One of the most essential aspects of speculative fiction is the world-building. Readers want to know how characters live, love, laugh, pray, and (maybe most of all) eat. Whether it's Tolkien's lembas bread or Kvothe's stew, food helps to define so much about our favorite stories. If you're a food-lover (or maybe just hungry), here are 10 science fiction and fantasy books you should read based on your favorite food or drink.
Before the Coffee Gets Cold
One of our favorite parts of the holiday is sitting around the table after a delicious meal with a hot cup of coffee. But what if that coffee had the incredible power to send you back in time? That’s what happens in a tiny Tokyo café. Their coffee has been carefully brewed a certain way for over a hundred years. The rules are simple: You have to sit in a particular seat. You can’t leave the café. And you have to come back to the present before the coffee gets cold.
Legends and Lattes
Okay, you busted us. We did already include coffee on this list. But there’s coffee, and then there’s lattes. In Travis Baldree's Hugo-nominated novel, Viv knows there’s something special about a warm drink and flaky pastry. That’s why she hung up her battle ax to open a coffeeshop. Even though no one in Thune knows that coffee is. She’ll have to learn how to ask for help, rely on others, and discover that some people are put on your path for just the right reason at just the right time. And those bonds can be deeper than anything she ever imagined.
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
Arthur Dent didn’t want to be different, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is. And now that he’s back on Earth, he can almost convince himself the last eight years were a dream. But the dolphins are gone, he still has his copy of the Hitchhiker’s Guide, and someone gift wrapped a fishbowl with a cryptic inscription. To find answers, he has to hitch a ride on a UFO with a giant robot and head to a star light years away surrounded by souvenir booths.
Sometimes, the best part of dinner is the leftovers you warm up the next day. There’s something about a meal that lingers that makes you appreciate it even more, like the memory of the Departed. No one knows where they went, why they disappeared, or even if the Sudden Departure will happen again. All anyone knows is that nothing will ever be the same.
The Empire of Ice Cream
One of the best things about ice cream is the variety. No matter what mood you’re in, there’s a flavor to match. That’s why this short story collection is perfect for ice-cream lovers everywhere. With 14 stories and a never-before-published novella, The Empire of Ice Cream is the perfect bite-sized treat to satisfy all your supernatural cravings.
Some people like pancakes. Others French toast. But we like the warm comfort of a fluffy cinnamon roll. Captain Brom Vanderzee isn’t soft and fluffy. He’s a dangerous pirate. One Julianna Doran can’t get out of her mind after a fateful Ouija board brings them together. She’ll move heaven and earth, traveling across space and time to find him. Because if there’s one thing she knows, it’s that a life of magic, love, and adventure is one worth fighting for.
Beneath the Sugar Sky
During the holidays, there is no shortage of sugary sweets, and if you’re a candy lover, get ready to indulge your sweet tooth in the world of Confection. That’s where Rini is from, and if she wants to go back, she has to figure out how her mother was murdered before she was conceived. Reality though, is catching up. If she can’t find her mother, reality will erase her entirely.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
There’s nothing chocoholics dream of more than an entire factory full of chocolate—especially if that factory is run by the mysterious and elusive Willy Wonka. When he places five Golden Tickets inside his chocolate bars, the lucky winners get to spend an entire day seeing exactly how that delicious candy is made. But there’s more happening inside the factory than making sugary delights. Charlie is about to find out exactly what makes Willy Wonka—and his chocolate factory—so special.
Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies
Some people are dessert people, and when it comes to dessert, it’s tough to beat a homemade pie. Especially if they come with the magical ingredient of revenge. Daisy Ellery has been baking vengeance in her pastries and delivering them to the men who do the women in her town wrong or years. Until someone threatens to turn her into the police unless she does exactly what they say. Daisy just wants to help women. But someone is determined to turn her business into a pile of crumbs.
Blood & Honey
Honey is the treat that keeps on giving. It goes in cookies and candies, on nuts and hams. It makes everything just a little sweeter—including steamy romance and dark magic … and Blood & Honey has plenty of both. The breathtaking sequel to Serpent & Dove is the thrilling conclusion to a story you will stay up all night long to finish.