Thursday, March 23, 2023

Trans Rights Readathon

As you may have seen if you frequent TikTok or Instagram, this week has been declared by many on bookish bits of the internet to be a trans rights readathon, raising awareness of trans stories and authors, and donating to some great causes, all while celebrating some amazing books.

While we may not be page counting or tracking numbers of books read, here at Nerds of a Feather we wanted to do our bit and join in, so we've come up with a list of books we wanted to highlight, celebrate or look forward to that  are by trans or nb authors and/or include trans and nb stories. 

If you are interested in donating, there are also some orgs that could use your support:

Tony's Place

The Transgender Law Centre

The Trevor Project

And here are the books:

From Arturo:

Our Hideous Progeny by C.E. McGill (they/them). 

Doctor Frankenstein’s niece uses his techniques to rebuild dinosaurs. Say no more, I’m sold.

From Fab:

Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki (previously reviewed by Adri here)

Ryka Aoki’s debut Light From Uncommon Stars is at its heart a story of trans joy. Set around a legendary violinist who is bound to deliver seven of her students’ souls to hell and an alien-run donut shop in San Francisco, the book introduces readers to Katrina Nguyen, seventh student - and trans woman, shunned by family and friends. Aoki manages to weave a strand of hopeful comfort that draws out moments of acceptance and love in a story that has a lot of potential to be dark. Her greatest strength as an author is to bring out emotions, with the book’s highlight being not a dramatic revelation but the moment Katrina first gets to try on and buy a dress that fits her and is gender-affirming. I cried. That scene alone should have clinched Aoki last year’s Hugo for this novel - which she was up for. It also bears mentioning that she herself is the loveliest, most joyful person I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. She is so thrilled to be a part of this community, to be read and to have written a book that resonates with readers. And that makes me want to get even more people to read this masterpiece. 

From Clara:

The Machineries of Empire trilogy by Yoon Ha Lee

Yoon Ha Lee's Machineries of Empire trilogy is a superbly imaginative tale of empire and resistance, a science fantasy book in which the space-empire's power is maintained through a central calendar, and when rebels begin to indulge in calendrical heresy, the laws of the universe begin to change. Start with Ninefox Gambit.

Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone

Max Gladstone's Full Fathom Five, a novel of the Craft sequence, features Gladstone's typical skill at divine bookkeeping, in an island nation that builds gods to order, except that they keep dying. Kai, a trans woman in charge of building the gods, decides to find out why.

The Vela, by Becky Chambers, SL Huang, Rivers Solomon, Ashley Poston, Yoon Ha Lee, Nicole Givens Kurtz, Sangu Mandanna, and Maura Milan (previously reviewed by Adri here)

In a dying solar system, slowing freezing to death because the sun has been over-mined of hydrogen and is now going out, Asala Sikou, a trans woman, has managed to escape the frozen outer world and build a life for herself on an inner planet that still has some time remaining to it. But when a refugee ship from Asala's home world goes missing, she is instructed to find it, assisted by her employer's non-binary child Niko, for reasons that turn out to be based on a lot less empathy and a lot more capitalism than is wise. Asala and Niko naturally have things to say about that. (available on, highly recommend the audiobook version voiced by Robin Miles)

Nghi Vo's Singing Hills Cycle (previously reviewed by Sean here)

The wandering cleric Chih's job is to collect stories of the land so that the tales can be recorded and remembered by Chih's order. In The Empress of Salt and Fortune, Chih comes across the former house of the Empress, and learns from the caretaker of the house about the significance of a selection of objects left behind. Through those objects, the story of the Empress herself is revealed, a powerful, satisfying tale of growth and strength and revenge. In When The Tiger Came Down the Mountain, Chih is caught by a trio of tigers in a farm on a remote mountainside, and must bargain for their life by telling the tale of a romance between a human and a tiger. The problem is that the tigers already know that tale, and remember it differently from humans.

Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy

Politics, magic, talking animals, a quest to bring back dragons: This is classic high epic fantasy, with tragedy and grandeur and, yes, it must be admitted, some whiney teen boy angst. The world that Hobb has created in this trilogy extends across multiple series in a cycle called the Realm of the Elderlings, and it is exquisitely crafted, with different nations, creatures, politics, and magics. Throughout all the books and trilogies and tales we have the Fool, a gender fluid source of wisdom, a catalyst for events, and a guiding thread that connects everything together.

From Haley:

Several People Are Typing by Calvin Kasulke

Several People Are Typing by Calvin Kasulke is a wild ride of a novel. Told entirely through a series of Slack transcripts, it follows an employee at an ad agency named Gerald who somehow gets stuck in Slack. Well, his consciousness, anyway. The book follows his attempts to convince his coworkers to rescue him, along with side plots (or side channels) featuring affairs, endless maniacal conversations with the Slackbot AI, and general office place antics. Even though the story is told through multiple group chats, you get to know these fully fleshed out characters — much like you get to know your coworkers in real life on Slack based on their stories, their use of emojis, and even their typing speed. It reads so quickly you'll look up and 100 pages will have flown by, which is an incredible feat. As someone who's super nosy, I loved being able to eavesdrop on so many conversations, especially when the story is as wild as this one. Highly recommended!

