Basically I'm Goldilocks?
January 14, 2016 3:47 PM   Subscribe

Book Recommendation Filter: Looking for urban fantasy or "modern world" sci-fi (not horror) told in third person and doesn't try to sell me on vampire protagonists. This is turning out to be a surprisingly difficult itch to scratch. Help?

Indie books are totally okay. Smutty or not is totally fine. Don't really care about the difference between "urban fantasy" or "paranormal."

I'm really surprised at how heavily this sort of writing seems to lean toward a 1st-person POV. I need stuff to read while I'm writing my own (3rd person) work. Recommendations greatly appreciated.
posted by scaryblackdeath to Media & Arts (19 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
The Rook by Daniel O'Malley.
posted by wintersweet at 4:04 PM on January 14, 2016 [6 favorites]

any recent william gibson (pattern recognition forwards).
posted by andrewcooke at 4:04 PM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

I didn't enjoy Emma Bull's War for the Oaks, but a lot of people whose opinions I generally respect like it, and it meets your criteria.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 4:07 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

2nding War for the Oaks (I actually enjoyed it). Also Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, and lots of stuff by Charles deLint (look for the Newton books).
posted by natabat at 4:10 PM on January 14, 2016 [5 favorites]

Snow Crash
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:15 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Liz Williams' Detective Chen novels.
posted by AMyNameIs at 4:19 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

The Water Knife and/or The Wind Up Girl, both by Paolo Bacigalupi

Also, while not all William Gibson is satisfying to me, I thought the most recent one, The Peripheral, was pretty cool.
posted by janey47 at 5:05 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

David Brin's Earth was set "fifty years from tomorrow" when it was published in 1990, so we're halfway there. Sample chapters here.

His 2013 novel Existence is also about 50 years, at most, in the future, though it has an epilogue which is set much further out. I'll just link to the author's book page, where you can watch Brin read you the first chapter himself.
posted by Sunburnt at 5:14 PM on January 14, 2016

Books in the Discworld series that take place in Ankh Morpork.
posted by aniola at 5:37 PM on January 14, 2016

Seconding Charles de Lint, especially his Newford books.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:43 PM on January 14, 2016

I immediately thought of The Rook as well, and the sequel to it, Stiletto, comes out soon. I've heard good things about Seanan McGuire, specifically the InCryptid series that starts with Discount Armageddon. I wouldn't categorize the Discworld books as urban fantasy, myself. Still fun and worth reading, though.
posted by Bunny Boneyology at 5:53 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Perhaps The Last Hot Time would scratch the itch?
posted by tchemgrrl at 5:59 PM on January 14, 2016

Wizard of the Pigeons by Megan Lindholm

All of the "In Death" books by J. D. Robb (Nora Roberts)
posted by Joleta at 7:23 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'd have suggested the Seanana McGuire InCryptid stuff, and even the October Daye stuff, and, hell, even her stuff as Mira Grant, but it's all first-person.
posted by mephron at 7:32 PM on January 14, 2016

Anything by Charles de Lint.
posted by hoodrich at 9:18 PM on January 14, 2016

The Marla Mason series by T. A. Pratt is 3rd person.
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:09 AM on January 15, 2016

China Mieville, Kraken. I also am a big fan of Aloysius Pendergast (written by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Childs), several of whose adventures involve creeping horror and take place in New York City.
posted by tully_monster at 11:13 AM on January 15, 2016

Ooops, sorry...I read that wrong. No horror! Still, I think Mieville will definitely scratch your itch.
posted by tully_monster at 11:18 AM on January 15, 2016

If you don't mind a recommendation for a series that's a little old and more ok than great, SERRAted Edge fits your requirements for 3rd person and urban fantasy. Pretty sure there's no vampires. Mercedes Lackey writes the series with a bunch of collaborators (author credit might be reversed in terms of work put into it).

In her biblio, look for the Elves on the Road'series' which is actually a couple of interconnected series. The jacket summary of the first book in the SERRAted Edge stuff is off-puttingly terrible, so fair warning that the book isn't nearly as bad as the description.
posted by librarylis at 9:43 AM on January 17, 2016

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