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Seriously get a pen or open notes in your phone. You are going to want to note these down. Sophie, member of The Realm,  shares some seriously cracking SFF reads you will want to add to your TBR pile.

  • The Stainless Steel Rat Series - Harry Harrison

    Harrison’s classic series clearly demonstrates that the best SFF is absolutely all about the future, that it is space operas and antiheroes and snarky dialogue and yellowed, second-hand paperbacks. That the chaotic-good thief Slippery Jim will always outwit the looming corporate-government machine using what authors in the 50s thought the future’s technology would be.

  • The Dark Materials Trilogy (Penguin Books Australia) - Philip Pullman

    All right, so I was wrong before. Pullman’s wonderful young adult trilogy demonstrates that great SFF is not about the future; it’s multiple realities that cross Victorian England and present day with totally new worlds that induce wonder in the even most cynical reader. Combining science and fantasy, where particle physics coexist in harmony with witches and talking animals, this trilogy is beautifully lyrical and affecting – if you’re not sobbing at the end, you have no heart.

  • It’s Too Late to Say I’m Sorry (Short Stories) - Joey Comeau

    Wrong again! The best SFF is not set in a multiverse – it’s our own world, but in the dark places, the raw, the mundane and the wild. In time traveling to sleep with Patricia Highsmith before she was famous, cannibalistic Grandmas who are somehow the good guys, perverted miracle investigators (perverted investigators, not miracles). Creator of internet-famous webcomic A Softer World, Comeau’s stories range across many genres but all are infused with a violent push against authority – literary, physical and cultural. By turns beautiful in their brutality and funny in their melancholy, these stories will burrow in and pop back out of your mind for years after you’ve put the all-too-slim volume back on the shelf.

  • Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman

    Okay, we’re closing in on it now: the absolute best stuff is about finding the wonderful and the scary in the overlooked places of our world. Really, Gaiman is the most fun you can have reading a book, and Neverwhere exemplifies his witty and pacey urban fantasy at its most accessible. The greatest SFF is certainly for the masters of their craft.

  • Machine of Death and This is How You Die (Short Stories) - Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, David Malki

    I’m sure my overtly formal theme is blindingly obvious by now: SFF can’t be limited to any one thing and certainly can’t be defined by any proclaimed authority – it’s about anything, and – most importantly – by anyone. In 2007 Internet-royalty Ryan North posted a comic about a machine that predicts your death, often in darkly ironic ways. The idea resonated so strongly that his mates began to write about it, and then he received almost 2000 submissions from artists and authors and amateurs – collected in two volumes (the first is still free to download) are the best of those. Wildly varied, from ‘Torn Apart and Devoured by Lions’ to ‘Lazarus Reactor Fission Sequence’, there’s something in there for everyone.

Sophie Mayfield

Sophie Mayfield

Production Editor for Hachette Australia. Raised on acronyms such as TNG, SG1, BtVS, MtG and DnD, I have a particular fondness for short stories, gruff space cowboys, time travel and word play. Injuries resulting from my architecturally unsound TBR pile are a statistical certainty.

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