The best science fiction and fantasy books where a normal person is thrown into unexpected circumstances

Who am I?

A child of the 50s and 60s, I grew up on Saturday matinee monsters and prime-time sitcoms; the race for space and the cold war; on flower power and power to the people. With a fertile, if not warped imagination, and a fascination for space and time travel, the ironic short story and the contemporary fantasy novel come naturally to me. There’s irony in everything and a story in everyone. I try to convey this in my books and stories without taking myself, or the world too seriously.


I wrote...

Planet Alt-Sete-Nine: The Lost Princess

By B.J. Neblett,

Book cover of Planet Alt-Sete-Nine: The Lost Princess

What is my book about?

School teacher Haylee is a happy, normal, slightly geeky twenty-something with more than a passing fascination for video gaming. But when her boyfriend Jake asks her to beta test a new game he is developing for his company, the lines between fantasy and reality soon begin to blur.

Haylee is drawn deeper into the ground-breaking game by its advanced artificial intelligence, alienating herself from friends and family. Even the renowned Dr. Cochran, a leading expert on video game addiction, is at a loss to explain Haylee’s strange and erratic behavior. As Haylee explores the mystical Planet Alt-Sete-Nine for an elusive princess, Jake frantically searches for a way to hold on to Haylee and her tenuous grasp on reality.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Time Traveler's Wife

B.J. Neblett Why did I love this book?

As a self-confessed hopeless romantic, I think the main attraction of this book to me is the often-overlooked human angle. While most time travel novels center on the hows, whys, and where, Audrey Niffenegger delves rather into the human aspect of time travel and its effects on those involved. She skillfully turns a book about time travel into a love story involving time travel.

By Audrey Niffenegger,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked The Time Traveler's Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a series on HBO starring Rose Leslie and Theo James!

The iconic time travel love story and mega-bestselling first novel from Audrey Niffenegger is "a soaring celebration of the victory of love over time" (Chicago Tribune).

Henry DeTamble is a dashing, adventurous librarian who is at the mercy of his random time time-traveling abilities. Clare Abshire is an artist whose life moves through a natural sequential course. This is the celebrated and timeless tale of their love. Henry and Clare's passionate affair is built and endures across a sea of time and captures them in an impossibly romantic trap…


Book cover of The Martian Chronicles

B.J. Neblett Why did I love this book?

Well beyond the fascination of Mars and space, and the master Ray Bradbury’s writing, The Martian Chronicles holds a special meaning to me. I was born in 1950. That same year Charlie Brown was born and The Martian Chronicles was published. A large Peanuts coloring book was my first venture into reading. And Bradbury’s classic later became the first ‘real’ book I read. Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang taught me how to read. Ray Bradbury taught me how to dream. His story of space travel and life on Mars turned me into a certified outer space buff and fired a lifelong desire to pen my own tales.

By Ray Bradbury,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked The Martian Chronicles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Martian Chronicles, a seminal work in Ray Bradbury's career, whose extraordinary power and imagination remain undimmed by time's passage, is available from Simon & Schuster for the first time.

In The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury, America’s preeminent storyteller, imagines a place of hope, dreams, and metaphor— of crystal pillars and fossil seas—where a fine dust settles on the great empty cities of a vanished, devastated civilization. Earthmen conquer Mars and then are conquered by it, lulled by dangerous lies of comfort and familiarity, and enchanted by the lingering glamour of an ancient, mysterious native race. In this classic work…


Book cover of The Selected Stories of O. Henry

B.J. Neblett Why did I love this book?

Growing up I often found myself looking at the world through a question mark, often finding irony all around me. An irony that most adults either didn’t recognize or didn’t care to recognize. When my junior high English teacher turned me on to the works of O. Henry, I found a kindred spirit. O. Henry’s slightly askew, often humorous stories mirrored my own often warped view of the world. And I delighted in the brevity with which he told his tales. The short story genre became a favorite of mine. In the fast-paced, no time to spare world we’ve created, O. Henry’s delightful quick reads are an oasis of enjoyment.

