Celebrities reveal favourite SF and fantasy books

A new book in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society has asked a hundred celebrities what is their favourite book of all time, and quite a few have made fantastical choices.

CS Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe is a title that crops up a couple of times - it’s the favourite of two former Blue Peter presenters, Sarah Greene and Anthea Turner.

Another Blue Peter alumni, Peter Purves, turns out to be quite the fantasy buff. As well as being a fan of Terry Pratchett, he also admires TH White’s Arthurian tale The Once And Future King, and says that in his early thirties he loved Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson’s The Illuminatus! Trilogy - although when he tried to re-read it last year he found it was “totally unreadable tosh”! Peter Duncan’s current favourites are Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials books, while Carol Vorderman loves The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast also gets more than one vote. Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes says that it “beats Tolkien into a cocked hat”, while actor Sam Neill says that Peake, “creates a marvellously graphic imaginary world full of vivid characters; heroes, villains, the beautiful and the grotesque.”

Finally, Iain Rankin is extremely passionate about Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, identifying it as “the novel which has had the biggest effect on my life”. Reading it six or seven times in the course of one year in his early teens inspired him to start producing his own stories, so it’s the reason he became a writer.

Celebrities’ Favourite Books is available to buy now (price £9.99) from Apex Publishing . All author royalties go to the Alzheimer’s Society.