Favourite authors – fantasy and science fiction
  1. Douglas Adams. I first encountered Douglas Adams’ work on the radio, which is probably where it worked best. This must have been the late 70’s I guess. I can still remember the time and place, (if not the date). The books are a joy – try the Dirk Gently series as well.
  1. Tolkien. Teenage fiction perhaps, but captivating stuff. Outside the LoTR and the Hobbit, pretty unreadable. I have a sneaking suspicion that the films were better than the books, but it’s been a while since I read the latter.
  1. C.S.Lewis. Going back even further into my childhood now, but as an eight/nine year-old I found the Narnia series entrancing and magical. The Last Battle is a travesty of epic proportion, but forgivable as long as I don’t ever have to read it to my kids!
  1. Eoin Colfer. The Artemis Fowl series is for late pre-teens, and is very inventive, with some nicely dark stuff in there as well. Make sure you read them in the right order!
  1. Terry Pratchett. DiscWorld is an as well realised a creation as any other on this list.
  1. JK Rowling. What JKR does is so deceptively simple – when I first read HP and the Philosopher’s Stone I thought “I could do that” – but by the end of the series I was utterly hooked. It was great fun being part of the journey as well, and a fairly unique experience (yes, I know you can’t qualify an absolute, but you know what I mean) – no-one will ever read the Deathly Hallows again wondering if JKR would have the audacity to kill off her main character, as seemed inevitable at more than one point. No-one will ever do the midnight queue for the next instalment (unless Shades of Grey continues to sell in the way it has over the last few weeks)
  1. Roald Dahl. Pre-teen again – inevitably I guess given the topic. I am sure there is some adult sci-fi/fantasy out there but I just haven’t read it yet. Any recommendations? Some slightly more grown-up writers are…
  1. Kurt Vonnegut, for Slaughterhouse 5.
  1. Max Brooks – for World War Z. Zombie fiction can be very repetitive, but Brooks’ use of fractured first person statements works very effectively.
  1. Jasper Fforde – especially the Thursday Next books.
Just missing out – HG Wells, Jules Verne, as well as all traditional sci-fi writers such as Asimov and Clarke.