It’s almost New Year’s, and I’m packed and ready to head across the state to where my friends will build a huge bonfire before setting off their own fireworks show. I love bonfires and fireworks.
Instead of getting all maudlin and reflecting on the ups and downs of this year, I’m going to give you my top three reads. I hope you’ll read them too.
In case you haven’t heard, this book has won just about every major science fiction award (Hugo, Nebula, Arthur C. Clarke, BSFA, Locus, etc.). The awards are well deserved. Aside from the intelligent writing, stirring plot, and excellent characterization, this novel is significant because it was written by a woman author in year where women science fiction authors were catching a lot of flak for daring to write science fiction. Some of those authors have received death and rape threats for their writing. What’s even more thought provoking is Ann Leckie’s use of the feminine as the default pronoun for a human race that doesn’t identify gender in any way. You don’t really know the gender of most of the individuals the main character interacts with because the main character him/her/itself doesn’t know. If my praise for this book seems over the top, it’s because I’m normally not a fan of AI (artificial intelligence) stories, but the AI in this story explored AI issues of compassion, loyalty, friendship and revenge without making the AI act like your average human.
Another amazing book but this time from the fantasy genre. It’s not a new book published this year, but it’s new to me. The world-building and the intricate plot lines are clearly defined and the fast paced. The heroine is by turn, smart, funny, naïve, and strong-willed. What I really appreciate is that the cast of characters is small giving the story an intimate feel, even as the story leaps from one kingdom to another, dealing out death and life between people and gods.
Lightspeed Magazine’s “Women Destroy Science Fiction” special issue
This collection of short stories written by female SF authors was compiled to raise awareness about the obstacles and discrimination issues that many women scif-fi authors battle. I am also partial to this collection because I had the privilege of proofreading many of these stories.
It was hard to pick out my favorites from this issue, but here are my top three (not in any sort of favorite order) : 1) Each to Each by Seanan McGuire, 2) Salvage by Carrie Vaughn and 3) They Tell Me There Will Be No Pain by Rachael Acks. All of these stories sucked me in before they ripped out my heart. They’re available online through the Lightspeed Magazine web site. Go check them out along with all of the other breathtaking stories available.
What was your favorite sci-fi title of the past year?