Nick Harkaway

The Angelmaker author picks three imaginative favorites.

Nick Harkaway’s first novel, The Gone Away World, was hailed as a new classic of the science fiction genre, the world-building on display only surpassed by the author’s word craft. His new work of fiction, Angelmaker, delivers on the promise evinced by his debut with a rollicking story about a young clock repairman who comes into possession of a doomsday device. When we asked him to recommend three favorites, Harkaway responded with a trio of novels as inventive as his own work.

Books by Nick Harkaway

The Final Solution

By Michael Chabon

“Michael Chabon’s beautiful homage to Sherlock Holmes is one of my favourite short reads. There’s something about the prose that sets my brain on fire; it’s very simple, yet absolutely distinctive. In the book, a great detective in late age (never actually named) encounters a solitary German boy with a parrot and immediately senses a mystery worthy of his intellect. Amid the seeming trivia of rural England is something dark and terrible. Chabon’s narration is sure and supple and fills me with the desire to write, which is the best thing an author can say about any book.”

The Passion

By Jeanette Winterson

“Winterson’s beautiful novel follows Napoleon’s chicken chef and a Venetian boatman’s daughter through a kind of gorgeous dream of history. It’s almost like a Napoleonic The Water Margin — there are many characters who could have their own stories. It reminds me, too, of moments in Conan Doyle’s historical romances — playful, heroic and exaggerated — but where Doyle left off the magic to continue his raucous adventures, Winterson carries on into the dream. Heightened and fantastical (and fantastic), this is one of my all-time best-loved books.”

The Stars My Destination

By Alfred Bester

“A story in the pulp tradition raised by brute force of writing to something very special, this is a science fiction classic, by which I mean not that you’ll like it if you like SF, but that it’s a classic that comes from the science fiction genre just as To Kill A Mocking Bird could be called a courtroom drama or Jane Eyre a romance. Dark, brutal, and rife with deception, this is the novel Stieg Larsson might have written if he’d been born in William Gibson’s head.”