Which sci-fi book series, ideally with many books, should I read next?
July 31, 2018 7:05 PM   Subscribe

Which sci-fi book series, ideally with many books, should I read next? I've read and liked Asher's Polity books, Banks' Culture books, Reynolds' Revelation Space series, Leckie's Radch trilogy, and Corey's Expanse books.

Don't really care about the theme or subgenre, just well written and a fairly strong preference for a lot of books/a well developed universe.
posted by aerotive to Media & Arts (30 answers total) 76 users marked this as a favorite
Vorkosigan! Vorkosigan! Vorkosigan! The best thing about them is how
many of them there are, and they’re all good.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 7:13 PM on July 31, 2018 [26 favorites]

Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam trilogy is awesome! Oryx and Crake (the first book) is one of my favorites.

Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis trilogy is also fantastic (as are all of her books).

Scalzi's Old Man's War series is fun - I'd rate it more enjoyable than the expanse but not quite as interesting as the radch trilogy.

Not set in space, but the Long Earth series (Prachett and Baxter) is definitely sci-fi and interesting - there are five books.

There's also the classic Foundation series. I enjoyed it more than I was expecting to, given how old and full of -isms it is.
posted by snaw at 7:24 PM on July 31, 2018 [4 favorites]

* Yoon Ha Lee's Ninefox Gambit series has a kind-of-fantasy spin (there's physics-altering rituals and calendars that go unexplained) but is excellent and if you liked the "hey, so gender is a thing that space-cultures might think about differently" element in Leckie's work, Lee has some fun with that too.

* Walter Jon Williams' Praxis series is good fun space opera, not his best work but one of the better examples of the genre IMHO.

* It's just started with one book, so it technically might not qualify, but John Scalzi's just kicked off a new series with The Collapsing Empire and he's prolific enough that I'd consider diving in. His other series (Old Man's War et al) have a good reputation too but I haven't read them myself.

* Vernor Vinge wrote a fantastic book (A Fire Upon the Deep) that had a decent sequel (The Children of the Sky) and a great prequel (A Deepness in the Sky).

* Robert Silverberg's Majipoor books (Lord Valentine's Castle, et al) has a trilogy, then another trilogy, then enough short stories and novellas to choke a spaceship. Also it's quite good. Or at leas I thought so when I was much younger? I haven't revisited it in ages and probably ought to...

* Lots of people whose opinions I respect really, really love Hugh Howey's Wool and its sequels. I found the first section to be extremely well-written and incredibly disturbing in an actual-nightmares way, which is definitely a strong reaction, but then I'm also the kind of person who agrees that Black Mirror is probably quite good but I can't stand the bleakness so I don't watch it. If you have a stronger stomach it's probably worth visiting.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:39 PM on July 31, 2018 [6 favorites]

Peter F. Hamilton's Commonwealth series.
posted by audi alteram partem at 7:39 PM on July 31, 2018 [2 favorites]

N.K. Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy. The first two (The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate) won Hugos, and the third (The Stone Sky) is nominated this year. The series is heading to tv:
The Fifth Season is described as an epic drama set in a world where civilization-destroying earthquakes occur with deadly regularity. A small minority of inhabitants has the ability to quiet these earthquakes, but they also can cause them. The series follows three women, each of whom possesses these special, Earth-controlling abilities: Damaya, a young girl training to serve the Empire; Syenite, an ambitious young woman ordered to breed with her bitter and frighteningly powerful mentor; and Essun, a mother searching for the husband who murdered her young son and kidnapped her daughter mere hours after a Season tore a fiery rift across the land.
posted by maudlin at 7:42 PM on July 31, 2018 [10 favorites]

How about some C. J. Cherryh? I adore her Chanur novels, start with Pride of Chanur, or perhaps her Foreigner books, beginning with the eponymous Foreigner. These are both "anthropological SF," in that the alien societies depicted are a huge part of the attraction of the books. THey're a bit old-school, but delightful if a bit dense.
posted by Alensin at 8:00 PM on July 31, 2018 [5 favorites]

Nthing N.K. Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy and Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam trilogy, but you will love, love, love The Expanse.
The show is also incredibly good.
posted by mannyfeefees at 8:18 PM on July 31, 2018

The Daedalus Incident by Michael J. Martinez is the first of a trilogy. The story is split between a mystery on Mars and an alternate universe that is Hornblower in Spaaaace.

He also has two books out so far in a Cold War series with paranormal characters; the first book is MJ-12: Inception.
posted by mogget at 8:29 PM on July 31, 2018

The Steerswoman. Not quite finished yet but there's progress on the next book and they are so awesome. They get pitched like fantasy at first but definitely SF fans will like them, trust me and all the other people who love them!

Haven't read the whole series yet but Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars books start out strong.

The original trilogy of Brin's Uplift Wars (esp. the second two) is really good and imaginative. The next three are spotty.

I'll second the Vorkosigan books and personally I think the best ones come later, so if you start and like I'd say keep going!
posted by mark k at 8:55 PM on July 31, 2018 [8 favorites]

Ken MacLeod's Engines of Light series and his Fall Revolution series.
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:22 PM on July 31, 2018 [3 favorites]

Becky Chambers's Wayfarers series. There are three so far: The long way to a small angry planet, A closed and common orbit and the just-published Record of a spaceborn few. Hopefully there will be more to come.

Definitely Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars books. There's the trilogy (red/green/blue) and then a collection of short stories set in the same world. If you like those, you may also like his other works, which include two other trilogies.

Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle may not meet your definitions of science fiction, but it is a trilogy of very long books.

Maaaybe Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos books, which have some science fictional elements though are primarily fantasy. They are (mostly) good fun and there's a lot of them!
posted by Athanassiel at 9:51 PM on July 31, 2018

Fall Revolution is great but not if you're after a consistent universe as it spans multiple timelines.

Stross has a few series that might work for you --
(1) Merchant Princes -- people who can walk from one timeline to another. Part of the fun is taking down medievalist fantasy nonsense and then sort of taking down the takedown. 4 books so far? You want the rework where he smushed the first set back into two books.
(2) Laundry -- Lovecraft meets lasers meets LeCarre. Lotsa books.
(3) Eschaton -- postsingularity space opera, but only two and won't be more. The publisher mushes Accelerando and Glasshouse into this series, sorta, but they stand better apart.

You might as well try Hamilton's Night's-Dawn and Commonwealth serieses. He tends to create nicely lived-in universes but that are almost entirely suburban southern England spread across the cosmos. Also, just to note, Night's Dawn is in large part about what happens to a Star Trek/Wars style universe when the dead come back from beyond to grave to possess the living with juju powers, so if that's a big NOPE from you then avoid. If you're reading the Commonwealth books, I would stop with Judas Unchained. There's another series afterwards in the same universe about dreaming and voids and boy howdy I tell you that I bounced off those books *hard*.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:59 PM on July 31, 2018 [2 favorites]

C.J. Cherryh's Foreigner series goes on forever
(This year's volume is #19...)
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 9:59 PM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

Also Neal Asher's "Owner" books, where you can practically see him screaming "THIS IS WHAT YOU GET IF YOU VOTE LABOUR!" through spittle-flecked lips. Still fun, but hooboy there are some moustache-twirling villains.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:01 PM on July 31, 2018

Dune, of course.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:03 PM on July 31, 2018 [3 favorites]

Varley's Eight World books -- the setting reminds me of the Culture but not *quite* postscarcity yet
If you're feeling like lighter --definitely a Heinlein pastiche -- then the several books that start with Red Thunder

Karl Schroeder's Candesce books -- primitives living in an orbital balloon thousands of miles across, exploiting the high-tech systems that keep them alive without knowing really what they're doing
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:08 PM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

Absolutely nthing The Steerswoman series. Four books so far and Kirstein's hard at work on number five, with two more to come after that. She's really slow but they're worth it.

A fun series I love (9 books, by Steve Perry) is The Matadora set, with politics and martial arts and revolutions. The core set is six books, with ancillary books.

I also like Dana Stabenow's SF trilogy, Star Svensdotter sadly out of print (I think), rather libertarian in approach but well-written.
posted by MovableBookLady at 10:13 PM on July 31, 2018 [2 favorites]

There's a bajillion books in the liaden universe series. I've read the first one, it wasn't the best Sci fi I've ever read but was fine
posted by smoke at 11:39 PM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea series and Hamish series.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:19 AM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

The Ivory trilogy by Doris Egan.
posted by heatherlogan at 5:49 AM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Octavia Butler's Patternist or Xenogensis series are both great and span multiple books.

It is technically fantasy, but Jack Vance's Dying Earth Series (along with the Songs of the Dying Earth tribute anthology and other follow-ups) are great, too.

Also, the Wild Card series (edited by George R. R. Martin) is pretty extensive and - while some books are hit-and-miss - they are an interesting read. Some titles might be hard to find (thought I heard something about the rights changing hands and ebooks coming out for older titles.)
posted by TofuGolem at 6:13 AM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Andre Norton's Witch World series. Lots of books, well-developed universe with multiple cultures, great fun fantasy.

Elizabeth Moon's Deed of Paksenarrion + Legacy of Gird + Paladin's Legacy - about 10 books, although the first 2 series are available as single volumes now. Really detailed fantasy world with lots of interesting characters. Some people think Legacy of Gird isn't as good at being a fantasy series, and while I kind of agree I like how thoughtful it is. It's more focused on one person's internal journey than on being a fantasy epic.

Seconding C. J. Cherryh.
posted by Ahniya at 6:59 AM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Frederik Pohl's Heechee books have a great premise, though they get a little....1970s...at times.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:05 AM on August 1, 2018

I am predictably going to recommend Richard (K) Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs series. I wish I could read them again for the first time, but I've read the whole series at least 4-5 times. So awesome. Noir, well-written, cool characters and ideas, great world-building.
posted by biscotti at 12:22 PM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

How about Gene Wolfe's Solar Cycle. Sort of a fantasy / sci-fi hybrid.
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:55 PM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Hyperion Cantos - its amazing, and its long, and there are lots of intertwining story/ arcs.
posted by porpoise at 1:02 PM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks much everyone most all of these suggestions look promising.
posted by aerotive at 5:24 PM on August 1, 2018

Peter Watts' Rifters series (near-future deep-sea), and his Firefall trilogy (Blindsight, Echopraxia, Firefall).
posted by gottabefunky at 10:39 PM on August 1, 2018

....aaaand just realized that Firefall is a compilation of the first two books....
posted by Thistledown at 12:58 PM on August 2, 2018

In addiion to Vorkosigan books by Lois McMaster Bujold, I highly recommend the Chalion series.

Also, Tamora Pierce has several related series.
posted by Altomentis at 2:09 PM on September 17, 2018

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