Visions of Paradise

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Favorite F&SF Series

Before beginning this list, I needed to decide precisely what a “series” consists of. Obviously two books are too short to be ranked against long series of 10-15 books, but I also decided that a trilogy was not a true series per se. So 4 books is the minimum length needed to be on this list.

There is no restriction as to whether a series contains directly-related novels (that is, one long story spread over multiple books) or independent stories set in the same universe. As the list shows, the majority of series I prefer (13) fall into the latter category.

My prejudice towards science fiction rather than fantasy shows, as only 4 fantasy series made the list, and all are on the lower half. Before anybody starts screaming at me, I have not read most of the "major" fantasy series by authors such as George R.R. Martin, Robert Jordan, Stephen Donaldson, etc., so they did not make the list from lack of familiarity rather than any specific opinions I have towards them. This is not meant to be a definitive list, merely my personal preferences.

And, yes, only three women authors are on the list, but women tend to write fantasy, and I prefer science fiction, so that is a natural reflection of my interests.

1 / Darkover / Marion Zimmer Bradley
2 / Alliance/Union / C.J. Cherryh
3 / Alex Benedict / Jack McDevitt
4 / Mars / Kim Stanley Robinson
5 / Galactic Cluster / Jack Vance
6 / Pern / Anne McCaffrey
7 / Riverworld / Philip José Farmer
8 / Hyperion / Dan Simmons
9 / Galactic North / Alastair Reynolds
10 / Polesotechnic League / Poul Anderson
11 / Earthsea / Ursula K Le Guin
12 / Nevérÿona / Samuel R. Delany
13 / Galactic Center / Gregory Benford
14 / Ender / Orson Scott Card
15 / Gateway / Frederik Pohl
16 / Sector General / James White
17 / Known Space / Larry Niven
18 / Majipoor / Robert Silverberg
19 / Amber / Roger Zelazny
20 / Book of the Long Sun / Gene Wolfe


  • Are you planning any general comments about each of the series?

    By Blogger Jim Black, At 1:47 PM  

  • Good idea. I'll work on them for my next posting.

    By Blogger adamosf, At 6:58 PM  

  • 1. xeelee series by stephen baxter

    2.Neverness and Requiem for Homo Sapiens (four novels that form a remarkable and epic story. Space opera at its zenith) by David Zindell. These two series should occupy you enjoyably for at least a month at the beach or on vacation.

    By Blogger sugar, At 7:17 PM  

  • Sugar, I've read Baxter's xeelee collection TRANSCENDENCE and loved it, but I haven't yet read any of the novels. In the U.K. there is a collection of the first 4 novels in the series, which I've been considering ordering and having it shipped here.

    By Blogger adamosf, At 4:54 AM  

  • 天下沒有走不通的路,沒有克服不了的困難,沒有打不敗的敵人。 ..................................................

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 10:35 AM  

  • Hi adamosf, if you read Neverness I am sure you will search for the three novels that continue the epic.

    By Blogger sugar, At 7:55 PM  

  • Good list. I'm surprised that Arthur C. Clarke isn't on it, and would argue that Le Guin's Hainish novels might have been included.

    By Blogger Martin LaBar, At 5:28 AM  

  • Martin, I really like Ursula's novels a lot, but there is such a thin connectivity between them that they barely qualify as a "series", which is why I did not include them. If I expanded my image of what a series is, they would definitely have been on the list.

    I only read the first RAMA novel and the first ODYSSEY novel, so they did not make my lists for lack of familiarity, not for any dislike of them.

    By Blogger adamosf, At 1:39 PM  

  • How about the following...
    Gordon Dickson's Dorsai
    Isaac Asimov's Foundation

    By Blogger Jim, At 6:19 PM  

  • 善言能贏得聽眾,善聽才能贏得朋友。 ............................................................

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 2:59 AM  

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