I’m in the midst of a concentrated one-week, 3 credit hour class at seminary, which, while fascinating, is taking up all of my evenings (and all day on Saturday too, natch). So gaming time’s been pared way, waaaaay back for the time being (Fallen Earth is getting 95% of that — I’m loving exploring the Tech faction), and I don’t have the typical thrilling, on-the-edge-of-your-seat adventures to regale you with.
I’ve never had those?
Instead, let’s turn to a topic that PBJ kicked off — recommending great scifi/fantasy books for fellow readers to enjoy. Although I don’t have a Kindle proper, I’ve been splitting my reading between paper versions and the Kindle for iPhone version (this latter is far more convenient and always with me when I have a few minutes here and there). Andrew’s shared some of his favorites, and I’d like to do the same:
- Vorkosigan series (Lois McMaster Bujold) – Ms. Bujold’s won at least three Hugos that I know for this series, and it’s one of my absolute favorite. Start with The Warrior’s Apprentice, but realise that there are also a couple prequel books that deal with the main protagonist’s parents.
- Thursday Next series (Jasper Fforde) – Alternate history 1985. Time travel. Comedy. Jumping into books, literally. Absent minded inventors. Evil masterminds. Bizarre everything that people take in stride. Did I mention it’s funny? Start with The Eyre Affair.
- Bas-Lag series (China Miéville) – Perdido Street Station is nothing short of a masterpiece of “twisted fantasy” — fantasy that goes off the beaten path of elves and wizards and does something strikingly different. The Scar and Iron Council are okay, but PSS is a must-read.
- Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman) – Neil Gaiman’s everything comes highly recommended by many geeks, but my favorite is the first I read of his: Neverwhere. It’s a novelization of sorts of a BBC miniseries (which I also own) about a guy who stumbles into the REAL London Underground.
- The Name of the Wind (Patrick Rothfuss) – It’s been just about forever since I’ve fallen in love with a novel as much as this one, and once I finished it, I had to re-read it immediately. Engrossing, inventive and constantly moving tale of a fantasy “legend” who is telling his life story in three days (this novel covers the first day of hiis telling) to a chronicler. It will kick your brain’s butt and you’ll ask for another.
- The Song of Ice and Fire series (George R.R. Martin) – There’s a widespread acclaim for this series which I’ll back, so you don’t need me to say much more than this is gritty dark fantasy that thinks that Dragon Age Origins really is way too lighthearted. Awesome characters and a constantly twisty-turny story.
- The Dark Tower series (Stephen King) – Some people assume that all King writes is horror, and thus have never exposed themselves to the genre-twisting Dark Tower series (and that is a shame). Western, drama, scifi, post-apocalyptic, and — yes — horror are all blended together to make one epic tale.
- Expendable (James Alan Gardner) – One of my rules of thumb for a great book is that every chapter have some element that’s riveting about it, and Expendable more than meets that qualification. A tale of a less-than-perfect human (“expendable” in a society of genetic perfection) who is put in harm’s way over and over again as humanity explores the stars. The rest of the series is a mixed bag, but I do love me this book.
- Replay (Ken Grimwood) – Replay’s a bit of a twist on the Groundhog Day formula: a guy dies in the mid-80’s, only to be yanked back in time to when he was in college, given the chance to live his life over and over again. Along the way he finds other time-repeating souls, and realizes that his “replays” are getting shorter and shorter. Good stuff.
- The Callahan Chronicals (Spider Robinson) – Yes, I spelled the title correctly. A series of short stories revolving around a mysterious bar where the strange and unusual always seems to walk through the door with a tale.
- The First Law series (Joe Abercrombie) – Very dark, very gritty fantasy trilogy that makes for a great read (the characters are never quite what you expect — one of the main guys is a deformed torturer). I have issues with where the series ended, but it was a terrific ride, and I wouldn’t mind seeing the story continued.