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Jay Tomio’s Top 200 Reads

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Leguin

All you have to know is taht I love Earthsea, yet I think The Left Hand of Darkness is by far Leguin’s best and msot important work. A must have in any reputable collection. Groundbreaking Science fiction.
The First Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny

Classic example of New Wave fantasy, there is a second book that is IMHO much weaker in quality. but teh first book chronicling Corwin’s fight for the throne that will take him to The Courts of Chaos is a instant classic.
At the Mountains of Madness and Other Tales of Terror by HP Lovecraft

The origin of New Weird, requried reading IMHo for fans of Mieville (him and Smith). An affordable taste here
Clark Ashton Smith

I don’t have any copies of his roiginal work but I read Emperor of Dreams a collection by Fantasy Masterworks, which makes this new from Night Shade something I have to jump on. Smith and Lovecraft did amazing work then.
Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser by Fritz Leiber

IMHO hands down the greatest pure sword.sorcery writer tales ever written. These colelctions are available and higly recommened in various forms. If you like sword/sorcery and never tried Leiber, you don’t know what your missing. Farfhd and Gray Mouser is one of the best combo’s in fantasy history.

Dune by Frank Herbert

Admittedly some of the novels are not as strong as others, but this is a classic. The story of Muad Dibb, and his offspring and the universe they ruled when alive and forever changed is a work of genius. My first print of Dune is probably my favorite aprt of my collection. Not to be confused with the god awful prequel novels written by Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert.
Riverworld by Philip Jose Farmer

Humanity resurrected (all of it mind you) by the banks of a river where they do not age, and if they perish they reincarnate.

Later there were soem other novels released in a shared world format; just a note I have not read those. I don’t know of a collected version available, perhaps someone else does:)

Dying Earth by Jack Vance

Largely a Sci-fi work about earth when the Sun is diminishing.
Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe

First person science/fantasy, that if he wasn’t considered a master already, established Wolfe as a God of fiction. Severian remains one of the great characters in fantasy/Sci-fi.
Viriconium by M John Harrison

Science Fiction/Fantasy series written by Harrison who has greatly influenced the likes of Mieville and many other authors now. Incredible. Check out what Harrison sayd in an article he wrote at Fantastic Metropolis. A collection of the series here.
The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

Forget the hacks, true the original has spawned a myriad of nonesense but has also inspired some other great series. This is a classic tale, wonderful world-building/secondary world. The most improtant writer for fantasy publishing and by far the most influential writer in the fantasy, whether the influence was positive or negative understtod. Let’s not blame redundancy on the original. A classic, timeless tale.
Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake

Sure the third novel was not up to par, and provides for a interesting read to say the least. This is attributed to Peake’s failing health both physically and mentally and was written chiefly from his notes. But the first 2 novels are absolute classics. He also had 2 partially related novels in the series Titus Awakes and Gormenghast Revisited. Peake has immaculate prose and this series features one of the great villains in fiction history Steerpike. Phenomenal work that isnpired many of the current greats in fantasy.
Riddle Master trilogy by Patricia Mckillip

Not enough epic fantasy fans have read this series! Morgon and Deth’s travels looking for the High One are classic! Deth is the greatest bard in fantasy IMHO. Beautiful prose by Mckillip. Available in a couple of collected editons. I have the old school Riddle of the Stars, but here is a newer edition here. Pictured below:
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Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Just released last year, and ridiculously well written, Clarke wrote a masterpiece her first try. Magical.
The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers

One of the few books I can’t imagine anyone not liking. Combine history, mythology, time traveling, and humor. Powers generally delivers all the time.
The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll

Generaly speaking I like all of Carroll’s work but will admit his best was his first. The Land of Laughs features the plight of Thomas Abbey, and wil ltake you for a spin that really is unique to Carroll’s work. One of the most underated authors with a lot of good novels out in fiction IMHO.
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

Regardless of the long wait, I want to thank Martin for giving more mature epic fantasy readers something to read and enjoy. A Feast for Crows is the book I am anitcipating mroe than any other at the moment. IMHO clearly the best epic fantasy being written right now.

Gloriana, or the Unfulfill’d Queen by Michael Moorcock

Moorcock’s third appearance, no Elric yet:) Peake-like, story about a moancrh queen he rules an empire and her personal problems:)
Demon Princes by Jack Vance

Ultimate sci-fi vengeance series. Each novels chronicles the hunting down of a seperate Princes (criminals) by Kirth Gersen that enslaved his village as a child. Vance’s second listing.

The Course of the Heart by M John Harrison

My second Harrison listing. You simply have to read this novel about 3 friends who together took part in a cult ritual, and 2 of them ahve been haunted since. if your familiar with Harrison, you know you simply have to read this; as an explanation woudl take some paragraphs. Dark; unforgiiving, smart read.
Night Life of Gods by Thorne Smith

Recommended to me by an author; incredibly about a man who reanimated statues of Gods in a museum and gets drunk with them. Hilarious, comedic classic.
Lord of the Light by Roger Zelazny

Like Leguin’s Lefthand of Darkness/Earthsea comparison, I love Zelanzy’s Amber work but think Lord of Light is his masterpiece. Second Zelanzy listing.
Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons

Classic Sci-fi, POV chapters doen each with unique delivery and style. Based on the Keats poems, really a modern classic in Sci-fi, loosley paying hoamge to the Canterburry Tales.

Cornelius Quartet by Michael Moorcock

My second Moorcock listing is absolutely monumental, a work of genius whose influence is still relevant today in specualtive fiction, following Jerry Cornenlius who is (one of teh few tiems Amazon says it best:an “English assassin, physicist, rock star, and messiah to the Age of Science”. If you by one Moorcock work buy this here, NOW!
Pyat Quartet by Michael Moorcock

Moorcock is just perhaps, all stigma relatd to fanatsy aside, one of te hrgeat writers on of the last century IMHO. Involves character (more info) in my next listing below from the Cornelius Quartet.

Solomon Kane by Robert Howard

Howard is famous for his Conan work but I prefer Kane myself.
Sandman by Neil Gaiman

Vertigo (DC Imprint) comic series that may have been the best regular run series ever. I understand they are colelcting these in graphic novees now, I may purchase some of them, as all I have are the original comics.
Secret Life by Jeff VanderMeer

One of my favorite current authors. Secret Life is a collection of 23 short stories that shae a settign wih his previous damn good efforts Veniss Underground and City of Saints and Madmen.
Discworld by Terry Pratchett

Funny, witty, an achievement in in parody and worldbuilding, I never get tired of Pratchett’s unique brand of fantasy. Rincewind is one of the great characters in fantasy.
5th Head of Cerebus by Gene Wolfe

Wolfe’s second appearance contains 3 sci-fi novella’s.

The Lyonesse Trilogy by Jack Vance

Clasic, enchanting epic series, yet not derivative, which is a balance very few pull off (like more recently Wolfe with Wizard/Knight. Vance’s prose is undeniable. Vance’s third appearance on my list.
Watchmen by Alan Moore

Yes it’s a comic series, and no I’m not running out of books. Anyone who has read this classic series by Alan Moore who is simply the man. Possibly the best comic mini-series ever. Originally a 12 issue series.

The Compleat Enchanter: The Magical Misadventures of Harold Shea by L. Sprague de Camp & Fletcher Pratt

Another Fantasy Masterwork find for me, and a series i have ahd a hard time getting a nice print of. Here is the Fantasy Masterwork copy that has all 3 parts:
Bas-Lag by China Mieville

Perhaps wrong of me to group them up, they are stand-alone, but i’s my list:) Mieville is perhaps the ebst authors I have read in a long time. Instant classics listed above.
Night’s Dawn trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton

Space opera at perhaps it’s best.
Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb

Outside of Wolfe’s The Book of the Sun, one of the most enjoyable first person works I have read; even better it’s a epic fantasy:)
Neuromancer by William Gibson

The King of cyberpunk and cyberspace, the very defintion of a groudnbreaking work.

