Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 came out a few weeks ago, and although I had serious misgivings about parts of the movie (Mantis and Drax and the normalisation of abuse? What on Earth was that?), I did appreciate what the movie did in terms of the relationship between the central characters and how they are now this incredible Found Family unit. A Found Family is a “family by choice,” a trope that is usually associated with a bunch of misfits that find support, compassion, companionship in each other. It’s one of my favourite tropes and through the years, I have found many to love, from Firefly to Buffy, Leverage to the Harry Potter series. Inspired by Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2, here are some of my fave – and recent – stories featuring found families.
This Netflix TV show may well be my favourite Netflix show to date. It follows a group of eight characters from all over the world (India, Germany, US, Iceland, Mexico, Kenya, and Korea) that discover they are a cluster of sensates with the ability to not only communicate with each other telepathically but also to share each other’s actions, feelings, and thoughts. It’s a SciFi thriller, where they need to learn to cope with their ability while hiding from a group of people hunting them down and in the meantime, becoming closer and closer to one another. It’s a bit of a mind-bender, and although the plot sometimes leaves things too much up in the air, the characters and their closeness is what makes this worth watching. I adore these characters for who they are, what they do for each other and how they help one another. Season 2 just landed on Netflix; I devoured it in one day.
The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley
The Stars are Legion is a SciFi novel in space that is part heist, part quest fantasy. This book is dark, violent, and gory but also incredibly hopeful and revolutionary. It follows one of its main characters on a quest to fulfill a mission that could lead to the liberation of multiple entrapped world-ships. In her journey, Zan assembles together a team of ragtag misfits from different parts of her world and in doing so effectively changes everything about herself. This choice is so important to Zan that the ending of the novel and her ultimate decision are predicated on her wanting to keep that found family close by.
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
Although not exactly new (this book came out last year), A Closed and Common Orbit has recently made the SFF news because of its nomination for the Hugo Awards and the Clarke Awards this year. A companion novel to Becky Chambers’ equally excellent The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, A Closed and Common Orbit follows a dual narrative between two characters and is divided in past/present. Agenetically modified engineer and an artificial intelligence turned human find each other in a novel that is as much about chosen families and technology as it is about connectivity, hope, and identity.
What about you, what are your favourite example of found families?