A while ago I wrote about one of the hardest things to do as a fan of sci-fi/fantasy; picking what to read next. There are so many great books and writers out there, where do you start? Best move in my opinion is to start reading one of great serieses(?). You finish one book you can move right on to the next book. All sweaty, hurty-head decisions are borne away from you on the silky wings of the following recommendations:
The Discworld Series, Sir Terry Pratchett:
So we have a world that is a Disc. That sits on the back of four giant elephants. Which themselves perch on the back of the Giant Star Turtle the Great A’Tuin. You just can’t fail on that premise can you?
I could astound you for hours with facts about this amazing series of books but I’ll settle for saying that this series has some of the classics of the comic fantasy genre. Feet of Clay still remains one of my favourite books but I love them all…mostly. There are 39 Discworld novels and a load of short stories for you to devour, which you will, relentlessly, at the expense of family, friends and jobs.
Literacy some people have asked where to start with Discworld. My advice is to read the character books in sequence (The Watch novels, Rincewind, Granny Weatherwax) but the rest are perfect for just dipping in to.
Dune Series, Frank Herbert:
Dune has been called the greatest science fiction novel of all time. The scope of the series is set over thousands of years and is just magnificent. You start your journey with Dune and I defy you not to become hooked by books as much as the characters are hooked on the Spice from the desert planet Arrakis.
One of the downfalls of the Dune series is that Frank Herbert died before he completed it. It has been left to his son and Kevin J Anderson to complete the series from his notes. I recommend finishing the series but none of the prequels or sequels that they have written, they are just awful.
Ender’s Series, Orson Scott Card:
I’ve only recently come across this series on my trawl through the Hugo Award winners. The first book is just a stunning work about the human condition of love, hate, survival, justice and all told through a child called Ender. Not surprised that this book and its sequel, Speaker for the Dead, both won the Hugo and Nebula Award. I’m completely hooked by the Ender Universe and can’t wait to read all of its eleven novels, twelve short stories, and 47 comic issues.
Forever War Series, Joe Haldeman:
Just a trilogy this one but I read it years ago and the story has stayed with me. It’s splits down into three books; Forever War, Forever Peace and Forever Free.
The first book, Forever War, is the story of the war between humanity and the Taurans. The war takes place across the galaxy and the soldiers have to deal with the time dilation that results from space travel; they come back to a world centuries after they left and all the psychological damage that this causes.
The book may be partly biographic as Joe Haldeman fought in the Vietnam war which may be why it feels so raw. The story comes not from the war itself but people’s reaction to the war.
The Uplift Universe, David Brin:
David Brin creates a Universe where no race has achieved enlightenment, and so space flight, without being Uplifted (see that) by a patron race. And now humans are uplifting the most intelligent on Earth, namely chimps and dolphins. Together they battle the other races in Universe for the ultimate prize; survival.
There are 6 books in the series with another one planned; Brin has stated that Temptation “will be a core element of the next Uplift novel… and answers several unresolved riddles left over from Heaven’s Reach (the last book).”
The Commonwealth Saga, Peter F. Hamilton:
There are three books in The Commonwealth Saga though the second two take place 340 years after the first. The Void Trilogy take place in the same Universe as the Commonwealth Saga though 1,200 years after.
I love the Hamilton space operas books, they’re just so detailed but huge in scope and never less than a thousand pages long so you can get a nice big tome to read. The Commonwealth Saga is where I started and the intertwining stories of Pandora’s Star as the Commonwealth fight the Primes (warlike aliens) across the hundreds of human worlds just sucked me in.