Top Ten Tuesday: SF titles I’m thankful my friends made me read

Top Ten Tuesday bannerTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, in which we have fun making bookish lists. For Thanksgiving week, we’re considering books we’re thankful for.

One of the joys of being a bookworm is comparing notes with other bookworms (even when it results in our TBRs toppling down and burying us under a pile of unread books). We can’t always agree on what books we like (or which characters we love), but we all love sharing our favourites. Today I’m celebrating books I might never have read if it hadn’t been for recommendations from people I love ALL THE MORE for their excellent taste in books.


The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham

Book cover: The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham (stylised triffid on a khaki green background)My Mum gets the honour for this one. She has an awesome story about getting caught reading SF under her desk in class – so her teacher recommended she try Wyndham! She passed his recommendation on to me, and he’s been one of my favourites forever. Man creates giant poisonous plants for Solid Economic Reasons. Man accidentally destroys civilisation. Poisonous plants eat Man. It’s a cautionary tale.



Vurt – Jeff Noon

Book cover: Vurt - Jeff Noon (a blue feather against a glaring yellow background; none of the colours look real)I went to university Up North. My London-based boyfriend was a geek DJ who I always suspected was too cool for me (ah, youthful insecurities). But he had great taste in books. I would certainly have never found Vurt without him, but Jeff Noon created a hypnotic near-future vision of a decaying Manchester, and explored it through a surreal narcopunk lens. Thank you, Mr Ex.


A Matter of Oaths – Helen S Wright

Book cover: A Matter of Oaths - Helen S Wright (a silhouetted man overlaid with a web of light)I know, I know, it was only Saturday I was enthusing about how much I love this book – but I would never have even heard of it if it hadn’t been for @sandstone and her excellent knowledge of backlist SF. Diverse cyberpunk space opera with politics, aliens and immortals? OH YAS.



The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers

Book cover: A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

Okay, so I might have picked this one up on my own eventually – I’d admired the pretty pretty cover in the bookshop – but it was SciFi Month 2015 that pushed me into reading it (and made me a card carrying member of Sci Fi Month, huzzah!) – and it got me involved in @SFFReadalongs too! So much to be thankful for here – plus the book itself is a firm favourite.


Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson

Book cover: Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson (1992 edition, circuitboard and fuzzy guitarist)…in fact, that ex has a lot to answer for. Next up, Snow Crash for its wry commentary on the shape of things to come (doesn’t look so unlikely now, does it?) and mixing Sumerian mythology with hacking, sword-fighting and pizza delivery for the Mafia. I have no idea if it would stand up to a reread now – I’ve changed a lot – but it helped pave the way into cyberpunk for me.


Golden Witchbreed / Ancient Light – Mary Gentle

Book cover: Orthe - Chronicles of Carrick V by Mary Gentle (Golden Witchbreed / Ancient Light)

This one started with a Green Dragon read-along on LibraryThing, and once again it’s thanks to @sandstone. I realise I talk about this duology a lot, because that’s just how big an impression it made on me. First contact, space diplomacy, lost societies, mysterious technologies, ruthless politians, and greedy corporations – these books are epic in their world-building and broke my heart into little pieces.


Spares – Michael Marshall Smith

Book cover: Spares - Michael Marshall Smith (a handprint on a red background)

That ex? My love of Michael Marshall Smith started with Spares, and I’m pretty sure this was his fault too. Damn, but he left his fingerprints all over my bookshelves. I’m scared to reread Spares – a noir-soaked Never Let Me Go with virtual wars, hardened mobsters, flying cities and hookers with a heart of gold (see why I’m worried? Yeah). But I still love how MMS turns a phrase, so maybe it will work out.


The Culture – Iain M Banks

Book cover: Consider Phlebas - Iain M Banks (the crisp blue curve of a ring world, with a spaceship diving down into it)

My next boyfriend never convinced me to love Arthur C Clarke as much as he did, but I’m pretty sure he got me onto the Culture novels, a staggering series of stand-alone novels in a post-scarcity galactic utopia. What do the people who have everything do? Meddle in the lives of those who don’t. Tremendous world-building, where outrageously inventive action sequences are teamed with on-point introspection.



The Expanse – James S A Corey

Banner: glimpse of a space ship above Saturn - text reads Leviathan Wakes Read Along

I had actively decided not to read these books. There was a heap of them (which sounded like a lot of catching up) and all the descriptions of Leviathan Wakes sounded like male-dominated quasi-military SF, which is very much Not My Thing. But I love reading with the @SFFReadalongs crew too much not to at least try the first one when they picked it as their next series. OH. MY. WORD. BEST. DECISION. I cannot believe I nearly missed out on this epic.


What books have you had recommended to you that you loved immensely? What books would you recommend to me?