Neil Gaiman’s Favourite Science Fiction Books

By June 12, 2018Authors, Literature
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Neil Gaiman was speaking to the BBC’s Front Row last month about the film adaptation of his story How to Talk to Girls at Parties as it hit UK cinemas.

As many good writers know one key to great writing is a lot of reading- and Gaiman is no different. His love for writing goes hand-in-hand with reading, so the BBC asked for his favourite science fiction novels.

These are the books he decided upon…




“Case was the sharpest data-thief in the matrix—until he crossed the wrong people and they crippled his nervous system, banishing him from cyberspace. Now a mysterious new employer has recruited him for a last-chance run at an unthinkably powerful artificial intelligence. With a dead man riding shotgun and Molly, a mirror-eyed street-samurai, to watch his back, Case is ready for the adventure that upped the ante on an entire genre of fiction.”

Neuromancer by William Gibson

“It was the first great cyberpunk novel. It was the first time I actually felt like a future was being described that I understood.”

Genly Ai is an ethnologist observing the people of the planet Gethen, a world perpetually in winter. The people there are androgynous, normally neuter, but they can become male or female at the peak of their sexual cycle. Genly Ai is drawn into the complex politics of the planet and, during a long, tortuous journey across the ice with a politician who has fallen from favour, he reaches a painful understanding of the true nature of Gethenians.”

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin

“It’s a giant thought experiment that’s also a cracking good read about gender.”

“The Shadow of the Torturer is the first novel in the The Book of the New Sunseries. It is set when the earth is old and the sun is dying. The book, which was published in 1980, also counts George RR Martin and Ursula K Le Guin among its fans.” ~BBC

“In a thoroughly decadent world of the future, Severian the torturer is cast out from the torturer’s guild when he falls in love with one of his victims and allows her to die.” ~Amazon

The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe

“It’s set at the end of things – the sun is dying, everything is dying, and it’s glorious.”




6 modern classics guaranteed to encourage children to read

By | Children's Literature, Literature | No Comments
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Children can be reluctant readers sometimes and all it takes is one great title to spark their interest.

Some of the classics we read as children aren’t quite as inspiring to today’s generation as they once were so it is time to shake things up with a new list of exciting titles.

Inclusively covering ages 5-15 years, the following list should have a book recommendation perfect for any child you know.

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BAME Short Story Competition Shortlisters Announced

By | Competitions and Giveaways, Literary Awards, Literature | No Comments
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The BAME Short Story Competition from The Guardian/Fourth Estate was announced back in April 2018 and six finalists have now been announced.

The competition was created to help promote the work of British Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) writers who have been vastly underrepresented in the publishing world.

The winner will receive a chance to win £1,000, an exclusive one‑day publishing workshop and a taste of online publication.

The six finalists for this year’s competition have been announced- with stories about pixies and changeling children, Grenfell Tower, grief and music, and more.

The overall winner will be announced on the 12th of September.

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FRA Readers’ Choice Top 20: August

By | Hit of the Lits!, Literature | No Comments
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Those who have been around a while will remember our Hit of the Lits feature, a top 20 of the books you’ve loved in the previous month. Well on popular request we’re giving this feature a reboot with a new name and a new layout.

Last month we created a poll in our reading group The Cwts, and that poll has run all month giving you the chance to add your favourite read from the last thirty days. With July now over we have our top 20 for August and here it is, the readers’ choice top 20 for August.

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This ex-NFL player has a lot to say about books!

By | Literature, Video | No Comments
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Martellus Bennett is an ex-NFL player who retired from playing football in March. His retirement came after 10 seasons of football and making nearly $34 million in total contracts and sponsors.

Bennett is a voracious reader, a habit he picked up partly from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who had challenged himself to read a new book every other week for a whole year.

“I started reading a lot of books because Zuckerberg was doing it,” he commented.

Many NFL players spend their hard earned cash on cars and property but Bennett has spent thousands on building up his own library.

“I have about 3,500 books, maybe more… I have a library, and it’s like I want to beat Belle on ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and have a better library than she had.” Bennet told news sources.

We can relate, Martellus!

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Accurately Titled Novels from Writers’ HQ

By | Inspired by Literature, Literature | No Comments
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The clever minds of Writers’ HQ on Facebook have come up with these hilarious and scathing titles for books- inspired by real life tomes and completely tongue-in-cheek.

Writers’ HQ are a bunch of no nonsense writers on a mission to help other writers “stop fucking about” and get on with their writing. They offer support online and have writing retreats around the UK “for badass writers with no time or money”. Check out their website for inspiration.

The witty folk at Writers’ HQ Facebook page created some seriously funny honest book titles for their followers which we have compiled here. Just head on over to their page and give them a Like after you have laughed your socks off here.

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Benedict Cumberbatch reads Kafka’s Metamorphosis

By | Adaptations, Literature | No Comments
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Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis is a novella published in 1915. It is written in four parts that takes us through Gregor Samsa’s initial transformation into a large, bug-like creature, to the reactions of his self and his family. It is a keen insight into the disconnect between body and mind, and the absurdity of life.

Bendysnatch Cucumberpatch has had his fingers in many pies these past few years- from being the world’s best detective Sherlock Holmes to Dr Strange (with a Dr House-esque American accent) in the Marvel universe. His smooth, English tone is perfect for telling Kafka’s tale of transformation, horrified reaction, and the surprising limits of familial sympathy.

The BBC have given us four episodes read by Bungeejump Catchthemall, all presented to you here via Loretta Cosgrove at SoundCloud!

Enjoy.

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