Recommended Reading List from Hypatia’s Hoard for Fish Out of Water

Presented at Archon 2002

by Elizabeth Barrette

  • 1632 by Eric Flint. Baen, 2000. A town in West Virginia gets flung back to medieval Germany.
  • Another Fine Myth by Robert Asprin. Ace, 1978. The talented demon wizard Aahz gets dumped into a backwater dimension, with all his powers removed, as a practical joke; and he winds up taking on an old friend’s apprentice wizard.
  • Beyond Rejection by Justin Leiber. Del Rey, 1980. The recorded mind of a man is transplanted into the body of a woman.
  • Bobby’s Girl by J. D. Austin. Ace, 2001. The alien Ket Mhulhar, disguising herself in human form as Kathy Miller, winds up working as a script girl in Los Angeles, California — and loving it.
  • “Breakthrough Combination” by Elizabeth Barrette. Appeared in Fortress, 1996, reprinted on author’s website. Negotiator Jeremiah Glenn finds himself in unfamiliar territory trying to keep the peace amongst squabbling factions of humans and others.
  • The Color of Distance by Amy Thomson. Ace, 1995. Juna Saari winds up marooned on an alien planet. The local sentients rescue her and helpfully modify her body so that she can survive on their world. You really get a sense of being dumped into the deep end of the pool with this novel. The sequel,Through Alien Eyes, brings some of Juna’s new Tendu friends back to human territory.
  • The Crystal Shard by R.A. Salvatore. TSR Books, 1988. This novel introduces the drow elf Drizzt do’Urden, in the company of his human and dwarven friends — and a whole lot of other people who hate him just because all the other drow are vicious. As one of the most decent characters ever written, he doesn’t fit in all that well with the human cultures, either.
  • Dinotopia by James Gurney. HarperCollins, 1998. Arthur Dennison and son are marooned on a lost island where humans and dinosaurs live together; this book is an exquisite blend of text and illustrations.
  • The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. Bantam Spectra, 1992. A scholar travels into the past, and finds herself in the middle of the Black Death … and her careful preparations for the trip aren’t nearly as much help as anyone expected.
  • Dun Lady’s Jess by Doranna Durgin. Baen, 1994. This book throws all the fish and all the water right up in the air. Among other things it involves a horse turning into a woman, people from a magical world spilling into ours, and then people from ours going the other way.
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Tor, 1977. A military genius is taken from his family while quite young, installed at a special school, and set up to fight war games against an alien race — only the games turn out to be real in the end.
  • Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. Del Rey, 1985. Elephantine aliens invade Earth, disrupting everyone’s cultural routines. Watch humans try to figure out alien culture fast enough to survive first conflict…er, contact.
  • The Gate of Ivory by Doris Egan. DAW, 1989. Theodora of Pyrene gets stranded on Ivory, the only planet where magic works … and the culture bears no resemblance to anything she knows. This is not all bad.
  • Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. Motte, 1726; many subsequent editions. A bold explorer visits strange lands, including the famous Lilliput (where he’s a giant compared to the tiny locals) and Brobdingnag (where he’s tiny compared to the giant locals). Another very early fish-out-of-water story.
  • Her Majesty’s Wizard by Christopher Stasheff. Del Rey, 1986. Graduate student Matthew Mantrell stumbles into a world where poetry makes magic, and finds himself surprisingly well-equipped to cope accordingly.
  • I Will Fear No Evil by Robert Heinlein. Ace, 1970. A man’s brain is transplanted into a woman’s body.
  • Island in the Sea of Time by S. M. Stirling. Roc, 1998. The island of Nantucket, complete with all inhabitants, tumbles about 3,000 years into the past. Watch the Nantucketers try to deal with the then-locals around the world, and vice versa.
  • Jaran by Kate Elliot. DAW, 1992. While following some people who are up to no good, Tess Soerensen gets loose on the interdicted planet of Rhui, where she meets up with the nomadic Jaran. Mutual culture shock ensues promptly.
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. HarperCollins, 1950. First of the Narnia books, it transports four children to a magical land where they must break the power of Winter.
  • The Lost Regiment: Rally Cry by William Forstchen. Roc, 1990. A Civil War unit suddenly find themselves transported to a distant world populated by other hijacked military units and their descendents … and some very large critters who think of humans as a tasty snack. Your basic fish-out-of-water-and-into-frying-pan story.
  • Quag Keep by Andre Norton. DAW, 1979. A group of roleplaying characters, influenced by overlapping memories from their players, find themselves in the gaming world, neither belonging nor not-belonging.
  • The Sleeping Dragon by Joel Rosenberg. NAL, 1987. A group of roleplaying gamers get transported into their gaming world — as their characters — and set out to take over the world.
  • So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane. Delacorte Press, 1983. Two young folks become wizards, doing battle against entropy and traveling to some extraordinary places.
  • Spellsinger by Alan Dean Foster. Warner Books, 1983. Jonathan Thomas Meriweather finds himself yanked from Los Angeles, California into a world of extraordinary magic by a wizard who thought he was getting … well, rather different kind of help than he got.
  • Starsong by Dan Parkinson. TSR Books, 1988. A band of starfaring elves come to Earth in hopes of saving their world. Both worlds, actually, as it turns out. Elves and humans surprise each other, sometimes in good ways, sometimes not so good.
  • Thunder Rift by Matthew Farrell. Eos, 2001. When humans make first contact, it is Taria Spears who is unexpectedly invited to stay for a visit in the extremely alien culture of the Blues.
  • The Unknown Soldier by Mickey Zucker Reichert. DAW, 1994. A guy shows up in the emergency room of a hospital with no memory, just some disturbing nightmares. And some even more disturbing enemies.
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. George M. Hill Company, 1900; many subsequent editions. A tornado transports Dorothy from Kansas to the magical land of Oz; one of the earliest and most famous fish-out-of-water stories.

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