The best literary speculative fiction: science fiction, folklore, and fantasy

Who am I?

I enjoy stories that bring together diverse themes, such as family life, myths and legends, quests, and cutting-edge science, in an uncomplicated way. I love hidden communities, where accepted rules do not apply, allowing the development of original storylines. The suggestion that there is something on the edge of the supernatural, yet grounded in reality, the weirdest of events retaining a rational explanation. My writing has been inspired by the films of David Lynch. I admire his ability to evoke a sense of menace and a fear that things are not as they seem, leaving much to the reader’s imagination.

I wrote...

Another Life

By Owen W. Knight,

Book cover of Another Life

What is my book about?

Imagine: if we could combine dreams and reality in a world where we live forever.

Oliver believes his life to be one of disappointment and failure. Haunted by the memory of a mysterious woman he encountered thirty years ago, and obsessed with finding her, he embarks on a journey embracing grief, hope, myths, and legends to find her. He is drawn into diverse worlds, from ancient rural beliefs and traditions to emerging medical science, as he and the reader are led to question the boundaries between dreams, reality, and imagination.

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The books I picked & why

Starve Acre

By Andrew Michael Hurley,

Book cover of Starve Acre

Why did I love this book?

A haunting tale based on local folklore, set in a remote village.

Robert and Juliet return to the family home bequeathed by Robert’s father. Their son Ewan enjoys playing in the field opposite the house, where Richard tries to locate the roots of the Stythwaite Oak, ignoring villagers’ warnings.

When he uncovers the remains of a hare, the story becomes surreal and magical. Ewan dies suddenly, and Juliet sinks into grief and withdraws from everyone, except a group known as The Beacons, which includes a medium. Following a seance, Juliet claims to have had a revelation of the truth of Ewan’s death (withheld from the reader).

The tension rises to a shocking, unexpected climax that suggests this is not the end of the story.

By Andrew Michael Hurley,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Starve Acre as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The worst thing possible has happened. Richard and Juliette Willoughby's son, Ewan, has died suddenly at the age of five. Starve Acre, their house by the moors, was to be full of life, but is now a haunted place.

Juliette, convinced Ewan still lives there in some form, seeks the help of the Beacons, a seemingly benevolent group of occultists. Richard, to try and keep the boy out of his mind, has turned his attention to the field opposite the house, where he patiently digs the barren dirt in search of a legendary oak tree.

Starve Acre is a devastating…

Book cover of The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again

Why did I love this book?

This is weird fiction, remastered, at its best. The book oozes with brooding atmosphere, full of water: rain, rivers, floods, ponds, a mysterious drowning.

The characters regard unexplained events as normal and do not question them. Peculiar creatures are encountered but not reported. The obsession of several of the characters with Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies adds to the mystery. It will appeal to admirers of J. G. Ballard and David Lynch. 

Shaw and Victoria meet on a wet afternoon and begin an on-off distance relationship. Both are trying to escape from humdrum jobs and the unambitious lifestyles of their acquaintances.

Continuous rain threatens floods; the rising waters reawaken a race of aquatic creatures that appear to be about to emerge from beneath the ground.

By M. John Harrison,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


*A New Statesman Book of the Year*

'A mesmerising, mysterious book . . . Haunting. Worrying. Beautiful' Russell T. Davis

'Brilliantly unsettling' Olivia Laing

'A magificent book' Neil Gaiman

'An extraordinary experience' William Gibson

Winner of the Goldsmiths Prize 2020, this is fiction that pushes the boundaries of the novel form.

Shaw had a breakdown, but he's getting himself back together. He has a single room, a job on a decaying London barge, and an on-off affair with a doctor's daughter called Victoria, who claims to have seen her first corpse at age thirteen.…

Cloud Atlas

By David Mitchell,

Book cover of Cloud Atlas

Why did I love this book?

A twenty-first-century classic and a triumph of storytelling, form and first-class writing. Six interlinked stories, connected by narrators bearing a similar tattoo, are set in sequence between 1849 and 2346. Each is written in a different style and genre and presented in two halves, except for the central, linking chapter. The chapter sequence moves from the past to the future and back to the past.

The story themes included colonial past and misdeeds in the Pacific, musical biography, a mystery thriller, a comic kidnapping, an uprising of clones and a vision of the future written in an imagined dialect.

By David Mitchell,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Cloud Atlas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Six lives. One amazing adventure. The audio publication of one of the most highly acclaimed novels of 2004. 'Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies...' A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified 'dinery server' on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation - the narrators of CLOUD ATLAS hear each other's echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great…


By Mervyn Peake,

Book cover of Gormenghast

Why did I love this book?

Regarded by many as one of the best fantasy series of the twentieth century, Gormenghast is a gothic masterpiece. The setting is a vast, isolated and largely empty castle in a remote earldom, ruled by the Groan family since time immemorial. The eccentric inhabitants rarely venture beyond the castle walls and engage in Machiavellian intrigue. They live out their lives performing numerous rituals whose purpose is long forgotten.

The story spans the first seventeen years of the life of Titus Groan, heir to Gormenghast, who begins to question his pseudo-medieval surroundings and what lies outside.

The book draws the reader into a strange, self-contained, and conspiratorial world.

By Mervyn Peake,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Enter the world of Gormenghast...the vast crumbling castle to which the seventy-seventh Earl, Titus Groan, is Lord and heir. Gothic labyrinth of roofs and turrets, cloisters and corridors, stairwells and dungeons, it is also the cobwebbed kingdom of Byzantine government and age-old rituals, a world primed to implode beneath the weight of centuries of intrigue, treachery, manipulation and murder.

Gormenghast is more than a sequel to Titus Groan - it is an enrichment and deepening of that book.The fertility of incident, character and rich atmosphere combine in a tour de force that ranks as one of the twentieth century's most…

Book cover of Things We Say in the Dark

Why did I love this book?

One of the most daring and original voices I have read in recent years. 

I admire Kirsty Logan’s boldness in imagining and describing personal viewpoints and her unique interpretation of possible alternate realities. She shows the courage to commit to ideas and storylines that are original, innovative, and beyond the imagination of most people.

The two darkest stories are "Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by", a menacing tale of abuse, kidnapping, and violence, and "Half Sick of Shadows". The latter is profoundly moving and disturbing and almost unbelievable in its callousness.

A writer whose progress I will follow with interest.

By Kirsty Logan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Things We Say in the Dark as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Gripping . . . You won't put it down' Sunday Telegraph

A shocking collection of dark stories, ranging from chilling contemporary fairytales to disturbing supernatural fiction.

Alone in a remote house in Iceland a woman is unnerved by her isolation; another can only find respite from the clinging ghost that follows her by submerging herself in an overgrown pool. Couples wrestle with a lack of connection to their children; a schoolgirl becomes obsessed with the female anatomical models in a museum; and a cheery account of child's day out is undercut by chilling footnotes.

These dark tales explore women's fears…

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