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Topic: Any Good Sci Fi/Fantasy One Shots?

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Subject: Any Good Sci Fi/Fantasy One Shots?
Date Posted: 9/26/2010 8:03 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2010
Posts: 16
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Sci Fi/Fantasy is by far my favorite genre to read. However, I find myself in the middle of like five different series right now and I feel like it's a bit much. Everything I'm reading so far I like, but it's the constant rush of having to pick up the latest in the series that sometimes puts me off. Does anyone have an suggestions for one shot Sci Fi/Fantasy novels that would fit the bill. Authors and and series that I like are: Jim Butcher (both Dresden and Codex), Mercedes Lackey (working my way slowly through Velgarth) , Trudi Canavan (both Magicians Guild and Age of Five), F. Paul Wilson (specifically Repairman Jack) and Douglas Adams. Any help would truly be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Last Edited on: 9/26/10 8:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/27/2010 2:25 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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Wen Spencer has two books that are both stand alones.  I do prefer her series (Tinker and Ukiah Oregon).

Endless Blue and A Brother's Price.

Last Edited on: 9/27/10 2:26 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/27/2010 2:36 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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I have read little by any of the authors you mention, but here are some authors I love that generally write stand-alone novels:

Science Fiction

Connie Willis -- She has two types of books, comedies and tragedies, and her comedies tend to be of the very British screwball-comedy sort which I think might appeal to a fan of Douglas Adams. I suggest trying Bellwether (which actually has very little that is SF about it) or To Say Nothing of the Dog (which is about time travel) or Uncharted Territory (which is the most SF of them all, being the adventures of a couple explorers on a newly discovered planet).

Iain M. Banks -- While it's true that most of his science fiction is part of his Culture series, it's not a series in the classical sense -- the novels share no characters and no plot, they're simply all set in the same universe, so each reads entirely independent of the others. His work is very BIG science fiction -- quality prose, big ideas, epic scope. Traditional places to start are Consider Phlebas or The Algebraist.


Robin McKinley -- She mostly does fairy tale retellings, and she has never written a series; the closest she has come is the fact that two of her novels are set in the same world generations apart. If you like fairy tale retellings she has two (yes two, and both excellent) Beauty and the Beast novels; a Sleeping Beauty novel; a Robin Hood novel; and a retelling of a lesser known fairy tale called Donkeyskin (her novel is called Deerskin) which is not for the faint of heart -- it's harrowing, but brilliant. And if you DON'T want a fairy tale retelling, she has an excellent urban fantasy vampire novel (written before that became incredibly fashionable) called Sunshine or you could start with either of her Damar novels (The Blue Sword or The Hero and the Crown).

Patricia McKillip -- Another one that never writes series or even sequels; she also draws on myths and fairy tales, though she rarely does explicity fairy tale retellings. Her books are very dreamlike -- no rules for magic here! -- but if you like the prose you'll eat up her entire (extensive) catalog. I suggest starting with Alphabet of Thorn, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, or, if you like epic fantasy, her sole trilogy (found in the omnibus Riddle-Master).

Charles de Lint -- He's kind of like Iain M. Banks; most of his novels are set in the same world (a fictional city called Newford) and even share a lot of the same characters, but the plots don't connect so they all read as stand-alones. He writes urban fantasy, but in the older sense of mythic fantasy set in the modern world -- lots of fairies and elves and sprites and spirit-animals, but not so much with the vampires and werewolves and all that. I think he's best in short story form (and I recommend the collection Dreams Underfoot very highly) but if you don't like short stories he has some truly excellent novels as well: try Someplace to be Flying or The Onion Girl.

Sean Stewart -- An excellent little-known Canadian author; he writes mostly contemporary fantasy and magical realism, but my favorite of his works is Nobody's Son which is about what happens after the boy wins the hand of the princess -- it's full of a rich sense of history, both for its world and for its characters.

Jo Walton -- She has a really diverse catalog; it includes one alternate history mystery trilogy (starting with Farthing which is chillingly brilliant and perfect if you enjoy Agatha Christie and the like), one duology + a third related book of Arthurian fantasy (starts with The King's Peace), a stand-alone novel that is essentially a Victorian comedy of manners (like Jane Austen) where all the characters are dragons and the Victorian mores are dictated by dragon biology (that'd be Tooth and Claw), and a stand-alone science fantasy novel with a really out-of-the-box narrative style (it isn't told chronologically) and a fascinating magic system (that'd be Lifelode).

That's all I've got now. . . I know I bent your rules a bit, but I promise, the series I mentioned (with the exception of Jo Walton's VERY SHORT series) don't read like series AT ALL. Hope you have some luck!


P.S. Oh, and duh, it just occurred to me, but if you want to read some classic SF and F much of it is short stand-alone novels. You could try Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, or Ursula Le Guin, just to name a couple. ;)

Date Posted: 9/27/2010 12:14 PM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2009
Posts: 905
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Margarete Atwood:  Oryx and Crake

An excellent book about the end of mankind, well worth reading.

I liked it so much that I put the sequel ' Year of the Flood' on my wish list too.

And Neil Gaiman - 'American Gods'  One of my all time favourites.  If you liked 'Good Omens', then you will like 'American Gods'


Date Posted: 9/28/2010 1:58 PM ET
Member Since: 3/1/2006
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One of my favorite sci-fi books is Friday by Robert Heinlein :)

Date Posted: 9/29/2010 6:54 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2010
Posts: 16
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I've read everything Gaiman with the exception of Anasai Boys, haven't yet found a copy of that one.

Thanks for the recs, I've added many of them to my wish list.

Subject: stand alone novels
Date Posted: 2/10/2011 10:14 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,635
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Eric Frank Russell was one of the original great sci-fi authors. All his books are stand alone. Also many of Andre Norton's were too.


Last Edited on: 2/10/11 10:16 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/11/2011 12:00 PM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2010
Posts: 577
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Thank you for this thread,

I'm personally a fan of Short Fiction, and although I have finished series, I don't think I've ever purposefully started a series in the last decade of my own volition (started some but when you get 3 books in a series for christmas what choice do you have).  I think that is what most often turns me off towards fantasy (that and the oversimplification of good and evil).  I have to bring up that searching for short fiction compilations may be what you want.  The ones I own make a good break from other more in depth novels.  My dad had several compilations from Anne McCaffrey at one time (I don't know the titles though sorry).

I love the responses.

The only two fantasy books I can think of is Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay and Legend of Nightfall by Mickey Zucker Reichert.  I haven't read them since I was much younger but they were good then.

If you can find a copy 1001 Arabian Nights it is also a good fantasy read.

In science fiction almost all of the Golden Age or Rag era authors published a serious volume of single novels.  I also lift up Frank Herbert and David Brin, as I have certainly loved their stand alone material over their series (sorry not a huge Dune fan).

Likewise if you go to the age of scientific romance (Verne and Wells) it was almost unheard of to even publish a series so all of their material is stand alone.

Last Edited on: 2/11/11 3:43 PM ET - Total times edited: 2