Following on from Norrie over at, Reading Under The Blankie, I’m offering up a few suggestions of book choices, for those of you afraid to dip your toes into the SF swimming pool.
So, go grab your water wings, and let’s jump in at the deep end shall we:
Let’s get funny
For me the Piers Anthony and his Xanth series was a huge discovery, as a teen. The books are full of silly puns, fun characters, who go on weird-ass quests, where just about anything goes in a Xanth novel.
Start with: A Spell For Chameleon (Del Rey, 1977)
Alternate history and timelines
If you are a regular to my blog, then you will have seen a couple of reviews of mine for Gareth L. Powell’s Ack-Ack Macaque trilogy. Which is a fun fast mix of an alternate timeline, with a generous heaping of steampunk overtones, and characters that will make you sit up and go, wtf! As you’re introduced to a cigar-chewing sentient macaque who flies a Spitfire, circa WWII. Intrigued? You should be, these books are great fun to read.
Start with: Ack-Ack Macaque (Solaris Books)
Intergalactic war with a twist
What better books to read than The Sim War military SF series from Henry O’Neil, in which your deadliest foe turns out to look like you! Excellent writing, believable warfare and characters that really bring the story to life. Full of twists and turns.
Start with: Glory Main (Harper Voyager)
No, nothing to do with actual wizards, but books that feature travel to distant the stars using wormholes, or wormhole technology. Try one or all of these reads to get you started on a journey far beyond our our solar system:
- Tunnel in the Sky — Robert A. Heinlein
- Beyond the blue event horizon — Fredrik Pohl
Mind boggling Science
In one of his ‘adult’ novels, The Number of the Beast, Robert Heinlein first of all pays homage to Edgar Rice Burroughs in naming three of his characters, Zebadiah John Carter, Dejah Thoris “Deety” Burroughs, and her professor father, Jacob Burroughs. These scientists are working on a device that will take them across the threshold of not one, or even two dimensions, but six. Which allows them to visit a number of parallel universes. I won’t tell you how many, you’ll have to read the book to find out.
Let’s get colonizing
There are many authors out there writing about colonizing other worlds, but none did it quite so well as Anne McCaffrey who wrote what can be described (loosely) as speculative fantasy, with her Dragon Riders of Pern series, and Harper Hall series of books. Colonists in a literal battle for survival go all Medieval and, in order to survive, create a species of fire-breathing dragons they can fly. Oh, how I wished I could fly one of those dragons.
Start with: Dragonflight (1968) or Dragonsong (1977)
Have you read any of these books and if so, what did you think of them? Or are you thinking you might give one of these a go? As always, leave your thoughts in the comments.