The best books that inspire the creation of worlds

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been an avid reader since I could open a book. The stories I’ve mentioned may have been a kick in the rear that made me realize how much I love science fiction and fantasy... with that little twist of magic that can send your imagination flying through the universe, but naturally it didn’t start there. When I was creating worlds, or playing through my friend’s worlds with D&D or Palladium, I always knew I wanted to share them with others. Because, if I can make people love my stories... maybe, just maybe... they’ll be inspired to write a story I’ll read and love.


I wrote...

A Prison of Worlds

By Daniel Ruth,

Book cover of A Prison of Worlds

What is my book about?

His friends are dead and now Derek is trapped as a human and branded by magic. Thrown out of his own reality he has to find a way to break his bindings and find a way home. Although he is an accomplished psychic Derek realizes that perhaps this may be the wrong skill set to bring to bear on ancient magics and devilish dragons. 

Now he has to explore the very building blocks of magic to take control of his destiny. Mad mages, hordes of demons, and unfortunate explosions follow him as he attempts to save the world. Which begs the question, what does happen after the apocalypse? 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Nine Princes in Amber

Daniel Ruth Why did I love this book?

This is a book about one of the nine princes of Amber. A family of trans-dimensional dynasty of immortal warriors and sorcerers that can walk through the layers of reality as easily as getting a cup of tea. But it starts with a man who lost his memory in a car accident convinced that someone is out to get him. From the first chapter it’s a wild ride through the multiverse they call shadow as the Courts of Chaos and the Lords of Order chase after one man.

This book showed me how great a story could be when an author cut loose and let you follow along on one of the best “hellrides” ever. I am sure it wasn’t the first book showing how crazy the multiverse was, but it was branded in my mind forever. 

By Roger Zelazny,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Nine Princes in Amber as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most revered names in sf and fantasy, the incomparable Roger Zelazny was honored with numerous prizes—including six Hugo and three Nebula Awards—over the course of his legendary career. Among his more than fifty books, arguably Zelazny’s most popular literary creations were his extraordinary Amber novels.

Now officially licensed by the Zelazny estate, the first book in this legendary series is now finally available electronically.

Carl Corey wakes up in a secluded New York hospital with amnesia. He escapes and investigates, discovering the truth, piece by piece: he is really Prince Corwin, of Amber, the one true world…


Book cover of The I Inside

Daniel Ruth Why did I love this book?

What would you do if you were just an average, boring man? Living an average boring life. But then you found you had incredible powers. Not little by little... but full-on fire hose-level powers. Then you found out that all you knew about yourself, and your life were lies. And everyone wants you. This is another novel where the protagonist finds himself running for his life or freedom through the universe. Just one this time.

This book appealed to the escapist in me. Just as every teenager wants to be special or miraculous, this was the epitome of a normal man finding he was definitely not normal and trying to live with the consequences. It’s a pretty common theme, but this story took it and ramped it up to a level 10 on the excitement meter.

By Alan Dean Foster,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The I Inside as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

(Drawer 1)


Book cover of The Warrior's Apprentice

Daniel Ruth Why did I love this book?

What if you were crippled from birth but you knew that you were destined for greater things and larger-than-life heroics? Miles’ embryo was damaged by an attack on his mother before he was even born. Try as he may, he can’t succeed in the only career he ever wanted... the military. He failed at that but fortunately he’s an unimaginable genius, with a streak of luck the size of a planet. He’ll just stumble into making his own army and try not to be executed for treason.

Another normal man... even below average, physically at least. But he can drag his failing body around and overcome obstacle after obstacle to achieve... well... some facsimile of his dream. There’s a lot of humor in these books. Not necessarily joking humor but the kind that takes the reality of the situation seriously even when the most absurd things happen. I really like that.

By Lois McMaster Bujold,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Warrior's Apprentice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR. NEW EDITION OF THE BOOK THAT STARTED THE VOKOSIGAN SAGA LEGEND. WITH AN ALL-NEW INTRODUCTION BY LOIS MCMASTER BUJOLD!


