I'm trying to figure out the title of a series I read when I was younger. As far as I can remember, it started with a spaceship crashing on a planet in book 1. Some plants on that planet had weird effects on the people of the ship, not sure what kind though.

All of the books afterwards are set centuries or even millennia later, about the rebuilt civilization where "magic" or some kind of powers were around.

I'll update if I remember anything more specific.

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    A bit vague. Could be Pern, though. Sep 21 '15 at 14:44
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    :) When was "younger" for you? In the United States?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Sep 21 '15 at 15:21
  • Sounds rather like "Lord of Light" by Roger Zelazny - but that was a one-off, not a series. Nov 4 '15 at 3:40

10 Answers 10


Quite a vague description. One possibility is the Darkover series by Marion Zimmer Bradley.


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    :) Good to know that he accepted the answer, but can you provide some details on why this matches, just for the sake of future querents?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Sep 21 '15 at 16:23
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    @SeanDuggan While Darkover was the first thing that came to mind for me (oh dear, maybe I am getting old!) GEdgar's point on the vagueness of the question seems to answer your concern. :-) Sep 21 '15 at 20:20
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    OK, I'm a latecomer, but the crashed spaceship and plant-pollen-induced psychic powers are spot on -- and are sufficient details to make the question seem not at all vague to me!
    – Basya
    Sep 3 '18 at 12:15

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First answer is correct, definitely Darkover series by Marion Zimmer Bradley. First book is "Darkover Landfall" Spaceship crash lands on a distant planet after going off course. Local plant pollen and spores have drug like effects and bring out latent psychic powers in certain families who become royalty over generations. The series covers the culture that evolves and the effect when human contact is reestablished centuries later. I remember reading the entire series in the late 70's/early 80's


  • Are you Michael K.? If not, how do you know it is correct?
    – GEdgar
    Sep 22 '15 at 14:10

I agree that Darkover is very likely, but also the Cycle of Fire books by Janny Wurts has similar ideas.


Perhaps the Coldfire Trilogy by C.S. Friedman? It takes place on a planet colonized over a millennium prior by humans from Earth. The planet has an energy field which reacts to the wishes and desires of the colonists, and this manifests as magic.


It's possible you're thinking of the Coldfire Trilogy by C. S. Friedman. It's set on a fantasy world with magic where it turns out that current civilization is the result of a failed future society. Things that don't match include that the order is different — it starts in the magic society and we later learn about the futuristic underpinnings — and that the ship didn't crash, but rather, the colonization attempt failed due to the technology failing. I don't remember anything specific about the plants, but the first book involved an evil forest and the latter books were set in other strange environs.


It could be L.E. Modessit Jr's. Recluce Saga. In Fall of Angels, a modern spacefaring (and -fighting) ship with a small crew is forced into an alternate universe where much technology fails and magic works. Crew members find themselves with new abilities such as "Order Magic", healing, night vision, and prophetic visions. They struggle to found a working society that will last despite being mostly women surrounded by excessively chauvinistic nations.

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The other books in the series mostly deal with their descendants in a world where magic works, and technology is largely limited by choice as it strengthens "Chaos Magic". The overall theme of the series is the eternal struggle between Order and Chaos, each of which can be manipulated by adepts as Magic.


It could also, at a stretch, be the Well World series by Jack Chalker, which starts with "Midnight at the Well of Souls". In that first book, a spacecraft gets caught up in a gateway to the Well World, and the people on board are sent to a variety of regions and are transformed to different species based on where they go. Following books in the series cover various power struggles both in the outer universe and on the Well World, where some of the geographic regions are coded to stop any technology working but in exchange have a form of magic.


The True Game series (3x trilogies) by Sherri S. Tepper has this as its core concept - however the revelation that they landed on a spaceship doesn't come out until the very last book in the set.


Possibly Saga of Pliocene Exile - Julian May ?

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    Can you explain why you think this would be the right answer? It looks to me like more of straight sci-fi with time travel elements.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Sep 22 '15 at 11:48

Perhaps you could be remembering one of the Warlock series from many years ago by Christopher Stasheff

  • It might be helpful if you add some details indicating why you think this book is a match.
    – Politank-Z
    Sep 21 '15 at 20:41
  • (I don't know if it's OK to edit someone else's answer to expand it, so I'll add this as a comment.) In this series, a group of SCA enthusiasts, some of whom turn out to be latent psychics, colonize a planet and erase their memories of Earth; their psychic abilities manifest over time, and they attribute them to "magic". Sep 21 '15 at 21:14
  • This may have been a possible match depending on how good the person's memory of the books is. In the Warlock series it is one person who crash lands, there are strange plants, and the society has evolved over the centuries to form a society which has magic users. Not an exact fit, but worthy of consideration for the question posed.
    – Underverse
    Sep 22 '15 at 6:45

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