If you're a fantasy lover who's avoided science fiction novels, maybe you just haven't found the right gateway drug. Here are 11 novels that bridge the gap between fantasy and science fiction, by fitting into both categories.
I am a child of the late 80's/early 90's. I came to fantasy fiction in the era where large, ongoing series of epic fantasies were all the rage and lengthy series by Raymond E. Feist, Robert Jordan, Kate Elliott, David Eddings, Brian Jacques and Terry Goodkind topped the bestseller lists, even as their continuing sequels do now, nearly twenty years later. So I admit to being formed by and having a significant love for epic fantasy.
I am also aware that science fiction in particular tends to be avoided by some readers. But it is only by reading broadly within our genre, and even outside it, that we can truly consider ourselves fans of speculative fiction. You may have tried to read more broadly in the genre, and this list is not meant to dismiss books SF buffs may have suggested to you before, like McCaffrey' Pern, Jack Vance's Dying Earth, Terry Brooks Shannara, or Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun. All of which, I can honestly say, except for the Vance novels, have never appealed much to me either.
This list is by no means exhaustive, so do feel free to suggest others that might bridge this gap in the comments below.
The Boat of a Million Years by Poul Anderson
This novel is a science fiction of alternate history. In it, some few humans are born without the ability to die through some quirk of genetics. Many, especially in prehistory, die before they discover the truth, but a few clever and/or fearful ones manage to hide their inability and so traverse through history, occasionally encountering one another, but always seeking to survive in a world that would see them as abominations. The science fictional element when Anderson moves on into the future, past the twentieth century in which he was writing, but it is a small part of the novel. Here Anderson explores themes that can be found in epic fantasy in the races of elves and dwarves, but in a historical rather than mythological setting.
Hopefully, reading one of these suggested titles might help in broadening your reading horizons. This is no ultimatum, nor should you think I am coming from on high to tell you what you should and shouldn't read, but if you have felt that perhaps you could benefit from reading more widely within the speculative fiction genre, these particular titles may help you bridge the gap. Rather than diving in full throttle into science fiction, a part of the genre you may have already tried and dismissed, these fictions may appeal to your epic fantasy inclinations.
This post originally appeared on Walker of Worlds.