nice look at some other cultures which i think is always really critical if you have any type of space opera so you mentioned a mystery elements in this do you think because if you look at something like um Star Trek the the when I grew up was next generation and that was essentially Star Trek so mystery series it’s a mystery series in space is there’s a mystery that needs to be solved in every episode essentially do you think mysteries and sci-fi just kind of goes together um well that’s interesting because I actually classify Star Trek as very space opera because it focuses on the evolution of characters over necessarily evolution of an overarching plot although the new Star Trek you could argue is a little bit different but if you’d like if you want to look at it definitely through a mystery lens I think if you’re in space there almost has to be some kind of mystery element because you’re discovering right that’s the whole point most of the time of space books unless it’s military sci-fi but if it’s space opera sci-fi they’re definitely tends to be some new alien species or some thing has gone weird and so it’s probably a critical element of those types of books that sounds awesome so what kind of readers do you think would appreciate the press book readers who liked Becky chambers books long way to a small area panic which is gonna be my next recommendation anyway anyone who enjoys Star Wars Star Trek any of those generalized space operas although Star Wars starts edging into space fantasy which is a little different it’s not military sci-fi so if military sci-fi space opera is your jam you won’t like this book do these like a lot of complication going on here with categories okay cool all right so your next one is the long way too small angry planet I’d be surprised if anyone had not heard of this book it’s part of a trilogy I’m that Tim Pratt books actually part of a at least a duology of not a trilogy Becky chambers has written a trilogy of these books I’ve read the first two and the third ones on my on my pile and again just you can tell I think you’re gonna be able to tell that I deeply loved space opera so this is another fantastic space opera there’s tons of different POV characters and so just one line has a has a lesbian romance although one line also has I believe a guy falling in love with a ship which is also fun and you know very sort of Anne McCaffrey in that vein so that was a good time the long way to a small angry planet is a really interesting book because it doesn’t really follow a standard narrative structure that we see in books today it it really bucks a lot of the you must within the first chapter establish a through-line you must establish the stakes it doesn’t do that it just goes and you have to be okay with the ride and the adventure on its own and I don’t think you really get to an overarching plot until about three-quarters of the way through and so if you’re a standard lover of space opera it can be a little weird but it’s it’s got such a cult following that I think people are willing to give it a try which is amazing it was a great book that’s so interesting does it not get frustrating that you don’t know what’s going on it was recommended to me I don’t know a hundred times before I picked it up and I was I was definitely frustrated in the first half although the thing that kept me going was rooting for the lesbian pairing that eventually came out I mean that was broadcast so I was like okay what if there are lesbians I’m here that’s fine I’ll keep going and then by the time those two finally came around to talking as they do then the plot was starting to emerge and reading it again I really really appreciate the way it was written the as you don’t often get to take a breath like that in space opera and actually just explore the lives and the people and so it reminded me very much thinking back on it of like the first season of Star Trek The Next Generation that really was just them in space occasionally meeting with horny aliens and not really having a plan okay I can see that and I suppose if the writing is good enough in the characters are intriguing enough then it’ll just keep you captivated until you get to the point yeah and I don’t know it was it was great the second book in the series well it does not have lesbians is even better and each book in the trilogy is a self-contained story so they they don’t actually they contain a few of the same side characters but they’re their own story and the second book blew me away and your third recommendation my third recommendation is just a short little novella that I honestly I just adore it it’s called safety protocols for human holidays by angel Martinez and it is it’s a space opera romance for the romance lovers in the world it’s very short it’s please how many pages is this thing 50 pages it’s a holiday short that was put out by its press and it’s I mean it’s delightful it’s about an alien woman who would really like to court a human woman and doesn’t really know how to do it so she starts looking up holiday traditions to try and court with and just like kind of gets him all horribly wrong but in a really sweet way well that sounds adorable it’s a great I mean it’s so short you can read it you know on a commute bus ride commute and it was it was perfectly written it was sweet it was full of holiday cheer and the the alien narrator is I mean she she feels like me every time a holiday comes around that I don’t know about the hell to do and I’m like okay so I’m gonna google it and is this a real thing is okay we’ll just try it and then I get it horribly wrong I just I deeply