I saw Rogue One in theaters today and have not been able to get it out of my mind, so I decided to recommend some space sagas for anyone else out there who has a Star Wars hangover!
If you love the visual aspect of Star Wars…
…then you might like the graphic novel series Saga by Brian K Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples.
The basic premise of Saga is that two soldiers from rival alien races fall in love and have a child, prompting leaders from warring factions to chase after them in a galaxies-wide manhunt. Vaughan and Staples have some serious imagination when it comes to setting and character design. Of all the graphic novels I have read, Saga has one of my favorite art styles–every page is vibrant and full of life. Each new planet and spaceship introduces a diverse array of aliens both lovely and bizarre. There is a fair amount of sex and violence portrayed in these books, so I would recommend with discretion.
If you like epic space romances…
…then try Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach.
To be honest, the romantic aspect of Fortune’s Pawn is one of its minor plots. BUT IT WAS A STRONG (AND STEAMY) SUBPLOT. Devi Morris is an unapologetic space mercenary who needs to complete one more job before she can advance in the ranks. She takes a posting as security for a notoriously troublesome trading vessel, only to find herself embroiled in a complicated web of secrets, lies, and conspiracies. This book is the first in a trilogy.
If you like exploring planets and meeting new alien species…
…then you’ll probably like A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers.
Do you ever read a book and then think “Ugh I would totally read a 10k fic of these characters just living their everyday domestic lives”? (No? Just me?) This book is pretty much that, but with original characters. A multispecies crew of alien wormhole builders must go on a long journey to their next job site, and along the way we get an in-depth look at each of the crew members and their interactions. The strength of this book is its diversity–in general it’s nonheteronormative, but the book takes that even further by introducing alien cultures that are just unlike anything found on earth. Honorable mention for this category: Starflight by Melissa Landers.
If you like the fight scenes and cool technology…
…then try picking up God’s War by Kameron Hurley.
This book is VIOLENT. Since this planet was colonized, two factions of a religion loosely based on Islam have been fighting each other for territory in a never-ending holy war. The story follows the life of an ex-assassin as her bloody past catches up to her. The fight scenes in this book are really well done, but what stood out to me in this book was the technology. Everything from cars to weapons are organic and bug-based. Since I am not fond of bugs, I felt this added another layer to the grittiness of this world. Aside: this book also did very well in terms of racial and sexual diversity.
If you are fascinated by artificial intelligence…
…check out Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff!
What happens when an AI’s directive to protect humanity causes it to kill people? Normally I find this trope oversimplified and overdone (e.g. Age of Ultron), but in Illuminae I found the exploration of this question to be compelling. Also, this book did such visually compelling things with its typography, making it extremely fun and engaging to read. Notable mention for books with AI: the Lunar Chronicles series has a very spunky and lovable AI/eventual droid. Those books are more fairy tale than sci-fi, but I definitely recommend giving them a read!
And those are my space saga recommendations! I am currently suffering from Star Wars withdrawal, so if you have any galactic books not on this list, please recommend in the comments!