Need more feel good fiction
October 11, 2018 2:52 PM   Subscribe

I grabbed Becky Chambers' first book based on a recommendation I saw here. Then I read her other two books at warp speed. Until she writes more, it's time to move on. Where do I go next?

I found the above recommendation (jessamyn: great recommendation!) while looking for something new to read. I saw the reviews saying that Becky Chambers was writing "non-dystopic space opera" and that it was a refreshing change of pace. That, along with an intention to read more female authors led me to buying the first book. After experiencing the universe, the characters, and the unique perspective of the book, I quickly read through the second and third book, A Closed and Common Orbit being my favorite of the three. Since then, I've not found anything to scratch the itch.

Most of all, all three books had me feeling good by the end. I want more of that.

Metafilter: Who or what can I read? Sci-Fi, female authors preferred but not required. Thank you!
posted by Mister Fabulous to Grab Bag (21 answers total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
Previous recommendations
posted by blob at 2:59 PM on October 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

A Gentleman of Moscow by Amor Towles. It is in no way SciFi, and is set during the first 50 years of the Soviet Union; and yet it is very much about a found family coming together and supporting one another during difficult times. It's actually pretty heartwarming. (Anything terrible that happens, happens offscreen.)
posted by suelac at 3:03 PM on October 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you enjoyed the AI bits of the Becky Chambers books (which I'll assume you did since A Closed and Common Orbit was your favorite), I think you'll like Ann Leckie's books, starting with "Ancillary Justice."

For another sci-fi trilogy, try the Binti books by Nnedi Okorafor. They're amazing Afro-futurist/sci-fi novellas.
posted by dayintoday at 3:04 PM on October 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

A series I read last year may be up your alley. It's a reworking of classic Disney princesses (Snow White, Cinderella etc) with a sci-fi twist. It's young adult and written by a female author, Melissa Meyer. It's lighter fare than A Closed and Common Orbit but lots of fun nonetheless.

The collection of 5 books is known as The Lunar Chronicles. From the wiki: "Each book entails a new take on an old fairy tale, including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White. The story takes place in a futuristic world where earthens, cyborgs, androids, and a race of moon colonists all coexist."
posted by liquorice at 3:58 PM on October 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

The Nothing Girl and The Something Girl by Jodi Taylor. Not science fiction but very sweet stories about a young woman finding a family on a kooky English farm.

Jodi Taylor is also the author of the The Chronicles of St Mary's, which is about time traveling historians, and also does a found family thing. I read the first two but wasn't compelled to continue the series, but I can see it might really be someone else's cup of tea.
posted by Squeak Attack at 4:30 PM on October 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

If short stories are your jam, I'd highly recommend The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu. Incredibly well thought out, intricately detailed science fiction with a deeply human core to it.

(He has a number of novels out as well but I haven't read them -- From hearsay they're quite good as well though).

And seconding Ann Leckie.
posted by cwill at 4:33 PM on October 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

You should read:

The Dream Quest of Vellitt Boe. It will make you feel good.

You should also read Kalpa Imperial.

Ammonite by Niccola Griffith is a classic planetary adventure with All Women. A couple of sad things happen and it's a bit more serious than the Becky Chambers books but it's a very calming kind of adventure book.
posted by Frowner at 4:55 PM on October 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

A Closed and Common Orbit is also my favorite of the Wayfarers series, and Martha Wells’ Hugo- and Nebula-winning Murderbot Diaries feels similar to me. They're four ~100 page novellas: All Systems Red; Artificial Condition; Rogue Protocol; and Exit Strategy. Definitely best read in order.
posted by mumkin at 5:09 PM on October 11, 2018 [10 favorites]

I loved Robin Sloan's Sourdough. (Sloan is a man but the protagonist is a smart, strong, funny woman who has very positive relationships with lots of other women and creates a terrific sense of community around her--totally passes the Bechdel Test, which is important for me.)