Voice of Fire by Alan Moore

Intro from Neil Gaiman, Moore’s second appearance on my list (Watchemen) chronicles 12 characters’s and through them the history of geographic location. Get the HC, with illustrations. Before I recently read Borges’ A Universal History of Infamy, I had no idea what peope lwere talking about when referecning it, after reading it and Rhys Hughs’ homage to it The New Universal History of Infamy, I’m loving it.

Mother London by Michael Moorcock

Not even fantasy or Sci-fi for Moorcock’s 5th appearance on my list. Trinalor knows about this. You heard it here first, good enoguh to be Modern Masterpeice of literature with a BIG “L”
Worm Ouroboros – ER Eddison

A classic, incredibly descriptive, it’s truly a shame how comparitvely unknown it is. Deserves to be on the shelf next to Tolkien, not behind it. Fantasy Masterworks has a printing, that all who haven’t read should grab.

The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson

One of the most ambitious series I have read, and one of the first “economic” fantasy novels I read, Stephenson mixes politics, historical fiction, and a touch of sci-fi. Not the easiest read, but Stephenson gets a lot of credit for degree of difficulty and truly original. Not for the casual fan of fantasy. That said I thought it was incredible.
The Last Coin by James Blaylock

Andrew Vanbergen has the last magical coin Jules Pennywise needs to have all 30 that were paid to Judas at the Last Supper. Like Carroll, Blaylock has a real odd, quircky style. Won’t be the last Blaylock book on this list.

The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock

I know of the reformatting of the series which quite frankly makes this series somewhat a pain to collect in its entirety:) Elric, a classic, signature character for Moorcock. There are other additions mroe recent but this is the classic stuff IMHO. Moorcock’s 4th appearance thus far on my list.
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

The best of the ‘juvenile” reads IMHO.
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Looking forward to the movie. Satire Sci-fi at it’s best.
Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson

Admittedly wouldn’t make my list if I was judging bests, but Erikson gets in because I haven’t had this much fun reading sword/sorcery since I found Fritz Leiber.
Otherwise: Three Novel – John Crowley

Famous for Little, Big which will no doubt make my list, this is 3 short stories, The Deep, Beasts, and Engine Summers, from Crowley’s earlier works.
On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers

Best pirate/fantasy novel I have read. Power’s second appearance (not his last either), his first was Anubis Gates.
The King of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany

Again, classic, it seems prose meant something in early fantasy. Like Peake, Tolkien, Eddison, Morris, Lewis (all for different reasons, and admittedly not all respected by the same crowds) are immortal neverthless in fantasy and will remain so. Making this lsit has been helpful for me to remind me of what I need to purchase…some more Dunsany stuff.
Red World of Polaris by Clark Ashton Smith

Classic novella from the short story new weird master.

Paper Grail by Jame P. Blaylock

Contemporary Grail quest/fantasy novel, in typical Blaylock fashion (which means atypical) . Blaylock’s second appearance.

Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin

Never been a big hoor fan, or in this case a vampire freak either, Martin’s talent is undeniable however. Great mixture of history (almost a Twain like feel by the river) coupled with Martin’s known prose, made even a vampire non-enthusiast consider Fevre Dream a classic.

The Newford stories by Charles de Lint

800+ collected pages of his Newford works. One of the guys that was doing Urban fanatsy before he bandwagon. Great bargain if you can find it.

Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke

I know there are sequels, but this is my list of what I thogu hwas eceptional, and I don’t think the others are, but this one is a classic, and one of the few hard Sci-fi novels I really enjoy.

Earthsea cycle by Ursula Leguin

Defintely a different tone in the later efforts but remains one of the best series I have read. From one of the few true living legends in fantasy. Although I haven’t seen the Sci-fi special, if anyone hated it, give Ged a try as he was intended to be depicted.

Memory, Sorrow and Thorn by Tad Williams

William’s epic effort that established him as a genre heavyweight. Like Donaldson’s Covenant series, too many peopel give up early on these series
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

Alternate history WWII novel, where the Axis powers won. Classic by perhaps all said tIMHo the Best Sci-fi writer.
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen Donaldson

Classic epic fantasy series featuring Thomas Covenant, one of the most fully realized characters in epic fantasy. A and epic that is truly an epic, not just in name.
The Fourth Circle by Zoran Zivkovic

Incredible work. One of the best uses of POVS, with historical (well some famous fictional characters.
Requiem by Graham Joyce

Joyce is underappreciated by the bulk of the buying market IMHO. He won’t be on my list, not his last appearance on my list about a man, coping with loss of his wife who is inflicted with visons of Mary Magdalene .

Collected Stories by William Hope Hodgsin

3 Collections, (Parts I, II, and III), of classic pulp,. These collections are IMHO the best way to collect this work
Prince of Nothing by R. Scott Bakker

Another relatively new epic fantasy series. One of the few current examples that ae really of great quality. Besides Martin IMHO this is the best ongoing epic fantasy series out.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Dark, urban fantasy, depicting what happens to people who “fall through the cracks” of society. Gaiman’s second appearance (Sandman)
The Collected Jorkens Vol. 1: The Travel Tales of Mr. Joseph Jorkens and Jorkens Remembers Africa by Lord Dunsany

Collection from nightshade, (there are more, I cannot attest to them). Terrific chance to read Dunsany (second time he is listed on this list)
The Once and Future King by TS White

IMHO with Jack Whyte the definitive Arthurian novel.
Watership Down by Richard Adams

Grade school required reading about rabbits off to find a prophetic utopia, and chronciles rabbit culture more than perhaps ever intended:)
The Last Call by Tim Powers

Incredible story, high stakes fantasy novel about gambling for a lost soul. If I am not mistaken his is Power’s third novel on my list.
Enders series by Orson Scott Card

One of the all time popular Sci-fi series, a series taht does not have o be critically picked at or studied to find its appeal. It’s just the exciting, fun travels and adventures of Ender Wiggins., a true master gamer. You can get collections of Speaker of teh Dead, Xencide, and CHildren of the mind here. You can get Ender’s Game, Ender’s Shadow, and Shadow of the Hegemon, collected here.
Vorksogian by Lois Mcmaster Bujold

Note chronologicaly Shards of Honor and Barrayar come first, but Miles starts running sh$t in The Warriors ApprenticeSmile Like I said it’s my list:)

I love Bujold’s efforts into fantasy with Curse of Chalion, and Paladin of Souls, but along with Hamilton this series may be the best Space Opera ever, powered by a great character Miles Naismith Vorkosigan. There are other novels after this, hat I’m still getting too, I’ll add them as I can vouch for them:)

Little, Big by John Crowley

You know what it is. Get the 25th aniversay edition, September 2006. Read Here

Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Would not be a reputable list without Bradbury. Apparently not only is he a great writer, he is a prophet too.
1984 & Animal Farm by George Orwell

Big Brother, and revolution, in one book here ! The second apparent prophet in a row on my list.

Otherland by Tad Williams

Always respected Williams for writing distinctively different series, Otherland is IMHO probably his best work, and distinctley different from his prior listing here Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn.
S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman

We have al lseen the movie:) It’s Inconceivable! Look for the unabridged vesion, which truly makes it detailed AND fun. But fun works too.
Foundation by Isaac Asimov

As I mentioned before, I have never been a big hard Sci-fi fan. I give credit where it’s due however. Asimov needs to be on any such list. There apparently is more to the series, but I haven’t read them:(
Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

You have watched the movie. Read the book and the real ending.
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Cyber punk offering from the author of the Baroque cycle, Neal Stephenson. Second time Stephenson made my list.
The Lions of Al Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay

Beautifully written, historical-fanatsy that Kay seems to excell at.
Dark Tower by Stephen King

King’s grand effort into fantasy, really samrtly interweaving existing stories from his otehr famosu works loosely into his Dark Tower series. Like it or hate it; no one else could have written this. One of the reasons Flagg is one of the best villains in speculative fiction.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Gaiman’s third appearance, his most ambitous work, present day fantasy tale touching on our country, it’s root, and where we and they stand, mixed with an increible Norse twist.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

This half of my list has featured clasic works like Bradbury, and Orwell depicting, and in someways predicting the path our society are on. Brave New World is perhaps the best of the novels in this vein. Brave New World revisited which is a self-criique and reexamination by Huxley of Brave New World can be found collectively here
Animal Man, The Invisibles by Grant Morrison

Yes there 2 seperate works, and yes it’s another comic offering. But it’s Grant Morrison, Comic fans need no explanations.

