5:30 pm EST, November 7, 2014

Like ‘Firefly’? ‘Avatar’? ‘Doctor Who’? Read these books

By rbritt515 | Edited by Donya Abramo

Have you ever watched a TV show and just couldn’t get enough? Or fallen in love with a show that was canceled 14 episodes into the first season (*cough* Firefly *cough*)?

Or maybe you’ve just been binge-watching way too much Netflix lately and you need to mix things up a bit. Whatever your current fanperson struggles, this list should help you find some new stories to obsess over.

If you like ‘Firefly’, read ‘Nimona’ by Noelle Stevenson

What it’s about: Ballister Blackheart is the most infamous villain in the land, working to undermine the Institute and their golden boy, Goldenloin, with whom he has a complicated past. Nimona shows up at his lair one day with bright orange hair, a reference from the supervillain agency, and a gift for causing mass chaos and destruction. Oh, and she also has one other little talent: the ability to shapeshift. Nimona and Blackheart soon develop a deep bond, but her troubled past and violent streak cause more trouble than anyone could have imagined.

Why you’ll like it: Nimona is about a group of outsiders on the wrong side of the law, fighting for what they believe in, who become a sort of ragtag family. Blackheart, the so-called supervillain, and Nimona often butt heads over their “evil” plans, especially when Nimona tries to incorporate real death and destruction into them. The story also blends medieval fantasy with futuristic sci-fi elements which fans of Firefly’s unusual genre will appreciate (space western, anyone?).

Obviously nothing will ever fill the Serenity-shaped void that the cancellation of Firefly left in our hearts, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other great stories out there for us to enjoy, and Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona is one of them. If you’ve never read a webcomic before, Nimona is a great place to start. Nimona will be released in book form by Harper and Collins in 2015. In the meantime, it can be found online here.

If you like ‘Avatar the Last Airbender’, read ‘The Underland Chronicles’ by Suzanne Collins


What it’s about: What if Alice in Wonderland took place in a modern city? That is the question that inspired author Suzanne Collins (yes THAT Suzanne Collins) to write the tales of Gregor, a boy who accidentally stumbles into a civilization of humans and mutated creatures living below the streets of New York City. Dangers abound in the Underworld, and with no way to return home, Gregor must learn to navigate this society full of political intrigue and interspecies conflict. And there’s also the small matter of a sinister prophecy which may or may not have something to do with Gregor…

Why you’ll like it: Fans of Avatar will enjoy this journey into a world with a rich and conflicted history. Equal parts humor and action (and with just a dash of romance), The Underland Chronicles have a vibe similar to Avatar. The mythology of this series is very different from Avatar, but similarly expansive and inventive. While it is marketed toward a younger audience, Gregor the Overlander deals with many themes that are universal and timeless.

If you like ‘Doctor Who’, read ‘Pendragon’ by D.J. McHale


What it’s about: Bobby Pendragon believes he is a normal teenager. His biggest worries are school, the upcoming basketball game, and whether Courtney Chetwynde likes him back. Everything seems on the verge of working out perfectly, when his uncle whisks him away to another world, and Bobby learns that he isn’t just a normal teenager — in fact, he may not even be human. And if that wasn’t enough for one guy to deal with, it also seems that the fate of the world, and, in fact, the whole universe, may be in the hands of Bobby and his friends.

Why you’ll like it: Pendragon may not have the name-recognition of Doctor Who, but in the ten books of the series McHale manages to create a deep and fantastical mythology that will draw readers in and keep them coming back for more. Each book takes place in a different and unique world which will satisfy the Who fans whose favorite episodes are those on alien planets. And for Who fans who prefer time travel, well, let’s just say there’s some of that, too. Aliens, other worlds, time travel, time travel on other worlds, love, friendship, this series has it all.

As the series progresses it deals more with questions of how far a person can or should go to do what is right, and whether a person can actually do the wrong thing by trying to do the right thing. Hmmm, sounds a bit like a certain Gallifreyan I know.

What recommendations would you add to this list?

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