Well, I say top five but I actually mean the five that I thought about first…if that makes sense. It’s just that I get literally some people asking me about what my favourite SciFi/Fantasy reads are. This list is great for people who need introducing to this shockingly overlooked genre or for avid readers who are looking for something a little bit different.
1. Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang
Fantastic SciFi book very much in the style of John Wyndham. A beautiful and well written story of what really makes a person human. Full description here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Where_Late_the_Sweet_Birds_Sang
Again, the writing is just fantastic and the world Dan Simmons creates is amazing. The story pulls its influences from everything to The Lord of the Rings and Dune. Not for people looking for something to get them in to SciFi, but a definite must-read for the avid fan. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperion_%28Simmons_novel%29
3. Feet of Clay
My favourite Discworld book, but feel free to start anywhere as long as you do start. Discworld is a piss take of the fantasy genre but manages to pay homage to it at the same time. I would recommend reading the character books in sets (i.e. The Watch books start with Guards! Guards!), but others you can dip into anytime (e.g. Pyamids). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discworld
4. The Forever War
Ever wondered how we would fight an alien civilisation and the effects of time dilation on the soldiers travelling at approaching light speed to reach them? Here is your answer. And what a compelling, emotional read it is too. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Forever_War
5. The Stars My Destination
Just my favourite SciFi book of all time. All I can say is read it as soon as you can. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stars_My_Destination
From the above the obvious The Lord of The Rings and Dune have been omitted for obvious reasons…obviously. Also anything by the fantastic John Wyndham.
A great list of SciFi and Fantasy books can be found here: http://www.npr.org/2011/08/11/139085843/your-picks-top-100-science-fiction-fantasy-books