SFF Books -- Abduction to Perform World Saving Feats

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Dtyler99, Jul 15, 2017.

  1. Dtyler99

    Dtyler99 Well-Known Member

    Hello Learned Community --

    I'm looking for advice from this board's widely read personages and would appreciate your help. I am querying my manuscript to agents and am having a hard time coming up with a popular/well known comp. Specifically, I'm looking for books where the hero/heroine is ripped out of their normal life to protect/save a world that they have no knowledge of. Prefer SF, but modern F works as well. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!

  2. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    Thomas Covenant springs to mind but that doesn't really for with your selection criteria I'm afraid.
  3. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    I'm struggling with this one, too. I reckon this feels more like a fantasy scenario since the main examples that are popping into my head are:

    Guy Gavriel Kay's The Fionavar Tapestry
    Stephen R. Donaldson's The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever
    Dave Duncan's The Seventh Sword
    Gene Wolfe's The Knight/Wizard
    Greg Bear's Songs of Earth and Power

    And these are all essentially various iterations of portal fantasy.

    The only SF with abduction I can think of is McCaffrey's Restoree, but it fails your criterion specifying saving/protecting this unfamiliar world.
  4. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Ah, Catherine Asaro's romantic and planetary romance novel The Last Hawk somewhat fits. It's not an abduction, but the protagonist finds himself stranded on an unfamiliar planet with an isolationist society and during his circa decade plus of semi-incarceration there ends up shaking up the strict hierarchical society.
  5. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Totally forgot an obvious choice: Burroughs' A Princess of Mars and sequels. I read the first couple of instalments just recently. Not abduction per se, but involuntary removal to an unfamiliar world and ends up protecting/saving Barsoom on a regular basis.
  6. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Mmm, tricky…
    The closest I can think of is Forging Zero by Sara King. Humans are abducted by horrid aliens and the best will survive and become these aliens’ own militia. I have to admit I have put this one in the fridge after having read about 65% of it. King’s style wasn’t for me at all. I might come back to it, eventually. @kenubrion likes King's books if I recall well.

    The Koban Series by S W Benneth. It doesn’t deal with an abduction per se but with a group of humans forced to settle down in Koban, a planet as friendly as Spatterjay.

    Anvil of Stars by G Bear, the sequel to The Forge of God. Again this is not an actual abduction but a forceful exile, in which human children are trained by aliens to reach cosmic retaliation.

    The Faded Sun Trilogy by C J Cherryh. A human embarks on a pilgrimage with two Mri aliens. The human protagonist must learn and adapt to the Mri ways.
  7. Dtyler99

    Dtyler99 Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for your suggestions; I knew I could turn to this board!

    I haven't read the Thomas Covenant books in ages, but enjoyed them when I did.
    I certainly thought of Wolfe's Wizard/Knight duology, but part of what I need is a chunk of the story that depicts the abduction/removal/indoctrination/separation form the live the MC knew before and Wolfe keeps that on the down low.

    I think A Princess of Mars comes closest; need to go back and re-red today.

    This is what I've come up with, but it's certainly not final:

    It’s an irreverent blend of The Merchant Princes and a modern version of Glory Road (without the wish-fulfillment misogyny)
  8. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    A couple more obvious choices: Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, The Matrix, Farscape.

    Also, wouldn't The Player of Games fit the bill? It has one of the absolute best beginnings of showcasing mundane Culture life before setting off on an adventure. Unless the familiarity your're looking for as the initial condition is one that overlaps with our own world?

    And what about Asimov's Pebble in the Sky?

    Also, in Stanislaw Lem's excellent Fiasco, the first 50+ pages deal with familiar territory before the journey starts. I don't think it's exactly what you're looking for, but it's one of the best 'first contact' novels I've ever read.

    I also asked your question elsewhere, but unfortunately without your amendment:
    Here are some of the suggestions I got:

    Dimension of Miracles by Robert Sheckley
    Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen by H. Beam Piper
    Jannissaries by Jerry Pournelle
    Spellsinger series by Alan Dean Foster
    Touchstone series by Andrea K Host
    Have Space Suit Will Travel / Glory Road / Number of the Beast by Robert A. Heinlein
    The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
    A World out of Time by Larry Niven
    Star Sister by Juanita Coulson
    Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
    A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain
    Worlds of the Imperium by Keith Laumer
    The Star Kings by Edmond Hamilton
    Chronicles of Counter-Earth by John Norman (first six books)
    The Man Who Awoke by Laurence Manning

    I'm completely unfamiliar with all of these, so I can't say how close they hew to your criterion. I'll be picking up the Niven, Coulson and Manning books, myself. Also, the description of the Pournelle book reminded me a little of Poul Anderson's The High Crusade.

    Number one responses were John Carter and Thomas Covenant.

    And what about the inverse, where the unfamiliar is deposited into the familiar? Ariel by Steven R. Boyett? A lot of the better post-apocalyptic novels might qualify, like Matheson's I Am Legend.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
  9. Dtyler99

    Dtyler99 Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much, Boreas! Great titles, great books. I actually used A Connecticut Yankee in an earlier pitch. They challenging part is to make the comps very recent (< 5 years); agents have short-term memories and can only key on what has been recently successful, as tastes change. The publishing world is a strange beast. I wish I could go back to just being a voracious reader....
  10. jo zebedee

    jo zebedee Well-Known Member

    Fantasy but the Guardians of the Flame series by Joel Rosenberg.

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