This is not a list of my favourite books and films; just the ones that I happen to have reviewed. I have a separate list of my favourite books.


Science fiction

House of suns (Alastair Reynolds, 2008)

Fleet of worlds (Larry Niven & Edward M Lerner, 2007)

Time Patrol (Poul Anderson, 2006)

The sky people (S M Stirling, 2006)

Ringworld's children (Larry Niven, 2004)

Conquistador (S M Stirling, 2003)

The Peshawar Lancers (S M Stirling, 2002)

Look to windward (Iain M. Banks, 2000)

The Ringworld throne (Larry Niven, 1996)

Pasquale's angel (Paul J McAuley, 1994)

Snow Crash (Neal Stephenson, 1992)

The guns of the south (Harry Turtledove, 1992)

ME (Thomas T Thomas, 1991)

The difference engine (William Gibson & Bruce Sterling, 1990)

Take back Plenty (Colin Greenland, 1990)

The shield of time (Poul Anderson, 1990)

The blabber (Vernor Vinge, 1988)

The cross-time engineer (Leo Frankowski, 1986)

The practice effect (David Brin, 1984)

The leaky establishment (David Langford, 1984)

The integral trees (Larry Niven, 1983)

The steel of Raithskar (Randall Garrett & Vicki Ann Heydron, 1981)

Roadside picnic (Arkady & Boris Strugatsky, 1977)

Showboat world (Jack Vance, 1975)

Wilson Tucker overview (1943-1975)

The Mote in God's Eye (Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle, 1974)

The left hand of darkness (Ursula K Le Guin, 1969)

Up the line (Robert Silverberg, 1969)

A gift from Earth (Larry Niven, 1968)

World of ptavvs (Larry Niven, 1966)


Terry Pratchett overview

Harry Potter (J K Rowling, 1997-2007)

The Eyre affair (Jasper Fforde, 2001)

His Dark Materials trilogy (Philip Pullman, 1995-2000)

The Time Wars series (Simon Hawke, 1984-91)

A study in sorcery (Michael Kurland, 1989)

The long dark tea-time of the soul (Douglas Adams, 1988)

Dirk Gently's holistic detective agency (Douglas Adams, 1987)

The Zenda vendetta (Simon Hawke, 1985)

Elleander morning (Jerry Yulsman, 1984)

Worlds apart (Richard Cowper, 1974)

Time and again (Jack Finney, 1970)

Too many magicians (Randall Garrett, 1966)

Topper & Topper takes a trip (Thorne Smith, 1926 & 1932) ,

Rewards and fairies (Rudyard Kipling, 1910) /

The prisoner of Zenda (Anthony Hope, 1894)

Historical fiction

Man in the dark (Paul Auster, 2008)

The girl with the dragon tattoo (Stieg Larsson, 2005/2008)

Ragtime in Simla (Barbara Cleverly, 2002)

The last Kashmiri rose (Barbara Cleverly, 2001)

Act of mercy (Peter Tremayne, 1999)

The Walpole orange (Frank Muir, 1993)

The first Cadfael omnibus (Ellis Peters, 1980)

Crocodile on the sandbank (Elizabeth Peters, 1975)

Borrower of the night (Elizabeth Peters, 1973)

The offshore light (Pamela Frankau, 1952)

No bed for Bacon (Caryl Brahms and S J Simon, 1941)

Arthur Ransome overview


Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War (G F R Henderson, 1898)



The return of the king (2003)

The two towers (2002)

The fellowship of the ring (2001)

Science fiction

The terminator (1984)

Categories of fiction

All fiction can be divided into three categories:

  • Historical fiction is set in history as it has been, up to and including the present.
  • Science fiction is set in history as it could be in the future, or as it could have been in the past, given some changes to historical events.
  • Fantasy is set in history as it could never be: the scenario is frankly impossible.

It's quite often difficult to decide whether a book is science fiction or fantasy: it depends on how much you can believe to be possible. Strictly speaking, time travel and faster-than-light travel are fantasy, but fiction relying on such devices is generally regarded as science fiction.

Historical fiction has a somewhat sharper borderline: if a story doesn't obviously breach the known facts of history, it can be classified as historical. There is a little fuzziness because history is known to us in less and less detail the further back we go.