The best fantasies masquerading as literature

P.K. Silverson Author Of The Fairy's Tale
By P.K. Silverson

Who am I?

The Fairy’s Tale began as an attempt to write something with a happy ending. All my earlier efforts seemed to be rather grim. In fact, I had already written a series of short stories which took the style of traditional fairy tales and eliminated all the magical elements from them. Frogs were just frogs. Princes weren’t necessarily charming. Spoiled princesses were just that, brats. Having denied magic for so long, I thought maybe I should give it a chance. That didn’t mean I couldn’t bend it or twist it or whip it around. In my fantasy world, nobody could say I had to play it straight. Yet, in the end, straight is exactly what happened. Until the sequel.


I wrote...

The Fairy's Tale

By P.K. Silverson,

Book cover of The Fairy's Tale

What is my book about?

Once upon a time, there was a foolish Fairy King who let pride and spite guide his thinking. As punishment for his impudence and betrayal, his clan condemned him to human form and charged him with the task of earning the trust of a single mortal. Given less than a year to achieve his goal, poor Frisque finds himself banished to the present-day world to seek his deliverance.

From the age of early myth to our modern era, Fairies have inhabited a magical niche in the human imagination. Through The Fairy´s Tale, the journey and musings of little Frisque provide a keen insight into the true purpose of these magical imps.

The books I picked & why

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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

By Douglas Adams,

Book cover of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Why this book?

It should have been the worst Thursday that ever happened. Instead, Arthur Dent is launched away from the end of the world and into a trilogy of adventure which lasts for five novels! With the guidance of the Guide and the companionship of the unpronounceable Zaphod Breeblebrox, our hero is dragged through space and time to discover things he’d never imagined. Fortunately, Douglas Adams did. They tried to make a movie from the book, but it just won’t translate. This series is a must-read if you wish to have enough money to pay for dinner at the restaurant at the end of the universe. Mistakenly filed under sci-fi in most bookstores, this is a true fantasy fully realized.

The Hitchhiker’s Trilogy is actually the motivating factor in expanding my own series from one book to six. Adams went five novels long to tell his marvelous story. It was also a pretty cool joke. It’s less my competitive nature and more in homage to a true genius work that my The Magic Triangle Trilogy wound up being six books long. Thank you, Douglas!

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

By Douglas Adams,

Why should I read it?

23 authors picked The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This box set contains all five parts of the' trilogy of five' so you can listen to the complete tales of Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Zaphod Bebblebrox and Marvin the Paranoid Android! Travel through space, time and parallel universes with the only guide you'll ever need, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Read by Stephen Fry, actor, director, author and popular audiobook reader, and Martin Freeman, who played Arthur Dent in film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He is well known as Tim in The Office.

The set also includes a bonus DVD Life, the Universe and…


Fahrenheit 451

By Ray Bradbury,

Book cover of Fahrenheit 451

Why this book?

Alternative futures are certainly a true realm of fantastic thought. What possible Utopia or nightmarish Hell lies ahead for us all? Ray Bradbury isn’t considered a master of the written word for nothing. Misfiled under sci-fi because of Bradbury’s specialization in the genre, Fahrenheit 451 presents a truly frightening look at a world bereft of truth and controlled by disinformation. It had already happened once during the author’s lifetime. He wanted to make sure it never happened again. This isn’t just a great book… it should be required reading for everyone.

In my teen years, the twin stars of my hunger for fiction were Doc Asimov and Ray Bradbury. I considered including The Foundation Trilogy, but that monumental achievement got watered down by the apology of the Daneel Olivaw novels later on. Bradbury watered-down nothing. He was also a local fixture and character when I arrived in Los Angeles. One always had to be on the lookout for a man with his thumb out in case Bradbury was looking for a ride somewhere.

Fahrenheit 451

By Ray Bradbury,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Fahrenheit 451 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The hauntingly prophetic classic novel set in a not-too-distant future where books are burned by a special task force of firemen.

Over 1 million copies sold in the UK.

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

The classic…


Frankenstein

By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,

Book cover of Frankenstein

Why this book?

