Reading guide

Read your way through the horrifying and intriguing Penguin Worlds series

We love books that open up worlds beyond our wildest imaginings. From urban fantasy warfare to civilising a new planet, these books are perfect escapist reads. Here’s our handy guide to each of the titles

 

 

Horror Stories  

E. Nesbit

E. Nesbit displayed her incredible imagination and storytelling with children’s classics such as The Railway Children and Five Children and It, but did you know she also penned a collection of ghost stories for adults? These stories are as chilling and dark as you’d hope for in a horror collection, with ghosts, curses, haunted houses and more, all told in Nesbit’s unique way. If you love spooky stories and are a fan of short volumes to dip in and out of, then this is the book for you. 

The World in Winter

John Christopher

The world’s climate is changing and Britain’s arctic winter has left the country inhabitable. As citizens start to flee to the southern hemisphere, Journalist Andrew Leedon escapes to a Nigerian slum. Finding the horrific reality of life as a refugee too much, he returns to the wilderness of Britain, determined to survive. This is a poignant story that explores how humanity might survive in the face of hostile climate change, and it plays with the assumptions we hold about which displaced people go where, based on the world we currently live in.

True Names

Vernor Vinge

True Names was first published in 1980 in a double-header paperback alongside a novella by a certain George R. R. Martin. The story follows an illegal computer hacker named Mr Slippery. After his arrest by the US government, he soon finds himself on its payroll, fighting against a new international cybercriminal, the Mailman, and starts to unravel the dark secrets behind what the Mailman really is. This is a fast-paced adventure story presenting a disturbingly accurate vision of the future. 

War for the Oaks

Emma Bull

Eddi McCandry is a singer in a band that has just split up. Her boyfriend has just dumped her. As she walks through the dark streets of Minneapolis, she finds herself embroiled in a war in an invisible faerie world. This urban fantasy in which faerie folk lurk in the city has defined and inspired the genre ever since. If you are a fan of Ben Aaronovitch, Cassandra Clare and Laurell K. Hamilton, this book should be next on your list.

We Who Are About To…

Joanna Russ

Fan of sci-fi? This is the perfect book for you. We Who Are About To… is the story of a group of strangers stranded on a floating starship somewhere on the edges of the universe. The group decides that the only way to survive is to colonise an inhospitable planet…but one woman goes against the grain, despite the fact that it’ll mean facing certain death. Let the scheming begin! This astonishing novel explores themes of sex, death and what it takes to create and sustain civilisation. 

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