Everyone has an opinion, so here's ours!
These lists are not in order of preference and are subject to change if we find something better! We’ve also added our annual reading list.
Red Rising - Pierce Brown
The Three - Body Problem - Cixin Liu
The Books of Babel - Josiah Bancroft
The Vagrant - Peter Newman
The Grim Company - Luke Scull
The Kings of the Wyld - Nicholas Seames
The Unhewn Throne - Brian Staveley
The Half-Made World - Felix Gilman
The Milkweed Triptych - Ian Tregillis
The Murderbot Diaries - Martha Wells
Best Science Fiction:
The Night's Dawn series by Peter F. Hamilton
Space opera on a truly grand scale, comprised of five books:
• The Reality Dysfunction
• The Neutronium Alchemist
• The Naked God
• A Second Chance at Eden (novella)
• The Confederation Handbook (a guide to the confederation universe)
Remembrance of Earth’s Past by Cixin Liu. This remarkable, multi-award-winning trilogy stands as a high-water mark of Chinese science fiction, and it established its author as a major player on the international stage.
The Amtrak Wars by Patrick Tilley. A six book series set in a post apocalyptic earth. Loved the main character.
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. Simply brilliant!
The Collected Short Stories of Philip K. Dick. Forget the novels, which we've tried and not really enjoyed (we know, sf sacrilege!), but no one compares to Dick for biting short SF. (check out 'Bait')
The Mote in God's Eye by Niven and Pournelle. Reputed to be the best contact novel ever written, it is very good.
Hyperion by Dan Simmons. The first book in the Hyperion cantos (four books), this is the standout.
The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe. See the author pages on this but a classic four/five book series ( which I would only recommend to readers who want some heavy subtext and complexity). One of the most studied series written. Well worth the effort.
Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks. The first of Banks 'Culture' novels.
Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks. Set in the 'Culture ' universe great stand alone novel.
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. For us this is the best of Bradbury's work, which given his range including 'Fahrenheit 451' is saying something.
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. The first in the Ender series, original and thought provoking.
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. A rebuke to Heinlein's 'Starship Troopers', this anti war novel is a must read.
Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan. SF with a hard edge, great!
Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds. Alien Artefacts and Space Opera
Spiderworld: The Tower by Colin Wilson. Very readable but unfortunately uncompleted series, still, the first two volumes are worth the effort.
Dune by Frank Herbert. There's a good reason that this remains one of the most published SF novels to date.
Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov. One of the most prolific authors in SF, Foundation is probably one of his best.
The Android's Dream by John Scalzi. Actually we could put a number of John's books up here, we like them all!, but this one was hilarious.
The Saga of the Pliocene Exile by Julian May. Tough call between SF and Fantasy and really slow to start but gets there in the end, very original concept copied repeatedly since publication.
Logan's Run by William F. Nolan. The first of the "Logan Trilogy' and a classic post apocalyptic novel.
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. This book was everything good SF is meant to be, great story, insightful and thought provoking.
The Stand by Stephen King. Need we say anything more?
Drenai Tales by David Gemmell. The world lost something special with the early passing of David Gemmell. Legend, The King Beyond the Gate, Waylander, all simple heartfelt novels that rightfully made Gemmell the master of heroic fantasy.
The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gaveriel Kay. Great trilogy based on norse legend initially before throwing in almost every legend known. Falls in the 'portal' type fantasy, where characters pass from one realm to another.
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. Without a doubt one of the greatest series, unfortunately taking too damn long to complete, more than ten years on the first five make this an extremely frustrating read. Two more to go yet, which will probably take another four years at least. Here's hoping we are still alive to read the complete set!
The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. Another massive loss to humanity with the passing of Terry Pratchett. How to choose a book from this series?, basically if you enjoy fantasy and have any sense of humour Pratchett is a gift. We really enjoyed 'Guards!Guards!' and 'Mort'.
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. Begun with 'Northern Lights' (the Golden Compass in the US) the tale of Lyra and the battle of man vs. god is an amazing page turner. We read all three books in a week.
The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox by Barry Hughart. Set in a China that never was, this alternative Sherlock and his faithful manservant explore crimes immersed in Chinese legend. This trilogy, begun with the classic 'Bridge of Birds', is simply a joy to read, the language, humour and detail are unsurpassed. Frankly there is nothing else like this, wish there was though.
The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers. The founding novel of the 'steam punk' genre. a time travel novel with dark lore, Lord Byron, the 'spoon-sized boys' and the cannibal 'king of the beggars'. What's not to like?
