Best known as the creator of acclaimed dystopian drama anthology Black Mirror, Charlie Brooker has been one of Britain’s most beloved satirists and social critics for two decades. After starting his career as a cartoonist, he began penning columns – both in print and online – that introduced audiences to his trademark vitriol and surreal humor.

Brooker then transitioned to TV, where he wrote, produced, and presented a string of shows for Channel 4 and the BBC, most of which provided cutting critiques of the media and modern society. Following the success of the comedic review program Screenwipe and zombie horror-thriller Dead Set, the first episodes of sci-fi phenom Black Mirror were released in 2011. With five seasons and a full-length interactive film, the series has become a global sensation.

In articles for Penguin Random and Vulture on the film, tv, and literary works that informed his vision for Black Mirror, Brooker’s inspirations are, unsurprisingly, heavy on sci-fi, horror, comedy and craft. From Douglas Adams to Stephen King, find some of his favorite books below.

Charlie Brooker’s Reading List

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (also rec’d by Elon Musk & Richard Branson)

“I saw the BBC TV adaptation in the early 80s, then gobbled up all the books one-by-one. This was the perfect mix of Pythonesque humour and intergalactic road movie, fizzing with ideas and never taking itself remotely seriously.” -CB

On Writing by Stephen King

“One of the best books about writing I can think of. King wrote it while recuperating from an accident that almost killed him; it’s part-memoir, part-how-to guide: really practical, bullshit-free advice from a proper master. A big long pep talk that leaves you itching to hit the keyboard.” -CB

On Film-Making by Alexander Mackendrick

“A great companion piece to On Writing. Mackendrick directed Ealing comedies including The Man in the White Suit and The Ladykillers before crossing the Atlantic to make The Sweet Smell of Success. This book is a truly brilliant overview of the entire process of making films, from conception, to screenplay, to where to place the cameras – the whole shebang. Not enough people have heard of this book. But now you have, so you can run along and bloody well buy it.” -CB

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (also rec’d by George R.R. Martin & Hugh Laurie)

CivilWarLand in Bad Declineby George Saunders (also rec’d by Phoebe Waller-Bridge)

Cutter and Bone by Newton Thornburg (also rec’d by James Patterson)

On Killing by David Grossman

Sombrero Fallout by Richard Brautigan

(via Penguin Random & Vulture)

Categories: Comedians Writers