connected with the alien I so relate to this it sounds adorable I’m certainly gonna go pick that up yes definitely recommend I also love the fact that all of the books that you make a minute you literally have in hardcopy in front of you I’m like that is so sweet look I do not read e-books I want to own my book and I want to touch it and so I am a reviewer for the New York Journal of books and I really need to be able to mark up my books dog-ear them abuse them I need to be able to take them with me and my eyes can only take so much digital work I also work I work in a wood shop so I oftentimes are scrapping my Zed digital just doesn’t work for me and so I if I especially if I truly love a book I’ll keep the paper background but I buy almost every book I read in paperback and then if I don’t like it I put it in a book box and if I like it I keep it but it’s actually it’s a little bit of a problem sometimes because there are a lot of books that I would like to read that are only out in eBook and I just I just won’t buy them because I know that I will not enjoy it and if I’m gonna you know I’d like to leave reviews for people even if it’s not through my professional review gig but I I’m it’s always colored if I have to read the e-book because I’ve been frustrated and I can’t flag interesting passages and I just usually halfway through I just turn it off and forget about it and I’m like I’m done and I want to deal with it plus then I can get them signed by the authors which is a pro absolutely but since I’m stuck at the bottom of the world nobody can sign my books anyway so you know we can set up some kind of like courier service we’re like we funnel books down to you I’m actually so happy I haven’t looked at a paperback in yonks I’m so happy with my Kindle it’s like it goes everywhere with me people love them asked amazing and I know that they’ve especially for people who need bigger fonts they’ve really opened they’ve really opened that door the interesting thing is sales my sales from my books are probably easily 50/50 paperback and ebook and I think that’s probably more the genre than anything else sci-fi and fantasy readers at least the ones that I tend to interact with tend to be more a little bit more paper yeah I find sci-fi Rida’s are a whole different breed entirely yeah it’s true it’s true we’re different okay you’ll foot what so we’re gonna move out of space as much as I loathe to move out of space because I figure if I just give five space books people will get bored so now I want to move into more sort of contemporary sci-fi which could be classified under some other things so it could be classified into contemporary thriller a contemporary horror ish but it has really strong sci-fi elements so I’m going to claim it for sci-fi and the first one in there is santa olivia by Jacqueline Carey now a lot of people are familiar with Jacqueline Carey from the ku shield series which I really did not care for and Jacqueline Carey’s newest book which has a non-binary protagonist but santa olivia and saints astray is a duology and it was some of her earlier work and i absolutely fell in love with it and santa olivia deals with a ragtag group of orphans in a part of the US that has been cut off from the United States due to some sort of undefined skirmish with Mexico I believe and there’s a there’s a genetic manipulation project going on in the town by the army where there and this is going to be weird where they’re splicing like wolf genes into people and you get some of the neat science with that and our main our main character is a loup-garou and she’s the only female that’s had her genes spliced with a wolf and it’s sort of the story of her growing up in this town dealing with the army versus the civilians versus trying to escape because the town is closed and they’re not allowed to leave and you know falling in love with a girl and on their big Escape plan’s and yeah it’s a lot of fun there’s a lot of fascinating military interactions there’s a lot of like really pushing the edge of what would be considered understandable and swallowable sci-fi because it it pushes the envelope on my suspension of disbelief at times but Lou and pilars relationship is so incredible that I reread these books probably every couple of months because I love them so much I have them an audio CD I have them in digital just in case and I have them in paperback that sounds amazing actually that sounds right up my alley I should try that I’m always surprised when I am in various less Vic circles especially on Facebook how many people have not read santa olivia and is i mean i know it was definitely published under the radar of lesbian works because you know when your mainstream publisher and mainstream author especially back in I think that 90’s when these came out you didn’t necessarily taunt that or flaunt that but yeah they’re amazing and also the cover no one else can see it but it’s such a good cover that is a good cover it’s a woman with a cape and the capes kind of billowing out long hair it’s very pretty picture it’s a blue kind of cape thing and the woman is in silhouettes yes you know you’re very very bad for my reading list I’m I’m sorry I don’t not sorry naughty sorry no don’t be sorry okay good books they when can’t even have enough good books to read oh it’s so true and I I just love that I have an endless supply of now finally after hunting for several years and finally getting a decent Twitter group to recommend things I now have probably more lesbian science fiction than I can read in a lifetime and I never thought I’d be able to say that I have found it I found the