Time for another Top 5 Wednesday! This week, in collaboration with the BooktubeSFF Awards, we’re exploring favorite Sci-Fi and Fantasy books! This is a genre near and dear to my heart because, though I’m more of a mystery gal nowadays, I grew up as a sci-fi/fantasy fanatic. I’m going to forgo the most popular books in this list, since most everyone already knows about Harry Potter, Doctor Who, etc, and you don’t really want to read the same lists over and over. So here are a handful of books that you may not of heard of, but should really give a try! 😀
Long Way to a Small, Angry Plant (Becky Chambers)
I just finished this book a couple of weeks ago and it was amazing! The amount of world (universe) building that went into this novel is insane. The book starts out focused on a woman named Rosemary who is joining a spaceship that creates wormholes for the public to travel through space. Once on board, you get to learn about each of the members of the crew: their personality, their family/friends, their homeworld, and you learn about the universe as a whole. The author has created a universe as detailed and diverse as Star Trek or Doctor Who in a single book. I highly recommend this one.
Circle of Magic (Tamora Pierce)
I LOVED this series as a child and I still love it today. It’s four of only a handful of books that I still reread from time to time. The books are about four young children who discover that they have unique magical skills. This was one of my first ever “misfit realizes they are special” books, so it really affected me at the time. It also was one of the first series where I liked every single character, which was VERY helpful in encouraging me as a young reader.
Redshirts (John Scalzi)
Have you ever seen that movie, Galaxy Quest? This is kind of like that, only reversed. Here the crew of a starship find out that the reason all this wacky stuff keeps happening to them is that they are actually characters in a TV show. Star Trek fans will LOVE this one; I know I certainly did. It gets a bit mind-bendy towards the middle, but if you can stick with it, you will end up really enjoying the book.
Leven Thumps (Obert Skye)
This is a wonderful series! Fourteen year old Leven Thumps finds a gateway to the magical land of Foo and has to help save both worlds from the evil Sabine. This one is kind of reminiscent of the ‘His Dark Materials’ series by Philip Pullman, but with a completely unique cast of characters. What’s extra nice about this series is that the teenagers are actually believable AS TEENAGERS. For some reason, it seems very difficult for the average author to write a believable teenager. I haven’t finished the entire series, but this seems like a great one for the young adult fantasy nut!
NPCs (Drew Hayes)
I LOVED this book! For those of you who don’t game (that includes myself, though I am a bit of a gaming voyeur, I suppose), a NPC is a Non-Player Character in a role playing game, like Dungeons & Dragons. Basically anyone who isn’t played by a real person, like the pub owner or the guy selling cabbages, is a NPC. In this book, the NPCs in a game end up having to take over a quest for the actual players in order to save their hometown from being destroyed by the king. The humor is great, the characters believable, and the world building awesome. There are a lot of inside jokes for gamers, but anyone who likes fantasy will enjoy this as well.
Welcome to Night Vale (Joseph Fink & Jeffery Cranor)
We’re only supposed to do five and this isn’t technically a book (though they DO have a novel now so I’m counting it), but I can’t resist adding in my favorite podcast, ‘Welcome to Night Vale’. My favorite description of this podcast is that “it’s like Steven King and Neil Gaiman made a Sim City together and left it running for a few years”. Yeah…it’s THAT GOOD!
WtNV is a community radio program for a city (called Night Vale, obvs) where pretty much every conspiracy theory you’ve every heard of is true. The characters and story lines are all really off the wall, but somehow still completely believable. The fan base is amazing as well, welcoming to everyone regardless of age, gender, anything (and you should see their fanart, wow!), probably because the podcast itself is so welcoming (as long as your name isn’t Steve, lol). You should all definitely check it out!
Well, there you have it, my less well-known list of recommendations for sci-fi and fantasy lovers. I tried to get a mixture in there for you, so I hope you found something that sounds interesting!