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

Nostalgic choice, although defintely not witout merit,. I remember the Japanese cartoon when I was younger.
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.

Post apocalyptic science fiction, but not limited to that, one of the true bonafide classic works of an author questioning faith, technologies, and modern values. Powerful.
Chronciles of Narnia by CS Lewis

Classic kids tale, get all the Inkling’s Narnia work in one book here.
The House of the Wolfings by William Morris

Author whose pre-20th century work inspired Tolkien and Lewis, this is the only work I have been able to read from him. I have been meaning ot get Well of the Worlds End and The Sundering for awhile, now.
Conan by Robert Howard

The father of sword/sorcery fantasy with still the most kick a$$ melee character ever, Conan. Some ncie collections are offered here here, with Conan of Cimmeria Book 1 and Book II. A great way to experience Howard.
City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VanderMeer

Collection of 4 interwoven stories, by my second favorite author today (Mieville). Second VanderMeer listing (Secret Life)
The Midnight Sun: The Complete Stories of Kane by Karl Edward Wagner

Collection of Wagner’s work about character Kane a warrior/mage who wanders the the world i nboredom cosntantly being hunted by politically correct, benevolent, cowards. Not even an anti-heo, just an evil character to root for, collected nicely in this set. Charming.
The Devils in the Details by James Blaylock & Tim Powers

Both in one book! Features Through, and Through by Powers, The Devils in the Details by Blaylock, and a collaboration Fifty Cents.

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

Like The Baroque cycle not for th casual fan of the genre, this is a long book, with many plots interweaving, non-linear, if your a moron stay away (Getting a little edgy toward the end of compiling this list:) Nice companion with the Baroque Cycle IMHO.
The Golden Age trilogy by John C. Wright

Along with Richard Morgan’s (will be listed soon, hope I can fit him) work, he Sci-fi work I am presently msot enjoying Looking for a new sci-fi series? Buy Wright, you won’t be disappointed. Also has a damn good fantasy series working with the first installment entitled The Last Guardian of Everness, also highly recommended.

Pattern Recognition by William Gibson

Second Gibson entry (Neuromancer), some fans don’t like it, simply because it’s set in present times (post9/11). Another fabulous, thougth provoker from the father of cyber space.
Facts of Life by Graham Joyce

Beautifully writen novel, IMHO Joyce’s most complete novel that really is more of an example of magic realism than fantasy. Second novel by Joyce on my list (probably one more)
Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis

Sci-fi, socially relevant, satirecly, cynical, anarchist, political…and yes anotehr comic series nicely collected i na series of Graphic novels.
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert-Heinlen

I’ve said many times I’m not extremely well read in Sci-fi, and I think my list shows with the limited works by Dick and Heinlen, but I’m not totally ignorant. My problem with Heinlen is I became a Sci-fi reader when I was to old and many of his works that I think I would have greatly enjoyed at a younger age and would ahve carried nostalgic value seem rather simplsitic to me in nature now. This novel is no different, but luckily I caught it when I was younger.
Altered Carbons by Richard K. Morgan

Great relatively new sci-fi/cyber novel in which humans have achieved some sense of immortality. I greatly enjoyed his other novels Market Forces and Broken Angels, and waiting for Woken Furies. Defintely getting to the point, like Wright, where I just buy his books upon release.
Iron Dragon’s Daughter by Michael Swanwick

A title that has Dragon in it, that even China Mieville gives props to. What!!?? Instant classic by an author who rarely disappoints.
The Steampunk Trilogy: Victoria Hottentots Walt and Emily by Paul Di Filippo
The Silmarillion/ History’s of Middle Earth by JRR Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien

Have to give the editions that allow me to be a Tolkien smart a$$ some credit. These novels depict Tolkien’s immense undertaking of giving his series a history.

Kingdom of Thorn and Bone by Greg Keyes

I liked The Briar King a lot but wasn’t ready to buy into another epic series after being introduced to Martin, but Charnel Prince really established for me this series was a legitimate attempt at quality epic fantasy.
New Universal History of Infamy by Rhys Hughes

In homage and inspired by the original by Jorge Luis Borges, a series of historical/fiction/fantasy short, vivid, violent, and mastefuly written, this is a ridiculously well written book (review coming this week). Forward by he incomprable John Clute.

The Tooth Fairy by Graham Joyce

Joyce’s third and final appearance (he has a lot more damn good novels BTW) on my list about a group of friends, one of which is granted powers by guess who?
Things that Never Were: Fantasies, Lunacies and Enteraining Lies – Matthew Rossi

Collection of specultaive non-fiction essays; uncategoriacal, but brilliant in imagiantion (review coming soon).
Jack Faust by Michael Swanwick

IMHO Swanwick’s best work (which means damn good). In this rendtion Mephistopheles is a alien in medevil times.
The Troika by Stepan Chapman

Follow the stories of jeep, a dinosaur, and a women seperately (well kind of) traveling through a desert in a very original example of magic realism.
If you havent noticed I appreciate The Ministry of Whimsy publishing.
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

Most of us have watched the move but owe it ourselves to read the book which differs on many keys point made famous in the movie. The translation from German is noted to make some of the rhyming prose seem somewhat out of place, but no less a classic in whatever language you read it.
Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

Many of the novels listed both here and on my prior 101 can be called a classic, but perhaps none with more veracity than this. Bradbury’s collection of groundbreaking short stories, possible the greatest of Bradbury’s many great efforts. The title is deceiving as even non-SF fans will be enamored by the social commentary within the work written that’s truth is proof as much today as it was when written.
Le Chants de Maldoror by Conte de Lautreamont

I was reminded of Maldoror when interviewing K.J. Bishop for FBS, who is also a big fan. The title character of the novel, that is noted to have influenced the pioneering of surrealism, is man devoid of all admirable qualities; the prose is obscene, violent, and dark. Pure genius.
Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia by Ursula K. Leguin

Clever, thought provoking r book, only matched in the legendary author’s offerings by ‘The Left Hand of Darkness’, this anarchist look into utopian society invokes equally powerful images of works by Huxley and Bradbury. A profound and telling look into societies and their relationships.

‘Heroes Die ’ and ‘Blade of Tyshalle’ by Matthew Stover

Mr. Stover is presently getting fame and attention due to scribing the adaptation of StarWars Episode III, ‘Revenge of the Sith’ , which is deserving however unfortunate as it should be merely considered a side project by the public when regarding these two efforts from Stover. As much as a kick in the face to fantasy as China Mieville’s ‘Perdido Street Station’, but by vastly different means, Mr. Stover’s novel represents the last novel I have read with Elves in them that I can regards as an elite novel. The main character of the novels, Caine, fastly becoming one of my favorites in the genre, engaging world/society building, perhaps peerless depiction of action sequence, and the latter a engaging emotional element that wasn’t as stressed in the former. Modern classics of the genre.
Rats and Gargoyles by Mary Gentle

I said recently at FBS I was about to read my first Gentle book with ‘A Sundial In a Gave,’ which was a mistake by me as I have read ‘Rats and Gargoyles’ some time ago. A novel with Rosicrucian and Masonic, occult themed elements, intertwining philosophy and technology on a word . Heavily detailed, both in characterization, and setting, this is actually part of a loosely based set of 2 other novels ‘Left to His Own Devices’ and the ‘Architecture of Desire’, that make up ‘White Crow’ compendium. I have not read those two and have just ordered them (along with ‘Sundial’). A note for fans of more casual works, this is not recommended, the semi-historical occult elements that formulate the backdrop of this world, and the Gentle’s narrative does not have you in mind.

