I was reluctant to write this blog for three reasons.

1) Because I know I will have to do a follow-up on all the books I forgot to mention.
2) Sci-fi and fantasy readers will have their favorites and be appalled that I didn’t list those.
3) So many good stories are out there that to select a few seems ridiculous, but I am doing it anyway.

I am sure I would have discovered science fiction and fantasy on my own, especially after reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the

Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, in middle school, but I am giving a shout-out to my high school English teacher, Mr. Grigsby, for giving me a jump-start into those genres. He taught a science fiction class in my junior year of high school. I don’t remember the complete syllabus, but I remember the classics over forty years later. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Nineteen Eighty-four by George Orwell, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, and Dune by Frank Herbert. Oh, the wonder of entering those fantastic worlds, catapulting me into battles of ethics and morality, and delving into what it means to be human. Topics that have gone from fiction to reality in our lifetime were explored long ago in the stories of genius writers, from cloning, genetic engineering, mind-enslaving dictatorships, space travel, and the list goes on.


The summer I was a nanny for the Bensley family in New Rochelle, I read their entire collection of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series, about colonizing a new planet, and continued to read her up to her enthralling Arthurian masterpiece, The Mists of Avalon. Many years after Enders Game by Orson Scott Card came out, a friend suggested it was time I catch up. Anthem by Ayn Rand led me to her many other books. Lois McMaster Bujold has brought me hours of enjoyment with her sci-fi Vorogosian series and her fantasies, including the Curse of Chalion – I am thrilled that she continues to fill my bookshelf with fantastic new worlds and characters. Books I read long ago, like The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, have become known worldwide.

My son introduced me to The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin, who writes such unique stories. I was pulled in from the first paragraph. With the help of the local library, I found Jim Butcher, a complex world-builder who will never let you down. His riveting battles, shocking endings, and unpredictable characters evoke a reader’s whole range of emotions. One of my first iBooks was from R.K. Thorne’s Enslaved Chronicles, and I’m amazed by her resourceful, brave, and intelligent women characters. And the list of must-reads goes on; Sylvia Mercedes, Ursula K. LeGuin, Anne McCaffrey, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov…


One secret, or not-so-secret, location to find spellbinding reads is in young adult/teen science fiction. The successful movie adaptations of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, and The Maze Runner by James Dashner should alert everyone to the quality of young adult literature. House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer hasn’t left my mind since reading it eight years ago. The books by Australian author Garth Nix and The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld are worth investing time in. I’m dipping into SteamPunk, a sub-genre that mixes Victorian-era technology with fantasy and has a dedicated following.

Bookchats on Fantasy: A Look into Garth Nix's Abhorsen Series

I have forgotten many books and authors that have flown me on dragon’s wings to mythical islands, handed me a sword to slay evil magicians, locked me in underground witch’s dungeons, and helped me escape aliens (or not) on a distant planet. These stories challenge my ideas of right and wrong, science, religion, power, love, hate, family, and loyalty. So, buckle up, open a book, and be transported into another reality that offers a mirror into your very being.


I’d love to hear about your favorite science fiction and fantasy authors.