By O. Henry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Selected Stories of O. Henry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Features:
* annotated introductions to the works, giving contextual information
* illustrated with many images relating to O. Henry’s life, works, places and film adaptations
* ALL the short story collections and each with their own contents table
* overall contents tables for the short stories – both alphabetical and chronological – find that special story quickly and easily!
* rare short story collections like O HENRYANA and THE TWO WOMEN – often missed out of collections
* includes O. Henry’s poetry and letters
* EVEN includes the enigmatic LETTERS TO LITHOPOLIS FROM O. HENRY TO MABEL WAGNALLS, available in…


Book cover of The Illustrated Man

B.J. Neblett Why did I love this book?

Another masterpiece from Ray Bradbury and another collection of short stories with a recurring theme. I love how Bradbury deftly explores the mechanics of emerging technology vs the psychology of the very people responsible for creating it. As the story unfolds, the illustrated man’s tattoos, created by a time-traveling woman (ah, there’s that time-travel angle again!) come to life, each with their own story to tell. And each story can be seen as a cautionary tale just as relevant in today’s AI-driven world.

By Ray Bradbury,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Illustrated Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A classic collection of stories - all told on the skin of a man - from the author of Fahrenheit 451.

If El Greco had painted miniatures in his prime, no bigger than your hand, infinitely detailed, with his sulphurous colour and exquisite human anatomy, perhaps he might have used this man's body for his art...

Yet the Illustrated Man has tried to burn the illustrations off. He's tried sandpaper, acid, and a knife. Because, as the sun sets, the pictures glow like charcoals, like scattered gems. They quiver and come to life. Tiny pink hands gesture, tiny mouths flicker…


Book cover of The Time Machine

B.J. Neblett Why did I love this book?

The genius of HG Wells lies not only in his mastery of words, but in his uncanny way of predicting the future and future events. From submarines to flying machines to future societies, many of Wells’ predictions came to fruition over the course of the 20th century. An enjoyable, albeit cautionary read, The Time Machine takes readers on a white-knuckled ride into the past and far into the future, exploring and questioning man’s own humanity.

By H.G. Wells,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Time Machine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

A brilliant scientist constructs a machine, which, with the pull of a lever, propels him to the year AD 802,701.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket-sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition of The Time Machine features an introduction by Dr Mark Bould.

The Time Traveller finds himself in a verdant, seemingly idyllic landscape where he is greeted by the diminutive Eloi people. The Eloi are beautiful but weak and indolent, and the explorer is perplexed by…


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Radio Free Olympia

By Jeffrey Dunn,

Book cover of Radio Free Olympia

Jeffrey Dunn Author Of Radio Free Olympia

New book alert!

Who am I?

I’ve always been a child of the woods. I preferred to leave my home and wade a creek or explore a hillside. Nothing compared to the sight of a black snake or the feel of a mud puppy. School was a torture until an English teacher introduced me to Richard Brautigan and then read my first serious story to the class. Since then, this dyslexic nature lover has become a dream fisher and history miner with a Ph.D. in English Literature and Cultural Studies. Retired from forty-one years of teaching, I now write and publish cultural fiction.

Jeffrey's book list on where imagination and nature run free

What is my book about?

Embark on a riveting journey into Washington State’s untamed Olympic Peninsula, where the threads of folklore legends and historical icons are woven into a complex ecological tapestry.

Follow the enigmatic Petr as he fearlessly employs his pirate radio transmitter to broadcast the forgotten and untamed voices that echo through the wilderness. Venture deeper and encounter Baie, the founder of Wildsisters, a cranberry-infused roadhouse that offers solace to lost and wayward women. When a newborn is kidnapped, Baie and her community must unite to recover what has been stolen. Yet, their quest for justice extends beyond the realm of human characters—it must also be served for the fragile flora, the diverse fauna, and the very essence of the natural world.

Radio Free Olympia

By Jeffrey Dunn,

What is this book about?

Unleash the Power of the Wilderness in Radio Free Olympia


Discover the captivating allure of Washington's untamed Olympic Peninsula in Radio Free Olympia, an extraordinary literary masterpiece that immerses readers in a mesmerizing realm of visionaries, folklore legends, and historical icons. With an enchanting blend of magical realism and cultural fiction, the brilliant wordsmith Jeffrey Dunn artfully intertwines multiple narratives, crafting an intricate ecological tapestry that resonates deeply within the soul.


Embark on a riveting journey alongside the enigmatic Petr, a foundling whose path leads him deep into the heart of the majestic mountain rainforest. Armed with nothing but a…


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