The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson

Prolific author of fantasy and Sci-fi, ‘Broken Sword’ is a classic fantasy tale with Norse Roots. It deviates from the Tolkien tradition particularly notable by the characteristics of the elves and the lack of absolute morale mindsets.
The Tain by China Mieville

A novella, insightful apocalyptic about mirrors images being more than what e perceive, and ingeniously implementing Vampires and there well known trait into the mix. No one said this wasn’t a biased list, and I’m a Mieville fan so even the 89 page works make the Big List, and yes you can expect ’King Rat’ later on the list, as I did him a disservice by grouping all 3 of his incredible Bas-Lag novels under one listing. The best bang for the buck to read ‘The Tain’ is getting anthology ‘Cities’ by Paul Di Filippo, so you can get a story by Moorcock and Geoff Ryman as well.
Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

I really like the Arthurian works by Jack Whyte and TS White, but generally get sick of the them as the bulk of them are chronicling (as are Whites) the Romantic versions of the story and it’s all rather redundant of Mallory. Which this does no less but the unique women’s perspective employed and the strong narrative make this a keeper and the only other Zimmer Bradley that I am fond of as well.
Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

Impossible to ignore, and although I don’t consider it near the level of Pullman’s work it’s actually quite good, perhaps not as much as it’s hyped, but than nothing could possibly be.
Use of Weapons by Ian M. Banks

My favorite current SF writer, all the ‘Culture’ novels are absolute must-reads. The best Science Fiction novel I have ever read, and not the last of Banks on this list. Incredible tragic character study in the mesmerizing “culture” setting. Hard to believe it gets much better than this.
Grendel by John Gardner

Existentialist revised/alternative retelling of the classic Beowulf tale told from the perspective of Grendel. Beautifully written, with a ever-changing narrative that would probably be a good read before watching the upcoming and equally alternative Beowulf film in the works.
Fantasy Writer’s Assistant by Jeffrey Ford

Recent read for me, as if Ford, recommended to me by Mrs. Bishop during the interview process; and incredible collection of 16 stories. Incredible imagery in his writing especially considering the short story format that is equal to my recent reading of the legendary Borges. The finest short stories I have read in some time, and Ford’s forthcoming ‘Girl in the Glass’ is high on my list of anticipated works later this year.
Genizah at the House of Shepher by Tamar Yellin

I just read this novel, and it was one of the books I was most anticipating this year. Stunning debut, novel revolving around the history of the Shepher family and the finding of the Codex, taking place in various locations but the heart of it always in the Holy City, a story that at in one moment stresses the love of Judaism purely, yet is able to laugh at itself as well, an absolutely well crafted novel that ranks among the best published this year thus far. Heavily anticipated and delivered completely. The Question is can we get Tamer to hook us up with an interview appearance?

Noctuary by Thomas Ligotti

Master of Macabre, and disciple of HP Lovecraft, one of the great modern New Weird/Horror writers. Rather infuriating only mentioning one collection so I will also recommend ‘The Shadow at the Bottom of the World’ as well.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Aside from being an obvious classic certain additions of this novel features illustrations from the incomparable, and multi-talented Mervyn Peake.

The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen

An acknowledged influence by HP Lovecraft, Machen’s supernatural sexually driven novella, about the child of a victim of a heinous experiment becoming a harbinger of chaos. I have only read 2 Machen novels thus far but plan on reading more, the second is also on this list.
A Year in the Linear City by Paul Di Filippo

His ‘Steampunk Trilogy’ was on my 101 list, a incredible story about a city that encompasses a world that boarders Heaven and Hell itself, including Angels and Demons.
Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross

I had the pleasure of interview Charles Stross who has many great works and this is one of my favorites. Hard Sci-fi with a Lovecraftian Horror twist this book contains two tales. Stross perhaps accomplishes the most believable geek characterization I have ever read.
Dhalgren by Samuel Delaney

Astoundingly dense, and masterpiece of surreal fiction, this SF novel, one of the most influential ever written would be an absolute nightmare to review. It has no real identifiable central plot. In a literal sense it’s about man, who is dubbed ‘Kid’ who finds himself in a city of Bellona where anything goes, and Delaney touches in depth on the nature of sex, civilization, reality, and self. It’s utterly one of the most original pieces of works I have ever read, as there is nothing remotely close to it. I came away not knowing what to make of it, but yet still completely sure it was a work of genius. One of the few times that I felt I was reading over my head at first. Brilliant.
The Languages of Pao by Jack Vance

Vance made 3 appearances on my prior list and this effort is no less deserving. On the surface a simple story, however a great study on the power of languages and how it was a tool to convert a society told in Vance’s trademark prose.
The Castle by Franz Kafka

Kafka is a literary giant, and The Castle in an incredible story about “K”, and through displaying the red tape of the world and the means we all go through in as a true nightmare in the Castle. This novel is absurd but in the most positive possible way, a novel left incomplete and completed from his notes, about man’s desire and the hopelessness of that desire due to society itself. Like Dhalgren, a rather daunting read, but insightful and rather prophetic as well.
My Life as Emperor by Su Tong

Not really categorized as a fantasy novel, but when thinking about some novels that are this is hardly a stretch. Tongs look into Chinese’s past (unspecified date) of a Child who ascends to Emperor and his downfall, depicting the acts of the nihilistic boy king and his fall, the leads him down the road of Confucius teachings. I consider Tong’s books to be among my best finds not based on recommendation but just by taking a chance on it. Told through the perspective in first person of the Emperor Duanbai, Tong’s narrative is captivating even in translation.
Signs of Life by M. John Harrison

Disturbing story about a woman who yearns to fly by one of the masters of fiction and one of my favorite authors. Credited as an influence by seemingly everybody now from China Mieville, KJ Bishop, and Steph Swainston, his ‘Viriconium’ cycle and ‘Course of Heart’ made my prior list; this novel is an incredible depiction of the power of desire.

Focault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco

With all the ridiculous hype being thrown at Dan Brown’s mildly entertaining but completely unoriginal, and sophomorically written ‘Da Vinci Code’, I wanted to point out the version written years before by an author that actually has some talent, in this the quintessential modern story of the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucian’s, the Masons.
The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino

A story about a Cosimo Piovasco di Rondò who after arguing with his family forsakes life by climbing a tree and refusing to leave. Spending his life in the trees, and told through the perspective of his younger brother the narrative is both though provoking and accessible. A story of love and personal enlightenment, that has something to offer to both young readers and the most critical as well.

100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Marquez is one of the fathers of Magic Realism. This novel covers 100 years of a Columbian town, focusing on generations of the Buendia family. The ending is one of the great endings I have read that has a ‘Neverending Story’ tang to it.
Forever War by Joe Haldeman

Nebula and Hugo winning novel, a SF novel influenced by the Vietnam conflict, in which the main character is a part of a force that enters collapsars (think wormholes), and goes to war against the alien Taurens. They learn however that although they have aged months, decades on earth have passed on their subsequent returns. A great alien invasions story (that’s actually anti-war thematically), with profoundly interesting changes of society through these decades is touched on by Haldeman.
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick

One of PKD’s masterpieces, a psychedelic where people chosen by the UN consume a pill that creates a new reality around you. We live in a world that we find many answers in pills now. PKD ventures into the reality of that statement and takes it the point of asking can we find god in a pill? Profound.
Alone with Horrors by Ramsey Campbell

I couldn’t help but noticing when I was compiling the list of past award winners (Nebula, Hugo, BFS, World Fantasy, Locus, Clarke, etc) for FBS how many time Ramsey Campbell’s name came up, and then I interviewed Matthew Rossi, who recommended him and made the comment he was at times better than Lovecraft, which spurned me to have to look into Campbell. I started with this collection of 39 stories, which is IMHO equaled to Ligotti’s work, as the best horror being written today (including the ever popular King).
The Wasp Factory by Ian M. Banks

