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I think you are missing Cryptonomicon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptonomicon
It's got everything a geek wants! Crypto, maths, geek hero & everyone ends up fighting Nazis!
Serious, well worth a read by a geek...


Great list! I also love Darren Shan's books. I've read the whole first saga, and every time someone comes to me with OMG HAVE YOU READ THIS XY VAMPIRE NOVEL, I recommend the Darren Shan-saga to them, because they're real vampires. ;)

"Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell" is on my reading list, I have started but never finished it because I had to give it back. Have to get the English edition one day, I really hate German translated books (which is almost unavoidable when you're living in Germany and the local library has only a small amount of English books).


...Great list. There are a few there I need to get acquainted to.


I have Hunger Games on my to read list. But please tell me you've read some Neal Stephenson? Snow Crash? Cryptonomicon? Because if not, you should really give him a try.


Awesome list. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close made me cry like a baby and is such a touching book - I'm glad to see that on here, because more people really need to read it.

But no Neil Gaiman? I'd highly recommend Neverwhere, American Gods, and, of course, Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Coraline is fantastic as well.


Good picks David! Here are a couple of books I recommend for SciFi fans:
The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin is a great read and very interesting. Also love this strange novel called "We" by Yevgeni Zamyatin.


Totally agree about Pullman, fantastic author.

There are two authors who aren't on your list who started off my reading of fantasy and sci-fi genres as a student many years ago.

They're very different but had an equally big impact on me. Tom Holt, the first book of his I read was "who's Afraid of Beowulf" (well I was an archeology student:)) the other author was Stephen Donaldson, although his Thomas Covenant books are generally the best known, personally I prefered his GAP sequence which I thought was an incredibly brilliant piece of storytelling.


I'll always be grateful to you for discovering "Extremely Loud..." - amazing book. "Everything is Illuminated" is almost as good. Not so sure about "The Shining", but I never did warm to King. My favorite fantasy author, besides Terry Pratchett (I recommend his "Discworld" books, preferably the Witches and the City Watch, but his Tiffany Aching trilogy is wonderful, too), is the recently deceased Robert Holdstock - his "Mythago Wood" series made my reading life. Love love love LotR; Dune is on my frequent re-read list, too.

And then, even though SGA has turned it into something of a stupid joke, there is "War and Peace" - it's gigantic but it's also abso-bloody-lutely fantastic. Well worth reading and re-reading! True history geek stuff.

Another fantastic Russian novel is "The Master and Margarita" by Michail Bulgakov.

Oh, and though they are non-fiction, the essay books by Robert Pogue Harrison "Dominion of the Dead", "Forests" and "Gardens", are amazingly geeky, too.


Dune IS like reading the old testament! But a great story indeed! My husband is obsessed with it. We even named our cat Duncan. I'm curious, though, what you thought about the old 1980s flick and the more recent tv mini series that came out around 2000. I think it's hilarious that Sting was in the 1980s film. Check out the pic of him as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen on IMDb. It's great.


The biggest compliment I can give to Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is that on top of it being a fantastic and moving story, it was so beautifully written I had to read parts of it aloud.

Andi B.

Stephenson's already been well-rec'd, so what am I even posting for! Sheesh! Good list. :-)


I have three words for you: Lois McMaster Bujold. Thanks to Baen's enlightened policies, you don't even have to take my word for it. The first 10 chapters from loads of her books are online. Any of these 3 are a great intro to her Vorkosigan Saga.

Shards of Honor: http://www.webscription.net/chapters/0671578286/0671578286___1.htm

The Warrior's Apprentice: http://www.webscription.net/chapters/0743436164/0743436164___1.htm

Falling Free: http://www.webscription.net/chapters/1416521410/1416521410___1.htm


I'll definitely check these out... Have you read anything by Orson Scott Card? I started with his science fiction, but his other stuff is really great as well.


I haven't read a real book for over a year after a lifetime of non stop reading but none of them from your list.

Just starting to get back into them and the next book will be REPLAY by Ken Grimwood which looks great. I'll let you know.


Gaile Wood

Dune is up there with my all time faves, as is LoTR, The Hobbit (you need to read this to your son), Stranger in a Strange Land (which is, IMHO Heinlein's seminal piece)as well as many of the classics from authors such as Clark, Philip K Dick and so on. You should give C.J. Cherryh a try, and Anne McCaffrey (the dragons of Pern will inspire you) as they are two of the best female writers out there in a very unforgiving genre. With regard to fantasy you MUST read George R.R.Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice saga as it is, without doubt, some of the finest contemporary fantasy of the 21st century in a genre that all too often slides to mediocrity. I also recommend a fellow Canadian, Charles de Lint, who writes the most beautiful and magical books I can recall.

