5 books about fantasy worlds to use for escapism

With all that is happening in the world today rightly holding much of our attention, it is important to remember to get some time to yourself and escape the day-to-day news cycle. 

What better way to do that than to enter into a completely different world. If you’re not a Fantasy or Science-Fiction fan, we had a bit of a brainstorm to give you an idea of what’s ‘out there’. Here’s our mixture of recommendations; from old classics you’ll probably have heard of to some newer releases..

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

Released in 1974, The Forever War paints a complicated picture that, if you go along with it, has the power to completely absorb you into the world it creates. It’s part military story, part time travel and part love story. As Earth becomes drawn into a conflict fought on increasingly distant planets, time becomes distorted, with those fighting uncertain if Earth even exists any more. In the midst of this, two soldiers fall in love and attempt to figure out how they can end up together, in the same time and place. It’s gripping stuff that absolutely transports you into its world.

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

The sequel to Atwood’s much-loved Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments arrived in 2019 to transport us all back to Gilead. There’s a return for Aunt Lydia and a glimpse into another world, as we meet Daisy in Canada. It makes for a good read, particularly if you’ve been watching the television series on Channel 4 over the last few years.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

The attention on Tolkien over the last twenty or so years has all been focused on the mega-budget film adaptations. If you have children of the right age though, The Hobbit is a wonderful book to revisit and read along with them. It’s much lighter than The Lord of the Rings books and the world it creates is classic fantasy. There are also the high points of sections such as the barrel ride, which will leave youngsters (and older heads) delighted.

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

Another novel with a popular television tie-in (and less popular film adaptation), Northern Lights has lost none of its appeal over the years, as the popularity of the new TV series showed. Pullman’s worlds are fully and perfectly created and populated with characters who have become iconic; from Lyra and her Oxford, to Iorek and Svalbard, to Lee Scoresby and his balloon. The series has become a modern classic and there’s the new The Book of Dust series from Pullman to explore if you don’t fancy revisiting the original trilogy.

The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

Speaking of creating multiple worlds, whilst Terry Pratchett may be famous for his Discworld series, he also spent a lot of time in his later years creating The Long Earth series of books with fellow Science Fiction author Stephen Baxter. The series abandons Discworld’s light-hearted attitude in favour of serious Science Fiction, with protagonists and worlds changing as the series progresses. There are five books in all, so a lot of ready-made escapism for the weeks and months ahead.