The Best Science-Fantasy Books of All Time

With Dune (part 2) green lit and coming eventually (maybe in 2023?) I thought I should do a post about Science-Fantasy books, specifically the best of the best.

Determining the "best" science-fantasy books of all time is subjective, as different readers have varying preferences. However, several titles have had a significant impact on the genre and gained widespread acclaim. Here are some notable science-fantasy books that have left a lasting mark:

    "Dune" by Frank Herbert:
    Considered a masterpiece of science fiction and a prime example of science-fantasy, "Dune" takes readers to a distant future where interstellar travel, political intrigue, and mystical elements collide. Set on the desert planet Arrakis, the story follows Paul Atreides as he navigates a complex web of power struggles, environmental themes, and metaphysical elements. Frank Herbert's epic world-building, intricate plot, and philosophical underpinnings have solidified "Dune" as a seminal work in the genre.

    "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle:
    This beloved children's book seamlessly blends science fiction and fantasy, whisking readers away on a thrilling adventure through space and time. Meg Murry, accompanied by her brother and friend, embarks on a quest to rescue her missing father from the clutches of darkness. Madeleine L'Engle weaves together elements of quantum physics, cosmic entities, and themes of love and bravery, creating a timeless tale that continues to captivate readers of all ages.

    "The Book of the New Sun" by Gene Wolfe:
    "The Book of the New Sun" is a highly regarded series set in a distant future where the sun is dying, and humanity has regressed into a medieval-like society. Following the journey of Severian, an apprentice torturer with an eidetic memory, readers are immersed in a world of strange technology, alien creatures, and layered storytelling. Gene Wolfe's rich prose, literary allusions, and the enigmatic nature of the narrative make this series a challenging but rewarding exploration of science, myth, and identity.

    "Hyperion" by Dan Simmons:
    The first book in the "Hyperion Cantos" series, "Hyperion" combines elements of science fiction, fantasy, and time-traveling mythology. Set in a far-future universe, it follows a group of pilgrims who share their tales while journeying to the mysterious Time Tombs on the planet Hyperion. Dan Simmons expertly weaves together a tapestry of personal stories, ancient mysteries, and futuristic concepts, creating a thought-provoking and immersive narrative that has captivated readers.

    "The Left Hand of Darkness" by Ursula K. Le Guin:
    Ursula K. Le Guin's groundbreaking novel explores themes of gender, politics, and identity in a distant future on the planet Gethen. The story follows a human envoy named Genly Ai as he navigates the complexities of a society where individuals are neither male nor female. Le Guin's thought-provoking exploration of sexuality, alongside themes of estrangement, politics, and cultural dynamics, has established "The Left Hand of Darkness" as a seminal work in both science fiction and fantasy.

    "Warlock" series by Christopher Stasheff:
    Christopher Stasheff's "Warlock" series is a delightful blend of science fiction and fantasy. Set in the world of Gramarye, where technology and magic coexist, the series follows the adventures of Rod Gallowglass, a future agent from Earth's future. As Rod navigates the complexities of this medieval-like society, he employs his knowledge of science and technology to unravel mysteries, combat evil forces, and protect the innocent. Stasheff's series is known for its clever mix of humor, action, and imaginative world-building, offering readers a unique and entertaining science-fantasy experience.

    "The Broken Empire" Trilogy by Mark Lawrence:
    "The Broken Empire" trilogy, starting with "Prince of Thorns," is a dark and gritty science-fantasy series that follows the journey of Jorg Ancrath, a ruthless prince seeking power and revenge in a post-apocalyptic world. Mark Lawrence skillfully combines elements of fantasy, with magic and ancient legends, and science fiction, with remnants of advanced technology, to create a compelling and morally complex narrative. Jorg's character development, the intricate world-building, and the exploration of themes such as power, redemption, and destiny make this series a must-read for fans of both genres.

    "The Chronicles of Amber" by Roger Zelazny:
    "The Chronicles of Amber" is a classic series that merges fantasy and science fiction in a captivating tale of parallel worlds. The story follows Corwin, a prince of Amber, as he awakens with amnesia and embarks on a quest to reclaim his identity and the throne. Roger Zelazny masterfully weaves together elements of magic, interdimensional travel, and political intrigue, creating a richly textured world filled with complex characters and an epic struggle for power. The series' blend of mystery, adventure, and intricate plotting has made it a beloved staple of science fantasy literature.

    "The Magicians" Trilogy by Lev Grossman:
    "The Magicians" trilogy brings a modern and often dark twist to the conventions of both fantasy and science fiction. Following the story of Quentin Coldwater, a young man who discovers that the magical world he has always dreamed of is real, the series explores themes of escapism, power, and the consequences of living in a world where magic exists. Lev Grossman's series incorporates elements of science fiction, fantastical worlds, and literary references, offering a thought-provoking and immersive reading experience.

