Massive book recommendations!

I’ve tried to touch on different things here over the years, sticking with things that I love as a proud geek fanboy. 

Just like a ferret, I’m not consistent. I bounce all over the place. Ooh, shiny!

I’ll talk about WoW for a month, and then out of nowhere you get a post about John Ringo books, or World War II heist movies, or Top Chef.

This pays off for me, because invariably you folks offer suggestions for things I’D like that you enjoyed, and boom, my music collection explodes with awesomeness, or I hear about a new old movie I end up loving, or like the other day, I take the plunge and buy Jim* Butcher’s first Dresden book, Storm Front, and really like it.

I have gushed about John Ringo before, and I also wrote a post about some of the older books and series I really, really loved a long time ago.

That’s not really very complete. Not when reading is something I have done all my life, and when writing and fiction are among my greatest passions.

I was emailed by Averna a few days ago, asking if there were any other series I would recommend for someone looking for something to read.


I might have a few series of books I could suggest.

What I’m going to do is list the series that retain a permanent place on my bookshelf, regardless of genre.

Each and every one of the following series is a collection of books that I enjoyed so much that I went out and bought all of them, keep all of them on my shelf no matter how little space I have, and will forever retain no matter how many times I do a purge to clear out the stuff I know I’ll never read again.

In many cases, especially on out of print series, I’ve spent many an hour driving around looking in used bookstores or online or by phone for that scarce copy of Sten #4, or something.

Most of my searching was done before there was such a thing as an internet, when finding that one damn book meant networking with eclectic booksellers across the country for weeks, so all you youngsters that can click a button and find that rare book in three seconds? Yeah, you can kiss my butt.

Again, these are the series that I directly support by “voting with my wallet”, by buying new books when they come out with actual cash, and suggest and keep because I love them, in some way.

Many of them I don’t love in all ways, but there will be something that is amazing.

For example, the World as Myth series by Robert Heinlein, some people are turned off by his writing because of the interpersonal relationship issues within the stories, but for me, the concept and way he explores the heart of the subject, worlds of imagination existing as reality somewhere, is just flat out brilliant.

Since 95% of my reading comes for free from the public library system whenever I want, spending money on books, for me, is one hell of a luxury purchase and I have to really want that series to be sitting on my shelves to make it happen.

The great thing about doing this, is that even if you don’t see anything that might be interesting, you get to mock some of my choices,  agree with some others, or suggest your own. Score!

Science Fiction (general)
Space Cops – Three book series by Diane Duane and Peter Morwood
The ‘World as Myth’ books by Robert A. Heinlein
  Time Enough for Love
  The Number of the Beast
  The Cat Who Walks Through Walls
  To Sail Beyond the Sunset  
The Continuing Time by Daniel Keys Moran

Science Fiction (Military)
Posleen War/Legacy of the Aldenata by John Ringo
Sten series by Chris Bunch and Allan Cole
Northworld, RCN and Hammer’s Slammers series by David Drake
TimeWar series by Simon Hawke
Legion of the Damned series by William C. Dietz
Honor Harrington and Dahak series by David Weber
Empire of Man series by David Weber and John Ringo
Robotech novels/book series attributed to Jack McKinney

Prey series and Kidd series by John Sandford
Matthew Scudder novels by Lawrence Block
Jack Reacher series by Lee Child
Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly

Anything in the universe by Terry Pratchet
Dragonriders of Pern and especially the Dragonsong series by Anne McCaffrey
The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny
The Vlad Taltos series, and the Khaavren romances by Steven Brust
The Deryni series by Katherine Kurtz
The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan
The Legion of Videssos series by Harry Turtledove
Doc Sidhe series by Aaron Allston
Lord of the Isles series by David Drake
War God series by David Weber

Honorable fantasy mention;
They’re not a series, but each is freaking brilliant; Talion: Revenant, Eyes of Silver, and Once a Hero by Michael A. Stackpole.
Personally, I don’t enjoy a lot of his other books or series, but I thought Talion in particular was one of the finest works of fantasy fiction I have ever read in my life. Oh, and his Star Wars books also kick ass. A LOT of it. Rogue Squadron? Pretty win.

Military (general)
Rogue Warrior series by Dick Marcinko
Able Team series attributed to Dick Stivers

Dirk Pitt books, particularly the earliest ones, by Clive Cussler

Series I once had all of (or almost all of) back in the day, and wish I still did, but I don’t want them quite enough to spend thousands of dollars rebuilding them;
Casca: The Eternal Mercenary series by Barry Sadler
The Destroyer (Remo Williams and Chium) series by Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir
Doc Savage by Kenneth Robeson

Damn it, I knew I was going to forget to include this one, I was driving around thinking to myself, “Gotta remember that series, don’t forget”, and sure enough, I hit publish? Forgot.
I heartily recommend for pure fun the Bureau 13 books by Nick Pollotta.If you have ever been a GM of any crazy fun role playing game, I dare you to read the first book, Judgment Night, and not kill yourself laughing. I shared these with Manny, and I thought he was gonna kill me. Seriously. At least try the first one. They are amazing.


