Getaways Far, Far Away

Summer reading recommendations that will take you out of this world

Getaways Far, Far Away

Oz. Middle Earth. Narnia. Lilliput. Discworld. Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mars. Ray Bradbury's Mars. These imagined worlds and so many others like them have long captivated us, their fantastical topologies, strange flora and fauna, and richly detailed histories drawing us to revisit them again and again – both as individuals and as a culture – just like tourist hot spots in our own reality. These days, we're as likely to make those return journeys through a screen as a book, but the most enduring of the Wonderlands (including that one – thanks, Lewis Carroll) originated on the page, and that's still a thrilling place to discover them.

Now, in our era, in which ravaged postapocalyptic landscapes overrun by brain-munching hordes hold sway, you may think they don't make Neverlands like they used to. But (with apologies to Rhymin' Simon) every generation throws its Westeros up the popcult charts – even this dystopian-fixated, zombie-engorged one. For this year's Summer Reading roundup, our writers' mission was to seek out new life and new civilizations that contained some of the enchantment of the imaginary realms of yore, the kinds of fantastic worlds that you'd want to visit more than once. Here are their dispatches from out of this world.

  • Dark Run

    Mike Brooks' ragtag gang on a galactic smuggling mission may seem familiar (cough, Firefly), but you'll love 'em all the same

    Arabella of Mars

    Set in an alternate past wherein Britain colonized Mars, David D. Levine's novel is a thrilling adventure for young and old
  • Arcadia: A Novel

    Four protagonists move through our world, imaginary worlds, and time in Iain Pears' sumptuous tangle of a book

    The Winged Histories

    Sofia Samatar's novel of Olondria takes patience, but its characters are intensely complex and beautifully human

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More Summer Reading
When his stepdaughter is kidnapped in Mexico, Jack Searle has to cross the border to find her

Jesse Sublett, June 12, 2015

<i>Exploring Calvin & Hobbes</i>
Exploring Calvin & Hobbes
This catalog from an exhibition about the comic strip reveals an unusual amount about its creator

Raoul Hernandez, June 12, 2015

More Arts Reviews
"Shawn Camp & Darcie Book: Comity of Ghosts" at ICOSA Gallery
New ICOSA show unites the spirits within via the surfaces without

Wayne Alan Brenner, Oct. 16, 2020

<i>Murder on Cold Street</i> by Sherry Thomas
Murder on Cold Street by Sherry Thomas
Sherry Thomas' fifth outing in the Lady Sherlock series is as fascinating and feminist as ever

Oct. 9, 2020

More by Robert Faires
Penfold Theatre's Interactive Show <i>The Control Group</i> Lets You Fix the Future
Penfold Theatre's Interactive Show The Control Group Lets You Fix the Future
The sci-fi drama by phone calls on you to correct a crisis in the time stream

Oct. 23, 2020

For His Dance <i>(Re)current Unrest</i>, Charles O. Anderson Keeps Moving
For His Dance (Re)current Unrest, Charles O. Anderson Keeps Moving
Through the pandemic and other obstacles, the choreographer and UT teacher continues to adapt

Oct. 16, 2020


Summer Reading, science fiction / fantasy, Summer Reading 2016

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