Book cover of Cenotaph Road

Daniel Ruth Why did I love this book?

This one is a little more faded in memory. It's about a man and his companion giant spider as they travel a road of interdimensional gates. He starts off as a swordsman, barely able to get spells to function, and through luck and design becomes one of the most powerful existences in the multiverse. After six books, that is.

Aside from a rollicking good time following this hero and companion spider on their adventures I learned a bit of about pacing. How to bring a character from low power to high power and not get lost in the ‘fantasy’ of power tripping. Like many other of my favorites, it was one step along the path of infinite possibilities.

By Robert E. Vardeman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cenotaph Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Robert E. Vardeman has created a pair of heroes – and a villain of equal calibre – guaranteed to live in the reader’s mind long after the last page has been read.” – George Proctor

His path is set, but it could all end in darkness…

After a good night goes badly wrong, Dar-elLan-Martak finds himself on the run for a murder he didn’t commit.

With the viscious and much-hated grey soldiers fast on his toes, Lan must find a way to escape – and Cenotaph Road may just be the answer to that.

Legend has it that if you…


Book cover of Master of the Five Magics

Daniel Ruth Why did I love this book?

This book was a full-on fantasy. About a boy that wants to learn magic, in a world where there are five types of magic. Through talent, luck, determination, and a heck of a lot of imagination he wiggles onto the path of magic in order to achieve his goal. Five times.  

Aside from being a journey of learning for the apprentice, it was also a demonstration of how to make magic... science.  Not by waving your hand and saying magic was merely advanced science but by having each magic school have clear and concise rules and in turn having a world that made sense if you had to follow these rules. It was an eye-opener that showed how good a magical world that made sense could be.

By Lyndon Hardy,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Master of the Five Magics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Vendora, the crafty queen under siege in a castle that had never fallen.

Alodar, the mere journeyman, learning the least of the five crafts of magic.

He had no right to aspire for her hand --- but aspire he did!

Wizards, sorcerers, dragons, castles, and more!

Alodar's quest takes him from one magical craft to another—each with its own distinct powers and pitfalls. Aided by a mysterious eye from deep within the earth, at a college for magicians, he discovers the secret lying behind the hypnotic flicker of common flame.


Volume 1 of the Magic by the Numbers series


Some…


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Ferry to Cooperation Island

By Carol Newman Cronin,

Book cover of Ferry to Cooperation Island

Carol Newman Cronin Author Of Ferry to Cooperation Island

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Sailor Olympian Editor New Englander Rum drinker

Carol's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

James Malloy is a ferry captain--or used to be, until he was unceremoniously fired and replaced by a "girl" named Courtney Farris. Now, instead of piloting Brenton Island’s daily lifeline to the glitzy docks of Newport, Rhode Island, James spends his days beached, bitter, and bored.

When he discovers a plan for a private golf course on wilderness sacred to his dying best friend, James is determined to stop such "improvements." But despite Brenton's nickname as "Cooperation Island," he's used to working solo. To keep historic trees and ocean shoreline open to all, he'll have to learn to cooperate with other islanders--including Captain Courtney, who might just morph from irritant to irresistible once James learns a secret that's been kept from him for years.

Ferry to Cooperation Island

By Carol Newman Cronin,

What is this book about?

Loner James Malloy is a ferry captain-or used to be, until he was unceremoniously fired and replaced by a girl named Courtney Farris. Now, instead of piloting Brenton Island's daily lifeline to the glitzy docks of Newport, Rhode Island, James spends his days beached, bitter, and bored.

When he discovers a private golf course staked out across wilderness sacred to his dying best friend, a Narragansett Indian, James is determined to stop such "improvements." But despite Brenton's nickname as "Cooperation Island," he's used to working solo. To keep rocky bluffs, historic trees, and ocean shoreline open to all, he'll have…


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