    "The Shadow Campaigns" series by Django Wexler:
    "The Shadow Campaigns" series combines epic fantasy with elements of gunpowder-era technology and magic. Set in a world reminiscent of the Napoleonic era, the series follows military officer Marcus d'Ivoire and his companions as they navigate political intrigue, epic battles, and the discovery of an ancient and powerful magic. Django Wexler's series skillfully merges fantasy and military fiction, providing readers with a unique blend of strategic warfare, fantastical creatures, and complex characters.

While these titles are widely regarded as some of the best science-fantasy books, there are many other exceptional works in the genre. Exploring these titles provides an immersive journey into imaginative worlds where science and magic coexist, challenging conventional boundaries and expanding our understanding of what is possible in storytelling.

Unveiling the Enchanting World of Mystery Fantasy Books

In the realm of literature, there exists a captivating subgenre that seamlessly blends the elements of mystery and fantasy, transporting readers to otherworldly realms teeming with enigmatic puzzles and mystical wonders. Mystery fantasy books offer a delightful fusion of suspense, magic, and intricate storytelling that appeals to the imaginations of readers seeking an escape from reality. In this blog post, we embark on a journey to unravel the allure of mystery fantasy books and explore some notable titles within this enchanting subgenre.

The Intriguing Blend:

Mystery fantasy books combine the best of both worlds, merging the intrigue, suspense, and intellectual challenge of mystery novels with the limitless possibilities and awe-inspiring settings of fantasy. These stories often feature intricate puzzles, hidden clues, and mysterious phenomena, alongside mythical creatures, arcane magic, and fantastical realms. This genre allows authors to craft tales that weave together complex narratives, where the supernatural and the mysterious coexist in perfect harmony.

Elements of Mystery:

At the heart of mystery fantasy books lie elements of suspense and investigation. Protagonists are often faced with unsolved riddles, enigmatic prophecies, or perplexing crimes that require their intellect and resourcefulness to unravel. These mysteries may be intricately connected to the magical systems, ancient prophecies, or mythical artifacts within the fantastical world, creating a sense of wonder and discovery as readers explore alongside the characters.

Fantastical Worlds and Mythical Beings:

The fantasy component of these books introduces readers to awe-inspiring realms, richly imagined by authors who expertly blend their creativity with elements of mythology and folklore. These worlds may be inhabited by mythical creatures such as dragons, fairies, elves, and shape-shifters, each with their own intriguing lore and role in the unfolding mystery. The magic systems within these stories are often integral to the plot, guiding the characters through their quests and adding an extra layer of enchantment to the narrative.

Notable Mystery Fantasy Titles:

    "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss:
    "The Name of the Wind" is the first installment of the critically acclaimed "Kingkiller Chronicle" series. The story follows the life of Kvothe, a talented musician and wizard, as he recounts his adventures to a chronicler. As the narrative unfolds, readers are transported to the magical world of Temerant, where Kvothe's search for knowledge and revenge leads him to confront powerful forces and uncover the mysteries surrounding his own tragic past. Patrick Rothfuss weaves a beautifully intricate tale, blending elements of music, magic, and mystery, captivating readers with his vivid world-building and rich character development.

    "City of Stairs" by Robert Jackson Bennett:
    "City of Stairs" presents readers with a unique blend of fantasy and mystery set in the city of Bulikov, a once-divine city now occupied by a conquering nation. The story revolves around Shara Thivani, an intelligence operative investigating a murder that leads her to unravel the secrets of her world's history and the enigmatic presence of the gods. Robert Jackson Bennett crafts a complex narrative, blending political intrigue, divine miracles, and archaeological puzzles, all while exploring themes of power, faith, and the consequences of conquest. The richly imagined city of Bulikov serves as a vibrant backdrop, immersing readers in a world where mystery and fantasy intertwine.

    "The Lies of Locke Lamora" by Scott Lynch:
    "The Lies of Locke Lamora" is the first installment in the "Gentleman Bastard" series, introducing readers to the charismatic Locke Lamora and his band of skilled thieves. Set in the elaborate city of Camorr, the story follows Locke as he navigates a world of high-stakes heists, treachery, and hidden agendas. Scott Lynch expertly blends elements of fantasy and mystery, incorporating a magical backdrop, a complex society ruled by secret societies, and enigmatic adversaries. With a sharp wit, gripping plot twists, and a dose of dark humor, "The Lies of Locke Lamora" immerses readers in a world where the line between thieves and heroes becomes blurred, and where uncovering the truth is both thrilling and dangerous.

    "The Dresden Files" by Jim Butcher:
    "The Dresden Files" is a long-running urban fantasy series following the adventures of Harry Dresden, a wizard and private investigator in modern-day Chicago. Combining supernatural elements with detective noir, each book in the series presents Harry with a new case involving magical creatures, ancient artifacts, and hidden conspiracies. Jim Butcher skillfully blends mystery, action, and a touch of humor, creating a thrilling series that keeps readers hooked with its intricate plots and memorable characters.