Second Banks novel mentioned, and Bank’s debut novel, and narrated through a first person POV of a juvenile psychopath with no conscious whatsoever takes out his disdain on whatever he pleases at extreme measures, while he protects his island home. A somewhat controversial book when it was written, if you are squeamish about mutilations (particularly of animals) stay away, from this thought provoking sadistic, yet at times comical look into a mind of a psychopath from a family of psychopaths.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Lu Guanzhong

A lot of people I guess have heard of the game Dynasty Warriors and the game of the same title of the book, it’s actually a book noted as one of the 4 classics of Chinese Literature. It’s semi-historical and written in the 14th century, depicting third century China. A Story mired with tremendous depth in a huge cast of characters with applicable side stories, about a time of rebellion in China stock full of supernatural characters and soldiers alike.
Apple Seed by John Clute

If you are a fan of SF you have to buy John Clute’s novel even only if out of curiosity spawned by reading his reviews. He is perhaps the SF’s most notable critic/reviewer. I’m a big fan of his reviews myself and think on occasion there more worthy of being read than the subject of the review. Any fan will notice elusions to other works and our own culture, following the adventures of a freight ship captain Nathaniel Freer who finds himself drawing the attention of hostile aliens. As one would expect Clute’s narrative is utterly unique and rather entrancing.
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

Dark satire, classic of fiction that employs in one of its two part the devil as a character called Woland aided by a motley cast of characters including a vampires, a talking cat, a dwarf etc, switching it setting form the real and unreal, from Moscow to Jerusalem. A delightfully dark, humorous satirical commentary on the Soviet Union during Stalin’s reign. Should be read by everyone. I mean there is a 6-foot bi pedal talking cat, who wields a pistol…what else do you need?

Things that Never Happen by M. John Harrison

Fourth appearance by M. John Harrison on my list, this a collection of 24 absolutely weird stories.
Onion Girl by Charles de Lint

A novel in Lint’s Newford setting, a engaging story about two abused sibling sisters, one is a familiar character to fans of Newford Jilly Coppercorn, a necessary novel to read about the lynch pin character of the entire wonderful urban Newford series. I chose De Lint’s collection in my last list which are short stories in the Newford setting.

Lords of Rainbow by Vera Nazarian

I have become a huge fan Vera Nazarian after reading this book. Incredible fantasy in her Tronaelend-Lis setting a city divided in power by the assassins who inhabit the largely literally colorless world and the Light Guild creators of light producing orbs, in this world considered links to the pantheon of gods. Incredible descriptive writing, huge cast of wonderfully realized characters, makes this novel although difficult to initially absorb, a fantastic read. Looking forward to ream ‘Dreams of the Compass Rose’ her prior work.
Perfect Circle by Sean Stewart

One would almost feel I should be compelled to stop making fun of StarWars novels as 3 writers who have written novels in Lucas’s universe have made this list, Matt Stover, Greg Keyes, and now Sean Stewart. Stewart’s critically acclaimed story about DK who battles ghosts, both as a in possessing a sixth sense and his own personal ghosts involving his deceased ex-wife. One of the most aptly named novels in some time as it takes you on a roller coaster of different emotions to bring things into focus. I have yet to read his equally received novels ‘Galveston’ and ‘Mockingbird’ but I do own them and there high on my “2 read list”
Wizardry and Wild Romance: A Study of Epic Fantasy by Michael Moorcock

A lot of people get kind of jump when someone mentions a Moorcock critique on fantasy, however a second look tell you it’s those who know there guilty of the charges Moorcock so truthfully levies Anyone who read and loved his extremely humorous and at the same time enlightening “Epic Pooh” essay will thoroughly enjoy this insightful look into fantasy. Don’t think there is such a thing as good fantasy and bad fantasy, and that it’s all a matter of opinion? Wrong, ask Moorcock he will tell you what good fantasy is, and it’s hard to argue with a man that in essence embodies speculative fiction to such a degree.
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

Second Calvino novel, incredible Borges influenced novel about Marco Polo’s telling of his travels and cities he frequents, some very fantastic, to Kublai Khan. Each city different from the other and representative of a deeper meaning. It becomes clearer to me why Calvino is so highly touted and lauded. If a hopeful authors wants to know what it means be a master storyteller pick up ‘Invisible Cities’.
Nine Layers of Sky by Liz Williams

Recent SF/Urban/Alternative fiction novel, 2 Russians one a immortal hero who is a addict who no longer wants to be immortal, the other a former scientist turned janitor find themselves entangled with a object that opens rifts in reality bridging the world to Byelovodye a place where legends live. Great new voice in SF.
City of Pearl by Karen Traviss

As I mentioned many times not a huge fan of Hard Sci-fi but I read this first book in a series and found myself eager to read the sequel ‘Crossing the Line’. Yet another former StarWars writer who is writing some fantastic work currently outside the mythos.
Bones of the Moon by Jonathan Carroll

His first work ‘ The Land of Laughs’ was on my prior list, and is an all time classic of contemporary fantasy. Credited by Neal Gaiman for influencing Sandman, a story of Cullen James who in her Dreamworld is on a quest to find 5 magical bones. I am a big fan of Carroll and have read most of his work, and am eagerly awaiting his forthcoming ‘Glass Soup’. One constant with Carroll in all his works is the immaculate prose that gives his all his work a familiar feel and quality.
Latro in the Mist by Gene Wolfe

Combines earlier Wolfe works ‘Soldier in the Mist’ and ‘Soldier of Arete’, historical fantasy that is an absolute must for any Wolfe fan, which is synonymous with being a fan of superior works of fiction. The title character, Latro, a mercenary who is hit on the head by that leaves him with a condition makes him forget things after 12 hours, while at the same time granting him the ability to talk to the divine/dead. As one who is familiar with Wolfe would know the incredible possibilities as his disposal with such a character as characters comes back into Latro’s life under different names is utterly fascinating. Obviously it incredible it’s Wolfe, if you reading Guy Gavriel Kay and think he is the master of historical fantasy I would point you to the correct path with Wolfe, which is no knock on Kay whose work I admire as well, however even his respected position in the genre is far from Wolfe’s loft perch.

Weaveworld by Clive Barker

Truth be told I’m no a big fan of Barker but this will be the first of 2 Barker efforts on this list. More fantasy than horror the revolves around the Seerkind who have bound there world into a rug to hide fro ma world destroy Scrouge. The Rug is called the weave and has since been kept by Guardian. The last of the last of the Guardians perishes, and Cal falls into the weave and with an ancestor of the last Guardian Suzannah strive to keep it away from Immaculota and Shadwell, one who wants to sale it the other who wants to destroy it and the Seerkind.
Lust by Geoff Ryman

Fantasy story about a man who has a gift for making a copy of anyone appear at anytime. Take that the title of the story, and use your imagination. Well, it’s also of course more than that, as Michael Blasco also summons some rather unique historical figures, and oh yeah…he’s gay.

The Etched City by KJ Bishop

I had the pleasure of interviewing Kirsten, the first interview at FBS, a delightful person, who even if not so would find a place on this list. The city of Ashamoil is utterly brilliant, the prose exceptional and at times beautiful. Incredible character studies with Gwynn and Raule. Without speaking to her one can see the M. John Harrison, and Michael Moorcock influences. A surreal, baroque work, one of the genre’s best new voices, I am definitely anticipating more from the multi-talented Bishop.
The Chess Garden by Brooks Hansen

Absolutely stunning achievement in fiction. On of the books you walk away from thinking for a moment that it is perhaps the best novel you have ever read. While not ready to make that proclamation, I definitely consider this one of the best novels I have ever read. The story of Dr. Gustav Uyterhoeven in South Africa serving as a doctor at a British concentration camp writes a series of 12 letters sending back a chess piece with each, none of the letters telling nothing of his experiences but of stories of the land of Antipodesm where the pieces aided him in his adventures.
The Black Gondolier by Fritz Leiber

One of the masters of sword/sorcery Fantasy with his Fafhrd and Gray Mouser Lankhmar adventures (noted in my first list), this is a collection of 18 of his New Weird pulp tales.
The Dragon Waiting: A Masque of History by John M. Ford

