Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard
Past Tense by Star Spider
The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
Way to Go by Tom Ryan
That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston
Bonus: Coming in 2020, check out When You Get a Chance by Tom Ryan and Robin Stevenson, set at Toronto Pride!
Everyone’s got their favorite genres, and neither Sci-Fi nor Dystopian has ever topped my personal list, but The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow managed to break through my preconceptions and become a major fave…and I’m guessing the MC being bi and the romance being between two cute girls helped a little bit. But it’s also smart, and political, and interesting in its approach and its world, and a little terrifying, and I’m definitely down for finding it some more love!
Greta is a Duchess and a Crown Princess. She is also a Child of Peace, a hostage held by the de facto ruler of the world, the great Artificial Intelligence, Talis. This is how the game is played: if you want to rule, you must give one of your children as a hostage. Start a war and your hostage dies.
The system has worked for centuries. Parents don’t want to see their children murdered.
Greta will be free if she can make it to her eighteenth birthday. Until then she is prepared to die with dignity, if necessary. But everything changes when Elian arrives at the Precepture. He’s a hostage from a new American alliance, and he defies the machines that control every part of their lives—and is severely punished for it. His rebellion opens Greta’s eyes to the brutality of the rules they live under, and to the subtle resistance of her companions. And Greta discovers her own quiet power.
Then Elian’s country declares war on Greta’s and invades the prefecture, taking the hostages hostage. Now the great Talis is furious, and coming himself to deliver punishment. Which surely means that Greta and Elian will be killed…unless Greta can think of a way to break all the rules.
Buy it: B&N | Amazon | IndieBound
Dystopian can be a tough genre to track down these days, especially because it’s usually mashed up with another genre. But for those who’ve been on the hunt, here are five to get you started!
The Culling by Steven dos Santos (G)
The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow (B, f/f)
Willful Machines by Tim Floreen (G)
Coda by Emma Trevayne (B, m/f)
Lizard Radio by Pat Schmatz (GQ)