    "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern:
    "The Night Circus" is a mesmerizing standalone novel that transports readers to a magical and mysterious circus that only opens at night. As the circus travels from place to place, a competition between two young magicians ensues, with the circus and its inhabitants becoming the stage for their enchanting duel. Erin Morgenstern's exquisite prose, imaginative descriptions, and intricate web of secrets and illusions make "The Night Circus" a hauntingly beautiful blend of mystery and fantasy.

    "The Golem and the Jinni" by Helene Wecker:
    In this historical fantasy novel set in early 20th-century New York City, Helene Wecker introduces readers to Chava, a golem created by a mysterious rabbi, and Ahmad, a jinni released from a copper flask. As the golem and the jinni navigate human society, their paths intertwine, leading to a mesmerizing tale of friendship, love, and a hidden threat that they must face together. "The Golem and the Jinni" expertly combines elements of mystery, folklore, and cultural exploration, immersing readers in a vividly realized world filled with enchantment and secrets.

    "The Rook" by Daniel O'Malley:
    "The Rook" introduces readers to Myfanwy Thomas, a high-ranking official in a secret British organization tasked with protecting the country from supernatural threats. The twist? Myfanwy wakes up with no memory of her past, but she discovers a series of letters left by her former self, guiding her through a conspiracy that threatens her life and the stability of the organization. Daniel O'Malley weaves together humor, intrigue, and supernatural elements to create a gripping and witty tale that keeps readers guessing until the very end.

    "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell" by Susanna Clarke:
    Set in an alternate version of England during the 19th century, "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell" delves into a world where magic was once prevalent but has since faded. The story follows the reemergence of magic through two magicians, Jonathan Strange and Gilbert Norrell, as they navigate a world of secrets, rivalries, and dark forces. Susanna Clarke's intricate storytelling, detailed historical backdrop, and richly developed characters make this book a captivating blend of historical fiction, mystery, and fantasy.

    "The Bear and the Nightingale" by Katherine Arden:
    "The Bear and the Nightingale" is the first installment in the Winternight Trilogy, drawing inspiration from Russian folklore. Set in a remote village where the line between the magical and the real is blurred, the story follows Vasilisa, a young girl with the ability to see and communicate with supernatural beings. As her village falls under the influence of an ancient and malevolent force, Vasilisa must uncover the mysteries of her family's past and embrace her own unique abilities. Katherine Arden's lyrical prose, atmospheric setting, and enchanting blend of mystery and fantasy make this book a must-read for fans of folklore-inspired tales.

    "Perdido Street Station" by China MiĆ©ville:
    "Perdido Street Station" takes readers on a journey to the sprawling city of New Crobuzon, a bustling and eclectic metropolis filled with fantastical creatures and diverse cultures. In this complex and vividly realized world, the story follows Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin, a scientist who unwittingly becomes entangled in a dangerous experiment involving a mysterious, shape-shifting creature. China MiĆ©ville masterfully blends elements of steampunk, urban fantasy, and mystery, creating a dark and atmospheric narrative that explores themes of science, morality, and the consequences of meddling with the unknown.

    "The Invisible Library" by Genevieve Cogman:
    "The Invisible Library" introduces readers to Irene, a librarian who works for a hidden organization that traverses different realities and collects rare books from alternate worlds. Tasked with retrieving a dangerous book from a chaotic London, Irene finds herself entangled in a web of secrets, power struggles, and a conspiracy that could unravel the fabric of the multiverse. Genevieve Cogman combines elements of mystery, adventure, and fantastical settings to create an engaging and immersive series that will captivate bibliophiles and fantasy enthusiasts alike.


Mystery fantasy books invite readers into extraordinary realms where the allure of the unknown combines with the marvels of magic. These captivating stories offer a unique blend of suspense, investigation, and fantastical elements that keep readers engrossed from the first page to the last. Whether it's unraveling ancient prophecies, solving supernatural crimes, or uncovering the secrets of mythical artifacts, mystery fantasy books ignite the imagination and offer an exhilarating escape from reality. So, grab your cloak, open the pages of these spellbinding tales, and embark on a thrilling journey into the world of mystery fantasy.

Looking for a Murder-Fantasy book by an Indie Author? The Coven's Wolves by Charles Moffat features a murder mystery in an inn south of the Korovian city of Oraknev, in which the patrons are trapped for the winter, they're running out of food, and people start dying from strange wolf attacks...

Alternative Rules for playing Clue

I love board games. In my family it is basically a tradition to play a variety of board games during family gatherings.

However playing the same game the same way eventually gets boring which is why it is sometimes fun to change the rules.

