David Gray IG

David Gray is an award-winning creative and writer, living on the edge of his beloved Red Hook in Brooklyn. He cheerfully admits that the ever-changing dockside neighborhood plays a big part in his writing, from the backdrop to his cyberpunk short story, Huskers, to the setting for his debut novel, the post-Armageddon (lite) Moonflowers. The stories of the Scots-born writer have appeared on the venerable podcast, Starship Sofa, acclaimed online magazine, Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, upstart graphic imprint, Ahoy! Comics, and many more. In 2020 he plans to publish his contemporary Scottish fairy tale, Neverthere, and, distractions apart, complete the sequel to Moonflowers. He would like to be well-known enough to be considered reclusive.

Below are David Gray’s favorite books, available to purchase individually or as a set.


The Left Hand of Darkness

Ursula K. Le Guin
I first read this before I had the emotional range or life experience to grasp what it was really about. I still loved it, and every time I came back to it, it had more resonance. It was also the book assigned to me in high school art, to design a cover. I rather simplistically painted my left hand, full of darkness. It was the moment I realized I was not headed to art college.
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Roadside Picnic

Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
Breathtakingly original, consistently sinister and utterly compelling. For once, a story of alien arrival (and then fast departure) with no explanation, and no sense that they/it thought humanity was worth a damn. They just came, and left their garbage. Maybe.
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The Drawing of the Dark

Tim Powers
The setting: Vienna, during the Ottoman siege of 1529. The hero: a jaded Irish mercenary. The ingredients: demonic powers, a supernaturally significant beer, some Vikings, a touch of Arthurian mythology and a war to decide the fate of the world. The result: a glorious romp.
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The Forever War

Joe Haldeman
Haldeman drew on his Vietnam service to tell a story about soldiers who return to Earth after every deployment to find decades then centuries have passed. As a result, culture, sexual mores and even language change, leaving the veterans adrift. By turns melancholy, brilliant and visionary.
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Larry Niven
Grand, extravagant sci-fi, painting humans as ignorant but persistent explorers in a structurally plausible and achingly advanced universe. Niven’s genius was in telling relatable stories amid galactic wonders and horrors. I rather hoped we might all be living in ring worlds by now.
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Iain M. Banks
Banks excelled in creating worlds so inventive that for any lesser author, they might have drowned the plot. This, the 7th in his Culture series, is set on an artificial planet made from nested concentric spheres, each lit by a tiny artificial sun. The story that plays out inside is as wonderfully complex as the world-building.
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Brian Aldiss
This wonderful short novel is a reminder of how jaded we’ve become as readers. I remember the exact moment (spoiler alert for 60-yr-old book) when I realized that this story about warring primitive tribes is set inside a lost generation ship. I was astounded by its (then) originality, and unassuming storytelling. And still am.
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Glory Road

Robert Heinlein
A brilliantly robust science-fantasy tale, featuring a scarred, directionless Vietnam war veteran who answers a newspaper ad (remember those?) asking simply “Are you a coward?”. A rambunctious swashbuckling adventure where magic and science are blurred. Also, the story that sent me off to find a gym.
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To Your Scattered Bodies Go

Philip José Farmer
Take 19th century explorer Richard Francis Burton, resurrect him by a river on a strange world, naked. Add a Neanderthal, a Holocaust survivor and an alien, and a quest to discover what the hell this is all about, and you’ve not even scratched the surface of Farmer’s first Riverworld book.
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The Reality Dysfunction

Peter F. Hamilton
Hamilton is a modern master of vast, operatic sci-fi. When an alien probe accidentally comes in contact with a dying man, it follows his soul to the netherworld and accidentally lets loose a legion of raging spirits. Space zombies, galactic war, high tech, rockets, it’s all here in a marvelous first volume of three.
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