Epic Reads: Science Fiction and Fantasy Series You Can’t Put Down

Binge-watching TV has become “a thing,” but sci-fi and fantasy readers know that binge-reading started a long, long time ago. Stock up on some alone-time and a few bags of chips, and then plunge into one of these great epic reads.

James S. A. Corey's The Expanse

Expanse seriesYou may or may not know that James S. A. Corey’s series has been made into a television series on Syfy that’s been getting pretty good reviews—but why wait for season 2 when you can read the books? Set mostly in our solar system after many of the planets or their moons have been colonized and space travel is no big deal, the series is anchored by ship captain James Holden. When Holden’s ship comes under attack, it ignites a conflict that threatens the whole solar system. While Holden starts off as a little fish in a big (space) pond, as the series progresses, Holden’s impact grows on the solar system and the bigwigs who run it. But it’s the characters, their friendships, and their conflicted motivations that create the heart and drama of this series. Start with Leviathan Wakes.

 

Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate

Parasol ProtectorateSteampunk fans who enjoy side dishes of humor and romance will find Carriger’s five-book Parasol Protectorate series both endearing and fun. Alexia, embarrassingly, has no soul, which makes her immune to magicking as well as ostracizes her from the very structured social hierarchy of Victorian England. When vampires and werewolves and parasols get involved, high jinx ensue. Begin with Soulless. After you have finished the Parasol Protectorate series, jump right into Finishing School, a YA series in the same universe but set a generation before.

 

Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim

Sandman Slim seriesIt’s now fairly established that urban fantasy novels will star a messed-up hero or heroine, but Kadrey’s half-angel James Stark is more messed up than most. If you’re a fan of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files but don’t mind getting your hands (and mind) dirtier, then you’re in for a real treat with this seven-book (soon to be eight-book) series. If you can't get enough Kadrey after reading this series, keep your eyes open for his new series starter, The Everything Box, which releases in April and promises to go more gonzo.

 

Naomi Novik’s Temeraire

TemeraireNow is the perfect time to dive into Novik’s Temeraire series, as the final book will hit shelves in mid June. Novik excels at swirling together dragons, military strategy, and the Napoleonic wars in a high fantasy/historical fiction series that’s won thousands of fans with not only its fresh, glorious writing but its dynamic battle scenes. Begin your epic read with His Majesty's Dragon.

 

John Scalzi's Old Man’s War

Old Mans WarScalzi’s sci-fi novel Old Man’s War starts with the intriguing premise that old people can swap their decrepit bodies for a new, practically damage-proof one in exchange for a lifetime of military service to the Colonial Defense Force. Book one is tightly packed with a grunt’s-eye-view of the deadly altercations between the secretive Colonial Defense Force and the aliens it’s battling, while the rest of the series isn’t afraid to go more epic in scale and philosophy. Plus, there’s Scalzi’s sense of humor. 'Nuff said.

 

What science fiction or fantasy series would you recommend to your fellow epic-readers?

 

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Comments (6)

Dan Simmons's Hyperion/Endymion tetralogy!

Posted by: Rob | Friday February 12, 2016 at 4:48 PM

George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" ... we are anxiously awaiting the next in this fantastic series "Winds of Winter" .. and after that we are expecting "A Promise of Spring".. forget the HBO adaption, it has veered away from the original material so as to be unrecognizable to book fans.

Posted by: Ann Seeber | Friday February 12, 2016 at 1:30 AM

The one I can't put down now is Jo Walton's Small Change series (Farthing, Ha'Penny, Half a Crown). It seems incredibly pertinent.

Posted by: Denise | Thursday February 11, 2016 at 4:59 PM

(I am going with the "more than a trilogy" definition of "epic" here)

Kate Daniels books by Ilona Andrews.
October Daye series by Seanan McGuire.
InCryptid series by Seanan McGuire.
Vorkosigan books by Lois McMaster Bujold.
Serrano novels by Elizabeth Moon.
In Death series by J.D. Robb.
Chronicles of Elantra by Michelle Sagara.

And, of course, the Discworld books by the late great Terry Pratchett.

Posted by: Olya | Thursday February 11, 2016 at 3:54 PM

The Imperial Radch Trilogy by Ann Leckie

Posted by: Peter | Thursday February 11, 2016 at 11:28 AM

"The Dark Tower" -- 'nuff said.

Posted by: Dean B. | Thursday February 11, 2016 at 11:06 AM

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