The Chronicles of Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard. Actually almost any of Howard's fantasy characters including 'Kull' and 'Soloman Kane' are a great read. Straight heroic action with truly evil villains. Fun!
The Belgariad by David Eddings. This five book series, followed by another five book set 'the Malloreon' is probably within the YA category now but still, classic fantasy, great characters, humour, action it's all there. Very enjoyable.
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever by Stephen Donaldson. One of the first fantasy series to hit mainstream back in the seventies. Donaldson created the ultimate 'anti-hero' in Covenant, who must be the most frustrating character in fantasy. Covenant aside, the series now into the third trilogy (which we havn't started yet) is another 'portal' tale. The first chronicles are a study in detail and 'The Land' is brilliantly conceived. If you can get past Covenant himself you'll be rewarded.
The Majipoor Cycle by Robert Silverberg. Begun with 'Lord Valentine's Castle', this other world series blends SF and fantasy on the planet of Majipoor. This is Silverberg's best work, particularly the original trilogy.
The Rift War Trilogy by Raymond E. Feist. 'Magician',' Silverthorn' and 'A Darkness at Sethanon' , Feist's brillant fantasy trilogy is a must read. Feist has gone on and written umpteen novels in the same world but the original trilogy is where its' at.
The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. Heroic fantasy with a very sharp edge!. This trilogy was so rewarding to read, Abercrombie has become one of our favourite authors.
Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. Part of the 'new weird' genre Mieville creates a disturbing sense of dread with his tale set in the city of 'New Crobuzon' . Followed by two stand alone novels set in the same reality ' The Scar' and 'The Iron Council'. 'The Scar' is also worthy of note.
The Chronicles of the Eternal Champion by Michael Moorcock. Moorcock's massive collage of multiple heroes embodying 'the eternal champion' includes such characters (classics in their own right) as 'Elric', 'Dorian Hawkmoon', 'Kane of Mars' and 'Von Bek'. However some of the characters such as 'Jerry Cornelius' we didn't enjoy.
Duncton Wood by William Horwood. Horwood creates magic with this, the first in the Duncton series, about moles. The best of all the animal fantasies we've come across. Proof that a good story can be set in any context, even the kingdom of moles!
The Merlin Trilogy by Mary Stewart. Camelot and Arthur are repeated fantasy subjects and the stuff of myth, Stewart's trilogy is the best of the 'Arthurian' legend sets/series to date.
The Gunslinger by Stephen King. A bit torn here, the first of 'the dark tower series' is a great read, unfortunately we were disappointed in the series overall.
The Raven’s Shadow Trilogy by Anthony Ryan. Debut heroic fantasy that's gritty, dark and a pleasure to read.
The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny. This ten book series is a cornerstone of modern fantasy.
Our Annual Reading Lists:
• The Wisdom of Crowds - Joe Abercrombie
• The Pariah - Anthony Ryan
• City of Songs - Anthony Ryan
• The Trouble with Peace - Joe Abercrombie
• The Kraken’s Tooth - Anthony Ryan
• The Boundless - Peter Newman
• Salvation Lost - Peter F. Hamilton
• The Saints of Salvation - Peter F. Hamilton
• The Murderbot Dairies 1- 4 - Martha Wells
• A History of What Comes Next - Sylvian Neuvel
• Ashes of the Sun - Django Wexler
• Network Effect - Martha Wells
• Fugitive Telemetry - Martha Wells
• The Shadow of the Gods - John Gwynne
• The Fall of Babel - Josiah Bancroft
• Best Published Book - The ERB Artist edition of 'Tarzan of the Apes'
• The Ruthless - Peter Newman
• Salvation - Peter F. Hamilton
• Gideon the Ninth - Tamsyn Muir
• The Black Hawks - David Wragg
• Blackwing - Ed McDonald
• The Consuming Fire - John Scalzi
• The Last Emperox - John Scalzi
• Many are the Dead( Novella) - Anthony Ryan
• The Black Song - Anthony Ryan - Best Read 2020
• Ninefox Gambit - Yoon Ha Lee
• Prince of Thorns - Mark Lawrence
• King of Thorns - Mark Lawrence
• Emperor of Thorns - Mark Lawrence
• Rynosseros - Terry Dowling
• Best Published Book - The Centipede Press edition of 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' by Ray Bradbury
• The Deathless - Peter Newman
• The Book of Skulls - Robert Silverberg
• Poison City - Paul Crilley
• Clockwork City - Paul Crilley
• Hazards - Mike Resnick
• Ancillary Justice - Ann Leckie
• Moon over Soho - Ben Aaronovitch
• The Hod King - Josiah Bancroft
• Kings of the Wyld - Nicholas Eames
• Bloody Rose - Nicholas Eames
• Rotherweird - Andrew Caldecott
• A Pilgrimage of Swords - Anthony Ryan
• The Wolf’s Call - Anthony Ryan
• A Little Hatred - Joe Abercrombie - Best Read 2019
• Best Published Book - The Centipede Press editions of Michael Moorcock’s Elric, the first three books 'Elric of Melniboné', 'The Fortress of the Pearl', and 'The Sailor on the Seas of Fate’.