From Paul:

The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders (see his previous review here)

The City in the Middle of the Night proves an intriguing canvas to tell a story of survival, contact, social issues and much more. It is an excellent followup to All the Birds of the Sky, and explores the theme of worlds, and people, needing to change in order to survive.

From Elizabeth:

Wolfpack by Rem Wigmore (see her previous review here)

Wolfpack is a spiky solarpunk that wrestles with questions of leadership and belonging.

From Adri:

The Dawnhounds by Sascha Stronach

This urban fantasy starts with its protagonist, a disgraced queer cop, finding a dead body and then getting murdered herself, and it only gets more fun from there. This is biopunk urban fantasy noir with an Aotearoan twist, a mystery with a cop protagonist which actually reckons with the institutional awfulness of the police force, and it includes one of your new favourite literary pirate crews. What are you waiting for?

From Joe D:

The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas 

This a young adult novel that takes place in the fictional world of Reino del Sol. Every ten years a competition known as the Sunbearer Trials is held to ensure that Sol’s light can be brought to the temples of Reino del Sol to keep the villains at bay. Divided in three tiers, the gods of this world have their place; Golds (the most powerful of the bunch), Jades (less powerful), and Obsidians (the enemies of Reino del Sol). The Trials pits the children of ten Gold and Jade gods against each other in a competition where the winner has the honor of spreading Sol’s light to temples, and the loser must become the willing sacrifice. It has been over one hundred years since a Jade Demi-god has been chosen for the trials due to the power gap between Jades and Golds, but this time, there are two. Led by Teo, a trans male Jade Demi-god, he must use his wits and overcome personal deterrents if he has any chance of keeping out of last place. The Hunger Games adjacent, The Sunbearer Trials is a great read that is perfect for those who like a little competition in their novels!

From Roseanna:

Deep Wheel Orcadia by Harry Josephine Giles (previously reviewed here)

Deep Wheel Orcadia follows Astrid as she returns to her home station in the fringes of deep space, reacquainting herself with family and old faces and a life she left behind for her studies, and Darling, who finds herself there while running from a life and identity she never wanted, interspersed with snippets of the viewpoints of others who live on the station. It's a haunting and emotionally vivid story told in a collection of poems in the Orkney dialect of Scots, weaving in themes of homecoming and estrangement, love and loss. A skillful synthesis of narrative, poetry and translation, it was one of the most beautiful things I read in 2022, and really quite unlike anything else. You may need to sit with it to digest what you're reading and take it slow to really linger on the poems, but if you do, it's well worth the effort. The audiobook is also beautifully read by the author, and I cannot recommend strongly enough listening to it while reading the physical text at the same time.

If you're interested in more books by trans authors, I'd recommend looking up the hashtag #transrightsreadathon on any social media, as there are loads of creators out there talking about some amazing books and raising money for great causes.

C. E. McGill, Our Hideous Progeny, [Penguin, 2023]
Ryka Aoki, Light From Uncommon Stars, [Tor, 2021]
Yoon Ha Lee, Ninefox Gambit, [Rebellion, 2016]
Yoon Ha Lee, Raven Stratagem, [Rebellion, 2017]
Yoon Ha Lee, Revenant Gun, [Rebellion, 2018]
Max Gladstone, Full Fathom Five, [Tor, 2014]
Becky Chambers, SL Huang, Rivers Solomon, Ashley Poston, Yoon Ha Lee, Nicole Givens Kurtz, Sangu Mandanna, and Maura Milan, The Vela, [Realm, 2020]
Nghi Vo, The Empress of Salt and Fortune, [, 2020]
Nghi Vo, When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain, [, 2020]
Nghi Vo, Into the Riverlands, [, 2022]
Robin Hobb, Assassin's Apprentice, [Voyager Books, 1995]
Robin Hobb, Royal Assassin, [Voyager Books, 1996]
Robin Hobb, Assassin's Quest, [Voyager Books, 1997]
Calvin Kasulke, Several People are Typing, [Hodder & Stoughton General Division, 2022]
Charlie Jane Anders, The City in the Middle of the Night, [Tor, 2019]
Rem Wigmore, Wolfpack, [Queen of Swords Press, 2023]
Sascha Stronach, The Dawnhounds, [Little Hook Press, 2019]
Aiden Thomas, The Sunbearer Trials, [Pan Macmillan, 2022]
Harry Josephine Giles, Deep Wheel Orcadia, [Picador, 2021]

POSTED BY: Roseanna Pendlebury, the humble servant of a very loud cat. @chloroform_tea