Imagine a fantasy world set in the distant future, where wizards sail the stars in magically engineered spaceships, or the ruler of an ancient empire waking up from a thousand year slumber to a world run by A.I and nanotechnology? Here are five SFF titles that are a wondrous blend of the futuristic and the fantastical.
By Kaleb Russell
The Starless Crown by James Rollins
A departure from his thriller works, James Rollins treats fantasy readers to an adventure of epic proportions as a band of four outcasts embark on a journey to uncover an ancient secret that can save the world from a prophesied apocalypse. With flying ships and prophetic gods, The Starless Crown makes for a valued addition to the futuristic fantasy subgenre.
Shadow & Claw: The First Half of ‘Book of the New Sun’ by Gene Wolfe
Gene Wolfe is a Herculean figure in the world of SFF—his Book of the New Sun series a staple of the genre. Set in a distant future composed of aliens the size of mountains and strange sorceries, we follow the life of Severian, the apprentice torturer, as he wanders through the strange corners of one of SFF’s most iconic worlds.
Black Sun Rising by C. S. Friedman
Originally published in 1991, Black Sun Rising tells the story of sorcerers from Earth who travel to the planet Erna to settle their new colony. Upon their arrival, they come into contact with the fae who have inhabited the planet for generations. Friedman transports us into a world of darkness that will surely have readers chomping at the bits for more books of its ilk.
Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
This book needs no introduction. In the follow up to the earth-shattering Gideon the Ninth, Muir delivers another mad cap science-fantasy epic including, but not limited to, woefully depressed necromancers, the malignant ghost of a murdered planet, and a labyrinthine narrative that will leave your head spinning.
The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday by Saad Z. Hossain
In this raunchy and wildly inventive novella, we meet djinn King Melek Ahmar awakened after a millennia long slumber hungry for conquest. With his unshakeable hubris, he sets out to conquer the city state of Kathmandu, ruled by a tyrannical AI known as Karma. Melek Ahmar finds an unlikely ally in the old knife wielding Gurkha soldier, Gurung. Together, the two vagabonds uncover a deeply hidden secret that, if brought to light, can reshape the city as we know it. This is an absurdly entertaining novella set in a post climate change future made inhabitable by nanotechnology. Despite the dystopian setting, there is ample levity, cheer, and inventiveness to keep any reader engaged.
What is your favorite futuristic fantasy? Let us know in the comments!