Inclusive Reading Recommendations — Science Fiction/Fantasy/Magical Realism

Back with more inclusive reading recommendations! For this post, we’re focusing on science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, and related genres.

  1. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
    • “Seventeen-year-old Zélie, her older brother Tzain, and rogue princess Amari fight to restore magic to the land and activate a new generation of magi, but they are ruthlessly pursued by the crown prince, who believes the return of magic will mean the end of the monarchy.”
  2. Kindred by Octavia Butler
    • “Home is a new house with a loving husband in 1970s California that is suddenly transformed into the frightening world of the antebellum South. Dana, a young black writer, can’t explain how she is transported across time and space to a plantation in Maryland. But she does quickly understand why: to deal with the troubles of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder–and her progenitor. Her survival, her very existence, depends on it.”
  3.  The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden (local author)
    • “In South Africa, the future looks promising. Personal robots are making life easier for the working class. The government is harnessing renewable energy to provide infrastructure for the poor. And in the bustling coastal town of Port Elizabeth, the economy is booming thanks to the genetic engineering industry which has found a welcome home there. Yes, the days to come are looking very good for South Africans. That is, if they can survive the present challenges: A new hallucinogenic drug sweeping the country. An emerging AI uprising. And an ancient demigoddess hellbent on regaining her former status by preying on the blood and sweat (but mostly blood) of every human she encounters.”
  4. Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
    • “Born into post-apocalyptic Africa to a mother who was raped after the slaughter of her entire tribe, Onyesonwu is tutored by a shaman and discovers that her magical destiny is to end the genocide of her people.”
  5. The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
    • “Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.”
  6. Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
    • “Certain Dark Things combines elements of Latin American mythology with a literary voice that leads readers on an exhilarating and fast-paced journey. Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Here in the city, heavily policed to keep the creatures of the night at bay, Domingo is another trash-picking street kid, just hoping to make enough to survive. Then he meets Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers.”
  7. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
    • “An ode to George Orwell’s “1984” told in alternating male and female voices relates the stories of Aomame, an assassin for a secret organization who discovers that she has been transported to an alternate reality, and Tengo, a mathematics lecturer and novice writer.”
  8. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
    • “The rise and fall, birth and death, of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendia family.”
  9. The Mystery of Munroe Island and Other Stories by Satyajit Ray
    • Short story collection including: “Dr Schering’s memory,” “Hypnojen,” “The black night of professor Shonku,” “Shonku’s golden opportunity,” “The mystery of Munroe Island,” “A messenger from space,” “Nakur Babu and El Dorado,” “Shonku’s expedition to the congo,” and “Shonku and the UFO.”
  10. The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord
    • “When their homeland is destroyed, the survivors of a proud and aloof alien society struggle to reach out to the rest of the galaxy for aid and understanding while striving to preserve their cherished way of life.”
  11. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
    • “With the scope of Dune and the commercial action of Independence Day, this near-future trilogy is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multiple-award-winning phenomenon from China’s most beloved science fiction author. Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision”– Provided by publisher.
  12. Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
    • “An extraordinary debut novel, Freshwater explores the surreal experience of having a fractured self. It centers around a young Nigerian woman, Ada, who develops separate selves within her as a result of being born ‘with one foot on the other side.'”
  13. So Lucky by Nicola Griffith
    • “Mara Tagarelli is, professionally, the head of a multimillion-dollar AIDS foundation; personally, she is a committed martial artist. But her life has turned inside out like a sock. She can’t rely on family, her body is letting her down, and friends and colleagues are turning away–they treat her like a victim. She needs to break that narrative: build her own community, learn new strengths, and fight. But what do you do when you find out that the story you’ve been told, the story you’ve told yourself, is not true? How can you fight if you can’t trust your body?”
  14. The Merry Spinster: Takes of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg
    • “From Mallory Ortberg comes a collection of darkly mischievous stories based on classic fairy tales.”
  15. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
    • “The Trueba family embodies strong feelings. This family saga starts at the beginning of the 20th century and continues through the assassination of Allende in 1973.”
  16. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
    • “The story of Saleem Sinal, born precisely at midnight, August 15, 1947, the moment India became independent. Saleem’s life parallels the history of his nation.”
  17. Flight by Sherman Alexie
    • “Flight follows a troubled foster teenager–a boy who is not a “legal” Indian because he was never claimed by his father. The journey begins as he’s about to commit a massive act of violence. At the moment of decision, he finds himself shot back through time to resurface in the body of an FBI agent during the civil rights era.”
  18. Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany
    • “Bellona is a city at the dead center of the United States. The population has fled. Madmen and criminals wander the streets. Strange portents appear in the cloud-covered sky. Into this disaster zone comes a young man-poet, love, and adventurer known only as the Kid.”
  19. The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitav Ghosh
    • “A computer operator in New York stumbles on information regarding an experiment in 1895 Calcutta to change people. In the experiment, mosquitos were used to transfer chromosomes from one person to another.”
  20. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
    • “When Patricia Delfine was six years old, a wounded bird led her deep into the forest to the Parliament of Birds, where she met the Great Tree and was asked a question that would determine the course of her life. When Laurence Armstead was in grade school, he cobbled together a wristwatch-sized device that could send its wearer two seconds into the future. When Patricia and Laurence first met in high school, they didn’t understand one another at all. But as time went on, they kept bumping into one another’s lives. Now they’re both grown up, and the planet is falling apart around them.”

*Note: This is NOT a comprehensive list. Help us make it more comprehensive by adding books you like in the comments!

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