Alternative History/Fantasy in Europe where magic is a part of live as well as science of that time (15th century). Vampires roam the land and great magic system with wonderfully researched history, but in a world where the Byzantine Empire still reigns and Constantine didn’t set a large segment of humanity down the path of ignorance.
Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees

Fantasy of the highest order. Those of us that have read ‘Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell’ by Susanna Clarke, which was on my prior list, know that Neil Gaiman called it the “unquestionably the finest English novel of the fantastic written in the last 70 years.” I was reading John Clute’s (the author of ‘Appleseed’ which is on this list and esteemed critic/reviewer of SF) review of the novel where he divulges (by corresponding with Gaiman) the book that Gaiman was referring back to from 70 years ago, and this is it. This spurned me to go on a search for a nice print of this novel, and upon reading it came by my conclusion you see in the opening sentence. The country of Dorimare is situated near Fairyland which is the considered the source of anything taboo to the sensible population. Upon eating a contraband fruit from fairyland, the son of Nathaniel Chanticleer the mayor must be removed to a remote location to be “cured”. The story turns into Nathaniel having to solve a murder and save Dorimare. Very highly recommend for fans of fantasy.
Tales of the Old Earth by Michael Swanwick

Along with there appearances in Matt Stover’s aforementioned novels Michael Swanwick (and some random ‘Discworld ‘sightings) is the only other author whose novels contain elves in them that are worth mentioning on such a list since ‘The Silmarillion’ was published. Swanwick’s classic ‘Iron Dragon’s Daughter’ and ‘Jack Faust’ made my original 101. This is a collection containing 18 short stories, many of which were either nominated for genre awards and some winning. A fine collection by one of the best contemporary SF writers.
Samaria series by Sharon Shinn

I never see anyone mention these, which either means my taste has failed me in this instance, or everyone else is missing out, my conscious works better with the latter. ‘Archangel’, ‘Jovah’s Angel’, ‘Angel Seeker’, ‘The Alleulia Files’ (if there are others I haven’t read them). Set in a low tech world of Samaria, where some are born with wings (angels) who can control the weather by singing (praying), call for medicine etc and are granted by god, they also act as intermediaries between human factions, and are respected by all. I found all these novels (all dealing with separate issues) to be fascinating if not admittedly treading on new ground. Wonderful allegory, great description on how society developed, and great portrayal of different characters throughout the series, and it’s not dense! Why isn’t Shinn getting pub these days, did she go down feminist path many authors have, writing harlequin romances? I’m going to have to find out.
Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Waterson

Yeah it’s a comic strip, and I had comics on my prior list simply because it is absurd to ignore the genius of some of those works. This is my favorite all time comic strip, whether invoking memories of the classic Pink Panther movies when attacked by Hobbes on coming home from school, or as Spaceman Spiff, or Calvin is an all time favorite of mine. I saw that an omnibus is coming out a complete 1440 page collection coming out in October which reminded me of its necessary inclusion on a list like this.

The Outlaw of Torn by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Known for his work on Tarzan (which I hate to admit I haven’t read), I have this bad habit about vintage books and if I can’t get a nice print, in good condition I simply wait until I can, which inhibits my reading of what should be required reading in some cases. Pulp/medieval story of the greatest swordsman in the world, which sounds not like my tastes however there are certain authors who are able to transcend archetypes with flair of writing, Burroughs is one of them Doc Smith in SF. I’m going to have to read Tarzan one day.
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlen

‘The Moon is a Harsh Mistress’ was represented on my prior list, seems inconceivable to have a list of 200 with only one mention off Heinlen. Revered as a classic, a story about the return of Michael a member of the first manned mission to Mars and raised by Martians, this story is about his return to Earth, and his assimilation into society, yet with a Martian philosophy and gifted with special abilities. Many things we take for granted are of course new experiences for Michael, one being relationships with the opposite sex. I really enjoyed this novel as it is known as one of Heinlen’s efforts to beat the wrap of “young adult” writer and write something a bit more meaty which is one thing I mentioned under the heading for ‘The Moon is a Harsh Mistress’ on my prior list.

More Tomorrow and Other Stories by Michael Marshal Smith

Collection of 30 horror shorts from one of the current horror masters.
The Essential Ellison: A 50 Year Retrospective by Harlan Ellison

Must have for a fan of Ellison, whose influence spans many genres, not to mention he wrote the script for one of my favorite movies ‘Logan’s Run’. 1250 pages and making up 74 classic stories.
Stray Bullets by Dave Lapham

First comic books series mentioned in the back 99, because I can, and ‘Stray Bullets’ is just that good. I was first exposed to Lapham’s work as an artist doing work for Jim Shooter’s Defiant line in the comic ‘Warriors of Plasm’ (which BTW also included one of my favorite comics ever ‘Dark Dominion’). The absolute master of crime comics, captivating, non-linear story telling, that could not possibly be done better. Start of by getting the HC edition entitled ‘Innocence of Nihilism’ 152 pages of comic books at there best and thank me later as you look to finish you collection.
The Divinity Student by Michael Cisco

Dark/Gothic Fantasy as brilliant as you can get in under 150 pages. The Divinity Student, on a mission a mission to retrieve a mysterious book dubbed “The Catalog” that contains lost words. Finding out it is destroyed he must hunt down the 12 authors of the catalog to regain the lost information. Magnificently written, spellbinding read, with some dope illustrations to boot.
Move Underground by Nick Mamatas

Whoa! This will require you to read a lot of great books, and that’s a good thing. First go read Jack Kerouac’s semi-classic, cult favorite ‘On the Road’ and then go brush up on your Lovecraftian Cthulhu mythos, to get ready to read Mamatas taking Jack Kerouac and his beatnik pals through the world of Cthulhu. Has become one of my all time favorite reads.
The Tamir Trilogy by Lynn Flewelling

Like I think 50% of everyone who has read this series, I picked it up due to George R.R. Martin recommending the first book ‘Bone Doll’s Twin’ on his site. A dark, epic fantasy, that doesn’t depend on an abundance of magic to carry out it’s plot (although it plays largely in the stories foundation admittedly) a story of Tobin a born female heiress who goes through the story in the form of her dead (but not really) twin brother to hide until she can reach if age to take powers fulfilling the true usurped succession and thus restoring divine aid back to the people. It sounds rather cliché and admittedly it is, but it’s well depicted by Flewelling. For fans of Flewelling’s Nightrunner series (Haven’t read it this series takes place in the same setting albeit, much earlier in it’s timeline.
Lost Pages by Paul Di Filippo

I love works that aren’t strictly written for fans just entering the genre and instead target heads of the speculative fiction, which is why Filippo will always remain one of my favorite writers. 9 Stories fueled by an introduction that brings up the though provoking question what if SF died in the 60’s. An intelligent collection of alternative history stories many chronicling in-genre personalities done by someone whose knowledge of them is not even research as much as it is love for the genre itself. Why the hell isn’t Filippo a household name?
Burning Your Boats by Angela Carter

Legendary writer Angela Carter’s collection of reworked myths and fairytales, you might as well pick up ‘The Bloody Chamber and other stories’ by an absolute genius of a writer who if feminist readers ran the world would be elected Emperor unanimously, including Florida.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

Me, and Trinalor (from FBS) were discussing this novel. First its worthy to note that it won the Pulitzer in 2001. 2 Jewish cousins combine to create a comic book empire, not neglecting the history of the times covered 1930’s-1950’s, interweaving real history around the story that includes an incredible study of friendship. You do not have to be a fan of comics to enjoy this beautiful written novel by Chabon, but it an extra treat for us comic book fans as Chabon references various Golden Age legends.
Jirel of Joiry by C.L. Moore

Some good old-fashioned heroic sword/sorcery fantasy, pulp story, with female fighter main character by one of the most under appreciated sword/sorcery writers around.

