The Crow's Dream

Philosophy, geekery, and the meaning if life, and what I read this week…

The Great Escape

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Escapist fiction helps us to deal with the ennui. People read mystery, horror, science fiction, and fantasy for the same reasons. They want to forget about the world for a little while. It is almost as if fiction allowed us to dream while we are awake. I spent must of my childhood reading it, but later, as a young literature major, I despised escapist fiction, and sought the more “intellectual” and literary sort of stuff. It wasn’t until much later that I let go of my pretentiousness and rediscovered that a great world of otherworldly delights and thrills awaited me at the turn of a paperback page. The great thing about escapist stuff is that some of it goes on and on in series. To be honest, I couldn’t bring myself to read though stuff like the Wheel of Time, or Shannara. I picked these series–when I originally read them–because they all have a Hugo or a Nebula in their midst.Some of them have more than one.

There are a lot of bad series out there. I think these are the best of the best. If you want details about their respective universes just click on the links provided.  

David Brin’s Uplift Saga

This series is about human resourcefulness and about Earth pride. Brin’s work makes you proud to be a human who evolved on Earth. He deals with a lot of issues about intelligence and evolution. His stories are smart and action packed, and not without a sense of humor. Brin’s books made space operas cool again. 

The Vorkosigan Saga

Lois McMaster Bujold is the Jane Austin of science fiction and fantasy. Her science fiction universe is richly detailed. She focuses on a multi-generational adventure filled with likable characters who grow and change. 

The Chalion Saga

Once again, Lois McMster Bujold creates a world that feels real, but this time in a semi medieval fantasy setting. There are no space ships here, but the level of intrigue and spiritual search present in her universe will keep you interested though and though. 

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser

Urban, vulgar, and disturbing. These books contain some of the most interesting anti heroes ever. These stories originate sword and sorcery as we know it. They have never been matched by anyone. They are complex, and exiting, but not for kids.

Dark Tower

My favorite Stephen King books. I’ve never gotten around to to finish it. Perhaps the world will end when I do. The story is in par with Leiber’s for it’s darkness and characterization. awesome! 

Mythago Wood

I’m surprised at how few people know this series. This is the one that made me fall in love with speculative fiction. 

Old Man’s War

Scazi is a pioneer of awesomeness. His stuff has been compared to Heinlein, perhaps not unfairly, but so much bad stuff is compared to Heinlein in reviews, and  so few things deserve it, that I’ll save you the comparison, but if I were to make it, I’d tell you that Scalzi can stand on his own, and that Heinlein would have been as flattered as Scalzi is by the comparison. 

So that’s that for today. No, I’m not going to include Harry Potter, or Narnia, or Ender. You all know those. I wanted to introduce new stuff. Let me know what you think if you’ve read any of these, or after you do.

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Written by Hector

October 10, 2008 at 4:48 pm

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