Questions tagged [books]

Use this tag on [story-identification] questions when the work is a book series or when the written media is unclear but use a more specific tag where appropriate e.g. [novel], [novella], [short-stories], [anthology-book], etc. Use this tag to indicate the question is about the book version or adaptation of a work. For differences between the book and other versions, such as a movie, use [adaptation-comparison].

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122
votes
9answers
189k views

What's the recommended reading order of the Ender Wiggin books?

The series that starts with Ender's Game has a parallel series that starts with Ender's Shadow. The graph of the timeline is... well... complicated. Does it make more sense if you read them in the ...
99
votes
1answer
7k views

Boy transported to another planet where the being who owns the Earth lives

I read this book probably in the late 1990s. I assume the intended audience is teenagers/youth because I checked it out of my junior high library. In the book there is a boy on a plane and the plane ...
71
votes
1answer
10k views

Book in which the “mountain” in the distance was a hole in the flat world

Science fiction novel or short story. Characters were lost or crashed or something on a new-to-them world and were making for a mountain they could see in the distance. But when they reached the ...
46
votes
2answers
2k views

Identifying a story with a portal that only organic tissue can pass through

I'm looking for a book that I read when I was young (~1985). My guess is that it was published in the 70s or 80s. In this story, a scientist (or more) created some sort of portal. Only organic tissue ...
42
votes
2answers
5k views

Identifying a story about a girl named Sarah who finds out she is a robot

I read this sci-fi novel for young adults when I was a kid, and I would love to re-read it but I can't remember the title. I remember the copy I borrowed from the library had some sort of television ...
41
votes
2answers
2k views

Book from the 70s: Battle/Balance between Light/Sun and Moon/Dark?

I remember reading a book in the 70s, so it could be YA. It is set on modern-day Earth, and the story is about a boy. His mother is sick (maybe cancer?) and he is socially awkward, so he doesn't ...
40
votes
3answers
8k views

Name of sci fi book where academy entrance exam is “impossible”

I can almost quote the text, I recall it so well, but which book it comes from is escaping me. I want to say "Starship Troopers", but that really doesn't fit. The protagonist is a young man ...
39
votes
1answer
6k views

Fantasy story about a knife that can cut holes to other dimensions [duplicate]

I read this story a few years ago (estimate: 8-10 years), so I was around 13-15 at that time. The language of the book was German, but I'm not sure whether or not that is the original language of the ...
38
votes
3answers
5k views

What did Aragorn do with his sword between the battles of Pelennor Fields and Morannon?

After the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, Aragorn draws his sword Andúril and says: "You shall not be sheathed again until the last battle is fought." The Lord of the Rings, The Return of ...
38
votes
4answers
150k views

What is the correct reading order for Stephen King's 'Dark Tower' series (updated)?

There are a considerable number of properties relating to Stephen King's Dark Tower; The original novels as well as various media such as a prequel and sequel-comic series, short stories, mentions in ...
37
votes
3answers
9k views

Why did the climate in World War Z go cold?

I recently read World War Z, and one question nagged me throughout it- why did the Earth get colder during the Zombie apocalypse? The story suggested that most places were burning, which I thought ...
37
votes
1answer
5k views

Fantasy book where a normal man accepts job advertisement to become a king of a fantasy kingdom

I read the first chapter of this book while I was waiting at a train station. I read it like a couple of years ago but I think that at least 3 books of the series were published so I'm not sure when ...
36
votes
2answers
5k views

Does any of The Hobbit's negative impression of Wood Elves survive in Tolkien's other writing?

In The Lord of the Rings, the only Wood Elf we get to know is Legolas, who is obviously awesome. But in The Hobbit, the image we get of Wood Elves is far less positive. We are told that they "are ...
35
votes
2answers
6k views

Book about a time-travel war fought by computers

I read a paperback in the mid-1970's in which combatants fought a war using time travel and adaptive computers. After a battle, the victors had to quickly flee because the opponents would return from ...
35
votes
1answer
4k views

Book featuring a child learning from a crowdsourced AI book

The book features multiple parallel story lines: a poor child accidentally ends up possessing an AI driven book; the voice for the AI is crowdsourced to a woman, who gradually figures out that she's ...
34
votes
5answers
9k views

