Neil Gaiman is the creator and writer of the DC Comics series Sandman. His most recent novel is American Gods (HarperCollins, $8).

Dangerous Visions edited by Harlan Ellison (I Books, $15). Back in print, in a celebratory edition 35 years on, this is an eye-opening look at what speculative fiction was and where it was going. Excellent stories by the best writers we had, with lengthy introductions by editor Harlan Ellison, give us a collection that changed the way we viewed SF and what it could do.

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton (Penguin, $9). The prototype of several generations of spy novels, and better, deeper, and more magical than any of them: a police spy finds himself a member of the anarchist high council, a sinister mob of seven, named after the days of the week. What is their secret? And who is the mysterious Sunday? A beautiful, dangerous, funny, nightmare of a book.

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Archer’s Goon by Diana Wynne Jones (Greenwillow, $17). One of the best things about having kids is that you get to read books like this aloud to them. Seven mysterious siblings secretly control all aspects of life in an English town. Howard and his family fall foul of them in a book that’s magical, hilarious, thrilling, and mind-expanding in turns.

Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees (Wildside Press, $30). Fairy fruit is being smuggled into the town of Lud-in-the-Mist, fruit that brings on madness and dreams. Nathanial Chanticleer, mayor of the town, finds that his own son has fallen victim to the plague, and soon enough his life, his job, and all he holds dear is in the balance. A fantasy, a ghost story, a detective story, and a fine and forgotten work of literature.

Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny (Avon, $7). Moving, funny, revelatory, cheeky, and beautifully written, Zelazny’s story of a far world run by people who have set themselves up as the gods of the Hindu pantheon, being challenged by cynical Buddha Sam, is the best SF novel of the ’60s.


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