Help me find more amazing, and epic, sci-fi and fantasy audio books
September 21, 2008 3:06 AM   Subscribe

Help me find more great, epic scope, sci-fi or fantasy audiobooks.

I just finished all of Frank Herbert's Dune Series, both his own work, and the work of his son and Kevin J. Anderson. I've also listened to the entire Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov, and the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, as well as the Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan. (frustratingly enough, only the Foundation Series is fully complete at this time. Edit. I just found out that Dune 7 part two "Sandworms of Dune" is finished, but I can't seem to find the audiobook for it yet.)

Of those four I liked the Foundation Series and the Dune Series the best.

What are some other fantastic and (hopefully) long novels or series of novels?

Bonus points if the audiobook is read by Scott Brick
posted by Kraki to Media & Arts (22 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I forgot to mention the Enderverse by Orson Scott Card. I absolutely LOVED those books too, and the audiobooks for the those are simply astonishing.
posted by Kraki at 3:11 AM on September 21, 2008

I enjoyed listening to Iain Banks' The Algebraist.
posted by kolophon at 5:26 AM on September 21, 2008

I just saw that I linked to the abridged version on six CD's, but if you google for the unabridged edition (21 hours) I'm sure you can find a cheaper offer than the $115.95 they want on amazon.
posted by kolophon at 5:35 AM on September 21, 2008

How do you feel about Stephen King's Gunslinger series?
posted by Lou Stuells at 7:23 AM on September 21, 2008

I enjoyed this sort of thing long ago and while this isn't a big, long, epic-series I did quite enjoy the audiobook of World War Z. The story is told via a series of recorded interviews (with different actors for each character) with people who survived a worldwide zombie epidemic instead of just someone reading a first or third person narrative.
posted by K.P. at 8:02 AM on September 21, 2008

@Lou Stells: No I've never read the Dark Tower series. I've thought about it, but i'm not much of a horror buff. I think I should definitely give the first one a try though. Good idea.

@kolophon: I checked out The Algebraist and it does in fact look very interesting.

@K.P.: Wow, that does sound incredibly interesting.

Thanks for the suggestions so far! Keep em coming!
posted by Kraki at 8:54 AM on September 21, 2008

I recently listened to, and enjoyed, Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan saga. I liked the author's creativity in imagining different future cultures, and the fact that her hero is reliably himself, yet really develops over the course of the series.

The first two books and some of the novellas aren't available as audiobooks, but they aren't entirely necessary. You can start with "The Warrior's Apprentice" and work through the 8 or 9 books following. All the books are read by Grover Gardner.
posted by Squeak Attack at 9:02 AM on September 21, 2008

I just finished going through the Earthsea series by Ursula K. Le Guin and absolutely loved the reader for the first book, A Wizard of Earthsea. There are readings in audiobook for the whole novel series of five books. Amazon link for the first book
posted by palionex at 9:32 AM on September 21, 2008

Not an epic series, but Eifelheim by Michael Flynn is a wonderful audiobook. It blends hard science fiction and medieval historical fiction in a really cool way, and the reader does a great job of bringing out all the personalities.

I notice that Scott Brick has started work on the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, which is one of the better and more original fantasy sagas I have read.
posted by nowonmai at 10:28 AM on September 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Kraki: I would think of the Gunslinger series as less about horror and more about magic/fantasy + cowboy/western. I wouldn't read the series for a long time because I thought the books would just be more Stephen King horror slop and only ended up denying myself a very enjoyable series for a long time.
posted by The Bishop of Turkey at 11:32 AM on September 21, 2008

Seconding McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan saga. I also think that her three book Chalion series includes one of the best Fantasy novels ever written: The Curse of Chalion.

