Standalone Science Fiction and Fantasy Reads

14 brave new worlds that require minimal commitment.

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Standalone science fiction and fantasy books are such a rarity these days that they almost feel like an oxymoron. After all, most writers don’t commit themselves to incredible feats of world-building to just write one book. That these novels usually come in a series of three or more is practically a trademark of the genre; you expect there to be more. But as awesome as these epic adventures are, they tend to require a certain amount of stamina that not all readers are prepared to give. Just ask the unsuspecting readers who bought A Game of Thrones 20 years ago and have yet to see Daenerys Targaryen set foot in Westeros—waiting for a satisfying conclusion can be agony. Sometimes the idea of committing to a whole series (the cliff-hanger endings, the inevitable spin-offs) can be daunting, and for those times, you need that ever-elusive standalone novel. These 14 books have quirky variations of magic, ingenious uses of technology, rich new landscapes, and even a little horror, all complete with a beginning, a middle, and most importantly, an end.   

Featured image: Catherine Glazkova/

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About Nicole Fiorica

Nicole Fiorica

NICOLE FIORICA studies Communications at Fordham University and is an intern with the Crown Publishing Group. She has recently come to terms with the fact that she will never finish her To-Be-Read list, but will continue to buy new books anyway. She talks endlessly about all things reading and writing at and can be found on Twitter at @nicolefios.

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