Which sci-fi/fantasy books are your favourite? Which first hooked you into these genres?

As you may know by now, January's blurbing book club selection this month is Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.  I really hope that you're doing everything that you can to find a copy of this book, read it and discuss and blurb the book in the dedicated discussion thread.  It's a really wonderful book with a huge fanbase and I've been loving every single comment I've read about it in the forums. 



A lot of people have mentioned that it's the book that got them into reading science fiction.  So I thought today that I would highlight some of my favourite science fiction/fantasy books to get you going.  I don't read very widely within this genre, so please don't be offended by my simple and possibly obvious list of suggestions! I'm trying, feel free to leave a more comprehensive list of recommendations in comments. (Or, read this great discussion thread, Great Sci-Fi and Fantasy authors, series and books)


Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - I wouldn't have chosen this book for January's blurbing book club selection if I didn't love it with every fibre of my being.  I resisted reading it for a seriously long time and once I'd started and was instantly hooked I really kicked myself for waiting for so long.  It's an excellent and incredibly engaging story of intelligent children being trained to become the fighting force against an alien race. I really loved it and soon after reading Ender's Game for the first time I read Ender's Shadow which tells a similar story but from another character's perspective.  I have two more of Ender's sequels to read on my to-be-read shelves and hope to get to them very soon. 


Anything by Terry Pratchett - I have to admit to being a recent convert to Terry Pratchett. I only read my first Pratchett book after attempting the first Discworld novel and not really getting it.  I then went on to read the first book in the Death series, Mort and really liked it but found love with Terry Pratchett's books for young adults.  The Tiffany Aching series, Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents and especially, especially Nation.  Nation isn't Discworld, but is certainly amazing.  I found this Discworld Reading Order Guide to be useful.(click on it to make it larger?)



Lord of the Rings by Tolkien - I love these books very much. A friend of mine reads the entire book every year beginning it on the same day every year (do you know which day?) I wanted to read them before the films came out and I found that once I started reading them, I couldn't stop or put them down.  I was fascinated by it all.  I think it's very nearly time for a re-read myself. 


His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman -This is my favourite fantasy series ever, I think.  I love the world that Pullman created, the characters and the story.  I think some of the messages in the third book are a bit much for me, but I can still remember the way that I felt reading Northern Lights for the first time.  It was a magical experience for me.


The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness - This isn't the first time I've recommended this series of books. It begins with The Knife of Never Letting Go, followed by The Ask and the Answer and finally concluding with the explosive Monsters of Men.  It's an incredible series and I was blown away by it.  Set on another planet, the first book introduces us to Todd Hewitt, a boy living in a village where men's thoughts can be heard by everyone. When things go very wrong, Todd finds himself on the run with a girl, Viola who has crashlanded on the planet ahead of a colony of other humans looking to settle.  Seriously great stuff, this series.


Other recommendations I gleaned from the above forum thread were to read books by George RR Martin, Robin Hobb and David Gemmell.  It's also reminded me that I'm a pretty big fan of Trudi Canavan and have read all three of the series that she has come out with.  I expect you all to be better and more helpful experts than I am, but I hope with this blog other sci-fi/fantasy enthusiasts will come out and give us (me) an education. I look forward to it.


And onto the bookish news.  These are the interesting news articles that I found this week, feel free to share something else that fascinated you recently (to do with books in some way, preferably, but anything will do,really)


I love this post by the Huffington Post about the weird things that happen in libraries.


And from Flavorwire, Libraries of the rich and famous.  I am SUCH a sucker for photos of other people's books. I love, love, love things like this.  Which is your favourite?  Feel free to share your own pictures of your books/libraries.


I think this is equal measures of hilarious and ridiculous.  Apparently there will be a graphic novel published about Prince William and Kate Middleton.  I really can't take this seriously at all and have to giggle every time I look at it.


You might not have heard, but a fair few UK libraries are facing closure lately.  One library is battling being shut down in a drastic way: As a protest, library patrons have checked out every single book in their library.


This article, from the Guardian, discusses how books are slowly coming to terms with technology


One of my favourite authors is Sarah Waters.  Two of her books have already been adapted for tv and the mini-series of Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith were both excellent.  Plans for the BBC to adapt The Night Watch have been announced.


What does everyone think of this book-scanning device?


