April is Autism Acceptance Month so I’m here with a bunch of fantasy and sci-fi books (and a healthy dose of horror) with autistic characters for you! On top of that, all of these books were written by autistic authors! I struggled to find autism representation in my favourite genres when I was younger. There’s still not enough, and the representation that does exist isn’t always great. Sometimes it felt like the only stories about autistic people were written for non-autistic people to connect with or feel sorry for us. Not today friends!
Killer mermaids anyone? This book mixes sci-fi, fantasy elements with a slow burn horror. It’s got a main sapphic relationship featuring an autistic love interest who happens to be a reporter for the cryptozoology TV channel funding the trip.
Adult Sci-Fi Horror
Seven years ago, the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “mockumentary” bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy.
Now, a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost.
Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves. But the secrets of the deep come with a price.
More sapphic autistic characters! This sci-fi series combines cosmic horror and A.I. gods for some fantastic worldbuilding. The way it centres neurodivergence is stunning.
Autistic scientist Yasira Shien has developed a radical new energy drive that could change the future of humanity. But when she activates it, reality warps, destroying the space station and everyone aboard. The AI Gods who rule the galaxy declare her work heretical, and Yasira is abducted by their agents. Instead of simply executing her, they offer mercy – if she’ll help them hunt down a bigger target: her own mysterious, vanished mentor. With her homeworld’s fate in the balance, Yasira must choose who to trust: the gods and their ruthless post-human angels, or the rebel scientist whose unorthodox mathematics could turn her world inside out.
The perfect mix of gothic horror, fantasy, and occult elements, the main character is an autistic woman who has made the very reasonable choice to enter into a marriage of convenience. Of course, not everything is as it seems with her new husband.
Adult Fantasy Horror
Practical, unassuming Jane Shoringfield has done the calculations, and decided that the most secure path forward is this: a husband, in a marriage of convenience, who will allow her to remain independent and occupied with meaningful work. Her first choice, the dashing but reclusive doctor Augustine Lawrence, agrees to her proposal with only one condition: that she must never visit Lindridge Hall, his crumbling family manor outside of town. Yet on their wedding night, an accident strands her at his door in a pitch-black rainstorm, and she finds him changed. Gone is the bold, courageous surgeon, and in his place is a terrified, paranoid man—one who cannot tell reality from nightmare, and fears Jane is an apparition, come to haunt him.
By morning, Augustine is himself again, but Jane knows something is deeply wrong at Lindridge Hall, and with the man she has so hastily bound her safety to. Set in a dark-mirror version of post-war England, Starling crafts a new kind of gothic horror from the bones of the beloved canon. This Crimson Peak-inspired story assembles, then upends, every expectation set in place by Shirley Jackson and Rebecca, and will leave readers shaken, desperate to begin again as soon as they are finished.
With a spaceship based upon the antebellum south, this book is equal parts traumatic and brilliant. The main character, Aster, is black, intersex, queer, and autistic. What I love so much about Aster is how messy and complicated she is. She’s not dulled down to be more appealing to non-autistic readers.
Odd-mannered, obsessive, withdrawn, Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak. She’s used to the names; she only wishes there was more truth to them. If she were truly a monster, as they accuse, she’d be powerful enough to tear down the walls around her until nothing remained of her world, save for stories told around the cookfire.
Aster lives in the low-deck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations, the Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship’s leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster, who they consider to be less than human.
When the autopsy of Matilda‘s sovereign reveals a surprising link between his death and her mother’s suicide some quarter-century before, Aster retraces her mother’s footsteps. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer and sowing the seeds of civil war, Aster learns there may be a way off the ship if she’s willing to fight for it.
High-heat monster romance with an autistic main character anyone? Aveda Vice’s characters have amazing chemistry, but I love this book because autistic people are so rarely perceived as desirable, as having desires. Desexualisation of disabled people is very common, and Aveda Vice is here to say ‘hey, we fuck’.
Adult Fantasy Romance
Avirin understands hunger.
With her ravenous desire to succeed, it’s no surprise she hides her monstrosity from the world. Easier said than done once she sleeps with her infuriating coworker and lets her succubus secret slip. But it’s a one-time thing; she’s not jeopardizing her career over a night with Pye…
No matter how much she can’t stop thinking about it.
Pye understands hunger, too.
Being famished for something they can’t have, mouth watering at the sight of her…but Pye and Avirin agreed to be friends, and since faeries can’t lie, he’ll keep his late-night thoughts to himself. But when Pye introduces Avirin to the world of monsters she’s long avoided, they both have a hard time forgetting what they did together…
And a harder time remembering why they can’t cross that line again.
Note: Pye uses “he” and “they” pronouns interchangeably throughout this book.
Coming out in June, it’s the perfect time to preorder this post-apocalyptic horror with a trans monster boy and an autistic character who gets to be “the Badass Hot Guy in a YA Novel”.
Young Adult Fantasy Horror
Prepare to die. His kingdom is near.
Sixteen-year-old trans boy Benji is on the run from the cult that raised him—the fundamentalist sect that unleashed Armageddon and decimated the world’s population. Desperately, he searches for a place where the cult can’t get their hands on him, or more importantly, on the bioweapon they infected him with.
But when cornered by monsters born from the destruction, Benji is rescued by a group of teens from the local Acheson LGBTQ+ Center, affectionately known as the ALC. The ALC’s leader, Nick, is gorgeous, autistic, and a deadly shot, and he knows Benji’s darkest secret: the cult’s bioweapon is mutating him into a monster deadly enough to wipe humanity from the earth once and for all.
Still, Nick offers Benji shelter among his ragtag group of queer teens, as long as Benji can control the monster and use its power to defend the ALC. Eager to belong, Benji accepts Nick’s terms…until he discovers the ALC’s mysterious leader has a hidden agenda, and more than a few secrets of his own.
A dazzling sci-fi with an evil empire, an underground resistance, and a cast of brilliant women (and their token man). Ariadne is autistic, she’s the youngest member of the group and a fantastically well-rounded, traumatised, autistic genius. I love her.
When Eris faked her death, she thought she had left her old life as the heir to the galaxy’s most ruthless empire behind. But her recruitment by the Novantaen Resistance, an organization opposed to the empire’s voracious expansion, throws her right back into the fray.
Eris has been assigned a new mission: to infiltrate a spaceship ferrying deadly cargo and return the intelligence gathered to the Resistance. But her partner for the mission, mechanic and hotshot pilot Cloelia, bears an old grudge against Eris, making an already difficult infiltration even more complicated.
When they find the ship, they discover more than they bargained for: three fugitives with firsthand knowledge of the corrupt empire’s inner workings.
Together, these women possess the knowledge and capabilities to bring the empire to its knees. But the clock is ticking: the new heir to the empire plans to disrupt a peace summit with the only remaining alien empire, ensuring the empire’s continued expansion. If they can find a way to stop him, they will save the galaxy. If they can’t, millions may die.