When I’m busy or having one of those “Short Attention Span” spells, I don’t really have the patience for a six hundred page Epic Fantasy or really detailed and long Scifi novel. I figured since it’s getting close to finals (for those of you still in school) and the Holidays I’d make a list of some of my favorite Science Fiction and Fantasy short reads a.k.a. light reads under 300 pages.
I tried to include a variety of books, but I’m nor partial to Hard Scifi–so you won’t really find any of those here. Oh and by the way, if you’re not a reader of speculative fiction and want some recommendations, most of these reads would be nice entry points into either genre so give one a try!
My List of Short Scifi and Fantasy Reads
- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (a.k.a. Blade Runner) by Philip K. Dick ~ If you don’t know the story from the film or whatnot, it’s basically about a detective who hunts down androids. Also important, it’s set on futuristic Earth where most of the animals are robots and androids are forbidden planet-side. Philip K. Dick’s story’s fun and trippy, and while I’m generally not a fan of Cyberpunk, I really enjoyed this quick read.
- Druid’s Blood by Esther M. Friesner ~ This novel is an alternate universe tale about Sherlock Holmes. It’s got magic, Ada Lovelace, and tons of literary and historical references. If you’re a nerd about British Literature and History (like me) and/or a Sherlock Holmes fan, you’ll definitely enjoy this book.
- The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle ~ If you’re in the mood for something sweet and slightly sad, this novel about the last unicorn in existence searching for more of her kind will be a perfect fit. While A Fine and Private Place is my favorite of Beagle’s book (it was a tad too long for this list), The Last Unicorn comes in at a close second.
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams ~ My uncle (who knows I love British humor) recommended this to me when I was in Junior High, and I’ve loved Hitchhiker’s Guide ever since. It’s about the meaning of the universe, the destruction of Earth, and the myriad of uses for towels, and it’s hilarious. If you somehow haven’t read it yet, do it now! If you have read it, I’d say it’s the perfect time to read it again.
- The Princess Bride by William Goldman ~ Speaking of wonderfully hilarious books, The Princess Bride is one of my favorite quick reads that I return to again and again. I even like it better than the movie–which is magnificent too, of course. I’m just going to assume you know the plot of this one cause, you know, it’s The Princess Bride.
- Hunter’s Run by George R. R. Martin, Gardner Dozois, and Daniel Abraham ~ I love accessible, action oriented scifi, and Hunter’s Run is a fantastic example of this. It’s a twist-y tale about aliens, a man on the run, and a hell-hole of a planet. Definitely one of my favorite science fiction books of all time.
- Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow ~ As a Disney nerd, I shouldn’t have been surprised how much I got invested in this story, but I totally was surprised to find myself on the edge of my seat (so to speak) waiting to find out whether Jules saved his beloved Disney World rides. This is sort of a mystery novel masquerading as a science fiction novel, but, really, all you need to know is that it’s set in the Magic Kingdom. For reals. When I go to Disney World again, this will be in my luggage.
- A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny ~ Like Druid’s Blood, this is another fantasy novel with plenty of literary references for book nerds. Unlike Druid’s Blood, it’s told from a dog’s point of view. I absolutely loved this book and was very excited when it came back in print this fall. Take advantage of the new edition and check it out!
Do you have any favorite short Science Fiction or Fantasy novels? Please share your recommendations in the comments!