This article was originally published in March 2022. 

Today on Trans Day of Visibility (and every other day of the year) why not check out some amazing trans writers of science fiction and fantasy? Here are four of my favorites who are currently producing new work.

Charlie Jane Anders

The cover of All the Birds in the Sky, a photo of Charlie Jane Anders, the cover of Never Say You Can't Survive

Charlie Jane Anders’ 2016 novel All the Birds in the Sky is the perfect mix of sci-fi and fantasy. It starts off simply enough; readers meet Patricia and Laurence, two misfit kids who grow close and then grow apart. When they reconnect later in life, it’s not just the years that separate them, but what they’ve learned. Patricia is a powerful witch, Laurence has invented time travel, and the former friends end up on opposite sides of a global war.

Anders’ work is everywhere and award-winning, and she continues to be a critical figure in the SFF world. Her 2021 non-fiction book debut Never Say You Can’t Survive is more than essays on craft: it’s part memoir, part story-telling guide, part pep talk. Anders frames her essays around using writing to survive hard times, something increasingly relevant as days goes by. Her next work, a short story collection called Even Greater Mistakes, is out now and bound to be incredible.

RELATED: Read our review of Charlie Jane Anders’ YA debut, Victories Greater Than Death

Ryka Aoki

I just finished Light from Uncommon Stars and am completely obsessed. It features Shizuka Satomi, a talented musician who long ago made a deal with the devil. To keep her soul, she must convince seven other violin prodigies to trade their own souls for success. She believes Katrina Nguyen, a young transgender runaway with raw, untrained talent to be the final soul she needs. This book has so many elements that shouldn’t work together, but 100% do and it’s fantastic. Charlie Jane Anders even said in her review “ this book really captured what it’s like to be a trans girl, especially one who’s new in her transition, in a way that I’d never quite seen on paper before… I’ve never seen a trans story like this before.”

In an article for Publishers Weekly called “Why I Write”, Ryka Aoki said of her work, “I am a born writer; I can’t imagine doing anything else. Just as a trans pianist does not limit herself to trans composers, nor a trans doctor to trans patients, as a trans writer, I would rather not limit my stories, my imagination, and my craft… I think we need more public acts, not merely as demonstrations but as affirmations that our stories, as different as they might be, are exquisitely human.”

Aiden Thomas

Aiden Thomas first debuted in 2020 with Cemetery Boys, which was almost immediately nominated for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. The committee actually nominated two trans writers that year, including the winner Kacen Callender. Cemetery Boys features a main character who, like Thomas, is trans, queer, and Latinx. Yadriel sets out to prove himself as a brujo to his traditional family; in doing so, he accidentally summons the ghost of a boy from his school. An annoying but cute ghost who refuses to leave him alone, even when it means risking both of their futures.

It’s clear Thomas puts a lot of love into his books. His 2021 follow-up Lost in the Never Woods, while different from Cemetery Boys, was incredible too. Next up is a Mexican-inspired fantasy trilogy starting with the September 2022 release The Sunbearer Trials and a mysterious 2024 release currently known only as “Gay Titanic in Space.” I’m looking forward to this and more of Thomas’ work.

Yoon Ha Lee

The cover of Ninefox Gambit and a photo of trans writer Yoon Ha Lee

It’s not easy to mine a math background for science fiction story ideas, but Yoon Ha Lee does it well. He puts his mathematics degrees from Cornell and Stanford to good use in all his work. Lee’s first novel, Ninefox Gambit, centers on the disgraced space captain Kel Cheris who is sent out to win an impossible war. Many characters throughout the series are queer, and although they live in a brutal society, everyone is fairly relaxed as far as gender identity and sexuality go.

Ninefox Gambit won a Locus Award in 2017 alongside nominations for the Hugo, Nebula and Clarke awards. The rest of the Machineries of Empire trilogy were Hugo finalists as well! Lee also writes for children under the Rick Riordan Presents imprint. His middle-grade space opera Dragon Pearl won a Locus Award as well, with a sequel released earlier this year. Lee’s short stories and flash fiction can be seen across numerous publications. He’s even co-authored interactive fiction games and tabletop RPGs!

These are just a few of the amazing trans writers working in science fiction and fantasy today! Tell us about your favorites, and happy Trans Day of Visibility!

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