Navigate / search

staff picks spring

Sci Fi and Fantasy Series Starters

Looking for a new world to get into? Here are a few first books in some great series not of this world!

The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin – One of the most acclaimed pieces of sci-fi to come out of China, The Three Body Problem offers a fresh spin on the genre. Jumping between the modern age and the 1970s in the heart of the Great Leap Forward in China, the main character Ye Wenjie misuses a secret military project to communicate with our closest neighbors in space, who view us as nothing more than a pest in the way of saving their own civilization. While the trilogy has been complete in Chinese for several years, the translation of the final book in the series Death’s End is due later this year. Highly recommended for its unique perspective, terrifying premise about life in the universe, and use of real science. Translated from Mandarin.

Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey – A space opera in the truest sense. Leviathan Wakes reads like a well paced movie. Humans have colonized the solar system, but our problems are not gone. Earth and Mars are locked in a Cold War-esque rivalry, “belters” born in space are viewed as uncivilized, barely human, and corporate greed may have unleashed a 4 billion year old weapon designed to wipe out humanity. The series has become a Sci-Fi channel series The Expanse, and the story is ongoing with 4 sequels in print and one due this year.

Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky – A terrifying post-apocalyptic science fiction adventure in the metro tunnels of Moscow. Stations become distinct political entities as the survivors fight with each other over the dwindling resources, and rangers venture to the surface to find it an uninhabitable wasteland full of inhuman monsters. But are the monsters really an enemy? Or are the inhabitants of the Metro the real danger? Metro 2033 has spawned two official sequels (Metro 2034, Metro 2035) and a best selling video-game franchise. Translated from Russian.

The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu – Described as Game of Thrones in a fantasy “silkpunk” setting, Liu’s book is a journey into a refreshingly unique fantasy world based on medieval China. The Grace of Kings is emotional, exciting and a breath of fresh air in a genre that is stale in it’s diversity of setting and character. This is a remarkable debut from an author who previously had only done short fiction and translations. The series continues later this year with The Wall of Storms.

Lewis Parsons

Lewis Parsons is a librarian in Research and Information Services at the Sawyer Free Library.