Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

Check out their blog for their top ten and lists of other bloggers who participate!


August 13: Top Ten Favorite Books With X Setting (ie: futuristic world, set mostly in schools, during World War II, books set in California,  etc. So many possibilities!)

Hmm, picking one kind of setting is kind of difficult… I’m going to have to pick sci-fi future worlds… somewhere other than Earth.

shards of honor

1. Beta. Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga. Though the air is toxic and people have to wear breath masks to survive, Beta thrives under high-tech domes, full of art, music, and an impressive culture.

stainless steel rat

2. Bit O’ Heaven. Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat series. For the ironic name alone, this setting is a favorite of mine–their business is raising enormous porcuswine, which are exactly as wonderfully tempered and smelling as you’d expect. For being the birthplace of the Stainless Steel rat, it definitely has to make this list.

freedom landing

3. Botany. Anne McCaffrey’s Catteni Series. The scavengers that come through the dirt each night to eat anything organic make this one a bit of a tough sell, but the pioneer spirit and independence of this planet’s less than willing colonists appeal to me. And it sounds beautiful–rocky, but beautiful.


4. Demeathorn. AnneMcCaffrey’s Coelura. Lots of love for McCaffrey, what can I say. This sounds like an interesting world, the kind with fantastic, colorful creatures–especially the coelura.

Phule Money

5. Landoor. Robert Asprin’s Phule’s Company. Any planet that decides to put that much effort into building amusement parks gets points for originality, at least. And Phule’s Company makes any setting perhaps a little more dangerous, but also more fun.


6. Melaquin. James Alan Gardner’s League of Peoples Series. This world is a peculiar mix of technology and a low-tech world, with plenty of forests and lots of light. The race living on it, the modified children of humans, made immortal and completely transparent, is pretty interesting, too.


7. Mercedes Lackey’s Shipscat series. One of the ships traveling from planet to planet is my favorite setting in this series–visiting exotic locales, accompanied by a ship’s cat, a highly intelligent modified creature, with paws like a raccoon–which would be a lot of trouble, but still…


8. Pern. Anne McCaffrey’s Pern Series. I know this reads like fantasy, but if you read the books that cover the back story, you’ll discover Pern was colonized by humans. The low-tech remainders have developed an art-heavy culture. Thread aside, dragons and fire-lizards and make this world interesting.

hospital station

9. Sector General. James White’s Sector General series. Any space station of this size, attempting to treat all manners of species, no matter what air they breathe, food they eat, or shape they are, makes for an intriguing setting. The carefully crafted environments for the shark-like aliens, for example, or the enormous aliens who absorb food through their skin…

on basilisk station

10. Sphinx. David Weber’s Honor Harrington series. Another world with wild flora and fauna. I’d want to stay far away from any hexapumas, but the celery-thief treecats and towering trees would be quite a sight.


About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

12 responses »

  1. Jan says:

    I’ve read several of these books/series…the Vorkosigan series, some of the Honor Harrington series and most of Anne McCaffrey, but others I haven’t read. The Shipcat series sounds especially interesting to me. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  2. Pat says:

    Hey Caitlin!
    I’ve never read any of these books. I really want to do it, though! Specially Anne McCaffrey’s books. Thanks for sharing your list and stopping by my blog. 😉

    • caitlinstern says:

      A lot of blogs are more on the fiction or urban fantasy side of life (which I also adore) but sci fi was one of the first genres I fell in love with as a kid.

      I highly recommend McCaffrey–there’s a lot of variety in her different series. Hope you have time to get to some and enjoy them!

      • Pat says:

        You’re right, and that’s a shame. I wish there were more blogs paying attention to sci fi and other genres. We end up missing some really great books because of that. Which one of McCaffrey’s series would you recommend? I also liked the first one of your list!

        • caitlinstern says:

          Here’s a brief description of my three favorites (so you can pick what appeals to you), and the first list item:

          McCaffrey’s Pern series (which is, as beckireads pointed out, science-fantasy) is long, but there are smaller self-contained series in it. My favorite is about a girl who wants to be a Harper (musician) and faces any challenge thrown her way. It starts with Dragonsong.

          The Brainship series is about people born with deformed bodies by intact minds, who are put into a life support system, and then hooked up to ship, its cameras their eyes, sound system their voice, and hull their body. My favorite is the Ship Who Searched.

          The Catteni series is about an alien race that tries to conquer Earth, scooping up a bunch of humans and dumping them on a planet surveyed to be habitable, with the intent of the aliens moving in if the ‘settlers’ survive. You pretty much have to read all four books, as they’re one story line.

          The Vor Saga starts with a conflict between people from two planets–advanced Beta, and Barrayar (which was cut off from the rest of the planets, and plunged into a dark age). It’s a military space opera, with the rest of the series focusing on a physically damaged, bright, and insanely determined main character–the kind who involves themselves in hilariously devious plots.

          • Pat says:

            The Pern and Brainship series sound really good! I think I might start with Brainship, though. I think it’s a really interesting and kind of unique concept! At last, I’ve never heard of something like it before. Thank you Caitlin! 🙂

  3. beckireads says:

    I love the topic you’ve picked, though I have to confess I haven’t read any of the books in your list. I have heard brilliant things about the Pern books and the fact that in a look of ways they’re more science-fantasy than science-fiction.

    • caitlinstern says:

      Yes, they are. Pern was colonized way, way, back, and then all the technology was lost–so long ago, that people don’t even know it existed.

      But the dragons–and dragonriders–are amazing.

  4. Chachic says:

    I’ve only read Young Miles from the Vorkosigan Saga but I have copies of the rest of the series. I should try reading Shards of Honor. I’m really not much of a sci-fi reader but I do read books from that genre if they come highly recommended. Have you read Ender’s Game? I loved that one. And Ilona Andrews’ romantic sci-fi, Silent Blade and Silver Shark.

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