The Steel Remains - Richard Morgan
I love the grit and grime of Morgan’s storytelling, its insistence on reminding readers that most of the time, people with a lot of power are savage bastards who will happily destroy those beneath them for profit or expediency. I love the fact that the hero with a sword in this epic tale of inter-dimensional evil and messy local politics is gay. I love that the hero’s bestie is a black lesbian alien, and his other BFF is a nomadic tribesman who is a perpetual outsider. Indeed, all three of these heroes are outsiders – Morgan’s meta-commentary on how scarce these non-straight, non-white people are in the pages of epic fantasy despite the fact they, you know, exist in the real world and read epic fantasy as well.
Ancillary Justice - Ann Leckie
The best thing about rereading Leckie is uncovering the sly humour that she’s cunningly woven into her tale of deep space, sentient AIs and despotic leaders. The default gender in the world of our protagonist is female, and this makes for some beautiful ambiguity and thoroughly satisfying queer relationships, while also exploring notions of power, force, the meaning of one’s body, and the importance of tea.