Isaac Asimov = Foundation
As a kid reading this series, my mind was repeatedly blown. It was the story of a mathematician who discovers that by mathematically mapping out the past he could predict the future. Each book in the series takes a step back in perspective and you discover that everything you have read previously had been manipulated by other characters, intent on using his discovery for their own purposes. Mind-boggling epic read.
Michael Crichton = Sphere
Another great childhood memory. Being a boy that loved dinosaurs it wasn’t long before I got my hands on a copy of Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. The book was a lot more graphic than the child-friendly movie and before long I was reading every one of his books that I could get my hands on. Sphere stood out to me as an amazing book, due to the claustrophobia it caused. If you haven’t read it, or seen the film, it is about a team that is sent to investigate an alien sphere that is found deep in the ocean. The orb then begins to turn each of the crew’s nightmares against them, creating these into realities. Creepy stuff.
Jeff Long = The Descent
Keeping with the creepy theme, this book is probably still the scariest I have read (and I have read nearly the entire Stephen King catalogue). This book is graphic, gory and horrifying. The story is about a system of caves that is discovered that goes so deep below ground that it connects to other cave systems around the globe. Explorers from around the world begin to descend deep underground until they realise that they are not alone. Ancient, savage creatures wait below. Completely different to the movie that shares the same title, this book and its sequel are very dark books (in many ways) and the writing haunts you as much with what it describes, as it does with what it leaves to the imagination.
Salman Rushdie = Midnight’s Children
Controversial author Salman Rushdie was a bit of a surprise for me. I have read many of his books and found each one to be a deep, involved, adult version of a fairy-tale. The author having a completely different background to myself, I repeatedly had to re-read pages to pick up the small details that I had missed. I didn’t find any of his books to be light-reads, but each one was rewarding and took me to unexpected parts of my imagination. Not to be missed.
Chuck Palahniuk = Survivor
One of my favourite authors, surprisingly he has very little in common with every other writer on my list. His books are not epic stories about the universe, like Asimov wrote. In fact, they are generally very short and can be finished on a plane-ride (which is how I usually read them). His books are not scary like Jeff Long, or science-based like Crichton. Neither are they poetic like Rushdie. The one thing that stands out about Chuck is that he has a wicked, dark sense of humour I have found in no other books I have read. He is twisted, sometimes depraved, imaginative and often hilarious.
Survivor is the tale of a cult-member/professional butler that decides he won’t be taking part in a planned mass-suicide. This turns him into an overnight celebrity, which he embraces, until someone starts killing the remaining survivors. This is one of the only books I have ever read multiple times. Chuck loves introducing you to horrible characters and he never pulls any punches. If you enjoy being offended while laughing out loud, then this is the author for you.
So, I hope that you check these writers out, if you have somehow missed their works on your reading-travels. Each has definitely influenced me in my life and my writing over the years.
For this I thank them.