treasure trove and I’m slowly going through it and it makes me glad that I never have to read straight science fiction again fundamentally you’re listening to the lesbian talk-show the lesbians auction or con you have of podcast information and you lost your last recommendation my last one is also sort of pushing the boundary of sci-fi here it’s called into the drowning deep by Mira Graham I only just finished it last week maybe and it well it falls into my subcategory my sub genre category of lesbians on boats which is a whole sub-genre that I’m really fond of and it deals with killer mermaids and surprising amount of marine science which I was not expecting in this sort of sci-fi / thriller contemporary book and so there’s multiple POV characters the the main plot is that there’s if you think of the Discovery Channel and it’s like fake documentaries you know Finding Bigfoot and all those things that’s sort of the premise is that there’s a company and I think it’s called imagined entertainment and it decides that it’s going to make its fortune on on these types of fake documentaries and so it goes out it’s doing really well and it finally decides that they’re doing Bigfoot and all these other things that it’s gonna do one on mermaids and so it gets a crew together of you know hot models and you know various other people that you put on these fake documentaries and goes out into a boat on a boat to a place where people keep citing mermaids and they’re gonna do this fake documentary so they’re live-streaming a lot of stuff and then something like a whole bunch of some things come onto the boat and basically eat everyone but a lot of its captured on film and it really looks like some kind of weird horrible mermaid thing and so of course imagine entertainment tries to ferry it and there’s this whole big conspiracy and so the book takes place about a number of years later and imagine Entertainment has decided that they’re actually gonna do a real documentary on killer mermaids and so they start going around and picking up all these like pseudo scientists that are actually real scientists that no one actually thinks they’re real scientists on mermaids and our sort of main character lost her sister on the original boat and she has just become obsessed with the ocean and listening to various sounds in it and so she’s got a lot of good background for this and so she ends up back on a boat that they’re and they’re much they have a lot more protection this time they’ve got professional hunters a lot more security on this boat and they go out again into into the water and the book is you know it’s it’s my Mira grant so there’s some gore but it they and they find obviously killer mermaids and there’s a you know they have sign language characters that do American sign language that work with trying to talk to the mermaids there’s another main character that’s autistic like there’s such great rep in it and lesbians and killer mermaids and the tension is amazing also I would like to point out that if you meet Mira grant in person and she signs her book here’s plus one for paperback she draws a little fish in the book though I’m showing scheana a picture here of like a little vicious look fish with a little light and so you should definitely try and find her and get her to sign your copy of into the Johnny deep so you get a vicious little fish drawn in it that is awesome I need to go read this book who doesn’t want to read about killer mermaids this sounds amazing killer mermaids and lesbians on a boat totally so what is your fascination with Lisbon’s on a boat I for some reason in this past I don’t know six months as I’ve sort of gone through most of the space sci-fi and I started branching into other areas of sci-fi I keep coming into this sort of trope which has never I don’t I don’t know if it’s defined anywhere which is something something happens to two lesbians on a boat huh and so I’ve decided that this must be the new space opera for me and I’m going to have to start sourcing more boat lesbians in my life and that’ll just be my new my new reading thing like I kind of love it I think we need I think we need lesbians on a boat it’s like a thing I think I think maybe we should just officially make it a sub Shawn I’m a got like a Wikipedia page or something totally okay so you’re hectically into science are you you’re like a scientist oh you get some sort of science he background or like what which I do I’m uh I’m a professor okay and I and yeah in wood science okay you need that pause every time I just I just really wanted to watch your face it’s the same face I get from everyone there’s just like this sort of dumbfounded I don’t know what that means but I don’t really want to ask cuz I feel like I should know what that means yes that’s differently exactly what’s going on in this like okay expand on what is wood science which science is a subfield of forestry but in forestry they tend to grow trees and in wood science we care about them after they’re cut town so wood science is actually a fairly large field that involves the chemistry of wood the protection of wood how to keep it from decaying the physics of wood how to build with wood the anatomy of wood and to some extent working with wood building buildings out of wood so our cat art botany all of these are just but just under this very specific sort of dicot subheading and so I am a wood anatomist which means I do a lot of things like wood identification um for you know lawsuits and just random people who walk into my office but I am also a professional wood turner and so I teach I teach woodturning honestly at the