The best funny sci/fi fantasy books

Jay Cutts Author Of Annie Gomez and the Gigantic Foot of Doom
By Jay Cutts

The Books I Picked & Why

The Wee Free Men

By Terry Pratchett

Book cover of The Wee Free Men

Why this book?

I love all of Pratchett’s books. I love this one in particular. The storyline is insanely intriguing and more than tickles the imagination. I’m not sure what “more than tickling” is but I do know what it feels like!  The title characters – the wee free men – are, as far as I can tell, unrivalled in literature. Tiny, blue, drunken, thieving fairies (in the most diabolical sense of the word) who speak mainly in Scots swear words. 

Terry Pratchett is the author who has most influenced my own writing. He has taught me to stretch my imagination to the borderlands of absurdity and yet to stay true to human nature, with its endearing foibles. Crivins! The Truth is bleedin’ hilarious, do ye ken?


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In the Garden of Iden

By Kage Baker

Book cover of In the Garden of Iden

Why this book?

Kage Baker is an Isaac Asimov compared to Terry Pratchett’s Marx Brothers. In the Garden of Iden is more sci-fi than fantasy, including time travel, cybernetics, and nanotechnologies. And love and loss. This book is part of a series of novels that Baker crafted about time-travelling enhanced humans who carry out critical tasks throughout history. 

What I loved most about this book is how very human her main characters are. Like Pratchett and Bill Shakespeare, Baker is a master at showing us human nature. Her comedy is high comedy. I laugh because I recognize myself in her characters. Baker has a fine eye for the subtle and the absurd. And yet unlike many humorous authors, the tragedies of the heart are always at the core of her stories.


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To Say Nothing of the Dog: Or How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last

By Connie Willis

Book cover of To Say Nothing of the Dog: Or How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last

Why this book?

Connie Willis and Kage Baker are, in my mind, kindred spirits. Both are outstanding in their ability to capture human nature, both in its glory and with its pants down. And with sparkling humor. I love many of Willis’s books but this little one is so fun, clever, and intriguing that it has to be my favorite.

It also features time travellers - British historians from the future who are documenting historical events while trying desperately not step on that one butterfly that destroys history.

This book is doubly funny because it is inspired by an equally hilarious novel by Jerome K. Jerome entitled Three Men in a Boat, To Say Nothing of the Dog. Victorian romantic misadventures with a bad case of time lag.


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Stardust

By Neil Gaiman

Book cover of Stardust

Why this book?

This is a classic story (they made a movie out of it) by a classic author. To me, this was a wonderfully imaginative love story. Like my other choices, this book captures something intimate about the human condition. The humor here is much subtler than in my other choices but that makes it, for me, all the richer. The story is pure fantasy, not sci-fi, and has the feel of an old fairy tale. 


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One of Our Thursdays Is Missing: A Thursday Next Novel

By Jasper Fforde

Book cover of One of Our Thursdays Is Missing: A Thursday Next Novel

Why this book?

The first thing I noticed when I started reading Jasper Fforde was how funny and clever he was. This is what I’m looking for, I thought, smiling broadly. The heroine of the series of which this book is a part is a literary detective named Thursday Next. Need I say more? You know immediately the kind of humor you are getting into.

I am not easily entertained by stories with average complexity and imagination. When I find a writer like Fforde who can push my boundaries, I am so grateful. In this book, he creates a delightful alternate world in which real and imaginary figures interact and sometimes exchange places. And always a good crime to solve here.


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