• Clash by Night - Henry Kuttner
• The Best of Leigh Brackett - Leigh Brackett
• The Ginger Star - Leigh Brackett
• The Hounds of Skaith - Leigh Brackett
• The Reavers of Skaith - Leigh Brackett
• The Chronicles of the Black Company - Glen Cook
• Head On - John Scalzi
• The Stars My Destination - Alfred Bester
• Only Human - Sylvain Neuvel
• Senlin Ascends - Josiah Bancroft - Best Read 2018
• Mortal Engines - Philip Reeve
• Arm of the Sphinx - Josiah Bancroft
• Empire of Ashes - Anthony Ryan
• Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovitch
• The Fifth Season - N.K Jemisin
• Thin Air - Richard K. Morgan
• Best Published Book - The deluxe ‘Swords and Deviltry’ from Centipede Press.
• The Last Mortal Bond - Brian Staveley
• The Liberation - Ian Tregillis
• Miniatures - John Scalzi
• Slab City Blues - Anthony Ryan
• Dead Man’s Steel - Luke Scull
• The Grace of Kings - Ken Liu
• The Human Division - John Scalzi
• The End of All Things - John Scalzi
• Master of the Dark Gate -John Jakes
• Witch of the Dark Gate - John Jakes
• The Collapsing Empire - John Scalzi
• The Dispatcher - John Scalzi
• Waking Gods - Sylvian Neuvel
• Skullsworn - Brian Staveley
• Bring the Jubilee - Ward Moore
• The Circus of Dr.Lao - Charles G. Finney
• The Seven - Peter Newman
• Rhyming Rings - David Gemmell
• GodBlind - Anna Stephens
• Legion of Flame - Anthony Ryan
• Infernal Machines - John Hornor Jacobs
• Too like the Lightning - Ada Palmer
• White Knight, Black Swan - David Gemmell - Best Read 2017
• Best Published Book - The deluxe 'The War of the Worlds' from Easton Press
2016: - What a year!
• The Rising - Ian Tregillis
• Foreign Devils - John Hornor Jacobs
• The Shepherd’s Crown - Terry Pratchett
• The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss
• The Wise Man’s Fear - Patrick Rothfuss
• Snakewood - Adrian Selby
• Sharp End’s - Joe Abercrombie
• Saint’s Blood - Sebastien De Castell
• Night of the Triffids - Simon Clark
• Sleeping Giants - Sylvian Neuvel
• Ready Player One - Ernest Clime
• The Malice - Peter Newman
• Genius Loci - Clark Ashton Smith
• The Waking Fire - Anthony Ryan - Best new book 2016
• Infernal - Mark De Jager
• The Three - Body Problem - Cixin Liu
• The Dark Forest - Cixin Liu
• Death’s End - Cixin Liu
• The Emperor’s Blades - Brian Staveley
• Red Rising - Pierce Brown - Best Read 2016
• Golden Son - Pierce Brown
• Morning Star - Pierce Brown
• The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
• The Providence of Fire - Brian Staveley
• Best Published Book - 'Salem’s Lot' by PS Publishing
• Sleeping Late on Judgement Day - Tad Williams
• The Mechanical - Ian Tregillis
• The Incorruptibles - John Hornor Jacobs
• Queen of Fire - Anthony Ryan
• Half the World - Joe Abercrombie
• Half a War - Joe Abercrombie
• The Vagrant - Peter Newman
• The Quantum Thief - Hannu Rajaniemi
• The Casual Angel - Hannu Rajaniemi
• The Fractal Prince - Hannu Rajaniemi
• The Traitor’s Blade - Sebastien De Castell
• Knight’s Shadow - Sebastien De Castell
• The Grim Company - Luke Scull - Best Read 2015
• The Sword of the North - Luke Scull
• The Left Hand of God - Paul Hoffman
• The Beating of His Wings - Paul Hoffman
• The Last Four Things - Paul Hoffman
• The Southern Reach Trilogy - Jeff Vandermeer