university level which is a great gig and so which is why I’m in the shop a lot and and I need paper because my eyes are often filled with dust okay and so the puzzle is complete yeah I love wood I love science I love machines yes and you lovely spins on boots I really just never thought I would say that because I hate boats myself getting horribly motion sick but I love reading about lesbians on boats it’s like living vicariously it’s a life I will never have I mean someday I might get to go on a spaceship but I’m never going on a boat again so I need to experience it through other lesbians well considering that your boy Drake in your boat book recommendation has killer mermaids this might be a good thing but you’re not going on boats I I would be you know if someone came along and offered me a chance to go on this boat ride where they go find the killer mermaids I think I would be really hard-pressed to say no even though I get horribly sick on post and even knowing that I would probably die it’d still be one of those okay but mermaids I I would die having seen a mermaid and I I really think that would be okay and you partner how did you put in a feel about that that you would be a hippy dying I don’t believe we’ve ever had that conversation um I don’t know if I’m going to be bringing it up this probably wise mati okay so you’ve written a bunch of books which should people start with if they’ve never read your work before so I’ve written a lot of books between like actual science books and science fiction and fantasy so I would suggest noting the theme of this podcast that they look into my space opera series which is called our deulim there are four books in the series and it’s done you could start with either the first one that was written which is Argyl I’m first on there very conveniently titled first second and third to avoid confusion but you could also start with the one that’s coming out this June which is called tales from the charted systems because it’s a prequel and so I’d say it’s a toss-up as to which one you might prefer if you really like deep backstory on your characters and origin stories then starting with tales from the charted systems would be more your bag because it’s less plot because it’s a prequel that basically was written to cap off the series and just gives you all the character deep backstories but if you’re a person who likes action and exploding things and you know laser guns and keep use then I would start with first on because that’s you know technically the actual start of the series it’s filled with nerdy wood science it’s it’s got some hard science elements I definitely put some of my work in there but you don’t have to understand wood science to read it because most of the characters don’t understand wood science either and so they just sort of there’s a lot of this someone spouts something and they go I have just no idea what the hell you just said so we’re just gonna go do this and so you can just follow along with those but it you know it has its space opera and so much like how romance has tropes space opera has tropes and so it follows a number of those tropes it has the dilapidated ship it has the ragtag crew it has the very powerful person who can manipulate things one of our lesbians so if you are a fan of space opera you’ll find you’ll find enough comforting tropes in there that the science shouldn’t be overwhelming nice I know they’re the teller reviewer who picked it up absolutely loved it and glommed the whole series well that’s good yes it’s endorsed by the Lisbon review well that’s that’s high praise you can’t ask for anything better than that okay so now that people have discovered how humorous and delightful you are where can they find you online I am on Twitter at galacto gluco man it’s funny to me and I realize it’s funny to no one else I’m gonna spell it for you first it’s GA wait I’m mr. Redknapp GA la si T o ma n galacto no there’s a gluco in there yeah google it galacto glucomannan is a hemi cellulose in wood and it’s really funny to me because galacto gluco man sounds like we’re in space but it’s a wood to wood sugar I think I’m really funny no there’s like six other people on the planet who care and that’s fine with me so it’s okay everyone at home is like oh my god I can’t and it’s fine it’s fine it’s at galacto gluco man you can just go to my website and it’ll link you to my Twitter so my website is Jas fields ebooks.com which is very straightforward and you can get there through you can just put our deulim which is the book series in any search bar and it’ll it’ll pop up my website and probably also my twitter which is full of fascinating factoids about my life and space lesbians and wood and occasionally fungus I’ll put the links in the show notes for those of you who did not catch that my spelling is worldwide atrocious it’s good senior analyst of in it yeah it’s a good thing I have an editor J’s thank you so much for joining me today thank you this has been the lesbian review podcast you can find this and other awesome shows by searching for the lesbian talk show anyway you get your podcasts we’re even on Spotify now find more information on our guests in the show notes as well as links to what we spoke about on this episode and if you’ve enjoyed this podcast and want to see us creating more awesome content then consider becoming a patron not only does this mean we can keep on doing this but you will get exclusive podcasts that do not appear on the channel you can find out all about it on patreon.com slash the lesbian talk show the link is in the show notes that’s all for this episode bye [Music]