Shelf Wars: Science Fiction and Fantasy Strike Back

Sunday Snips and Clips: They’re Here!
September 6, 2009
On Young Adult with Rachel Caine
September 8, 2009

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 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 (Hardcover)

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 Stephenson

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. Dietz

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?


  1. RKCharron says:

    Hi 🙂
    Congratulations on your upcoming romantic getaway Heather.
    Has your husband read Guy Gavriel Kay's THE SUMMER TREE?
    It's the first book of a trilogy in the fantastic Fionavar Tapestry trilogy.
    Thanks for sharing,
    All the best,

  2. Heather Long says:

    RK that book sounds really, really familiar. I will definitely h ave to check it out!

  3. I wish I had some recs to give you but I tend to watch the type of Science Fiction your speaking of versus reading it.

    Here is a website where you enter the title and author of a book, it returns a list of like books as recommended reading: The Book Seer

    Good luck in your quest!

  4. Heather Long says:

    Donna, I love The Book Seer! Thank you for that!

  5. M. L. Kiner says:

    "The Hong Kong Connection" is a legal thriller about a gutsy female attorney who takes on high ranking International officials. It's a taut, rollercoaster of a ride from New York to Palm Beach to Washington D.C. to Hong Kong. The plot is expertly woven, the characters persuasive, and the dialogue snappy and spot on.

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