What I Will Be Reading #12

I saw a link to the Best SF/Fantasy Novels of All Time by The Telegraph while ago, and was intrigued to see what was on their list. I’m always looking for good books, especially older books, so I checked out the link. I’ve read many of the books (including Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The War of the Worlds, Brave New World, 1984, I, Robot, Lord of the Flies, Dune, The Handmaid’s Tale, American Gods), and enjoyed most of them. Therefore, I put the rest on my to read list. These include (with the Telegraph’s summary of the book as well):

Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake. “What must post-war readers have made of the denizens of Gormenghast? Of Lord Sepulchrave, Dr Prunesquallor, Nanny Slagg, and Steerpike? What did all that rich and mad Gothic detailing portend? The imagery remains unforgettable, not least Swelter’s infernal kitchens, and Flay hurling a white cat at Steerpike. ”

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. I’ve heard this one mentioned several other places, and I will read it. “A few years before Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, this vivid horror story about a monstrous plant species with lethal stingers played on our ecological fears. Wyndham was writing as postwar agriculture was becoming a vast chemical-led industrial concern, and the Triffids were payback.”

High-Rise by J. G. Ballard. “In arguably his most resonant work, Ballard postulated a tower block that contained everything its residents needed, from shops to pools to offices. They need never leave. And they don’t. The internal society begins to fragment, form classes, and savage civil war breaks out. It is a brilliantly unheimlich urban parable.”

Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter. “An extraordinarily vivid and sensual journey following the circus through 19th-century London and Russia, which brilliantly – and movingly – blurs the lines between acute psychological drama, fairy tale and ancient myth.”

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. This one was recently made into a movie, which I haven’t seen, but I’d like to read the source material. “Six narrators, six interlocking stories – ranging from a future dystopia to Seventies nuclear thriller, to 19th-century medical drama – Mitchell forces the reader to make the connections across time and space; how can interrupted stories still live on?”

Anyone read these? What did you think?


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