Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Top 10 Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Books

In response to Zed’s comment to my last post about Science Fiction, here are my top 10 Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror books.  I tried to put them in some sort of order but that proved too difficult, so in no particular order;

      1.       The Body – Stephen King
Sentimentally speaking, The Body is my favourite story.  The Body is one novella of four in the book Different Seasons by Stephen King.  Four boys lie to their parents and follow the train tracks to find the dead body of a kid their age.
I first saw the film based in this story, Stand By Me, when I was 12 and I fell in love with it.  I found the book when I was 18 and it sits proudly on my shelf, yellowing and bent from the number of times it’s been read.
The book is beautifully written and dark.  As much as I love Stand By Me, the book spoke to me so much more.  This is a story from my childhood and adolescence, this story got me through teenage depression, GCSEs, exams and my first year of University when I felt down or homesick.

2.       The Blade Itself: The First Law Book One – Joe Abercrombie
This book, and the subsequent sequels, have some incredibly vibrant characters written on its pages.  Beware, there are a lot of characters but a couple really stand out and even now, years after reading this book, I still remember Logan Ninefingers and Glokta vividly.
The Blade Itself is gritty, violent and full of action.  I never doubted buying it after reading the blurb in the bookshop and I accidently read the first sentence when I got home. I had to put whatever I was reading at the time on hold until I had finished this fantastic book. 
A summary/blurb can be found on Joe Abercombie’s website.

3.       Guards Guards – Terry Pratchett
I love all of the Discworld novels to a certain degree.  Guards Guards is one of my favourites for two reasons; Sam Vimes and dragons.
This is the first Discworld novel for Vimes, we are introduced to an alcoholic guard and his men.  You instantly find yourself drawn to Vimes, you empathise with him and trust in him which is what makes him one of most anticipated and heart warming characters in the Discworld.
I love this book so much that I have an artists impression of Errol on the wall of my living room.

4.       Small Gods – Terry Pratchett
Another Discworld novel.  This novel explores the perception of belief and that is why I love it.  I admit that I have a fascination with mythology and belief and I found this book a joy to read with fascinating concepts.
Small Gods follows Brutha, a novice priest who lacks what is necessary in the thinking department and yet he is the one that the great god Om, in the form of a tortoise, appears before.

5.       Good Omens – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Yes, another Terry Pratchett, but this time co-written with Neil Gaiman.   I told you that I have a fascination with belief and gods and you probably know by now that the Armageddon holds some interest to me too.  This book is about just that and a mix up with the coming of the Antichrist.
I picked up this book because of the angels and Terry Pratchett’s name on the front and was introduced me to the world of Neil Gaiman.

6.        The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
This is supposedly a children’s book but that shouldn’t put adults off.  A toddler house is broken into and his parents murdered.  The ghosts living in the graveyard across the road take him in and raise him.
This book is dark, humorous and beautiful written with a story that has never left me.

7.       Wee Free Men – Terry Pratchett
Yes, yes, I know.  Another Terry Pratchett book.  But come on, the Wee Free Men!  How could this not be on the list?  Again, another supposed children’s book.  Wee Free Men is the first in the Tiffany Aching series.  Tiffany is unlike other girls, she has a fantastic way of thinking, taking after Granny Aching.  She is a cheese maker and a witch.  On her family’s land live the Wee Free Men; small, blue little people who speak the most wonderful Scottish. 
This book is a must read introduction to the Wee Free Men and the lovely Tiffany.  I cannot actually put into words how amazing the Wee Free Men are, which is a frustrating thing for a writer.  They are so much fun to read and they quickly became some of my favourite all-time characters.

8.       World War Z – Max Brooks
Now, I haven’t actually quite finished reading this yet.  I bought it in preparation for the film which is due out in this country at the beginning of 2013.
This book is a collection of interviews with all different types of people around the world, telling the story of World War Z, the war with zombies.
Despite not having finished it yet, this book has already made the list purely based on the dedication and research that has obviously gone into it.  It is very well written and basically every interview is a short story, reading them gives you the full story of the war from every angle possible; economic, political, military and civilian, from so many different countries across the world.  It is an awe-inspiring novel just for this but the story is also painfully real, violent and wonderful all at the same time.

9.       The Midwich Cuckoos – John Wyndham
This is possibly the only Science Fiction novel on my list.  Is this Science Fiction?  The classic story of an English village.  One night every occupant blacks out, when they come round they soon realise that every woman of child bearing age is pregnant.
This book is fascinating, fast paced and I found it very difficult to put it down.

10.   The Shawshank Redemption – Stephen King
A true classic.  The Shawshank Redemption is another novel hidden inside Different Seasons by Stephen King.  As with all books-turned-into-films, the book is a lot better than the film and surely you know how good the film is?  The book is more personable and heartfelt, it is dark with a twisted human beauty that seems to be Stephen King’s forte (I haven’t read much Stephen King-yet).
Watch the film; read the book.

A small selection of books on my to-read pile are;
  •  Everything Neil Gaiman (he is a new discovery of mine – Neverwhere and Stardust)
  • The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
  • Retribution Falls: Tales of the Ketty Jay – Chris Wooding
  • Heroes – Joe Abercrombie
  • Snuff – Terry Pratchett
What does this tell you about me?  That I’m not too keen on Science Fiction but I am a big Terry Pratchett fan. 

So come on then, share.  What are your ten favourite Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror books?


  1. I must admit I didn't used to read an awful lot, read a could of Stephen King books (misery & the shining) which I loved. But since I've been knocking about with fraz, Chris and them...I've not stopped reading...just finished my 5th novel in the Horus Heresy series which I love and constantly find myself eager for more. But I love anything with Fantasy Ideas, dragons, elfs, wizards dwarfs you name it. Lotr is probably my favourite films ever....a bit mainstream maybe but it encapsulates everything I love on only 11 hours! :-)

  2. I don't think Lotr is really mainstream, I think it tried to be but everyone I know who isn't a big Fantasy fan doesn't actually like it and tend to avoid it, so I think it's still got a selective audience. I love Lotr, have you read any of the books? I've only read the Fellowship.
    See, Fraz and Chris and everyone are good influences :P