Based on the BBC radio programme ‘Desert Island Discs’, we’ve adapted this idea to ask castaways to list up to eight books, one song and one luxury item that they couldn’t do without on a desert island.
The rules are fairly simple, any type of book can be selected, but we ask that at least half are lesfic. Choices should be justified in a paragraph or two. Any type of music is allowed. The luxury item must be inanimate and of no use in escaping the island or allowing communication from outside.
G Benson's Desert Island Books
(My) Destruction Within Your Mouth fanfic by KL Morgan
This fic is one of the most amazing I’ve ever read—the world-building based around the grounders in The 100 is everything the show never gave us. It starts after I think the 3rd episode of the show, so no real knowledge is necessary of The 100 beyond the basic premise to get into it. Clarke is separated from her friends and eats something that causes her to lose her voice—she is taken in by the grounders, and very quickly by Lexa, and labelled a wood witch. No one realizes she is one of the ones who fell from the sky and has been causing them so much trouble. Clarke, trying to survive, must blend in and accept her life there, even with her lost voice and even while missing her language, her voice, and her friends. Watching Clarke learn to listen and watch, and feeling her frustration and loneliness as she gets closer to Lexa is just an utter delight. It’s angsty, heartwarming and heart-wrenching, and is stunning to read. It is unfinished, so clearly this shows I’d like to torture myself while alone on a deserted island. But I guess it would give me a lot to do while I lay around bored waiting for rescue as I imagine various endings. It’ll be like a cinema in my head.
Another Statement of Causality fanfic by Maggiemerc
A Callie and Arizona fic. This fic goes from the episode of Greys Anatomy in which they imagine what would happen in a different universe (Meredith was raised by a happy mum with Webber, Callie is married to Owen etc). I adore this continuation of that episode, and the author took this “what if” scenario and breathed such life into it. I haven’t read it since it was finished, so would love to take it with me and get absolutely lost in it and read it while I try to find a crab to keep as a pet and talk to so I don’t lose my mind completely while lost on this island.
Move on Me fanfic by Caelzorah
This is a two-part fic from The 100, and I just love it. It’s so very very angsty, and you only get some payout for that right at the end, so it’s not everybody’s cup of tea. But it is right up my alley. It’s based on the idea that for hundreds and hundreds of years Clarke and Lexa are reincarnated (these are not always their names) and meet and fall in love (or don’t), and are thirsty for war. One of them, though, over time, starts to change. The other doesn’t. I can read it, get sad, and discuss my feelings with Crabby, my pet who will have no interest in any of this, though I will give him no option but to listen to me talk about the angsty feelings this fic produces.
Tell it to the Bees by Fiona Shaw
I adore this book. It’s based in the 1950s as two women fall in love in their tiny, judgmental village–but please don’t let you scare you off. This doesn’t end as the film did (I’m forever mad they based the film off the book but changed the beautiful ending), and you are guaranteed a HEA. Chapters of this book are told from 10-year-old Charlie’s point of view, and those chapters are so charming and so well-written, and so distinct from the norm, that this book stays as a permanent favourite of mine, and one I would be more than happy to reread as I get bored of the coconut drums I set up for entertainment purposes and will never learn to play well even if stuck there for the rest of my life.
Red Sister by Mark Lawrence (Series: Book of the Ancestor)
I devoured this book, plus the two others in the series (that will also be going with me on this island). Don’t let the fact that this fantasy series is written by a man deter you—it would normally deter me, I’ve been burned by misogyny and bad tropes for years in the fantasy genre. But not this series. Nona, the main character is clearly queer, but that takes a backseat to the entire story as she grows from an eleven-year-old to a young woman, surrounded by her friends in the convent she is adopted into. Nuns, you hear? Yes. Nuns. All women, all the time. But nuns are dull, I hear you say? No. Not these nuns. These nuns are assassins. These nuns have magic. These nuns are going to help save the world. Two of them are in a relationship with each other and I love them so much it hurts. In this convent, when they take their vows, they choose new names that are inanimate objects (not kidding, the two I love are called Apple and Kettle) and so while I go delirious in the sand I’ll call myself Sand and rename my pet crab Crabby to Tattered-Shirt.
Fingersmith by Sara Waters
This is a longtime favourite of mine—it’s one of the first books I read with queer women in it and I think it’s this book’s fault that I like complex queer characters who do slightly sketchy things but then have a nice ending. This will be joining me as I love the setting, the pickpocketing, the very sloooooow burn, and the fact that this book is very, very long. Because that means I can read it over and over again and learn to pickpocket from it and try pickpocket Tattered-Shirt for all he has. Do crabs have pockets? I’m sure by this point I’d be hallucinating them, anyway.
My song choice
ONE SONG? I have to choose ONE SONG? Wow. That’s mean. You know what, I’m going Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. If I can only have one song, it’s going to be an incredibly long one that hits lots of different feelings that I can belt out and scare Tattered-Shirt away with. I’ll even try and learn it on my coconut drums.
My inanimate object choice
Luxury item? Can I take my Nintendo Switch with a solar panel charger attached? Then I can play Animal Crossing, which is a game in which you run around your island doing productive things like fishing, catching insects, collecting fruit, and contributing to the local economy. I can do that for hours and hours while my pet crab Tattered-Shirt stares at me judgmentally as I inhabit my virtual island and make it a paradise while lying under a tree on my actual island, doing nothing of the sort.