Time-travelling lesbians is a niche fiction market you never knew you needed to read.
The trope of the sapphic travellers through time and space spans genres- historical fiction, science fiction, murder mystery- offering an antidote to the erasure of women, particularly women of colour and queer women, in fiction.
Amal El-Mohtar of The Guardian explained recently how women have been mistreated and sidelined in the world of writers:
“To be a queer woman of colour is to be acutely aware that your existence is political – and that you don’t need a time machine to rewrite history. Women are written out of history with infuriating consistency, and written back in only intermittently… Women talking to women, women loving each other in the fullness of our differences – women of colour, trans women, queer women, older women and younger women – is a political act, a refusal to accept the erasure of our names, achievements and lives.”
Writer Amal El-Mohtar, co-author of This is How You Lose the Time War
As a backlash to the lack of representation there seemed to be an influx of female leads exploring the past, present, and future, in an attempt to create a better world. El-Mohtar believes in the importance of representation in fiction; showing accurate representations of the visibility of people of colour, LGBTQ folk, and women in powerful and important roles, stops the whitewashing of history.
Find seven fantastic and exciting novels below following women who love women as they try to change the world.
“Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.
Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.
Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war. That’s how war works. Right?”
“A disillusioned major, a highwaywoman, and a war raging across time.
It’s 1788 and Alice Payne is the notorious highway robber, the Holy Ghost. Aided by her trusty automaton, Laverna, the Holy Ghost is feared by all who own a heavy purse.
It’s 1889 and Major Prudence Zuniga is once again attempting to change history–to save history–but seventy attempts later she’s still no closer to her goal.
It’s 2016 and . . . well, the less said about 2016 the better!
But in 2020 the Farmers and the Guides are locked in battle; time is their battleground, and the world is their prize. Only something new can change the course of the war. Or someone new.
Little did they know, but they’ve all been waiting until Alice Payne arrives.”
“After abducting Arthur of Brittany from his own time in 1203, thereby creating the mystery that partly prompted the visit in the first place, Alice and her team discover that they have inadvertently brought the smallpox virus back to 1780 with them.
Searching for a future vaccine, Prudence finds that the various factions in the future time war intend to use the crisis to their own advantage.
Can the team prevent an international pandemic across time, and put history back on its tracks? At least until the next battle in the time war…”
“Soldiers are broken into light and sent to the frontline of a brutal interplanetary war, in this brilliant military SF from the Hugo Award-winning author of The Stars Are Legion. The corporate corps transform their soldiers into light to travel between interplanetary battlegrounds. Most grunts make it in one piece, though some don’t, and others come back… different. Fresh infantry recruit, Dietz, is keen to fight and claim her corporate citizenship, but when she’s busted into light it seems like her combat drops are out of sync with everyone else’s. Is Dietz experiencing the war differently, or is it combat stress bending her mind? As she struggles to untangle her timeline, Dietz glimpses a very different war than in the corporate propaganda – one that needs a hero, or maybe a villain – truth is the first casualty of war.”
Four female scientists invent a time travel machine. But then one of them suffers a breakdown and puts the whole project in peril…
Ruby knows her Granny Bee was the scientist who went mad, but they never talk about it. Until they receive a message from the future, warning of an elderly woman’s violent death…
Odette found the dead women at work shot in the head, door bolted from the inside. Now she can’t get her out of her mind. Who was she? And why is everyone determined to cover up her murder?”
“Discover a shifting history of adventure as humanity clashes over whether to repair their ruined planet or luxuriate in a less tainted pass. In 2267, Earth has just begun to recover from worldwide ecological disasters. Minh is part of the generation that first moved back up to the surface of the Earth from the underground hells, to reclaim humanity’s ancestral habitat. She’s spent her entire life restoring river ecosystems, but lately the kind of long-term restoration projects Minh works on have been stalled due to the invention of time travel. When she gets the opportunity take a team to 2000 BC to survey the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, she jumps at the chance to uncover the secrets of the shadowy think tank that controls time travel technology.”
“In a world that’s just a step away from our own, time travel is possible. But war is brewing – a secret group is trying to destroy women’s rights, and their access to the timeline. If they succeed, only a small elite will have the power to shape the past, present, and future.
Our only hope lies with an unlikely group of allies, from riot grrls to suffragettes, their lives separated by centuries, battling for a world where anyone can change the future. A final confrontation is coming.”