In honor of the BBC adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, airing on BBC America this weekend, we present a celebration of alternate Englands, mysterious magicians, and the magic of Faery creeping into everyday life.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke


Stardust, by Neil Gaiman

A whimsical, alternately funny and terrifying story of the fairyland next door.

The Quick, by Lauren Owen 

The Victorian Gothic comes to life again in a story of suspense, murder, blood, and an unforgettable cast of characters.

Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal

A witty, romantic tale of a Regency England where glamor and magic are an essential part of an accomplished young lady’s repertoire, wrought with an impeccable sense of atmosphere and a marvelous eye for detail.

The Amulet of Samarkand, by Jonathan Stroud

Magic, politics, alternate history, and a sarcastic captive djinn.

Little, Big, by John Crowley

An extraordinary house with an extraordinary family living right on the edge of an extraordinary world.

The Daylight Gate, by Jeanette Winterson

A gruesome tour of 17th century witch trials, sex, power, dramatics, forbidden love and frightening magics.

His Majesty’s Dragon, by Naomi Novak

A swashbuckling adventure set in the Napoleonic Wars–with dragons.

The Dark Is Rising, by Susan Cooper 

The Newbery Honor book of dark forces, time travel, and deeply rooted magic in the Thames River Valley.

Titus Groan, by Mervyn Peake

Peake’s eye for detail and incredible sense of atmosphere made this Gothic fantasy a modern classic.

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern 

A sensory-heavy tale of dueling magicians, mysterious performers, and an unforgettable circus.

Sorcery and Cecelia: Or, the Enchanted Chocolate Pot, by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

Faithful correspondents and inveterate mischief-makers Kate and Cecelia are about to have the most dashing, dangerous, chocolate-poisoning, curse-dodging, and all around entertaining Season of their lives.

The Meaning of Night, by Michael Cox

The thick, spooky atmosphere and wry meta-textual style make this story of ambition and murder a worthy companion to Jonathan Strange.

The Darkest Part of the Forest, by Holly Black 

An eerie and opulent modern tale of Faerie. 

The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories, by Susanna Clarke

A charming introduction or essential expansion to the world of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. 

The Rivers of London, by Ben Aaronovitch

Magic lurks in both the rivers and the streets of modern day London in this fantasy murder mystery.

Quicksilver, by Neal Stephenson

A whirlwind tour of Baroque-era Europe and the larger-than-life thinkers that inhabited it, smart, sharp and funny.

A Matter of Magic, by Patricia C. Wrede

Magicians, street thieves, Ladies of Quality, French aristocrats, some Druids of Dubious Merit, and a cross-country chase across Regency England.

The King of Elfland’s Daughter, by Lord Dunsany

The poetic, dreamy descriptions of faery and the heartbreaking exploration of what happens beyond happily ever after make this an influential fantasy classic.


Neil DeGrasse Tyson getting pumped up in a science argument against Brian Greene.

Bill Nye then comes to save Brian & they team up on Neil!

I fucking love this. So much SCIENCE!

They just needed Michio Kaku on their lineup!

Nothing is more important than that you see and love the beauty that is right in front of you, or else you will have no defense against the ugliness that will hem you in and come at you in so many ways.
—  Anathem - Neil Stephenson
Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, and devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad.
—  Hiro used to feel this way, too, but then he ran into Raven. In a way, this was liberating. He no longer has to worry about being the baddest motherfucker in the world. The position is taken. - Neil Stephenson, Snow Crash

Ruben Devela is one of the only people I’ve found who creates really good Snow Crash alt art. The book was Neal Stephenson’s third novel and it is absolutely one of my favourite reads.

It’s not easy – Wikipedia lists history, linguistics, anthropology, archaeology, religion, computer science, politics, cryptography, memetics, and philosophy as topics Stephenson covers.

But this book is the reason we call virtual representations of ourselves ‘avatars’ and one Google Earth co-founder claimed that Google Earth was modeled after Snow Crash.

This piece of fiction has the rare attribute of having influenced the very ideas that the internet as you know it was built on.

Worth checking out, don’t you think?