Definitely has sci-fi (as well as magical realism) elements, and I felt really happy and good when I finished reading it. I didn't want it to end, to be honest.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:21 PM on October 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Oh, and not a female author, but you might also enjoy Gene Doucette's The Spaceship Next Door. It has that comfortably languid pace Chambers can fall into, a female protagonist, and is ultimately optimistic. In ways it reminded me of cozy Golden Age juvenile SF, but for modern sensibilities. There's a sequel, The Frequency of Aliens, which I've not read.
posted by mumkin at 5:35 PM on October 11, 2018

When you're done devouring Murderbot Diaries, a recommendation I totally agree with despite the subject matter, Wells' Raksura books are much much longer and have a delightfully cozy vibe. Bad things still happen to the protagonists, but there's a super strong family group that develops.
posted by teremala at 5:36 PM on October 11, 2018 [4 favorites]

It's in the recommended thread but I want to reitterate The Goblin Emperor.
posted by jclarkin at 6:03 PM on October 11, 2018 [7 favorites]

There are two Tamora Pierce series that might appeal to you. While the protagonist in each series undergoes some severe trials, ultimately life works out for them, largely due to their perseverance and determination. Another theme is living a chosen life and having a family of friends.

--Trickster's Choice
--Trickster's Queen

Beka Cooper
posted by Altomentis at 7:33 PM on October 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Lois McMaster Bujold! Her Vorkosigan saga is space opera but I also love her two fantasy series, the Chalion and Sharing Knife books. They also make me feel good by the end.
posted by bananacabana at 8:12 PM on October 11, 2018 [5 favorites]

Terry Pratchett writes fantasy that will give you the courage to face the world. He's not female but he writes some good ones. Try Maskerade or Pyramids or Hogfather or Wee Free Men or even Monstrous Company for some belly laughs and wisdom.
posted by irisclara at 8:49 PM on October 11, 2018

A Bad Spell In Yurt is about a wizard at his first job after graduating from wizard college, where he barely passed, and settling into his new life in a small kingdom. It is very cozy. If you like YA/middle grade try Shannon Hale's books as well.

I liked this short story about a Narnia-ish land:
posted by storytam at 2:53 AM on October 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

Not sci-fi, but definitely feel-good books by female authors:

I recommend The Enchanted April any time somebody asks for feel-good fiction. It's like going on vacation with a group of delightful friends.

If grownups took children's literature more seriously, Beverly Cleary's Ramona books would be recognized as some of the finest novels of the 20th century. The first one (Beezus and Ramona) is a solidly written children's book but you can probably skip it without losing critical plot details. Starting with the second book (Ramona The Pest), the series kicks into overdrive and becomes a funny and insightful portrait of childhood that even an adult can appreciate. (And if you are one of those unfortunate grownups who doesn't read kid's books, you can read Cleary's memoir A Girl From Yamhill, which is just as insightful and charming as her children's fiction.)
posted by yankeefog at 4:24 AM on October 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

On top of the Bujold and Okorafor recommendations, Jemisin's "City Born Great" is one of my "fuck yeah" novellas, which is rare in urban fantasy. (She's expanding that concept out to a full novel.) Karen Lord has some nice novels as well.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 9:28 AM on October 12, 2018

The Snow Queen and the Summer Queen by Joan Vinge
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 10:29 AM on October 12, 2018

Winter Tide and Deep Roots, both by Ruthanna Emrys, are stories about a group of different kinds of outcasts and monsters coming together to make themselves a new family and build themselves a new and better home. They are also a not-so-subtle "fuck you" to HP Lovecraft, upon whose work they are based. (It is not necessary to have read Lovecraft before reading these books, though you might miss a couple small references that won't affect your understanding of the plot.) They make me very happy and leave me feeling very satisfied.

You can read The Litany of Earth, a short story prequel to Winter Tide for free to see if the books might work for you.
posted by darchildre at 10:57 AM on October 12, 2018

Strongly second the Ancillary books (plus Provenance) by Ann Leckie as cozy and happy-making.

So much cooking is a wonderful and kind and lovely short story that I loved so much I asked for recommendations like it. Nothing in the thread really captured the special warm Naomi Kritzer magic, but they're all solid recommendations.
posted by Cozybee at 11:29 AM on October 14, 2018

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