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Old 05-11-2021, 06:41 PM   #1
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"Modern castaway in a primitive world" novels and series

I posted this over on reddit and thought I would share it here, too, and see what other recommendations people have. If I diverge a bit at the end, it's because this was originally posted to r/RimWorld (sci-fi colony game).

Right now I am thoroughly hooked on Olan Thorensen's Destiny's Crucible series. Be warned, the first maybe 1/3 of the first book, Cast Under an Alien Sun, is not promising - stilted dialogue, tedious exposition, clear Marty Stu protagonist - and then the author suddenly gets his feet under him and ends up being quite good at dialogue as well as playing with reader expectations. The premise is that a chemistry grad student is rescued from a plane crash by aliens, who refuse to return him to earth, but reveal that entities unknown have seeded human cultures on multiple alien worlds. They drop him off on a world that tops out around a pre-Napoleonic state of development. The easiest way to read this series is to grab a Kindle Unlimited trial.

Nantucket series, S.M. Stirling: The island of Nantucket in 1998 is transported to 1250B.C. They're fortunate to take a sail-driven Coast Guard training ship with them.

Emberverse / The Change series, S.M. Stirling: in the world of 1998 that Nantucket left behind, electricity and combustion stop working. Even steam pressure is capped, and gunpowder just kind of fizzles. The survivors form some very interesting cultures. Mostly takes place in the Willamette Valley, Oregon.

The Lost Regiment series, William R. Forstchen: a Civil War regiment crosses an anomaly into an alien world where they encounter castaways from many other eras and cultures, as well as alien threats.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Mark Twain: the original, and still very much worth a read. The premise is written on the tin.

A Time Odyssey series, Arthur C. Clarke & Stephen Baxter: starts out with a day-after-tomorrow geopolitical vibe, following a U.N. team stationed in Pakistan near the Afghan border. They are then transposed, along with a plot of land around them, to a patchwork earth composed of these swatches from various time periods. Rudyard Kipling plays a supporting role, some pre-human hominids are encountered, and IIRC some astronauts are captured by a Mongol horde. This series is both more sci-fi and more psychedelic than the others listed here, although Emberverse takes some pretty wild turns.

The first four series are heavily concerned with both engineering details and military strategy and battle tactics.

That's all I've got off the top of my head. Some of Ian M. Banks The Culture novels can have a similar vibe for a few chapters here and there, while characters are stuck or stationed on less developed worlds, doing the dirty work for The Culture's "We don't mess with other civilizations, no sir" AI minds. Emma Newman's Planetfall is literally a human colony under threat on an alien world, but is more of a slow burn psychological horror story with a very Cronenberg aesthetic. Peter Clines Dead Moon is a moonbase beset by Lovecraftian zombies. Clines does very high quality pulp fiction - he made his name with a series about superheroes surviving a zombie apocalypse.
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Old 05-11-2021, 07:06 PM   #2
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Off the top of my head, there are two series that I would consider as part of this group:

The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I have no idea how many of these there are now but there are a lot. Television series was pretty popular from what I understand.

The 1632 series by Eric Flint and David Weber. Similar to your listed Nantucket series a town is displaced through time and interacts with what they found.

I've read few others but generally I'd just call them time travel rather than "cast away". Books like the Jodi Taylor's Chronicles of St Mary's and the Connie Willis' Oxford Time Travel series which, while they do have some castaways in some of the stories, aren't really about that and more about the time travel component. (Connie Willis' "Doomsday Book" is excellent.)
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Old 05-12-2021, 12:41 AM   #3
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Wildside - Steven Gould
Outland - Dennis E. Taylor
Fragment - Warren Fahy
Timeline - Michael Crichton
Tunnel in the Sky - Robert Heinlein
Peter Pan - J. M. Barrie
Planet of the Apes - Pierre Boulle

The Shipwrecked series - Mark Wayne McGinnis
The Corps of Discovery series - James S. Peet
The 100 series - Kass Morgan
The Caspak series - Edgar Rice Burroughs
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Old 05-12-2021, 07:57 AM   #4
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One of the SF classics iwas L. Sprague de Camp's Lest Darkness Fall in which a modern man goes back to Rome during the Fall of Rome.

de Camp and Pratt's Complete Enchanter is a variant of this idea, a modern man visits various worlds of legend and magic.
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Old 05-12-2021, 08:38 AM   #5
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I highly recommend Kindred by Octavia E. Butler.

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Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana's life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.
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Old 05-12-2021, 11:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dazrin View Post
I've read few others but generally I'd just call them time travel rather than "cast away". Books like the Jodi Taylor's Chronicles of St Mary's and the Connie Willis' Oxford Time Travel series which, while they do have some castaways in some of the stories, aren't really about that and more about the time travel component. (Connie Willis' "Doomsday Book" is excellent.)
I think I've read at least one or two of each from those series. In that vein (academic time travel) there's also The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland.
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Old 05-12-2021, 01:08 PM   #7
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Wildside - Steven Gould
Outland - Dennis E. Taylor
Fragment - Warren Fahy
Timeline - Michael Crichton
Tunnel in the Sky - Robert Heinlein
Peter Pan - J. M. Barrie
Planet of the Apes - Pierre Boulle

The Shipwrecked series - Mark Wayne McGinnis
The Corps of Discovery series - James S. Peet
The 100 series - Kass Morgan
The Caspak series - Edgar Rice Burroughs
That list is an interesting take on the question, but I can see where you're coming from with the ones I've read or seen adapted. Based on my experience of the TV series, The 100 is definitely in RimWorld territory, but probably lacks the history, engineering and warfare chops that form the main appeal of most of the books I listed.
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Old 05-12-2021, 05:15 PM   #8
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Love Emma Newman's Planetfall you mentioned (as well as the other books in that series of standalone novels).

I don't think I've seen Taylor Anderson's "Destroyermen" series mentioned. It's sometimes billed as alternate history, but think World War II destroyer and crew that get stranded in an alternate past universe.
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Old 05-12-2021, 05:16 PM   #9
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Peter Pan - J. M. Barrie
I cannot see how this fits with what the OP is asking for?
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Old 05-13-2021, 05:06 AM   #10
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Off the top of my head, there are two series that I would consider as part of this group:


The 1632 series by Eric Flint and David Weber. Similar to your listed Nantucket series a town is displaced through time and interacts with what they found.
Just for the record, 1632 is free at Amazon US
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Old 05-13-2021, 05:12 AM   #11
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I enjoyed Timeline by Michael Crichton
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Old 05-13-2021, 05:34 AM   #12
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The Doomfarers of Coramonde and The Starfollowers of Coramonde by Brian Daley.

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Just yesterday, Sergeant Gil MacDonald and his APC crew had been fending off an ambush in a Viet Nam jungle. In the middle of the firefight, some kind of magic spell had transported them to this Fantasy Land complete with flying dragons, wizards, crazy castles, and dispossessed princes.
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Old 05-13-2021, 05:38 AM   #13
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The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

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Testing his time machine for the first time, a Victorian scientist finds himself in the year 802,701 AD.
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Old 05-13-2021, 05:49 AM   #14
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I also liked Ammonite by Nicola Griffith
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Old 05-13-2021, 05:58 AM   #15
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Just for the record, 1632 is free at Amazon US
And at the fifth imperium:

https://baencd.thefifthimperium.com/...asternFrontCD/
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