Oh, how the rich and spoiled English gentry ended up spoiling us. Written as a contest entry to outdo her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron, eighteen-year-old Mary Shelley’s imagination conjured up a fevered dream of scientific arrogance and the true nature of life. The fictional creature’s eloquence adds a depth of horror unequaled in any other version of this story. Be careful what you seek. You just may find it.

This was a summer read while I was in high school. I’d seen the movies. I was curious about what inspired them. Boy, was I in for a surprise.

Frankenstein

By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,

Why should I read it?

26 authors picked Frankenstein as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the BBC's '100 Novels That Shaped Our World'

'That rare story to pass from literature into myth' The New York Times

Mary Shelley's chilling Gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her lover Percy Shelley on Lake Geneva. The story of Victor Frankenstein who, obsessed with creating life itself, plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, but whose botched creature sets out to destroy his maker, would become the world's most famous work of horror fiction, and remains a devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity. Based on the third…


1984

By George Orwell,

Book cover of 1984

Why this book?

Published in 1949, this novel leaps thirty-five years into the future to present a grim world under the thumb of an all-controlling totalitarian regime. Constantly at war, the State is embodied in its leader, Big Brother, and anyone who doesn’t fall in line can expect a very unpleasant visit from the Thought Police. The true love of Winston and Julia is no match for reprogramming, and while it might not matter much to them in the end, this cautionary tale empowers the reader to double down on caring about what goes on. Along with the author's other works, this book contributes mightily to the adjective generated by his very name. Orwellian future, indeed.

I’m not sure anybody “loves” this book. It grabs you by the throat and shakes you inside and out, daring you to think for yourself. On second thought, what’s not to love about that? No doubt, this is some serious material very well crafted, but fortunately, it’s still all made up. Or at least, it was at the time.


1984

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

25 authors picked 1984 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU . . .

1984 is the year in which it happens. The world is divided into three superstates. In Oceania, the Party's power is absolute. Every action, word, gesture and thought is monitored under the watchful eye of Big Brother and the Thought Police. In the Ministry of Truth, the Party's department for propaganda, Winston Smith's job is to edit the past. Over time, the impulse to escape the machine and live independently takes hold of him and he embarks on a secret and forbidden love affair. As he writes the words 'DOWN WITH BIG…


Slaughterhouse-Five

By Kurt Vonnegut,

Book cover of Slaughterhouse-Five

Why this book?

If you’re not nailed by the very first sentence of Kurt Vonnegut’s undisputed masterpiece, read it again. Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time. You know you’re in for the ride of your life. While the author visits horrors and joys which are very personal, his unflagging sense of humor and his mastery of words make the journey a bittersweet joy. Originally filed under sci-fi, Vonnegut’s works slowly migrated across the bookstore into the literature shelves. Just because there are no dragons doesn’t change the fact this is a masterwork of fantasy. Tragedy illuminated through a curmudgeon’s lens of fantasy. Like most of his novels, Slaughterhouse-Five refuses to allow the reader to pigeonhole either the author or his works. So it goes.

This is truly saving the best for last. I discovered Kurt Vonnegut between the Fall and Winter Quarters of my final year at Ohio University. I thought I’d get a jump on the course by knocking off one or two of his books over the holiday break. I had all of the assigned reading done before New Year’s. My hand was raised at every question during class. The prof had to beg other students to get involved just to break up the relentless tedium of my enthusiasm. It was the easiest A I’d ever earned. It wouldn’t have mattered if I’d failed the course. I was hooked on the author’s ever-changing style and fiction for the rest of the joyous time he was still with us. For a grouch from Indiana, he was a pretty cool guy. So it goes.

Slaughterhouse-Five

By Kurt Vonnegut,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked Slaughterhouse-Five as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A special fiftieth anniversary edition of Kurt Vonnegut’s masterpiece, “a desperate, painfully honest attempt to confront the monstrous crimes of the twentieth century” (Time), featuring a new introduction by Kevin Powers, author of the National Book Award finalist The Yellow Birds
 
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time
 
Slaughterhouse-Five, an American classic, is one of the world’s great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous World War II firebombing of Dresden, the novel is the result of what Kurt Vonnegut described as a twenty-three-year struggle to write a book about what he had…


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