Blog Post: Knights and Spaceships and Nanoviruses, Oh, My!

Learning what genre you enjoy is a great way to find new authors. Here’s a bit about speculative fiction sub-genres and some popular new titles—Mary Gillgannon, Adult Fiction Selector of Laramie County Library.

 The Game of Thrones TV series, the Hunger Game books and movies, the new Star Wars movie—all of these popular entertainment vehicles fit into the genre of speculative fiction. Although there is an element of “what if…” in all fiction, speculative fiction stories take the concept to new levels, immersing us in worlds and realities that are often extremely different from our own.

Game of Thrones and the Harry Potter stories fit into a sub-genre called epic fantasy, big sweeping stories that often involve fantastical settings, as well as magic of one form or another.

New epic fantasy titles at the library include:


Pagan Night
the first book in the action-packed Hallowed War series, which focuses on a conflict between an old and a new religion in a medieval-based world.



Black Wolves
by Kate Elliot, the first a trilogy, features an Asian-tinged setting, and has been described as a combination of Shogun and The Vikings TV series. Another new fantasy series is Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia.


Tower_of_ThornsIf you prefer more subtle character-based fantasy, I recommend the Blackthorn and Grim series by Juliet Marillier. The newest title in the series is The Tower of Thorns.  Marillier writes stories that bring to life a Celtic-Irish-based world rich with myth, magic and legend.


Ancillary_JusticeStar Wars is classic space opera, a sub-genre of science fiction set in a future world where much of the action takes places in outer space. A new space opera series called The Empress Game features a strong female protagonist, ritualized combat, political intrigue and the threat of a deadly nanovirus in an intergalactic setting.  Ancillary Justice, (insert book cover) the first book in the Imperial Radch series, has won both the Hugo and Nebula awards, and along with classic tropes like space ships and a clash between empires, adds some interesting twists on gender and identity.

Extinction_GameThe hugely popular sub-genre dystopian fiction continues to attract innovative new writers who create futuristic worlds where things go horribly awry, and heroic characters struggle to survive and fight to preserve basic human values. The highly-touted Station Eleven features a small troupe of actors and musicians who travel around performing after a massive pandemic has wiped out much of civilization. Another new dystopian title, The Extinction Game by Gary Gibson, revolves around an action-packed post-apocalyptic survival game.

For more help finding books that take you away to fantastic realms of imagination, stop by the library Ask Here Desks and ask us for reading recommendations.

~Mary G.