Iain Sinclair, his books and you

We’d like to ask several questions to all users of this website. It’s a way to get to know you all a little bit, nothing too intrusive and not a stealth marketing campaign:
– How did you discover Iain Sinclair and his work?
– How long ago?
– What was your first Iain Sinclair’s book?
and the inevitable:
– What is your favourite Iain Sinclair’s book?

Use the comments if you’d like to take part. No registration required.

28 comments to Iain Sinclair, his books and you

  • ben

    I’ll go first…
    I was reading an interview on William Gibson’s website (yes, before twitter he had a short lived website), and he mentioned Iain as one of the authors who have inspired him and that he likes.
    This happened in the early years of the 21st Century.
    The first book was Lights Out for the territory and it remains my favourite.

  • London, June 2000. Starting a short film, Faust/Faustus In Deptford.
    Later to screen in the 2003 Raindance Film Festival. Our guide Dave Eyre, have
    me a copy of Slow Chocolate Autopsy. Riveted, ever since. Fave? Scarlet Tracings.
    Sorry Meniscus. Landor. All.

  • Ian Cross

    On a lunch break in the mid 1990s, trawling through a bookshop on High Holborn, reading the back of Radon Daughters I saw Pynchon’s name so I bought it. Never looked back. London Orbital is favourite.

  • Nicholas Middleton

    A fellow student recommended Lights Out For The Territory around 96-97 while I was studying art, but I didn’t read the book until a year later, a month or so after my friend had died unexpectedly young, and I was browsing the shelves in Harlow library and it caught my eye. Too difficult to decide on a favourite, but I very much enjoyed ‘Edge of the Orison’.

  • Chris Gostick

    I think I first came across Iain’s work in a mention my Alan Ross of London Magazine (too many years ago now to remember!). My first book was Downriver – shortly after it came out, which is still one I am particularly fond of, although I have read the others more or less as they came out. Difficult to say which is my favourite, as without exception they all have something new, interesting or worthwhile to offer, but certainly Landor’s Tower, Light’s Out and Edge of the Orison should also be on any short list!

  • dave clarke

    I ‘discovered’ Iain’s work with Downriver – took a punt on it being the one I knew. It was spot on. Even with a dash of my politics. This was about twenty years back. Next on list of favourites is ‘Radon Daughters’.
    despite the amount I’ve collected since Downriver is still the best.


  • John

    I bought a copy of Flesh Eggs and Scalp Metal, in Sheffield around 1991, at which time I’d never heard of Iain. Then the Conductors of Chaos anthology, in about ’97. Then Lights Out. Then the novels. My favourite is Edge of the Orison, which tried to teach one year (2009, I was also teaching John Clare’s poetry), but it was out of print so my students missed a real treat.

  • rich b

    Radon Daughters – one of the very few books I’ve bought in hardback. i persuaded a German teacher to try and read it in English

    It still boils my head when I read it though…

    – bonus level –

    The Iain Sinclair postscript to House on the Borderland is also excellent.

  • ‘Downriver’ and ‘London Orbital’, currently reading ‘American Smoke’.

  • Searching for more Dave Mckean stuff, somewhere in the mid-90s, i picked up “Slow Chocolate Autopsy”. Got a copy together with “Lights out…”, which was my first.
    favorites are Radon Daughters and Edge of the Orison, but i still have American Smoke, London Orbital and some of the poetry books to read…

  • Jim

    Really not too sure how I first came across Iain’s writing? Feels as if he seeped into my memory through the pavements – but it was more likely something to do with Lud Heat & the Spitafields/Hawksmoor connections, sometime around the Millennium.

    Lud Heat / Downriver / Dining On Stones

    Several gaps still to catch up on though…….

  • Karl Ove

    Highlights for the territory: White Chappell, Liquid City, Crash, Edge, Landor’s T.
    Worstword Ho!: American Smoke.

  • Nick

    I cam across IS’s work for the first time, twice. Once when I was working in a well known nationwide bookshop, where I was apparently best placed to order the travel books because I’d been to some remote places. Lights Out was the only book I thought resisted classification (and this is an environment where classification was The Rules). I suggested we keep copies in literature/travel/urban studies/history but to no avail. I ordered far more copies than sales demanded, which was part of a (select)staff wide subversion to relegate certain authors and raise the profile of those we deemed better (imbricating these alongside Jeffrey Archer’s books, placing the latter in amongst the ‘one handers’). Around the same time I bought Slow Chocolate but didn’t get round to reading it until after I’d read several of his other books. I’m not even sure I knew it was the same author whose work I was promoting by leaving copies on top of Jilly Cooper and on the ‘Manager Recommends’ table.

