I'm a sucker for a good omnibus.
For the uninitiated, an omnibus is a single-volume collection of multiple stories, often novels, that were previously published separately. I first became aware of them as a cash-strapped teenager, looking to quench my thirst for books for less money. Sure, I could buy the individual books of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy...or I could own all three in a single omnibus edition. The economics were appealing—an omnibus edition containing multiple books costs less than buying said books separately. There is a waiting factor required, of course; omnibus editions, if they are even published at all, don't appear until years after the debut of the first book it contains. But if you're like me (Hello. My name is John and I'm a biblioholic.), your to-read pile is so overwhelming, omnibus editions will appear before you've even had a chance to dive into book #1. Even if I have started the series, there's still something special about owning an omnibus. There's a satisfaction to holding them, especially if the omnibus contains a complete series. ("I hold in my hands the complete story of Frodo Baggins!") Perhaps the best news of all for voracious readers who can't wait to get more: When one story ends, you don't have to wait for the next one. You can binge-read to my heart's content.
All of which is to say, omnibuses rock. Here's a small handful of 5 recent omnibuses that were originally offered as 18 separate books...
Binti: The Complete Trilogy by Nnedi Okorafor
Originally released as a trio of well-received stories (2 novellas and 1 novel) between 2015 and 2018, holdouts and overwhelmed readers can now experience Binti in a single omnibus edition. As a bonus, and perhaps enticement to those who have already read the three previously-published stories, Binti: The Complete Trilogy offers a brand-new story to add to the mix.
Who is Binti? She's a smart young woman who is the first of the Himba people to be accepted into the prestigious Oomza University. Accepting the offer means leaving her family behind and braving the interstellar journey to get there. Although Binti is up for it, the Medusae aliens have other plans. The dangerous jellyfish-like beings have been at war with the world on which Oomza University is located. Binti's journey takes her not only within their reach, but straight into confrontation with them. Over the course of the stories, Binti must navigate the tense relationship between Oomza University and the Medusae, a task the doesn't end when she eventually travels back to her home planet. The Binti series has rightfully been praised as an imaginative and evocative piece of literature. Binti: The Complete Trilogy is your chance to own the whole wonderful story.
The Rising: The Newsflesh Trilogy by Mira Grant
Newsflesh is a fast-paced series about the zombie apocalypse. The Rising contains the first three novels of the series: Feed (2010), Deadline (2011), and Blackout (2012). It's perhaps odd that the fourth and final novel, 2016's Feedback, was not included, but hopefully that's being reserved for follow-up omnibus that will also include the numerous additional short fiction stories set in the same universe. Nevertheless, clocking in 1,200 pages, The Rising still remains a page-turning tome of action and suspense.
The story takes place decades after medical advances have cured a range of maladies from the common cold to cancer, but have also inadvertently unleashed a new, unstoppable viral infection. The victims display an unnatural, zombie-like urge to feed. Contrary to what you might expect after seeing the anarchy depicted in numerous zombie films, here society has not completely broken down. There are secure safe-zones; protocols are in place to help prevent the spread amongst the uninfected. There's also mass communication. Blogs have largely supplanted mainstream media as the primary source of information. Georgia is a news blogger who, along with her brother and friend, covers the presidential election, where obviously the handling of the undead is a huge part of the campaign platform. The ensuing conspiracy is played out over the course of the series, as are the societal impacts of the new nature of civilization.
The Beast Arises, Volumes 1 - 3
The Black Library, publisher of Warhammer fantasy and Warhammer 40K science fiction novels, is no stranger to omnibuses. Their standard operating procedure seems to be: publish gripping, action filled stories, then collect them into tempting omnibus editions, often including extra related short fiction while they're at it. It's a recipe that seems to work. Case in point: The Beast Arises was a twelve-volume military science fiction series completely published in hardback volumes in 2016. The books were written by several authors including Dan Abnett, Rob Sanders, Gav Thorpe, David Annandale, Guy Haley and David Guymer. Now Black Library has published a trio of omnibus editions, each containing 4 novels from The Beast Arises series. (How meta—a series of omnibuses of a series!)
The Beast Arises depicts an epic onslaught of alien orks against the thousands of worlds of the Imperium of Mankind. After centuries of peace, the initial ork invasion catches humanity off guard. The orks use massive attack moons and gravity weapons to destroy one planet after another. Entire chapters of Space Marine are wiped from existence and the High Lords of Terra/Earth are left panicking, especially when an ork attack moon appears over Terra herself. The sweeping arc of the story allows for all the thrills that readers crave: gripping action, brutal consequences, plot twists and revealed secrets, and the highest stakes of all: the fate of humanity. Fortunately for action-hungry readers, this series delivers the goods.