As an author I am a book addict. Finding great new authors is always a delight and an inspiration. So, on this page are some of the books and authors that for me have gone beyond just an ‘entertaining read’. They stick in the mind; I couldn’t put them down; the story telling; the originality; the humour; wow factor. If your favourites aren’t here it doesn’t mean I don’t rate them. It may just mean I haven’t yet discovered them yet, so let me know.
For many authors self-publishing is now an active choice and there are some great writers out there.
She dies at the End – A. M. Manay. A different slant on vampires, fairies and other magical people. Not my usual thing, but I enjoyed it.
Home World – Bonnie Milani. Intrigue and conflict amongst the human races of the solar system.
Dragon Thief – Marc Secchia. These are mainly aimed at teens, but if you like your dragons and fantasy I think his books are original and well written.
The Five Suns Saga – Jim Heskett. A series of science fiction short stories that come together in the end.
Other recent reads:
Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantell. Not scifi or fantasy I know. However, a great story of a man who had such an impact on the way we live.
Field One and Field Two (yet to read Field Three) – Simon Winstanley. An excellent take on the apocalypse and post apocalypse story with a thriller element.
Crash – J. G. Ballard. Not sure if I really enjoyed this or not – strange and disturbing.
Good Omens – Neil Gaiman. I always look forward to his books. This didn’t disappoint.
The Flame Bearer – Bernhard Cornwell. He is such a great story teller and in my opinion this is his best series yet.
Inspiration over the years:
I’ve been reading science fiction since I was a teenager. These are some of the authors that have inspired me over the years:
Arthur C Clarke – Childhood’s End. I have to start with this because it’s the first ‘real’ science fiction book I remember reading. It’s the one that got me hooked. At the age of fifteen (ish) the ending blew my mind. I then went on to seek out just about everything else he’d written.
Isaac Asimov. After Childhoods end I found the ‘Foundation’ series. I think I’ve read all his books, although I admit I haven’t gone through a catalogue.
Ben Bova and Greg Bear. After the two giants above these were the next authors I remember scouring the library for.
Douglas Adams. Not sure how you class these. Loved them, even if the later ones weren’t quite as good for me.
Ken Macleod. I think I’ve read all of them. A new one is always something to look forward too.
Alistair Reynolds. As with Ken Macleod, for me one of the best around.
Iain M Banks. Such a shame that there won’t be many more.
Michael M Hicks – A successful self-published author with his Kreelan series and more. I think I’ve read all his books to date. Some are free on Amazon. I strongly recommend giving them a try.
Hugh Howey – Started of at least as a self-published author. His Wool series is another take on the post-apocalypse world
Toby Frost – Space Captain Smith, and more. They make me laugh, which can’t be bad.
I sometimes have a problem with fantasy in that it can be a bit predictable. Also, that magic can solve everything in the end. Having said that there are some great stories and authors out there:
George RR Martin – The Game of Thrones (what else). Is anyone not reading / watching these? I’m doing both. He does tend to kill off all the characters you love every now and then.
Terry Pratchett – Wonderful, read them all. Always a joy and full of witty observations. Sadly missed.
David Eddings – I think (not 100% sure) the Belgariad books were the first Fantasy series I got into.
Raymond E Feist – Read ‘The Magician’ and then everything else. The one-off ‘Fairie Tale’ is a favourite.
David Gemmell – Another holiday favourite.
Neil Gaiman. Not sure where he fits in (maybe he doesn’t). Started with ‘American Gods’. Always a joy when a new book appears.
Stephen Lawhead – I’m a bit of a sucker for Arthur stories and I think Stephen’s is one of the best, starting with Merlin’s father Taliesin.
Ben Aaronovitch – Rivers of London and others (see holiday reads). A detective story with magic, ghosts and river deities. And a good read.
Included here to prove to my wife that I read more than just science fiction and fantasy
Bernard Cornwell – I’ve read just about everything he’s written. More great holiday reading. Try the Richard Sharpe, Napoleonic wars series. Also the latest ones set at the time of Alfred The Great.
Simon Scarrow – The adventures of Macro and Cato, Roman Centurions
Bill Bryson – Always makes you smile, if not laugh out loud. Witty observations on life, places and people. Particular favourites are: ‘Notes from a small Island’, an affectionate tour round the UK. And the ‘The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid’ about his early years in Des Moines, Iowa in the 1950s.
Allan Massie – Augustus (and Tiberius). A fantastic account of the life of the first emperor of Rome. All the genius, intrigue, ruthlessness and brutality of the man and the times.
Tom Holland – ‘Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic’ about the life of Julius Caesar and how he came to power.
Simon Baker – ‘Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire’ Describes the key events in the life of the empire.