The State of Art by Ian M. Banks

This is the title of a collection by Banks of 5 stories, and is also the title of a novella as well. You can’t go wrong with either as in the collection you get the novella, as well, but if you get the novella, you can take solace that it’s one of the best SF shorts you can hope to read. Highly recommended for fans of his ‘Culture’ work.
The World Inside by Robert Silverberg

Silverberg is known now for the wonderful anthologies he edits both in Sf and Fantasy, and by some for his Majipoor work. ‘The World Inside’ however reminds you he is absolute master of SF. A brilliant look into a Utopian society of Earth Future of 75 million people where sex is promoted and a necessity, especially often to fulfill the goal of forever increasing the population.
The Book of the Short Sun by Gene Wolfe

‘The Book of the Short Sun is a 3-book cycle that takes place after his ‘The Book of the Long Sun’ (which is the sequel to Wolfe’s magnum Opus ‘The Book of the New Sun’) a 4 book cycle. There really isn’t much to say, if you read ‘The Book of the New Sun’ first and enjoyed what is among the finest works of speculative fiction one can read IMHO, than reading ‘The Book of the Long Sun’ and ‘Short Sun’ is already a known must. If for some reasons you have the misfortune of having overwhelming bad taste, and did not like ‘The Book of the New Sun’ don’t read on. Something to make things easier when reading ‘The Book of the Long Sun’, it can be obtained in a two volume set called, one called ‘Litany of the Long Sun’ which contains the first 2 books, and the other ‘Epiphany of the Long Sun’ which contains the latter two.
The Book of the Long Sun by Gene Wolfe

‘The Book of the Short Sun is a 3-book cycle that takes place after his ‘The Book of the Long Sun’ (which is the sequel to Wolfe’s magnum Opus ‘The Book of the New Sun’) a 4 book cycle. There really isn’t much to say, if you read ‘The Book of the New Sun’ first and enjoyed what is among the finest works of speculative fiction one can read IMHO, than reading ‘The Book of the Long Sun’ and ‘Short Sun’ is already a known must. If for some reasons you have the misfortune of having overwhelming bad taste, and did not like ‘The Book of the New Sun’ don’t read on. Something to make things easier when reading ‘The Book of the Long Sun’, it can be obtained in a two volume set called, one called ‘Litany of the Long Sun’ which contains the first 2 books, and the other ‘Epiphany of the Long Sun’ which contains the latter two.
Leviathan 3 by various

A Collection of 21 stories by some authors who are among the true masters of the genre. No, not Jordan, Goodkind or Brooks, but authors like Michael Moorcock (who is well represented on my list) Tamar Yellin (author of ‘Genizah at the House of Shepher’), Zoran Zivkovic (author of the ’Fourth Circle’), Jeffrey Ford, Jeff VanderMeer etc.

Gun, with Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethemen

Mystery/PI/SF novel about dark, sarcastic, novel chronicling dete4ctive Conrad Metcalf in a post-apocalyptic world. I read it because I’m a fan of both SF and mystery and this was billed as a cross of Philip K. Dick/Raymond Chandler. Doesn’t get much better than that.
Nowhere Near Milkwood by Rhys Hughes

I read Rhys Hughes homage to Borges earlier this year, ‘A New Universal History of Infamy’ and became an instant fan. ‘Nowhere Near Milkwood’ is a collection of related stories that exhibits Hughes’ vivid imagination and precision as a writer.
The Ervis Cale Trilogy by Paul S. Kemp

What? A Forgotten Realms series? A Wizards of the Coast series? It is true I mildly enjoy some WOTC products and authors; although I do think the vast majority of the bulk of the work is at best sub-par, some just downright awful, (see ‘City of Towers’ (Keith Baker), or ‘Silverfall’ (Ed Greenwood) for such examples.) however, for the last year or so I have been pushing ‘The Ervis Cale’ trilogy. Not only do I think it’s the best-written series in the history of Forgotten Realms, but it’s just a damn good series period. Kemp avoids the pitfalls that many authors in the line suffer from by allowing his characters to unfold in his stories developing due to the plot, and not just telling us about the characters. He also gives gravity to the secondary characters, making them more than props to interact with the focus character who is an assassin/butler and is by far the most interesting character in the Forgotten Realms line I have read about. I simply cannot wait for ‘Midnight Mask’ due out in November, and that is something I haven’t said about a WOTC product in a long time. Don’t be deluded and miss out on good reads because of some personal stance of false-academia you attribute to yourself that would normally sway you from reading a novel from this line. This series is thus far damn good.

Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

Guy Gavriel Kay is one of the consistently solid authors in fantasy, I’m not quite as taken with his work as some are, but no one can deny his inclusion on such a list, and ‘Tigana’ is in my mind his best work. Kay’s trademark, realistic almost alternative history-like format is impeccable as usual, Kay’s simple concept of a group simply trying to regains there names, but with it their legacy, and true identity. Gay’s character interactions shine in ‘Tigana’, as he maneuvers us through a huge cast of characters.
King Rat by China Mieville

It’s not a secret I‘m a fan of China Mieville’s work. ‘King Rat’ is his first novel, and not connected with his Bas-lag novels, and is a dark, urban tale that twists the classic Pied Piper of Hamelin tale, all being wrapped in London/underground backdrop powered by the culture of jungle music. Admittedly I enjoy the Bas-lag novels more, but that is no slight as I consider them among the very best books to come out in years.

Replay by Ken Grimwood

Fascinating time-travel novel, Jeff Winston keeps dying on the same date only to be reborn again with his memories intact. Grimwood’s take of Winston is one that offers more realism than the standard time travel fare that always seems to circulate around a major event. The cast of characters also includes other replayers Winston meets, and magnifies the objective of Winston’s work to focus on the characters and the affect of the time traveling, and not the science behind it.
Imajica by Clive Barker

In my opinion the best Barker work. Barker’s world consist of 5 dimensions or “Dominions”, our world is the fifth of these. An attempt to bring the fifth dimension back into the fold with the other was failed in the past and since than magic has all but disappeared from our dimension and we have been governed by science and in this work is another attempt to reconcile the dimensions before it’s to late. Do not be fooled by Hellraiser reputation of Barker that many seem to categorize him as. This is a fantastic novel, as was ‘Weaveworld’ and his more recent ‘Abarat’ works.
Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link

I have been reading a lot of collections lately, and have found they are absolutely incredible. Examples by Neal Gaiman, Jeffrey Ford, Jeff VanderMeer, Holly Phillips, Ramsey Campbell, Rhys Hughes, have completely amazed me recently. Kelly Link is no different with her Collection of 11 fantasy tales. There are examples here like the “Girl Detective’ that are among the best shorts I have read.

The Stars my Destination by Alfred Bester

This is also called ‘Tiger! Tiger!’, and is a classic work of Science Fiction. Gulliver Foyle one of the great SF characters of all time, completely unsympathetic bent on simple revenge against those that left him for dead after attacking his ship and leaving his as it’s sole survivor.
In the Palace of Repose by Holly Phillips

Big thanks to Sean Wallace at Prime books for hooking me up with ARC of this collection. Along with Tamar Yellin’s ‘Genizah at the House of Shepher’ this is the best book I have read this year. This is a collection of 9 different stories that offers a mix of stories with horror elements with some with fantastic elements. Phillips instantly has become a must buy author for me, and I am eagerly awaiting her full-length novel that she is currently working on. Incredible talent, who definitely warrants keeping an eye on.
Coraline by Neal Gaiman

Marketed for young adults but by no means lacking for adult readers. Coraline is the title character, whose adventures begin when she opens the 14th door in her flat that sometimes opens up to reveal a brick wall and other times a new world. Gaiman always impresses, as he has reached a level of success that many seem to be waiting for him to fail, however Gaiman continues to put a stamp of quality on all of his works ever since his landmark comic book run, no matter what vein or theme the story is. Great art by Dave Mckean as well.
Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons

Author of one of the great relatively recent series ‘The Hyperion cantos’ and one of my other most anticipated books, ‘Olympos’, the sequel to the incredible ‘Ilium’, Simmons is one of my current favorite writers, as he continually refuses to be categorized by any one genre. Carrion Comfort is no different offering a mix of vampire, fantastic events where Simmons actually describes figuratively and literally what it feels like to be mind-fucked.
The Shivered Sky by Matt Dinniman

I hardly ever see this book mentioned, and it’s a shame! 5 teenagers die, and end up in the afterlife where Demons have taken over the Angel City. Great Pov’s of both sides, great character development, and a wonderful history given to the storyline which can be seen by the incredibly useful appendix of Angels and Demons. Even though this is about Angels and Demons, Dinniman does not sale us a mundane good vs. evil plot or in his characterizations, but provides great depth.

