Lists

Find Comfort and Escape in These 9 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Novels

You curled up in your bed on election night and have only come out for food and other necessities. We get it. Things are pretty bleak right now, and it’s difficult to face the grim future of Trump’s America. So what better time to find solace in a good book? Here’s a handful of comfortable fantasy and sci-fi novels that will offer nostalgia, escape, distraction, and hope to get you through the coming days and years. Make sure and bring some spare batteries for your flashlight, though — it can get pretty dark inside that blanket fort.

If you want to visit with old friends:

The Belgariad by David Eddings
Fantasy readers who came of age in the ’80s remember this series, about a farm boy who discovers he is the heir to a magical sword and a destiny to defeat the evil god Torak. The series hasn’t aged well,. and the plot is predictable to anyone who has ever read a fantasy novel, but vivid characters like Silk the master thief still feel like old friends, and sometimes that's all you need for a little comfort. There’s even a character named Barak!

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Tolkien’s classic adventure is the root of all modern fantasy. And now is a great time to return to Middle Earth, if only for a few hours. Who hasn’t joined Bilbo and Gandalf and the score of dwarves on their quest to slay the dragon Smaug and reclaim the Lonely Mountain for King Thorin Oakenshield? It's a gentle reminder of the simple times before the Dark Lord Trump, er, Sauron, descended on the Shire. And, more importantly, it is a reminder that great things can be accomplished by anyone, no matter how small.

If you are looking for hope:


Elantris
by Brandon Sanderson

A gorgeous story about finding light within darkness, Brandon Sanderson’s 2006 debut is set in a world where humans are randomly touched by the divine and granted magical healing powers and immortality within the beautiful city of Elantris; at least, until a mysterious cataclysm transforms the blessing into a curse and the Elantrians are condemned to suffer eternal pain. The novel follows Raoden, a former prince outside Elantris who fights to restore order and beauty in the city after he is touched by the curse.

The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
This is not a happy book, but it is a hopeful one. Kivrin is a medieval historian at Oxford in the mid-21st century, and thanks to the discovery of time-travel, she is able to study the 14th century in person. Something goes wrong, however, and she’s dropped into the middle of a village dying of the plague. And while her fellow historians are frantically trying to rescue her, another disease breaks out in the 21st century. But amid the death on both ends of the time-stream there is hope, faith, and a lot of laughter — a beautiful message for these dark times.

Read on for escapes to somewhere magical.
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Michael runs the Sci-Fridays Book Club at the Poisoned Pen, and volunteers at local pop-culture conventions. He can be found at the occasional prog-rock concert.
Contact: Michael Senft