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Heather Long | Shelf Wars: Science Fiction and Fantasy Strike Back


My husband and I share similar tastes in books. Granted, he likes some authors that I just can't get into and vice versa. But our last few trips to the bookstore haven't been fruitful for him. Why? Because the plethora of urban fantasy and paranormal romance seem to have staged a coup on the science fiction and fantasy shelves of the bookstore.

This is not to slight these wonderful books, not at all. For I am a huge fan not only of reading them, but of writing them. But my husband is floundering his way through the section looking for some solid science fiction in the flavor of David Weber's original Honor Harrington book: On Basilisk Station or Peter F. Hamilton's universe spanning Reality Dysfunction.

For pure fantasy, he's still enjoying Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series (which I have to confess, I haven't started reading yet!) I love Jim's Dresden books and my husband does too, but I've not been as into the high fantasy in a while. Luckily, I have the whole series on the shelf so far, so when I do get to reading it, I will have it.

So, here is my dilemma. Finding the kind of books my husband is so desperately searching for. His birthday is next month and our anniversary is at the beginning of October. As mentioned, we're heading to Disney World (yes, we love the fantasy of that) for vacation in just three short weeks (I cannot wait!) and I want to surprise him with some good books for him to read.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to recommend some solid fantasy and/or science fiction books that my husband might enjoy. You have to avoid Arthurian or Star Trek or Star Wars. He does like the Doctor Who novels, but I think we're only up to the Martha books so far and The Story of Martha is high on my list of books to buy.

Here is what I've found so far:

Alex Detail's Revolution by Darren CampoAlex
Details Revolution

17 year old Alex Detail has been kidnapped and sent off to fight in a hopeless war against The Harvesters, an alien force that is trying to extinguish Earth's Sun.

Unfortunately for Alex's kidnappers (and the world) he has lost the mega IQ that allowed him to win the last war with The Harvesters ten years ago when he was just 7 years old.

But now the House of Nations is out of options. The end of life is imminent.

Alex must save his ship, fight his evil clone and survive the war long enough to make it to Pluto, where, underneath the planets frozen surface lies the only force in the solar system that can stop The Harvesters.

Anathem by Neal StephensonAnathem

Stephenson conjures a far-future Earth-like planet, Arbre, where scientists, philosophers and mathematicians—a religious order unto themselves—have been cloistered behind concent (convent) walls. Their role is to nurture all knowledge while safeguarding it from the vagaries of the irrational saecular outside world. Among the monastic scholars is 19-year-old Raz, collected into the concent at age eight and now a decenarian, or tenner (someone allowed contact with the world beyond the stronghold walls only once a decade). But millennia-old rules are cataclysmically shattered when extraterrestrial catastrophe looms, and Raz and his teenage companions—engaging in intense intellectual debate one moment, wrestling like rambunctious adolescents the next—are summoned to save the world.

At Empire's Edge by William C. DietzAt
Empire's Edge

In a far-distant future, the Uman Empire has spread to the stars and beyond, conquering and colonizing worlds, ruling with a benevolent-but iron-fist. The Pax Umana reigns, and all is well. But on one planet, the remnants of a violent, shape-shifting race called the Sagathis are confined, kept captive by xeno-cops, who have been bio-engineered to be able to see through their guises. Still, sometimes one manages to escape.

Zak Cato is a xeno-cop. He's returning a fugitive Sagathi when things go horribly wrong. Cato- the only survivor after the rest of his men are slaughtered-must now figure out who betrayed them and bring the alien in, whatever the cost.

What do you recommend?

Heather Long

A lifelong writer with a passion for urban fantasy, particularly when it combines historical with the paranormal and elements of high fantasy. A graduate with a degree in Psychology, Heather enjoys writing about history, both modern and ancient while exploring the world with her husband and daughter at her side. Learn more about Heather via her website.




10 comments posted.

Re: Heather Long | Shelf Wars: Science Fiction and Fantasy Strike Back

ANYTHING by Anne McCaffrey, whether she's writing solo, or with someone (she's paired up with Elizabeth Scarborough, Mercedes Lackey and her son, Todd, to name just a few). While there some elements of romance in her books, she doesn't guarantee a HEA, and she is one of the best I've read for world-building.

If you have time, and/or the inclination, it would be great to see the final list of books you find for him. So, if you'd consider posting it with a follow-up blog, that would be too totally cool for words!


(Lynn Rettig 10:56am September 9, 2009)

I agree with Lynn, Anne McCaffrey and her son Todd, are great writers. Todd is currently working on a new story arc on the Dragon series, his Mother created. Pern is a wonderful world to visit.

The Forgotten Realms books by R.A. Salvatore is another series well worth reading.
(Robin McKay 11:16am September 9, 2009)

Have you tried anything by Linnea Sinclair and/or the Kris Longknife series by Mike Shepherd? Both are amazing sci-fi reads that remind me of the Honor Harrington books.
(Sharon Mostyn 11:31am September 9, 2009)

Dan Simmons : Endymion.
Cant go wrong. Dan simmons has written one the memorable science ficiton novels. It has it all. Without being Star wars og a trekkie Got to read the other book in the series.
(Frank Vevøe 12:55pm September 9, 2009)

If he were my husband, I'd buy him a gift card from his favorite book store and let HIM decide which titles he'll purchase. There is SO much choice on the retail book shelves that I wouldn't trust myself to decide for anyone, even someone I know better than anybody else.
(Mary Anne Landers 1:19pm September 9, 2009)

A new author I started reading is Jeremy Robinson. Try Didymus Contingency (time travel) or his new book Pulse. Good reads.
(Theresa Buckholtz 6:02pm September 9, 2009)

Great suggestions all. Definitely going to check them out. Mary Anne, that wouldn't be a problem if we hadn't hit the bookstore several times over the last few weeks and he's complained about not being able to find anything. This is a good chance to introduce him to some new potentially interesting authors! I will definitely post what I end up getting and whether they worked or not!
(Heather Long 10:12pm September 9, 2009)

Heather my suggestion is not only NEW stories to peruse but what we read back in our youth. When books like "1984" & "Watership Downs", and "Animal Farm" where disappearing from library & bookstore shelves I was SHOCKED!! When I run across stories I enjoyed as a teen and in college I pick them up for my 16 yr old and introduce a new generation to their wonder. It interesting to hearing new interpretations of the books and now more mature I see the books differently.
(Susan Lathen 4:09pm September 10, 2009)

David Feintuch had a terrific series out a few years ago. It starts with Midshipman's Hope and ends with Patriarch's Hope. They have been hard to find since he died suddenly a couple of years back. I sure miss his writing! Best of luck on your search.
(Susan Driskill 11:19pm September 13, 2009)

Hi Heather. Well, I wish I had read this post a month ago. Email and I will send you and your husband a couple copies of Alex Detail's Revolution.

Best to you both,
Darren Campo
(Darren Campo 10:47pm October 8, 2009)

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