If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I absolutely fell in love with Victor Dixen’s Ascension, a book billed as ‘Love Island in space’, but which turned out to be a twisty, exciting thriller of a book with amazing characters (review here). The second book in the Phobos series, Distortion, was an equally amazing read which really upped the ante, and my review for that is here. I’m now eagerly awaiting the third book, and to get you all excited, I’m taking part in the blog tour for Distortion and bringing you the books that Victor himself would take with him on a one way trip to Mars!
So, over to Victor:
Naming your favorite books is always a very difficult exercise!
Here is a very subjective top 5 list, within what we call in French the “Littératures de l’imaginaire”: all the genres dealing with imagination.
The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
Like so many others, I read this book as a teenager, and it inspired me durably. Tolkien developed a world that is so immersive, it’s the ultimate world-building reference in literature for me. But The Lord of the Rings is not only a wonderful epic tale. It’s also a hymn to nature, slowly receding in front of human progress. It’s a chronicle of magic slowly vanishing from the world. It’s poetic and melancholic and beautiful!
Hyperion, Dan Simmons
What Tolkien did to the fantasy genre, Dan Simmons did to science-fiction. Hyperion manages to be thought-provoking, exciting, chilling, mesmerizing, all at the same time.
The Snow Queen, Hans Christian Andersen
When I was a child I was very fond of fairy tales – and I still am. These stories often seem very simple on the surface, but in reality they hide huge depths of wisdom, meaning and emotion. I can always re-read them and find new treasures.
My favorites are Charles Perrault’s and Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales.The mysterious Snow Queen mesmerized me when I was a child, and has haunted me ever since – I dedicated a novel, Animale, the Prophecy of the Snow Queen, to try to discover her secret…
His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
One of the finest achievements in children’s literature – and literature per se. This series is a feast of inventions and sense of wonder, with both excellent storytelling and philosophical food for thought.
Carmilla, Sheridan Le Fanu
Before Dracula, before Bram Stoker, there was Sheridan Le Fanu and his magnificent Carmilla. The atmosphere of this short novel published in 1871 enchants me each time I read it. Dark forests, ruins lost in time, bathed in a never-ending moonlight… For me, this is the best of the gothic novel genre.
Sci-fi masterpieces on the small and big screens
I love the British TV series Black Mirror, which describes a near future increasingly affected by technology, with a dark twist. All episodes are equally good, but the best ones are truly excellent. I recommend the episode “Nosedive”, describing a society ruled by the dictatorship of images – a theme I also tried to address in Phobos.
When it comes to the depiction of space on the big screen, my favorite movies are 2001, A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick (metaphysical science-fiction, summoning magnificent images of space that will haunt you for a long time) and the space huis-clos, Gravity (hard science mixed with fine character psychology).
What a selection! Thanks so much to Victor for his thoughts, and I’m so happy to find another fan of Carmilla! I’m not surprised he’s been influenced by gothic novels, as the Phobos series is so full of that wonderfully tense atmosphere.
I’ve been pressing this series on all my reading buddies, and I definitely think you should give it a go if you love well-written female characters, exciting mysteries, and sheer fun – and read on if you want a chance to win your own copy of Distortion!
To celebrate the release of Distortion, Bonnier Zaffre have given one lucky reader a chance to win a paperback copy of Distortion! To enter, comment on my pinned Twitter post. One comment per entry. UK residents only. Fingers crossed!