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Help Me Find a Book for Traveling?

In a couple of days, Spouse and I will be flying to Portugal. I would like reading recommendations for the flight (and after). I just gorged on Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea and The Night Circus, for reference. I would class these as well-rooted fantasies and, while I would not normally consider myself a fantasy reader, I seem to be falling increasingly into that category.

Normally, I’m more of a “hard SF/space opera” reader—I grew up on Bradbury, Clarke, Asimov, (even Pournelle and his cohorts) and then folks like Brin and Bear. Neal Stephenson is a favorite. (Obviously, I’m leaving a lot of people out.) Increasingly, I find I’m enjoying fiction with romance of some sort at its core (hence my Morgenstern fixation, I suspect).

It’s been hard to find good hard SF for a while. So many things are novels based on Star Trek or Star Wars, and so many others are series. I’ve had my fill of “military” SF (really, all you need is a single volume with Starship Troopers as the first half and The Forever War as the second). Bear seems to have turned from viruses and blood music to writing video-game derived stuff.


Fantasy (not of the sword and sorcery persuasion) seems in some respects similarly limited, but Morgenstern’s novels contain worlds complete in themselves, and need no sequels or elaboration. They are also remarkably gentle and, while complex, navigable (unlike the Southern Reach books, which I fought my way through during an illness but which I found unpleasant).

Yes, I’m picky.

Since I liked quite a few of the novels on Morgenstern’s own list, I suppose I choose something from there I haven’t read, but... I suppose I could read Dhalgren again (it’s almost time), but I’d rather not take the risk of losing my battered old paperback copy, and I can’t imagine reading the latter sections on a device (see below).

HELP! Does anyone have any suggestions for a nice thick read? Preferably available on Kindle, as I’m trying to minimize my traveling load, and I’m short on time to find something locally.

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