If you like epics, Sara Douglass is your gal. A PhD in history, she builds wild and fantastic worlds and has (so far) 8 books set in the mythical land of Tencendor. Look for the six book Wayfarer series to start with (also considered two separate trilogies, but most commonly sold in the US as a six-book series).
posted by arnicae at 11:46 AM on September 21, 2008

Neal Stephenson's magnificent Baroque Cycle, at least 1500 pages in hardcopy, is available as audiobooks. There's also The Lord of the Rings, of course. It's now available on CD, but I received the BBC version on 12 cassettes as a gift in 1985. It's wonderful, but of the "radio play" type of audiobook (numerous actors, sound effects), rather than just a single reader.
posted by angiep at 11:53 AM on September 21, 2008

GraphicAudio is an interesting place. May not be just what you are looking for but keep it in mind.
posted by bjgeiger at 12:11 PM on September 21, 2008

Dan Simmons qualifies as Epic Sci-Fi, only a couple books available as audio, though. Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age is one of my favorites, and available as audio. I got stuck half-way through the first book of his Baroque Cycle, just way too slow.
posted by and for no one at 1:11 PM on September 21, 2008

It's funny you just now asked this question, as I too have been considering trying to read something sci-fi-ish for something different. Here's my take:

A series that seems to fit the both epic and sci-fi criteria is Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (wikipedia, Amazon). It's written/drawn by Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away) and started out as a Manga series before being turned into a movie. So, knowing that you enjoyed (still enjoy?) manga, I thought this would be a good first pick. And, okay, so it's not an audio book (at least, I didn't look to see if there was one), but I still found the movie to be enthralling even it was from the early 80s).

What about some of Cory Doctorow's novels? I'm not quite sure how many of them can be considered sci-fi, but I kind of think there are audio versions of all of them, and his latest, Little Brother seemed very cool.

As a last ditch effort, for sci-fi books, check out this previous thread with 150+ comments. I'm sure plenty are available as audio books.

Be sure to let me know what you wind up with!
posted by mrhaydel at 2:32 PM on September 21, 2008

I nth the Dark Tower books - they're not 'horror' as such, more like grand dark fantasy. The first one in the series is austere and moving, and a hell of a piece of writing in its way. Subsequent volumes are more in line with King's maximalist novel style (vs. his comparatively spare short stories). The last few volumes get into metafiction and other literary hijinks. Recommended.
posted by waxbanks at 4:45 PM on September 21, 2008

don't know if they exist on audio, but anything by r.a. salvatore!
posted by docmccoy at 4:52 PM on September 21, 2008

Any and all of Iain M Banks SF novels; specifically the Culture milieu. You could also try the Bas Lag series by China MiƩville.

Out of curiosity, why audio books? Do you listen to them whilst travelling etc? My wife's great-grandfather listens to audio books because his eyesight is not what it used to be.

In the majority of cases, audio-books are abridged which I find irritating.

Anyway, good luck with your quest. Remember Iain M Banks!
posted by Mephisto at 5:10 PM on September 21, 2008

2nd'ing Neal Stephenson. Diamond Age and SnowCrash are both available unabridged in audio and are both massive and superb. The Baroque Cycle, AFAIK, is only available excerpted, and it's definitely more historical than science fiction, but excellent, too.

Never heard the radio-drama version of Tolkien, but the unabridged readings of all volumes, including the Hobbit, by Rob Inglis are classics.
posted by dpcoffin at 8:44 PM on September 21, 2008

My husband's been lifting to David Brin's Uplift Series on audio (yay library) and really enjoyed it. He's a fabulous writer and fits the more hard sci fi genre you seem to like. Nthing Iain M. Banks.
posted by purenitrous at 9:20 PM on September 21, 2008

Neal Stephenson's books
the unabridged Lord of the Rings series (Inglis) is fantastic; I haven't listened to the Hobbit though.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
the Harry Potter books in their unabridged versions are really good too, either Jim Dale or Stephen Fry
Douglas Adams books have good audio versions
The Golden Compass series might work; I haven't listened to them
I've listened to one Terry Pratchett book on tape - Night Watch - and found it suprisingly moving
You might think about things like the Iliad, the Odyssey, other old epics like that; I've found some of them are too dry, but YMMV
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:06 PM on September 22, 2008

(I realize some of those are a bit lighter than you like, but figured they might be worth mentioning; Pratchett for example has about a million books, so if you like them you'll really be able to dig in)
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:07 PM on September 22, 2008

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