Another book I can highly recommend is Let the Right One In, which is a modern vampire story that is truly horrific, but has prose so beautifully evocative and stark it makes my heart sing.


Oh, and before I forget, Garth Nix for your son as well as for you. In a word... fabulous!


Finally a new blog post.
I started thinking you forgot about posting more than 140 characters.

Cool list! I like J.R.R. Tolkien. All of his stuff is amazing (haven't read 'The Hobbit' yet). And up to this point I think everyone is familiar with Stephen King. I mean he is the king of horror books...
I'm not a big fan of John Scalzi. I dunno why. But, I picked up 'The Android's Dream' on your recommendation last year...

Check out Robert Jordan's " The Wheel of Time" series.


Forgot to mention that my all time favourite still remains "The DragonBone Chair" series by Tad Williams and if you're reading teen books I've been recommended "The Cherub Series" but have yet to read them myself. Teen spies but brilliant apparantly.

@Classygirl - need to add Hobbit to your read list. It does read like a childs book but engaging and brain over matter and follows the underdog. Gollum shines. Its a must.



PS. Did read the Dark Matter books. Brother told me they were making them into films but when they finally arrived I sadly found the films a shadow of the books which is often the case but not to that degree normally.


I am slightly way too excited that you posted this on my birthday. :D

I'll admit that I haven't read many of those at all, but since I am studying English Literature this year and one of my assessments is to make a journal about books I read, I fully intend to start reading the books on your list.

I actually haven't read many sci-fi books at all in my lifetime, other than several Star Wars Expanded Universe books and I'm making my way through Elizabeth Moon's Serrano Legacy. Other than that I'm really into British murder mysteries, my favourite being the Inspector Lynley Mysteries by Elizabeth George (who is an American author, but the books are set in England!). I shall definitely have to start making my way through your list! :D

Doris Clark - Australia

Hi Everyone.

First of all David, thanks so much for the post and what a fantastic topic. I plan to read anything I haven't already read on your list and I am keeping track of the responses - I am always on the hunt for another favourite author :). I read the Hunger Games as well as I have a 17 year old who LOVES this book! She loves Battle Royale as well. The second book is really worth a read as well...its called Catching Fire. My daughter wants to be a costume designer and is having lots of fun designing costumes for Hunger Games for fun. She also posted a 'who would I cast' powerpoint type vid on the web somewhere. Rumour has it that its scheduled to be made into a film. Should be rather interesting.

A couple of my favourite authors you didn't mention, in addition to Anne McCaffery who has already been mentioned, Australia/English author Neville Shute wrote some fantastic books. And also there is a book called "Down to a Sunless Sea" by David Graham from 1979 - fantastic book!

Thanks again for the post - was fantastic to hear from you and I look forward to reading everyone's must read lists.

Gemma Hill

Most of these books are on my 'to read' list. It's a very long list, especially as I've started to get through my SO's collection of discworld novels.
Some recs: Michael Marshall Smith writes some very good sci fi/fantasy type books. Only forward is my favourite of his.
Terry Prachett. I don't think anything else has to be said :P


Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is quite possibly my favorite book that I've ever read (and I've read *a lot*).

Susanna Clarke has also put out a short story collection, entitled "The Ladies of Grace Adieu" which I would recommend to fill the void until she writes another novel. Lovely, and she's even got a story set in Neil Gaiman's "Stardust" world - which, hey, there's another author for you!

Speaking of Gaiman, have you read "The Graveyard Book" yet? So beautiful, and one to keep for your son when he's a few years older to love and cherish.


If anyone likes to listen to audiobooks, Audible.com has both Old Man's War and Hunger Games on sale for only $4.95 this week. I've read Hunger Games and agree with you David so now I'm going to listen to Old Man's War.

Erina Stenholm

Honestly, can it get any more nerdy than Isaac Asimov? I mean he's like the father of science fiction in oh so many ways!

Also his Robot Triology is an excellent and very realistic view of a future human society. I admit, his characters are abit stiff at times, but it's well worth the read!

Also, would like to reccomend Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. It's lovley in that scary-that-might-just-happen way! Also she's a great writer. Where's that nobleprize?



Hi just wondering have you ever read any of the Stargate Novels SG1 or Atlantis or would that be too weird. Mirror Mirror by Sabine C. Bauer is a fave of mine.

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