Thursday, May 12, 2011

Top ten alternative realities

Sam Leith is the author of two acclaimed non-fiction books, Dead Pets and Sod's Law, and the new novel, The Coincidence Engine, in which he "play[s] with the idea that only in a multiverse where every possibility had been exhausted could anything as improbable as our reality exist."

For the Guardian he named a top ten list of fiction's alternative realities, including:
The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

The opening of the second book in Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy pulls off one of the great literary ta-dah moments. You've spent the whole first novel in what appeared to be a fantasy world of armoured bears and magic dust: a different universe altogether from what we recognise as reality. But the first few pages of the second make clear that the novel is taking place in a multiverse that includes our reality. Book one, in other words, was only part of a much much bigger picture. It's a spectacular coup de théatre.
Read about the other titles on the list.

Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy appears among Amanda Donohoe's six best books, Charlie Jane Anders's 20 mad scientists who turned against their creations, and Salman Rushdie's five best fantasy novels not just for the young.

--Marshal Zeringue