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Science Fiction and Fantasy
for Beginners

A short introduction to the world of Sci-Fi and Fantasy


Fairy Tale Retellings

    Beauty
    by Sheri S. Tepper
    This book tells the story of a medieval noble-born girl as she finds out who she is, travels back and forth in time, unravels the mysteries of Disney, and saves the future from Apocalypse.

    Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and
    Wicked
    by Gregory Maguire
    The first is a retelling of Cinderella, and the second is an alternate version of The Wizard of Oz (much more complex and dark than the original). All of Maguire's books are well-written and interesting; even if you already know the story by heart, it'll all be completely brand-new, and well worth your time.

    Beauty and
    Rose Daughter
    by Robin McKinley
    These are both re-tellings of the Beauty and the Beast story. McKinley did a remarkable job in the first one, but loved the story so much she re-told her re-telling, nearly 20 years later. Both are good, but Beauty resembles the original story slightly more than Rose Daughter.

Crossovers / Mixed Genre

    The Eyre Affair
    by Jasper Fforde
    This is a very humorous mystery about literature and the characters in it. Jane Eyre is kidnapped from her book, and Detective Thursday Next is the only one that can help. This series has elements of both fantasy and science fiction, and is highly entertaining and accessible, especially to readers of more "serious" fare.

    Outlander
    by Diana Gabaldon
    This book is primarily a historical romance novel. Claire Randall is a woman from the World War II era, who falls through a henge and ends up in Scotland during the 1700s. Her adventures involve the complications of time travel more and more as the series progresses.

    Watership Down
    by Richard Adams
    Not primarily thought of as a fantasy, this book has high-quality literary writing, and an extremely researched, inventive, and believable story about the lives of English rabbits.

    The Gunslinger
    by Stephen King
    This book draws heavily from the western tradition. Roland is a cowboy from another era, possibly even another world. The story opens as he chases the Man in Black across the desertů and despite a slow beginning, the book takes off, setting up a 7-volume series that spans King's entire career.

    Author: Charles De Lint
    All of his books deal with fairly normal people, who happen to live (or have grown up) on the border of Faerie and the "real" world. Try Medicine Road, which has a contemporary Southwest setting, and involves Native American mythology.