The Urth of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe

Just like I said in my entries of Wolfe’s ‘Short Sun’ and ‘Long Sun’ if you read ‘The Book of the New Sun’ I don’t even have to try to explain why reading Wolf should be a requirement. ‘The Urth of the New Sun is the direct sequel to “The Book of the New Sun’ continuing Severian’s (one of the truly great SF characters ever) travels. Wolfe is simply a god.
Punktown by Jeffrey Thomas

First of two entries for a author I have just been introduced too, and both his books simply must be represented. ‘Punktown’ is simply perhaps the best of the collections I have recently read (along with Holly Phillip’s ‘Palace of Repose’). 10 stories about a colony on Oasis inhabited by people of varying cultures and worlds, a mixture of Sci-fi/Horror/Cyber-punk as Thomas weaves 10 separate stories of what has become one of my favorite settings in the entire genre up there with Viriconium (M. John Harrison), Ambergis (Jeff VanderMeer), Bas-Lag (China Mieville), among others. ‘Punktown’ is simply an amazing new work, by an author has done nothing but amaze me with the first 2 of his books I have read.

Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg

Second Silverberg novel, ‘Dying Inside’ is a story about a telepath who is losing his special ability. As noted before Silverberg is known now for his editing of anthologies, however Silverberg’s portrayal of David Selig, both in depicting the use of his power, and the personal ramifications he is going through with the realization that his power is fading is done by someone who truly is a master of SF as an author.
The Liveship Traders by Robin Hobb

I simply cannot understand some of the negative response this series got, especially from fans of Hobb’s ‘Tawnyman’ series (which his not on this list or my original 101) and the ‘Farseer Trilogy’ (which is). Although I think Farseer is her best work still, I think many elements within ‘Liveship’ are stronger than in’ Farseer’. You add the element of a boat in a fantasy and people seemingly go mad as if a completely different writer wrote this series. If you can’t get over boats playing a large role in the story and setting, just say so, no need to negatively criticize a damn good epic fantasy series because of limited thinking. There simply isn’t enough quality epic fantasy series around to cast down the good examples for such ridiculous reasons. Great, well-rounded characters (Kennit), sentient ships, great plot, and Hobb’s pacing is flawless, what else do you need?
Sword of Shadows series by JV Jones

Admittedly the titles are kind of lame, and the second books was slightly disappointing, and it’s taking forever for ‘Sword from Red Ice’ to come out, but I have to include this series because I simply think the first installment ‘Cavern of Black Ice’ is a better first installment than Greg Keyes’ much more lauded (I like it too) ‘The Briar King’. Full of great characters, Raif, Valyo (The Dog Lord is IMHO the most interesting in ‘Caverns’), Angus, Malafice Eye, Penthero Iss, I like the restraints on magic even on the greatest of adepts, I like the Clan Wars, I like history Jones give Spire Vanis, this is simply a great read for fans looking for quality epic fantasy. I’m not even going to hold it against Julie that she can’t respond to an FBS interview request. No one is perfect.
Letter’s from Hades by Jeffrey Thomas

Last but absolutely not least is Thomas’ has been a huge find for me and this is one of my favorite of his works. This story is about a anonymous man who committed suicide and found himself in Hell where upon being crucified and graduating wanders Hell and falls in love with a demon. The novel is written in the form of the main characters diary chronicling his travels in Hell. If you’re looking for something new, fresh, and just incredibly written check out Thomas, you won’t be disappointed.
From Hell by Alan Moore

Historical Fiction/Crime work by legendary comic book writer Alan Moore (‘Watchmen’, ‘V for Vendetta’), that is the best work I have read that chronicles Jack-the-Ripper is a the subject of using the Masonic twist in the Ripper mythos for the story. Fantastic art by Eddie Campbell makes this a yet another gem by Moore.
Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock

I have stopped counting but it seems Moorcock is heavily mentioned on both the 101 list and this back 99 list. I’m not a religious person, and although I respect anyone’s desire to practice whatever belief system they think they require (or is it required of them?), it’s a conscious decision on my part, and thus in my mind the smart decision even though I respects anyone right to make there own choices. If you are a devout Christian you may not like this book at all, however Moorcock’s time travel story of Karl Glowgauer back into the time of Christ is absolutely riveting and as always thoughtful. A phenomenal book.
Earth Abides by George R. Stewart

Post-apocalyptic masterpiece about a world’s population which is reduced to almost nothing by a plague and the story of one of the survivors Isherwood, as it chronicles his survival, and attempts to be a leader in a tribe passing on knowledge to the young members trying to preserve culture in future generations.
The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

It’s impossible to be a fan of mysteries and not include Holmes and this is a great find for me, containing 4 full-length novels and 56 short stories.

Pashazade by John Courtenay Grimwood

Speaking of Charles Stross he recommended Grimwood (although he recommended the Arabesk series), but I jumped on ‘Pashazade’ because of my aforementioned enjoyment of mystery novels. This is SF/Alternative history/sleuth novel in a world where the Ottoman Empire is a world power which provides an interesting and rare backdrop of the Middle East/Arabic setting.
Merchant Princes series by Charles Stross

Read this series. This is a planned 8-12 books cycles that was originally planned to be 4 large novels by Stross (who I have recently interviewed BTW). Stross is an incredible writer of SF and Fantasy. I really have faith in Stross and really enjoyed ‘The Family Trade’, thus the inclusion on the list. It starts with Miriam Berkenstein; a financial reporter who is fired from her job but finds out she has the ability to go into an alternative medieval reality world where she is family of world traveling merchants. This is often compared to Zelazny’s classic ‘Chronicles of Amber’ in regards to being able to describe a influence, and it’s an apt one in my opinion. ‘The Family Trade’ shows tremendous potential for this series, and Stross is a gifted writer. I can’t wait to read ‘Hidden Family’ and I have very high hopes for this series.

The Light Ages by Ian R. Macleod

I own but haven’t read ‘House of Storms’ the sequel yet, but, ‘The Light Ages’ is a magnificently well-written novel taking place in a alternative universe Victorian London where a substance called aether is the key to both industry and magic. Macleod is a incredibly descriptive and vivid writer, and the plight of Robert Barrows as a revolutionary, and in love is a well-written one if not overtly fast paced or incredibly exciting, it is beautifully written however and a strong read. I would also recommend (due to space constraints with my list) his collections which are absolutely remarkable where his descriptive writing definitely shines in ‘Breathmoss and other Exhalations’ and ‘Voyages by Starlight’. His first novel ‘the Great Wheel’ is also recommended if you admire his style from reading ‘The Light Ages’.
Black Orchids of Aum by Gerard Daniel Houarner

An anthology in which the stories all occur in the city of Aum, also called the gate City because the city serves as a Gateway to other, numerous universes. To be able to speak the language in these other universe you must buy from the Gate mothers’ a parasite that allows you to communicate in the universe you are going to. Houarner does a fantastic job in describing the city, and it’s a terrific concept. The stories do not share characters and are stand-alone stories of various travelers and inhabitants, and I am wondering if other works are planned from the Aum setting, as it has vast potential.
The Rediscovery of Man: The Complete Short Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith

Edited by James Mann, this is the complete collection of Cordwainer Smith’s shorts, who besides being an author actually worked for the CIA as well. Many of the 33 stories in the collection represent the very best Sci-fi shorts one can read. For people that have read his popular full-length novel ‘Norstillia’ I consider this collection even more of a must read.




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