The list author says: "The term "fantastical fiction" refers to any work that is set in a reality distinct from our own. This includes science-fiction, fantasy, magical realism, and various books that most simply call "literature." I'm an avid reader of all styles, but I've always found fantastical works to be the most engaging. This a compilation of my favorite books in the genre (well, 40 of them, at least--Amazon sets the limit there). Feel free to drop me a line with feedback or thoughts: email@example.com"
"A collection of 3 severely underappreciated novels that revolve around an ancient castle and the Dickensian characters that inhabit it. The language is majestically intricate. Be warned: these are long books with a slowly paced plot that will swallow up weeks of your life."
"Borges is perhaps the most important influence on contemporary fantastical fiction. This is more or less his "greatest hits." So to speak. Many of the works in this list draw heavily from these stories, which are astounding in their creativity and ingenuity."
"I'll skip over _1984_ and _Brave New World_; these 2 books are the seminal works in dystopian fiction, but I'm sure you've heard of them already and most likely read them. Tevis' dystopian work, _Mockingbird_, lacks the biting satire of these two but makes up for it with vivid imagery of a crumbling society and a fast-moving plot. A great, quick read."
"Speaking of quick reads, this book is the exact opposite. A huge and formally complex novel that builds a much more believable satire. The plot is not as dramatic as the aforementioned dystopian books, but the real interest here is in the world Brunner creates and the manner in which he represents it to us."
"A collection of short stories tied together by a common world: an alternate history in which the Catholic church holds all power and represses technology, but magical and religious forces flourish. Not nearly as absurd as it sounds. "The Signaller" is my favorite: I have no doubt that I'll still remember it and think about it 20 years from now."
"Vintage has been reissuing much of Samuel Delany's best writing. This novel is a good intro to Delany: fast moving with a lot of "hard" sci-fi elements, but also packed full of allegory, symbolism, and beautiful writing."
"A collection of Delany's short stories. Several gems in here, including "The Star Pit" (his first published work), "Aye, and Gomorrah," "Time as a Helix of Semiprecious Stones", and many others. Other Delany to check out: _Triton_, _Babel 17/Outlaw Star_, and _Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand_."
"A unique take on the postapocalyptic novel. Read it alongside _The Road_ for two very different modern approaches (both great). Not-to-be missed if you're in modern science (especially genetics)--Atwood's take on the apocalypse is quite novel and interesting."
"Genre-defining and absolutely enthralling. The quintessential work of magical realism, and a novel that everyone should read (especially hispanic readers--it's also available on Amazon in its original Spanish text)."
"Vandermeer is one of the best activewriters in fantastical fiction. This reads like the Orpheus myth turned into an action movie and set in the future. Full of wonderfully vivid imagery and swirling with myth."
"Murakami has been gaining popularity lately with his unique novels that encompass all the magic and banality of modern Japan. This is his best work: it'll hypnotize you, and the 700 pages will feel like 200. An easy read but also immensely satisfying."
"The sequel to _Light_. Surprisingly, it manages to be even better...Harrison is really emerging as a fantastic writer. This tale is reminiscent of Tarkovsky's Stalker in its depiction of the "Event Site" (ie, the zone), but has Harrison's unique take and style."
"Another sci-fi classic. Dick used to be underappreciated, but he seems to be gaining a wider audience lately, even to the point that some of his unpublished fiction is being released (unpublished because it wasn't science fiction)."
"When I first started reading I expected this to be a long, challenging read, but it came together/caught its stride quickly and proved immensely entertaining. Nabokov handles the dual narrators/dual formats wonderfully. Full with ideas and meaning and humor."
"Only Nabokov could make an alternate universe seem more real than our own. Stick with it through the obtuse opening--this one's stunning. _Transparent Things_, also by Nabokov, is recommended as a chaser."
"Yet another dystopian satire, but this one is lent extra force by the fact that the author actually lived in the repressive society of 1920s Russia. Although the brevity and journal format left the plot feeling somewhat jumpy and incomplete, I was repeatedly struck by the conjunction of beautiful language/imagery and the fullness of the society Zamyatin creates."
"Like all of McCarthy's novels, _The Road_ is relentless and dark. McCarthy's vision of a shattered world is written in beautiful, lucid prose and is immensely convincing in its tale of finding hope in hopelessness."
"A new release, and it's an amazing one! More than 1,000 (very large) pages of stories by a master of short fiction. That's 7-8 books for the price of one. Ballard is one of my favorite short story writers (_Memories of the Space Age_ used to be on the list). He's one of the great pioneers of modern sci-fi and speculative fiction, and these stories are not to be missed."
"A seminal Scottish novel. Gray's vivid depiction of everyday Scotland in the mid-20th century in contrast with his wildly imaginative and otherworldly "hell" reminds me of Murakami. Only the most talented of writers could pull off something so ambitious."
"The less you know about this novel going in, the better. Ishiguro is a master at stringing the reader along and slowly assembling his world. Read it before watching the movie! Better yet, read it before watching a trailer for the movie..."
"The quintessential cyberpunk novel, but also a book that is read far too rarely by people that aren't sci-fi aficionados (likely because of its strong association with that divisive subgenre). Gibson's prose is electric and the story engrossing, though, and this is a work that deserves to be read by everyone."
"I've always thought Zelazny's prose is vastly underrated. He wrote a lot, but this is one of his best--a Hugo-winning novel about a group of people that recreate themselves as the Hindu pantheon. Guaranteed to be utterly unlike anything you've read before"