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Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham - everyone goes blind and a bunch of sentient plants start eating people. one of the first science fiction books I ever read, and the one that introduced me to post apocalyptic fiction. Giant plants might sound silly, but its no more silly than walking corpses. And in fact the walking dead and 28 days later owe a lot to this book.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell - Susanna Clarke - beautifully inventive fantasy novel about two magicians bringing magic back to Britain during the Napoleonic wars. Fab read.

Gateway - Frederick Pohl - pulp sf at its best. Humans discover a hollowed out asteroid worth ftl ships preprogrammed with unknown destinations. Prospectors pack as much food as they can and hit 'launch' in the hopes that they'll discover something valuable and not land on a star or starve to death.

The Forever War - Joe Haldeman - more great pulp sci-fi about the first interstellar war. Old man's war by John Scalzi is very similar and almost as good.

Most things by Iain (m) banks. Crow Road, Wasp Factory, The Bridge, Consider Phlebas, Use of Weapons, Player of Games etc. Song of stone was awful though, they're not all winners

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