Science Fiction and Fantasy Recommendations with Thea James

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Jenn and guest expert Thea James of The Book Smugglers answer your science fiction and fantasy questions in this week’s Get Booked!

This episode is sponsored by Maud’s Line by Margaret Verble and Book Riot Live.

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1. This is time sensitive because I am going on vacation in England in August and want to read all can before then.

Hey girls! (you’ve recommended me and my family and friends so many wonderful books that I feel we are best friends, hence the intimacy lol)

I recently read Mists of Avalon and I need all the Arthurian Tales!! Help!

Some people already recommended The Once and Future King and it’s on my TBR.

Comics are welcome too!! (please let there be Arthur comics!! That would be so cool!!)



2. Hello!

I recently finished Night Circus and love the ending. It’s one of my favorite ways for a book to end and have only read one other book that ends that way (which I can’t remember the title of.) I’m wondering if you know of any other books that have a Mobius style ending. While I typically read fantasy or Sci-fi, I would be open to any genre that does this style of storytelling well.


3. My hubby and I are so alike it’s annoying (to others, not us) except when it comes to books. He is a total history and nonfiction fan and I love fiction, especially literary fiction and sci-fi. I would really like it if we could read at least one book that we both enjoyed. In the past, he’s enjoyed Harry Turtledove’s books. I find those okay, but I’m hoping for something we’d both have actual enthusiasm over.


Looking for mutual booklove


4. Hello ladies,

First, I would like to shake my fist at you two for turning me on to two of my newest, biggest book addictions. The Lunar Chronicles are a problem I would NEVER HAVE ENCOUNTERED, were it not for you two troublemakers, and “The Unquiet Dead,” was PHENOMENAL. I also loved “The Language of Secrets,” and now I’m annoyed that I have to wait for the next one to come out.

You are truly awful/amazing in every single way.

RIGHT. On with the request. As part of the Popsugar challenge this year, my book from at least a hundred years ago is “On The Origin of the Species,” which has sat on my shelf for literally years waiting for me to get to it. I’m a biology nerd, and I love natural histories, but I’m also a SUCKER for good Fantasy novels. I’ve been obsessed to a problematic level for the last few years with Marie Brennan’s “A Natural History of Dragons,” series, and am re reading it, because I just started the new one, and she keeps referring to things that happened earlier in the series and I don’t remember what happened in which book, but that’s not the problem.

What I’m looking for are fantasy books with a grounding in biology or natural history. Think “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” but like…. a real book with a plot. Or “Discworld,” but instead of lots of physics jokes, biology or natural history. The Lady Trent books I mentioned above aren’t funny, but are fairly thoughtful, and investigate ideas of evolution and taxonomy, and I find that really absorbing.

So that’s what I’d like. I’d like books with a sort of… pseudo scientific bent, in fantasy or science fiction, which involve the biology of fantastic beasts, or I suppose, aliens.

Thanks in advance/you two are the worst,



5. Hey guys! I’m asking for book recommendations for my boyfriend. He’s a big reader, but isn’t as in to finding books as I am. If a great book comes into his path, he can read it within a day – but doesn’t care to go out of his way to find things and often rereads things he likes instead of trying something new. He loves fantasy. He’s read the Wheel of Time books countless times. He also loved Tolkien, Mistborn and the Name of the Wind books. He’s read and knows most big fantasy series. He also loved The Martian and sometimes reads sci fi. Are there any hidden gems in the fantasy world he would love or new books I can point him towards? Thanks! 🙂
– Emily


Books Discussed

The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart

The Guinevere Cycle by Persia Woolley (Child of the Northern Spring #1)

The Dark Tower series by Stephen King (The Gunslinger #1)

Merlin’s Harp by Anne Compton

If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino

Long Division by Kiese Laymon

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgewick

Starlight Crystal by Christopher Pike

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon

The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

Dragonsdawn by Anne McCaffrey

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor

The Ruins by Scott Smith

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

The Acacia series by David Anthony Durham (The War With the Mein #1)

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison