Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My list of favorite fantasy/science fiction/horror authors and books

I have been a fan of fantasy/science fiction/horror literature for years, as I have mentioned in previous posts. There is something about this genre of literature that never ceases to fascinate me. I know many people who are completely uninterested in it, who find it boring because they say these types of stories are not real or logical. I have come to the conclusion that you are either a fan or you are not. There is no middle ground. I am a staunch fan. My mind was always stimulated by this type of literature; I had an active imagination as a child and could scare myself silly just thinking about the deformed creatures that were waiting for me behind the bedroom door or in the bathroom mirror. You would think that this fear would have stopped me from reading these types of books about alien worlds or strange creatures and the like. But it didn’t. And it was cool to imagine what other planets and worlds might look like, or how it would be to travel there and communicate with their inhabitants, even if it proved to be quite dangerous.

Some of the first books I can remember reading were fantasy novels for children, e.g. books by Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; James and the Giant Peach) and CS Lewis. We read Edgar Allan Poe’s morbid tales of horror in grammar school and would discuss them at home around the dinner table in the evenings. Our teachers even organized movie sessions for us where we would watch films based on his books—Murders in the Rue Morgue comes to mind as a particularly violent story, although I believe we saw this in high school if memory serves me well.  As a teenager I became fascinated with the books by Ira Levin and JRR Tolkien as well as by Ray Bradbury.  I was drawn more and more to the idea that there are alternative worlds that we do not understand much about or that we cannot inhabit for one reason or another, or that there is alien life. That is the appeal of science fiction/fantasy to me. I don’t need to have this proven to me beyond a shadow of a doubt. I am not really interested in proof at all, although I think it is cool that much of science fiction is based on real facts. It is sufficient to me that these strange worlds and creatures exist in one form or another in the minds of their creators. I am interested in how the science fiction/horror/fantasy writers dreamed up the worlds they did; the fantastic stories about space and time travel, or how they managed to describe on paper the monsters that lived in the deep recesses of their brains. It is the creative process that interests me yet again. We are profoundly influenced as children by what we read, and I know that this is true for me. My parents never discouraged us from reading these kinds of books, hence the continued interest in them so many years later. I am including a list of favorite fantasy/science fiction/horror authors and their books that I have read and enjoyed during the past years.

1.       Aldous Huxley—Brave New World
2.       Bram Stoker—Dracula
3.       Cormac McCarthy—The Road
4.       CS Lewis—The Screwtape Letters; The Chronicles of Narnia; Out of the Silent Planet; Perelandra; That Hideous Strength
5.       Doris Lessing—The Fifth Child
6.       Douglas Adams—The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
7.       Edgar Allan Poe—The Fall of the House of Usher; Murders in the Rue Morgue; The Pit and the Pendulum; The Premature Burial; The Tell-tale Heart
8.       George Orwell—Nineteen Eighty-four; Animal Farm
9.       H G Wells—War of the Worlds
10.   Ira Levin—Rosemary’s Baby; This Perfect Day; The Stepford Wives; The Boys From Brazil
11.   Isaac Asimov—Fantastic Voyage
12.   JRR Tolkien—The Hobbit; Lord of the Rings Trilogy
13.   Madeleine L’Engle--A Wrinkle in Time
14.   Mary Shelley--Frankenstein
15.   Michael Crichton—The Andromeda Strain; The Terminal Man; Timeline; Prey
16.   Neil Gaiman—Coraline; The Wolves in the Walls; The Graveyard Book; Stardust
17.   Ray Bradbury—Fahrenheit 451; The Martian Chronicles; Something Wicked This Way Comes; The Illustrated Man
18.   Richard Matheson—I Am Legend
19.   Scarlett Thomas--The End of Mr. Y
20.   Stanislaw Lem--Solaris
21.   Stephen King—Salem’s Lot; The Shining; Cujo
22.   Tim Powers--The Stress of Her Regard

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