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One of the founding members of The Realm, Sean Cotcher, writes about his top 5 SFF reads.

  • The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien

    Yes it may seem clich├ęd that this is #1 as many quote it as being dated but I read this book, the combined PB edition, when I was a 12YO. I was staying at a friends place and picked it up at bedtime. I read it throughout the night desperate to read as much as possible before I had to leave the next day. I didn’t go to sleep at all as I immersed myself in Middle Earth. Hobbits, Elves, Wizards and Orcs. It all seemed fantastic to me. I probably didn’t understand half of what I read at 12 but I used to re-read it every year or two for about the next 20 years. The thing that first attracted me to Lord of the Rings was the idea that someone could make a difference, no matter how small they might be. This is quite a powerful message for a small for his age 12YO. As I grew older whenever I re-read the story I started picking up on other themes, pure evil, ultimate sacrifice, never giving up. This wasn’t the first fantasy book I had read but I hadn’t read anything as detailed as this before. Tolkien led to Terry Brooks’ Shannara series, then Julian May’s Many Coloured Land series then Robert Silverberg’s Majipoor Chronicles and so on. I moved from fantasy to Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series and Arthur C Clarke’s Rama series. It is, in my opinion, the best example of epic fantasy and it was my first real step into the genre.

  • The Dark is Rising Sequence - Susan Cooper

    This is a 5 book series which depicts a struggle between forces of good and evil called the Light and the Dark and is based on Arthurian legends, Celtic mythology, and Norse mythology. Both magical and ordinary children are prominent throughout the series. Again this series is about everyday people, kids in this case, who make a difference. It is both creepy and inspiring at the same time.

  • Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever - Stephen Donaldson

    This was one of the first series I ever read with an anti-hero. It made me think about how complex people actually are. The idea that the main character could be so flawed yet would, almost against his own will, still try to do the right thing.

  • The Eye Of The World - Robert Jordan

    I read this when I first started as a rep in publishing. I was sent the manuscript and loved it so much I sold about half of the total quantity that was targeting into just my territory. Because of my passion for the book the order was increased and I realised at that point that I could influence what happened with the titles on my list with my passion for them. It went onto be a bestseller and the series became one of the biggest fantasy series in history.

  • The Chronicles of Prydain - Lloyd Alexander

    This is the story of Taran the assistant pig-keeper at Caer Dallben charged with the care of Hen Wen, the oracular white pig. There are four books in the cycle. I think the reason this book, or series, sticks in my mind is that at the end of each book Taran must make a sacrifice for the quest to continue. At the end of the fourth book there is his momentous decision of giving up eternal life in order to rebuild Prydain. I also liked the idea that a lowly pig keeper could become king.

Sean Cotcher

Sean Cotcher

Head of Sales Operations at Hachette Australia. I have been reading books and selling books for most of my life. I love sci-fi fantasy and crime but will read anything that is well written. My favourite book as a child was The Magic Faraway Tree. I read my copy so many times it fell apart. I love to cook and I think Chili should be added to everything. Even cereal.

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