There's just a few days left to sign up to be a Book-Giver for World Book Night.  The plan is to give away a million books in one night. 


And no link to it, but you may have heard recently of the big controversy on Twitter regarding illegal downloads of books.  Apparently a woman in Australia tweeted at a YA author that she'd just torrented this author's book.  From the author's perspective (and from mine and many others') this translated into 'Hey Favourite Author, I've just stolen your book' and lots of controversy and chaos ensued.  The lady who originally tweeted kept trying to defend herself by saying she can't afford books, the book isn't stocked in her bookstore etc etc.  What do you think?  Is downloading an ebook stealing? Or justified? And if you think it's justified, please explain why.  (I think it's stealing. If you want to read a book for free, go to your local library.)  Let's open the floor for discussion.


Also, I've been thoroughly enjoying this discussion thread, What do you see in the YA section.  It started off as a discussion on the merits of YA literature at the moment (which I am a fan of) and it's sort of progressed to a place to go for people to bash YA books/authors.  Let's help it return to something more useful/interesting to discuss, eh?  I don't agree with the argument that reading YA romance books changes or influences teenage readers' values.  I would argue that books only confirm or deny reader's already held beliefs. (Also, I think people are too worried about being tainted with the Twilight brush.)


I do very much enjoy these types of discussions in the Books forums.  More people should be discussing bookish related things intelligently and respectfully.  Also? Those people who have begun writing book reviews in the Blogs sections? And the people writing blog posts chronicling the books you've read so far this year? I salute you.  Please share your links in the comments to your bookish posts so that everyone can read them.  Also, anyone who writes a book blog or does book vlogs. 


And if there's ever anything you'd specifically like to see here, please do let me know. Either in comments below or leave me a wall comment or message. I love to hear from all of you.  You make my day by talking books with me, seriously. 


Best wishes and DFTBA :)



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Tags: blurbing, book, books, clover, ender's, favourite, game, january, scifi/fantasy, selection


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Comment by Andrei on January 19, 2011 at 7:27am

For Science Fiction, read Ian M Bank's culture Novels, a stunning example of the space opera genre, I love them to bits. Reccomend that people start reading with the player of games though, it gives a better introduction to the series than Consider Phlebas does. The premise that drives the books is that of "The Culture" a hyperadvanced society whose inhabitants live lives of unparalled luxury and pleasure, however since those people would make for boring stories the books follow the exploits of contact section (the exploration and diplomatic wing of the culture) and special circumstances (The "dirty tricks" department, these guys point and laugh at the prime directive) where badass humans, witty drones and psychoticly benevolent warships work to make the entire galaxy 'a bit more like us' Because when you're working for the culture, you MUST be the good guys right?

Comment by Ana Suderman on January 18, 2011 at 7:45pm

Two books series snagged me into the genre. When I was younger, Lord of the Rings was awesome. I loved the books probably more than a fourth grader should. The other series was the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. I hadn't read much fantasy since middle school but this series is just resoundingly epic.


As for sci-fi, not into it as much, though I did really like the Uglies series a lot, if that counts. Also, I have a thing for futuristic dystopias.

Comment by Dan Geraghty on January 18, 2011 at 7:32pm

I have two: 


Tolkien's "The Hobbit" turned me into a fun of fantasy back in the 6th grade! I was at a friends house, saw it, picked it up, and did not put it down. 


Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" was an outstanding book (and a terrible movie, "90210 in space." I never saw it) ... and the questions associated with civics, and civic responsibility are interesting. Should civil servoce be mandatory?

The "suits" were way ahead of their time, like Halo suits on steroids.

Comment by Dave Johnson on January 18, 2011 at 5:50pm

I have to say I have over the last six months read 21 Warhammer 40,000k Novels, yes, 21! Approximately four hundred pages each, I am hooked. I know nothing of the game itself, but I love to immerse myself within the MASSIVE universe and relate to hundreds of different characters, action scenes, advanced plot-lines and all round amazing literary style. Each of the authors have their individual style to make a novel their own, whether it's the syntax differing or their use of 2nd/3rd perspective or just style of characters... I love them all!... Oh my God, I have just nerded out for the first time in years, yay!


Of course, Terry Pratchet has some amazing novels available, his "How to Make Money" I believe it was called was a veritable masterpiece, I highly recommend his works also, absolutely brill.



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