The list above came from my head while I was at work… so it’s not only the permanent ones, but also the ones that came readily to mind.

Now that I’m home, I look at my shelves and see that I had let slip from my mind a few other series, and so let’s bring in the sad and forgotten, but still cherished loves;

Jack Higgens’ series of Sean Dillon counterintel novels
Stephen Hunter’s multiple interwoven series of awesome sniper/counter sniper books spanning generations

Robert Asprin’s Fool’s Company and Myth Adventures series
Raymond Feists’ Riftwar series
The Sword Dancer series by Jennifer Roberson
The Riddle Master series by Patricia A. McKillip
The Gandalara Cycle by Randal Garrett and Viki Ann Heydron
The Darwath Trilogy by Barbara Hambly

Science Fiction:
The StarWolves series by Thorarinn Gunnarsson

Funny how an entire series of books and stories can just fade from memory, only to rush in at once when you see them on the shelves.

74 thoughts on “Massive book recommendations!

  1. How in the name of Mr T’s Bling did I forget “The Corps” series and the “Brotherhood of War” series by WEB Griffin? Each follows the careers of a couple of Marines and soldiers, respectively, from the beginning of WW2 until… they end. The mix of fictional characters into real events is well done, the characters are very compelling. You’ll spend a small fortune following the series… but it’s worth it.


  2. I thought I was the only person on the planet to read Starwolves, I had to order the only remaining copy in print of Dreadnought from an amazon marketplace seller to finish that series.


  3. Sorry but I cannot leave out Legacy of the Draw, Icewind Dale Trilogy and Dark Elf Trilogy by R. A. Salvatore.

    I second the Battle Field Earth notion.


  4. Try Lee Childs “Reacher” novels and for a darker type of hero read Andrew Vachss’ “Burke” series. I got a Kindle for Christmas and already have 22 books down. Read the whole Burke series back to back.
    Scifi I really liked Footfall by Pournell and Nivens and Harry Turtledoves Eden series.
    I’ll be checking out some of your recommendations.


  5. my recommendations in Fantasy literature would be:

    Mercedes Lackey – By The Sword, The Black Swan
    Tad Williams – Dragonbonechair
    J.R.R. Tolkien – Lord of the Rings
    Terry Pratchett – especially Witches Abroad and Masquerade
    David Eddings – Belgariad

    Rauxis, chosen of CAT


  6. The Recluse Series by LE Modesitt Jr. are pretty fun. At first glance, there is order and chaos and the sure feeling that one is good and the other is evil. As the series continues (going back in time for the most part with each new book) we learn that true health is the blending of order and chaos. It is pretty great fun reading.

    I’d give a tip of the topper to Anne Rice for starting the vampire craze. Her books made the idea of being a vampire fun and sexy. While I might begrudge the incredible piles (and piles) of books in the fantasy section; I have to admit loving Anita Blake by Laurell K Hamilton. My guess is that there are about thirteen books in the series now and my take is that the first seven or eight were a nice roller-coaster ride. Obsidian Butterfly is a stand-out in my opinion.

    A lot of people shy away from Battlefield Earth by L Ron Hubbard because of his founding of Scientology and a horrible movie. Still, the book is a wonderful read full of surprises and really makes the term “space opera” feel honest.

    Right now I’m re-reading the Ender’s Game books by Orson Scott Card. I had the book out in the theater this weekend and got into a fun little argument-discussion on whether Ender’s Game or Snow Crash (Neal Stephenson) were the best sci-fi books ever. By boss said that Enders was a four string quartet and a classic while Snow Crash was a full blown symphony.


  7. I read the Robotech series when I was growing up too – I think they’re what pushed me from being a dabbler into a true reader. That said, I have a few recommendations of my own:

    Erikson is okay, but I kind of feel he goes for the deus ex machina a little too often for the sake of making things seem cool. I do however really enjoy Erikson’s own source of inspiration, Glen Cook’s “Chronicles of the Black Company” and the rest of the series – they just feel a little more plausible, if that makes sense in the context of fantasy military fiction, though the bad guys have an annoying tendency of not staying dead.

    It isn’t fantasy or sci-fi, but Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin 20 book opus is incredible – probably my favorite series of books ever, and I happily own them all. If you’re at all interested in the Napoleonic War period, the British Navy, or have ever read and enjoyed the Horatio Hornblower series, well, this is even better. The writing is exquisite – it’s like Jane Austen for men, with cannons and ship actions and stuff – and you will love, love, love the continuing journeys of his contrasting but inseperable main characters.