In the examples below we take the classic game of Clue and make some changes.

Alternative Rules for Playing Clue

1. You don't start with any Clue cards in your hand. You have to find them by visiting rooms. When setting up the board and placing the three unknown murder cards in the envelope, take the 18 remaining cards, shuffle them, and then place two cards in each of the 9 rooms. Whoever gets to those rooms first gets the cards. This means the start of the game is more of a race.and that some people may only get 2 cards while others get 4 or 6 cards.

2. You can trade 1 random card during your turn when you are in the hallway. You can only use this rule while in a hallway and other players don't have to agree to the trade. What you do is ask if anyone wants a random trade, and then the person to your left gets to respond first and if they say No the option to trade goes to the next person to the left, and so forth around the circle. When doing the trade you hold out your cards face down and they choose one randomly, and repeat the process with their cards. Each player thus gets one random card. This alternative rule has the effect of making it more difficult to determine who has what cards and players need to pay more attention.

3. You don't have to show the card which was called. When someone calls a set of three cards and you have one of them, instead of showing one of those three you can show them a completely different card. They still know you have one of those three cards, but they don't know which one. On the plus side you showed them a different card, which may have been one they have already seen.

4. Hitman and Ghosts - The game has a time limit before the murderer strikes again. For every full round during which each player gets a turn, roll a six sided die to determine randomly which player takes a hit. If they get hit they get a hit point. If any player takes two hits, they "die" in the game and are now Ghosts. Ghosts no longer have turns during the rounds, but they can still show other players cards if asked. Ghosts can still attempt to win the game, but they have to use deductive reasoning based on what other players are doing to try and figure out who the murderer is.

5. The Murderer(s) - One or more players is playing a murderer. The murderer is chosen randomly by passing out people cards to each player. If a player receives their own card then they are a murderer, eg. If the person playing Mr Green receives the Mr Green card, then they are one of the murderers. That player then chooses a weapon and a room and writes down their name, the chosen weapon and their room of choice on a slip of paper and turns it face down so other people cannot see it. Next take all the people cards back and set them in a separate pile off to the side. Now distribute the weapon and room cards as you normally would. The goal of the murderers is to find their weapon and room of choice and which players have possession of those two cards. Once they find both they need to get back to their starting point in the board without other people calling the correct combination. They should try to be sneaky / misleading about this process so other players will be confused about which cards the murderer has been asking for and thus call the wrong cards. When calling players still call all three items, even though only the room and weapon cards are available. If the murderer's name and two chosen items are ever called then they are caught red-handed and captured, the player is honour-bound to give up and reveal that they are one of the murderers.


Clue, also known as Cluedo, is a classic murder mystery board game where players must solve the murder of Mr. Boddy by identifying the murderer, the murder weapon, and the location of the crime. While the game traditionally follows a set of standard rules, you can introduce alternative rules to add variety or customize the gameplay experience. Here are a few alternative rules you can try:

  1. Time Limit: Set a time limit for players to solve the murder. If they fail to solve the mystery within the allotted time, the murderer wins the game. This rule adds a sense of urgency and keeps the gameplay fast-paced.

  2. Multiple Murderers: Instead of having just one murderer, assign multiple murderers to increase the complexity of the game. Each murderer will have their own set of cards, and players must identify all the murderers, murder weapons, and locations correctly to win the game.

  3. Hidden Roles: Assign secret roles to each player, such as detective, accomplice, or informant. Each role will have specific objectives or abilities that influence the game. The detectives aim to solve the murder, while the others may have unique win conditions or actions they can take during the game.

  4. Custom Characters: Create your own characters with unique abilities or traits. Each character could possess a special ability that grants them an advantage when investigating or making accusations. This adds a new layer of strategy and differentiation among the players.

  5. Dynamic Board: Introduce changes to the game board during play. For example, you could have secret passages open and close, or rooms may become temporarily inaccessible due to an "incident." This rule keeps players on their toes and requires them to adapt their strategies accordingly.

  6. Cooperative Mode: Instead of competing against each other, players can work together as a team to solve the murder. The players collectively try to identify the murderer, weapon, and location before the murderer can escape or commit another crime.

  7. Custom Card Decks: Modify the card decks to include additional murder weapons, locations, or events. You can create themed decks or mix and match cards from different editions of the game to add more variety and surprise elements.

Remember, when introducing alternative rules, it's important to ensure that they are agreed upon and understood by all players before the game begins. Experimenting with new rules can enhance the gameplay experience and make each session of Clue feel fresh and exciting.

Publishing a fantasy book? Make sure you get a professional fantasy book editor.

Study Archery in Toronto

So you want to study archery, but you are having difficulty finding an archery instructor who is local. However there is a solution. If you are willing to travel you can take a crash course in archery in Toronto, Canada. 10 lessons over a two week period will take you from archery novice to an experienced and capable archer.

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