Changes coming to MOBIUS soon! Find out more.

The Midtown Carnegie Branch Library elevator from the basement to the 2nd floor is not operational. Please ask a staff member if you need assistance. The branch will close for renovations May 6. Find out more.

The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri
Books & Authors

Nonbinary Gender in Speculative Fiction

Speculative fiction is rich with stories set in cultures that recognize more (or fewer) genders than the binary of female and male, including books like Kameron Hurley's The Mirror Empire, which sets a culture recognizing five genders against a culture recognizing three genders, and Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice, in which the dominant culture makes no gender distinctions. Take a look at the list below to learn more about these books and others.

 The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

On the eve of a recurring catastrophic event known to extinguish nations and reshape continents, an orphan evades death and slavery to uncover her own bloody past—while a world goes to war with itself. In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders are decimating whole cities. At the heart of this war lie the pacifistic Dhai people, once enslaved by the Saiduan and now courted by them to provide aid against the encroaching enemy.


 Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest. Once, she was the Justice of Toren—a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy. Now, an act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with one fragile human body, unanswered questions, and a burning desire for vengeance.


 The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin

A lone human ambassador is sent to Winter, an alien world without sexual prejudice, where the inhabitants can change their gender whenever they choose. His goal is to facilitate Winter's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the strange, intriguing culture he encounters.


 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

In the year 2312, Earth is no longer humanity's only home; new habitats have been created throughout the solar system. But this year a sequence of events will force humanity to confront its past, its present, and its future. The first event is an unexpected death on Mercury. For Swan Er Hong, it is an event that will change her life. Swan was once a woman who designed worlds. Now she will be led into a plot to destroy them.


 Dawn by Octavia E Butler

Lilith lyapo awoke from a centuries-long sleep to find herself aboard the vast spaceship of the Oankali. Creatures covered in writhing tentacles, the Oankali had saved every surviving human from a dying, ruined Earth. They healed the planet, cured cancer, increased strength, and were now ready to help Lilith lead her people back to Earth—but for a price.


Fool's Errand by Robin Hobb

For fifteen years FitzChivalry Farseer has lived in self-imposed exile, assumed dead. Then comes the summons he cannot ignore. Prince Dutiful, the young heir to the Farseer throne, has vanished. Fitz, possessed of magical skills both royal and profane, is the only one who can retrieve him in time for his betrothal ceremony, thus sparing the Six Duchies profound political embarrassment... or worse. But even Fitz does not suspect the web of treachery that awaits him—or how his loyalties will be tested to the breaking point.


 Lock In by John Scalzi

In 2029, a virus sweeps the globe, leaving victims "locked in"—conscious, but completely paralyzed. To treat the afflicted, two technologies emerge: a virtual-reality environment in which the locked-in can interact with other humans, and the discovery that rare individuals have brains that can be controlled by others, including the locked-in. This skill is quickly regulated. Certainly no one would misuse it, for murder, or worse....


 Cordelia's Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold

In her first trial by fire, Cordelia Naismith captained a throwaway ship on a mission to destroy an enemy armada. Discovering deception within deception, she was forced into a separate peace with her chief opponent, Lord Aral Vorkosigan, and became an outcast on her own planet. But when the Emperor died, Aral became guardian of the infant heir to the throne of Barrayar and the target of assassins in a dynastic civil war.

Find this article at