    Also, it’s “classic” literature, but the unabridged “Les Miserables” in a good translation is unreal. Victor Hugo truly captures an era as well as the nature of man, I think, and his prose is like reading poetry.


  8. Long time lurker, first time poster here… Had to leave a comment to say Stephen Hunter – YEAH! I have read pretty much all his novels. The latest ones don’t quite have the magic of his earlier work, in my humble opinion, but currently re-reading Pale Horse Coming and damn it’s good… I also second Dave’s recommendation of the Elvis Cole novels – great stuff. George Pelecano’s Washington D.C. trilogy and Derek Strange series are also phenomenal if you like hard boiled crime fiction.


  9. The Sword Dancer series by Jennifer Roberson
    The Riddle Master series by Patricia A. McKillip



  10. This isn’t a series, but for military SF fans, I think John Steakley’s “Armor” is a great little hidden gem. Public library should have it, but I bought it after reading because it is one of those I return to every few years.
    Also, the Belisarius series by Drake & Eric Flint rocks — military history (alternate) mixed with a dash of snarky humor, and a hero who thinks off the beaten path. Loads of fun even after several reads. (If you read Butcher, it is in some ways similar to the “Furies” series, but a little more old school)


  11. Douglas Adams, Hitchhikers’ Guide series doesn’t make the list? I mean who could ask for more than the answer to life, the universe, and everything!


  12. I’m a big Terry Brooks fan and the Word and Void series is a definite win. Especially since he is now writing sequels to link the Word and Void to the Shannara timeline.


  13. I’m a fan of Feist – although I’ll readily admit that I think much of his earlier work was far superior to the later stuff. Riftwar Saga and Empire Trilogy still to this day are my favorites and I first read them something like 15 years ago. If you’ve only read the Riftwar Saga, check out the Empire Trilogy. It’s not so much epic fantasy as it is fantasy politics. But, if you’re a fan of fantasy and a fan of politics… you’ll LOVE this trilogy. Also, to clarify – for me, the Riftwar Series is just Magician / Silverthorn / Darkness. Some of the later books are good in and of themselves, but Riftwar… was just so good, it’s hard to beat.

    I also agree with the earlier Dirk Pitt books – great books. Some of the later ones are also good, although I’m not overly excited about the more recent ones. I worry that Cussler is just trying to milk that series until the publisher stops taking it.

    I’ll have to check out some of the other stuff on your lists.

    Also, the earlier books in David Farland’s Runelords series are pretty good if you’ve never checked them out. The later books get a little weird… but the first books I definitely recommend.


  14. by Peter F. Hamilton

    I’m only on the first book – “The Reality Dysfunction” but it is absolutely fantastic..if you like future based science fiction that focuses on _everything_. Literally great story telling/plot, great environments, amazing characters, and relation to real world theoretical science tied in with the authors own interpretation of how life ‘could’ be in the future.



  15. Can I get a woot woot for the Wheel of Time?! I love that series, can’t wait for the next installment, 2 books to go. Some other books that have captivated me are The Host by Stephenie Meyer and The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. The Host puts a whole new spin on the Invasion of the Body Snatchers concept and the Sword of Truth does a great job of exploring righteous vengeance and true love . . . speaking of true love, The Princess Bride book was 10x better than the movie. Anyway, thanks for some new additions to my book queue BBB. Oh, “one more thing,” you and your son would really enjoy the Percy Jackson series. I never saw the Lightning Thief movie but I’ve seen a lot of snot-nosed teenagers reading it so I figured I’d give it a shot. I burned through all 5 books in a week. Greek mythology ftw.


  16. Another BIG Fan of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, the guy writs knowing his audience and the main character feels just like a gamer (in fact he is a gamer).

    Another series that i thought you had read bear was the Ender’s Game, serie by Orson Scott Card, so good it will make you see the world differently.


  17. I had all but forgotten the multitude of hours i spent reading and re-reading the Sten series. Another you might enjoy is the Starrigger series by John DeChancie. Hard to find but absolutely fantastic sci-fi read.


  18. Terry Pratchett – tick
    Dirk Pitt – tick

    Military: Chickenhawk by Robert Mason
    Biography of a Huey pilot, from pre-training, through Vietnam, and post.

    Fantasy: The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (2 x 3-part series) by Stephen R. Donaldson
    (“A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” meets “Lord of the Rings”)
    A leper finds himself in a strange land, either transported to another world, or just trapped in a dream. Does it matter? Either way his actions affect his psyche as much as the people around him, real or not.
    (I am yet to read the newer 4-part Last Chronicles series, so can’t comment on them).

    These books are the only ones I have ever read more than once (Chickenhawk x 3. Chronicles (all 6) x 2, currently reading the 2nd series again).


Comments are closed.