So instead of giving last minute Christmas ideas for the books I’ve read this year, I’m going to give the top 5 series to introduce the sci-fi and fantasy fans in your life. Because why only enjoy one book when you can enjoy many!
I’m going to bias this towards recent series I’ve read because that is what I do.
The Centenal Cycle by Malka Older
I loved Infomocracy and its sequel Null States, as they were both so exceptionally interesting but felt realistic. They still stand out at some of the smartest sci-fi books I’ve read in years and I’m eagerly awaiting the Christmas slow down to finally get on with the most recent book in the series.
Even though every time I read something by this author I have moments of utter heart stopping anxiety, I keep on coming back. Her characters are complex and interesting, with you either hating or loving them (or both a the same time) and her worlds are so meticulously crafted and consistent. I have the sequel to Vicious to read over the holidays as well…but I can’t imagine it’s going to be a comfortable ride!
If your friends love big, dramatic space operas with incredible world building, this is the series for them. It’s so beautiful and detailed in its descriptions of everything from tea ceremonies to warships. But more than that, it’s got an intricate plot, lots of subterfuge and some of the most interesting characters I’ve encountered since Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch series.
I think Murderbot was my favourite character in anything I’ve read or watched this year. More than any other character, I wanted Murderbot to be real and to be my very awkward friend. Across four novellas, we follow the former Security Unit across space to unravel the mystery of its own past and also take down some shady corporate entities. We share it all with such a wonderful, unique and funny individual, who loves its vids and anguishes over its interactions with squishy humans. I have laughed so much reading this series, it is a true delight.
Archivist Wasp was one of my favourite books I read in 2016 and I basically told everyone to read it. I’m now in the middle of the sequel, Latchkey and am enjoying slipping back into that weird and different world that I encountered. It’s such a different series, so weird but exquisitely conveyed that I still can picture scenes from the first book. It’s absolutely brilliant and definitely for someone who likes something slightly different from their sci-fi.
There are so many other series out there, The Wayfarers by Becky Chambers, Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, The Themis Files by Sylvain Neuvel, The Interminables by Paige Orwin. There are so many brilliant books out recently, I think I need a Tardis or a Time Turner to spend more time with them.
Happy Christmas reading!