Looking for quote about the absurdity of people driving cars

I remember reading a book where the Author described an aliens point of view of how absurd it was that people transported themselves around in metal boxes that were much bigger than what they needed. ...
33
votes
2answers
8k views

A book about travelling to hell and cutting worlds with a knife

I am looking for the title of a book, actually a series (probably a trilogy). I just have a few memories - I read it 20+ years ago but the book is contemporary. The few things I remember: the two ...
33
votes
2answers
4k views

Fantasy series where magic was done by saying what you wanted

There is a book I have fond memories for, but I can't remember many details and especially not the name of the series. I read it nearly 20 years ago when I was 8 or 9 I believe. The details I do ...
33
votes
1answer
2k views

Story about muscle-powered wooden ships on remote ocean planet

I'm looking for the title and author of a story (I think a short story) that I read in the late 1960s or early '70s. The story was about an ocean planet that has been colonized by space-faring humans. ...
31
votes
1answer
5k views

What fantasy book series has spells cast by two races using dance-like movements, and many worlds? [duplicate]

I am looking for the title of a fantasy series I once started reading at a friend’s house a long time ago, and never got the chance to get the name of the author/series. It involves the main ...
31
votes
15answers
140k views

What is the best place to start Warhammer 40k?

I've got three omnibus books containing 9 total Warhammer 40,000 stories. Before I mention which ones I've got, which book would you recommend as a good place to start the series?
31
votes
1answer
4k views

Looking for 1950's era book US is surrounded by a force field, and a British pilot lands and finds US degenerated due to radiation

I'm looking for 1950's era book. US is surrounded by a force field, and a British pilot lands and finds US degenerated due to radiation. I read this book in my grandparents' house in the late 70's/...
31
votes
2answers
5k views

Book: World covered in trees that are miles high

The world is covered in trees that are miles high. A resident of the planet climbs to the highest tree top to find a crashed ship. He has never been to that level before. This leads him on a journey ...
30
votes
1answer
11k views

How many books are there in “The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy” series?

I have seen an edition of The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy that was a compilation of four books, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Life, the Universe ...
30
votes
1answer
3k views

Novel involving a sentient AI, alien hogs, and a Chinese colony governed by OCD

I'm looking for help finding a book I read when I was really young. It was a thick paperback sci fi novel, and it seemed pretty old. I don't remember anything specific about the cover other than it ...
30
votes
1answer
5k views

Bums take over the world

I believe it may have been a series so some details may be mixed between the books. I read it maybe 10 years ago. It starts out with the protagonist waking up in the middle of the night to find his ...
29
votes
2answers
5k views

Benevolent aliens who (initially) refuse to show themselves

This is a sci-fi book where aliens arrive on Earth and push Earth towards world peace, but refuse to reveal themselves physically. When the aliens finally do show themselves, we find that they I ...
29
votes
1answer
5k views

Sci-fi book I read years ago: sterile, lab-grown woman who smuggles things in a surgically-created “pouch” behind her navel

The book was about a lab-grown woman who smuggles things in a surgically-created “pouch” behind her navel. She’s sterile throughout the story, and medical sterility is a common, reversible thing in ...
29
votes
5answers
65k views

What symbol does Gandalf put on Bilbo's door?

Do we know what the symbol is that Gandalf puts on the door of Bag End? I mean the one in the novel. Is it the same as the one in the movie?
29
votes
1answer
3k views

Story that includes a description: “Two concentric circles, intersecting at three points” [duplicate]

I am trying to find a story I read as a child. I remember little about it except for the following: I suspect I read it before 1985, but it was a school library book which means it could be God ...
29
votes
1answer
3k views

Story where diplomats use codes for emotions

I am trying to remember the name of a book I read mid-to-late 1990s. I don't remember it being either a really small or massive paperback book. It was from a second hand shop (I think), so probably ...
29
votes
2answers
2k views

Was Elrond always supposed to be an Elf?

