40 Recommended SF&F Books

The Californian bookstore Space Cowboy Books asked me to provide a reading list for their monthly newsletter, and this is the result.

When asked to provide a recommended reading list, I had to think hard. I didn’t just want to make a list of books that have meant a lot to me over the years, as many of them are now outdated. Plus, there are so many great writers and classic books that this list would need to omit many of them for the sake of brevity. I could probably have listed 500 books without too much trouble, so I have left out some of the more obvious ones, like Dune, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.

Bearing all that in mind, I present here—in no particular order—a list of books I’ve enjoyed, books I admire, and books I think every self-respecting modern SF author should read.

1.     Neuromancer by William Gibson

2.     A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge

3.     Nova by Samuel R. Delany

4.     Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

5.     The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

6.     Velocity Weapon by Megan E. O’Keefe.

7.     The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks

8.     Pandora’s Star by Peter F. Hamilton

9.     Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds

10.  Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

11.  Dangerous Visions edited by Harlan Ellison

12.  Mirrorshades edited by Bruce Sterling

13.  New Worlds edited by Michael Moorcock

14.  Light by M. John Harrison

15.  Gateway by Frederik Pohl

16.  The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

17.  Gideon The Ninth by Tamsin Muir

18.  Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear

19.  The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

20.  Rosewater by Tade Thompson

21.  The Tea Master and The Detective by Aliette de Bodard

22.  End of the World Blues by Jon Courtenay Grimwood

23.  A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

24.  Seven Devils by Elizabeth May and Laura Lam

25.  Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

26.  The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin 

27.  Star Maker by Olaf Stapeldon

28.  The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

29.  Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny

30.  The Rediscovery of Man by Cordwainer Smith

31.  Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

32.  Planetfall by Emma Newman

33.  All Systems Red by Martha Wells

34.  Brasyl by Ian McDonald

35.  Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

36.  Do You Dream of Terra-Two by Temi Oh

37.  Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

38.  Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

39.  Manifold: Space by Stephen Baxter

40.  Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell (well, I had to include one of mine, didn’t I?)

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Author: Gareth L Powell

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