THE TOP 10 SCI-FI AND FANTASY BOOKS I WOULD CHOOSE TO TAKE WITH ME IF I WAS STRANDED ON A DESERT ISLAND
If you were stranded on a desert island—assuming you have enough food and water—and you could take 10 sci-fi and fantasy books with you, which ones would you pick?
For me, they would be the books, or series, that I want to read more than once, or, when I get to the end, I cry. These are the books that you can often find in my bookshelf, the books I just cannot bear to part with, and by “bookshelf”, I include my kindle, as well as the physical shelf. I could read them all again as if for the first time. Some are children’s books, some are not; some can be for any age. They are all timeless.
Lord of the Rings/Hobbit, by Tolkien
Tolkien, like many lovers of fantasy, stands head and shoulders above the rest. His world-building set the gold standard for all fantasy writers, and I still admire his craft, character building, and ability to keep the reader engaged. I never get tired of Tolkien, and I’m not the only one.
The Legend of Drizzt Series, R.A. Salvatore
Another author who has earned my admiration for world-building and characterization. I loved Drizzt, the dark elf, from the first page. A prolific author, Salvatore’s Drizzt series is a delight, and he never lets the reader down.
Watership Down, Richard Adams
In my ignorance, I thought Watership Down was about a boat that sank, but I wanted to read it because I enjoy anthropomorphic characters (see “Redwall” below). I write them into my books, too, although they are not the main characters. It didn’t take long for Adams’ writing to captivate me, or for me to bond forever with the characters. It’s a classic that every child should read, and adults too! And no, it’s not about a ship. I promise.
The Borrowers, Mary Norton
The Borrowers series is so amazing I still can’t resist these books! The idea that we could have a whole family of Borrowers living under our floors and not know it sent my imagination into over-drive. Arietty and her family live on in my head now, and I wish Mary Norton was still alive so she could write more books.
A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline Engel
Engel had 26 rejections before this book was published. Why? Because she had a female main character in a sci-fi book. I am happy, though, that she did finally publish it, because the literary world is now a better place for it.
The Farseer Trilogy, Robin Hobb
Hobb is another writer who knows her craft. She is an outstanding world and character builder, and her series is a delight to read. Her characters stay with you for a long time, and I hope she is not done writing yet.
The Sword of Shannara Trilogy, Terry Brooks
Terry Brooks must be the most interesting man in the world. I have listened to his podcasts on writing, and found them inspiring and funny. A recovering lawyer, he was asked why he went from being a lawyer to writing fantasy. He said (and I paraphrase) “fantasy writing is a short putt from being a lawyer.” I know he said it better than that, but you get the drift. He too is skilled at world-building, and his characters tend to stay with you, insisting that you keep them alive in your mind. I do.
Rendezvous With Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama is gripping and realistic. One of the best pure sci-fi series I have ever read.
The Stand, Stephen King
I have long been a King fan, and he has influenced my own writing so much, in a technical sense. He knows how to keep a reader engaged. I still feel The Stand is his best book yet. I could read it over and over.
Redwall, Brian Jacques
Jacques is another writer of anthropomorphic literature whom I admire. Redwall Abby of Mossflower Woods is a haven for mice in the land of Southsward. You will be drawn into this world and never want to exit. Jacques wrote other books in the series, but this book is the best place to start.
This list is by no means complete. I could probably list many more books that I would take with me, not all sci-fi or fantasy, but I’d need one of those old-fashioned sea chests crammed to the brim. I would hope that they don’t get water-logged.
I would enjoy hearing your own selection, and why, even if it’s only one or two books. If mine happen to be among them, so much the better. Of course, I only kid you, but if you have not yet read the Ialana Series, now is the time to do so. The price is a deal for a three-book box set and cheaper than buying each one individually. If you are a member of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited, then you’re even better off.