This passage in The Hobbit puzzled me: The master of [Rivendell] was an elf-friend... He was as noble and as fair as an elf-lord, as strong as a warrior, as wise as a wizard, as venerable as a king ...
29
votes
1answer
2k views

Book Identification: Gas Giant with breathable atmosphere and burning core

I am trying to remember the name of a science fiction book I borrowed from a library in Ohio sometime between the years 2001–2009, though it was probably closer to the end of that period than the ...
28
votes
2answers
4k views

Older science fiction book about time travel to retrieve things but they went sideways through the dimensions instead

So, as I vaguely remember it. It was set in the distant future were a dictator rules the Earth. By this point carbon dioxide was so high most life outside of humans was extinct. So the dictator built ...
27
votes
1answer
3k views

Book set in two universes [duplicate]

I am trying to remember the name of a book I read when I was a teenager about 20 odd years ago. I think it was written in the 70's or 80's. The premise of the book as I remember it is as follows. ...
27
votes
2answers
964 views

Identify a book with a social engineering theme

I originally read this book in the mid- to late '70s. The premise was a bureaucracy whose job it was to manipulate events in human history by making the smallest possible change that would effect ...
27
votes
1answer
2k views

Book involving attempts to find a war-winning space ship and weapon, which turn out not to exist [duplicate]

I read this book during the 1990s, in English. The premise of the story is that the human race won a war against an alien race years before, using a ship equipped with a radiation based super weapon ...
27
votes
1answer
493 views

Novel: Woman lives her entire life, then finds out it was just practice

I read this book sometime between the late 1980s and the early 1990s. The story follows the life of a woman, which starts when she is a newborn in a kind of robotic creche that cares for her, teaches ...
26
votes
12answers
2k views

Why are “reboots” not done for novels? [closed]

It's pretty common for science fiction TV shows to be "rebooted" (I would guess more common than other genre because of the way that the science elements date). For example, Battlestar Galactica, ...
26
votes
1answer
3k views

Books about dragons and war from a cat-loving author

I remember reading a series consisting of three books a few years ago, maybe around 2010. The series was pretty new when I was reading it. It was set in your typical medieval fantasy world where magic ...
26
votes
1answer
4k views

Story about a girl who discovers she lives in an “exhibition” and manages to escape to Indianapolis/Minneapolis [duplicate]

If I recall correctly, the story describes life on the American frontier, but the characters soon realise there's a world outside and that they're essentially living in an exhibition. The characters ...
26
votes
2answers
4k views

Sci-fi book about humanity barely winning a war with an alien race, after which the protagonist discovers some secrets about the conflict

I am looking for a sci-fi book from the '80s or '90s. On the blue cover there was an astronaut, bearded and balding I think. The story was about humanity who fought a war with an alien race and won, ...
25
votes
6answers
7k views

Why aren't the herds of zombies on the sea floor destroyed by pressure or scavengers? [closed]

In the book, World War Z, there are large herds of zombies walking across the floors of the oceans. How is that possible with that extreme pressure and the plethora of creepy-crawly ocean dwelling ...
25
votes
2answers
5k views

Book in which children escaping London get sent to an alternate reality

I'm looking for the title of this book I read, at least 10 years ago. It had a siblings escaping London during WW2 and instead of reaching the countryside they enter this odd alternate reality. In ...
25
votes
1answer
3k views

Sci-Fi book about female pilot in the distant future who is a linguist and has to decipher an alien language/code

This book I read in college, I think it was published between the 1970s to 1990s. It's about a female pilot (I think her first name began with an R) in the distant future who is famous and is also ...
24
votes
3answers
5k views

Identify a fantasy series with ancient wizard who was training a young hero to fight a sleeping evil god

I remember reading a book series around 2008 - 2009 — probably as an ebook but maybe a hard copy — which for the life of me I cannot recall. My google-fu skills have failed me too. So here are the ...
24
votes
2answers
4k views

Series of books featuring dragons, enchanted forests, magic swords, etc

When I was younger I read a series of 3 or 4 books involving largely traditional mages/dragons/enchanted forests. I'd like to buy it for some of my younger extended family members but I can't ...
24
votes
1answer
3k views

A fantasy book with seven white haired women on the cover

I know it’s vague and I don't expect anyone to know this, but I had a friend who owned a fantasy book with seven white haired women on the cover. I think each woman had their own brief story chapter, ...
24
votes
1answer
2k views

Book with a main character who uses bells to dispel the dead

I'm trying to remember a book set in an alternate England with a walled-off section that contains undead and other magical phenomenons, which can be controlled and dispelled by playing special musical ...
24
votes
2answers
1k views

SCIFI Series. Humans can do point to point interstellar jumps but a supernova kills network

Looking for this two or three book series I read as a youth. Background: Humans found a way to point to point transfer in the galaxy due to force lines. Humans colonized a few systems. Lines of ...

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