Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Blending science and fantasy

From tor.com, this post by J. Patrick Black: Five Books That Blend Science and Fantasy

Great topic! But why, oh why, not go for a list of at least ten? Because wow are some obvious, obvious books missing from Black’s list.

Here are the books he includes:

1. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. I haven’t read anything by North (yet) but she keeps turning up on all kinds of lists, so she s definitely on my radar.

2. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. Okay, that seems justifiable.

3. Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis. Is that perhaps more like blending philosophy with fantasy? It’s been a long time since I read it.

4. Perdido Street Station by China Miéville. Haven’t read this one yet.

5. Galápagos by Kurt Vonnegut. Um, yeah, I read it, but I didn’t like it and don’t remember it. Vonnegut is just one of those writers who doesn’t work for me.

Now, here are five more that ought to be included on any list of this kind:

5. PERN, FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE. How could anybody leave off Anne McCaffery’s Pern books? Dragons! Telepathy! Time travel! Space ships and alien planets and physics! Wow, is Pern obvious or what?

6. Lord of Light by Zelazy. What a wonderful book this is, and I think it qualfies.

7. The Spiritwalker trilogy by Kate Elliot, with those wonderful Troodon-derived feathered people. Fantastic science elements there.

8. The Lady Trent books by Marie Brennan! Come on, this series jumps up and down and waves a big red flag. Just look at the biologically oriented covers!

9. The second Griffin Mage book, Land of Burning Sands, totally fits this list. It’s not like I made up all that stuff about materials science, you know.

10. The Steerswoman books by Rosemary Kirstein. Not that they are exactly fantasy with science elements. More, you know, totally straight science fiction thoroughly disguised as fantasy.

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4 Comments Blending science and fantasy

  1. SarahZ

    The Tearling trilogy, and Wen Spencer’s Elfhome series (elves and space ships) come to mind.

  2. SarahZ

    Oh, and the Innkeeper Chronicles from Ilona Andrews. Those have spacefaring vampires & werewolves.

  3. Mike S.

    Pern always struck me as straight SF in fantasy clothes, like Cherryh’s Morgaine books. The impossibilities are all science fictional impossibilities like ftl and psi. (Weyr Search was published in Campbell’s Analog, after all.) Their problems are based in orbital mechanics and biology, their solutions in genetic engineering and chemistry. There’s no outright magic, just science (or SCIENCE!) the colonists have lost knowledge of.

  4. Rachel

    Yeah, I know supposedly that’s so in Pern. However, the dragons are impossible, so as far as I’m concerned the stories are as much fantasy as the Temeraire series.

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