  • Caroline Lola Hopper

    I know to the month when I introduced myself to Mr. Sinclair’s writing: May 2000. At my new job with the University I could access and read all the Granta I desired including an excerpt in a journal from Lights out for the Territory: “The Dog and the Dish”
    I was hooked – Sinclair was the perfect ballast to the other books I was submersed in. At the time I reading Michael Moorcock, Geoff Nicholson and everything of Peter Ackroyd. Reading Hawksmoor inspired me to read Landor’s Tower. As to a favorite Sinclair? While London Orbital holds special appeal, I think my first is still my dearest: Lights Out for the Territory.
    Thank you –

  • John Graham

    I’m not entirely certain where I first heard of Iain Sinclair. Likely it was via praise from William Gibson, or via research in some like topic as I came across references to Mr. Sinclair around the same time as I also heard of Peter Ackroyd. This has been fairly recent; within the last 5 years. My first book, putting a toe in the water so to speak, was Mr. Sinclair’s collaboration with Rachel Lichtenstein for “Rodinsky’s Room” which I really enjoyed. I was initially fascinated by the story, but ended up being fascinated more by the story behind the story which the juxtaposed chapters highlighted well and served to tell a much larger story. It’s probably still my favorite, but I also enjoyed “London Orbital” and “Ghost Milk” as well.

  • Nick G

    I came across ‘Lights Out’ on behalf of a mad undergrad supervisor of mine, who thought it would sit nicely in a dissertation on Lewis Carroll.

    It could have, had I half a brain.

    I’m very fond of ‘White Chappell’ and ‘London Orbital’ though I suppose I return to ‘Lights Out’ most often of all.

  • I think read ‘Lud Heat’ in the early 1990s (in one sitting at friends flat) as I was interested in John Dee and my friend thought it might amuse.
    Even though I really enjoyed it, I entirely forgot about him until I read ‘Rodinsky’s Room’ which I think might have been a little after reading a review somewhere and this still my favourite, though ‘Sorry Meniscus’ is a close second.

  • Frank

    – How did you discover Iain Sinclair and his work? William Gibson’s name-dropping.
    – How long ago? Maybe 5 years ago.
    – What was your first Iain Sinclair’s book? Downriver.
    and the inevitable:
    – What is your favourite Iain Sinclair’s book? Lud Heat

  • Frank

    Just forgot to add that Lights Out was the only book I could read during a most difficult period. It was pure joy. And a cure.

  • How did you discover Iain Sinclair and his work?
    >> Lights Out For The Territory, bought in Bangor Oxfam charity shop with no prior knowledge of the author.
    How long ago?
    >> Around 2006.
    – What was your first Iain Sinclair’s book?
    >> Lights Out For the Territory.
    What is your favourite Iain Sinclair’s book?
    >> White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings, for the inklings of hidden sub-dimensions of reality, reached through books and their characters and dealers that/who can open portals to these places.

  • ANDY M

    Found London orbital in my local library in 2002.Been reading Iain Sinclair ever since.Ghost milk would be my favourite if I had to choose.

  • Finished American Smoke and Edge of the Orison (librarian had trouble pronouncing orison) now for Ghost Milk.

  • 1 Discovered by chance in local library.

    2 Mid 90s.

    3 First book: White Chappel, Scarlet Tracings.

    3 London Orbital.

  • nicoletta vallorani

    In the 90s, more or less, I was tutoring a final dissertation on Mike Moorcock, and Sinclair’s name kept cropping up, so I finally gave in and started reading. I think it was White Chapell, Scarlet Tracings. I was lost. A kind of hypnosis. My favourite? I don’t know. I guess London Orbital, but also Downriver, or Lights Out, or … I don’t know, really 🙂

  • Glenn Wood

    My first encounter with Iain Sinclair’s work was in the mid-1980s when a typescript of the first chapter of “White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings” was published in a short-lived magazine produced by the infamous Driffield (who was himself on a roll at that time thanks to the publicity he got from “Driff’s Guide”). At the time I thought Mr Sinclair was trying to do a bizarrely British version of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, but I became hooked in 1988 when the Pelican paperback edition of “White Chappell” came out.

    I still have as-new copies of all three editions of Driff’s Guide. I wish I still had that copy of Driff’s Fortnightly, though; it might be worth enough to compensate me for the subscription I lost when the magazine went out of business.

  • Glenn Wood

    Sorry … Paladin, not Pelican!

  • Graham Oliver

    I kept seeing his name in the notes of Alan Moore’s From Hell, then I saw Lights Out For The Territory in a second-hand bookshop around 2001. So that was the first one. Favourite book of his is White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings.

  • bennythejudge

    To this day my one remains Lights Out For The Territory – which was also the first one I read probably around the same time (2001/2).

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