I did two “Best of the…” lists last year, one for the half-year from January to June, and the other for the half-year from July to December. The lists proved to be quite popular, and I was recently asked if I was going to be doing any more. To which I said yes. I like putting together lists like this. It gives me a chance to reflect a bit on all the good stuff I’ve been reading in novels and comics, or listening to in terms of audiobooks, audio dramas and so on.
You can check out my top-of-the-month lists on my Reading Awards page and this list is both an extension, and a continuation of what goes on there.
Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!
Tags: 2000AD, 2013 Debut, 2013 Reading Challenge, Ace/Roc Books, Ack-Ack Macaque, Alternate Reality, An Officer's Duty, Angry Robot Books, Aquaman, ARGUS, Aryel Morningstar, Atlantis, Audio Drama, Audiobook, Audios, Bane, Barbara Gordon, Batgirl, Batgirl #21, Batgirl Vol 3: Death of the Family, Batman #21, Before Watchmen, Ben Counter, Berkley Books, Best of the Best, Bill Willingham, Birds of Prey, Black Canary, Black Library, Book Lists, Brandon Sanderson, Brian McClellan, Brian Wood, Broken Batt, Captain America, Cavan Scott, Chuck Dixon, Cobra, Comics, Cora Oglesby, Covert Ops, Crime, Crossover events, Curse of the Everliving, Dark Horse Comics, Darth Vader, Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison, Darwyn Cooke, David Annandale, David Bishop, David Guymer, DC Comics, Death of the Family, Doug Moench, Dragons, Dwarfs, Dynamite Entertainment, Earth 2, Earth 2 Annual 2013, Ed Brubaker, Eli Monpress, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Evil Monkeys, Fables, Fables Vol 2: Animal Farm, Fantasy, Felix, Female Protagonist, Female Superheroes, Field Marshal Tamas, For King and Country, G.I.Joe, Gail Simone, Games Workshop, Gareth Powell, Gathering of the Lost, Gemsigns, Geoff Johns, Gods, Gotrek, Gotrek & Felix, Graphic Novels, Greek Mythology, Green Lantern, Green Lantern #20, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: Rebirth, Greg Rucka, Gunpowder Fantasy, Haden Blackman, Hal Jordan, Harper Voyager, Heist, Helen Lowe, Heroic Fantasy, High Elves, Historical Fiction, Horror, Huntress, Ia, IDW Publishing, Iron Hands, J. Michael Straczynski, James Robinson, Jason Aaron, Jean Johnson, Jo Fletcher Books, Joe Hill, Joker, Jonathan Clements, Josh Reynolds, Judge Dredd, Justice League, Justice League of America, Justice League of America's Vibe, Kevin J. Anderson, Knightfall, Lee Collins, Legend of Eli Monpress, Leverage The Con Job, Locke & Key, Logan, Luke Skywalker, magic, Malian, Marvel Comics, Marvel Now, Mateus Santolouco, Matt Forbeck, Minutemen, Minutemen #6, Mistborn, Mythology, Nathan Ford, New 52, Nick Kyme, Norse Mythology, Novels, Odyssey Vol 1, Orbit Books, Powder Mage, Princess Leia, Promise of Blood, Rachel Aaron, Road of Skulls, Scarlett, Science Fiction, Scott Snyder, Sensei and Student, She Returns From War, SHIELD, Snake Eyes, Solaris Books, Sorcerer, Space Opera, Special Forces, Spirit Rebellion, Star Wars, Star Wars #6, Steampunk, Stephanie Saulter, Sterling Gates, Superheroes, Superman, Tabletop Tie-In, Tantor Media, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Brotherhood, The Final Empire, The Great Betrayal, The Last Days of Krypton, The Oracle, The Secret History of the Foot Clan, Theirs Not To Reason Why, Thieves, Thor, Thor: God of Thunder, Thor: God of Thunder #9, Time of Legends, Tom Sniegoski, Tor Books, Trapped on TItan, TV Show Tie-in, Urban Fantasy, Vampirella Strikes, Vampires, Van Horstmann, Veritas Ferrum, Vibe, Wall of Night, War Crimes, War of Vengeance, Warhammer, Warhammer Fantasy, Warhammer Heroes, Watchmen, Welcome to Lovecraft, Western, Winter Soldier, Wolverine, Women in SFF, Wonder Woman, Wrath of the First Lantern, X-Men, X-Men #1, X-Women, Year Zero
One question that is being asked by many in the wake of the recent SFWA controversy, and all the commentary it has spawned in various places about misogyny and sexism within the publishing industry is: “If I want to read more books by female authors, where do I start?”
Often times, I think it is rather disheartening to hear such a question. Women have been writing books for a long, long time. And for people to not even be aware of that, or for that matter, be able to perform a basic google search about who are the big names right now? Doesn’t speak so well for us as a community. Speaking of the industry in the broadest sense, we are all very close-ranked, and to break out of the apparent restrictions is not easy. Sure its “easy” to get published as a woman, but to receive recognition? That’s an uphill battle.
It all comes down to respect. And when it comes to respect within the publishing industry (or even just in general in daily life), never ever use the word “political correctness”. That’s a dirty word to use, and it betrays a lack of ability to engage, and wilful dismissal of a very serious and ongoing issue that affects us all. Just look at the entire entertainment industry as a whole, whether its novels or comics or movies or even news.
In such a state, it is absolutely essential that we willingly look to broaden our horizons. We should take chances and read outside of our comfort zones, because otherwise we don’t challenge ourselves and we just propagate the “like begets like” scenario and we cannot grow as an individual.
Which is what this editorial, the third in my Publishing and Marketing series, is about: stepping out of your comfort zone. If you’ve never read a book by a female author before, then my suggestions herein are an excellent place to start.
Tags: 2012 Reading Challenge, 2013 Reading Challenge, A Soldier's Duty, Alchemist of Souls, Aliette de Bodard, Amanda Carlson, Angry Robot, Angry Robot Books, Animorphs, Anne Lyle, Between Two Thorns, Black Library, Blood and Feathers, Book Lists, Brimstone Angels, Challenges, Charlotte Bronte, Cold Magic, Dangerous Waters, Daughter of the Empire, DAW Books, Dragonlance Chronicles, Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Editorial, Elizabeth Gaskell, Emilie & The Hollow World, Emma Newman, Enid Blyton, Erin M. Evans, Fantasy, Female Authors, Full Blooded, Gemsigns, Hadrumal Crisis novel, Heir of Night, Helen Lowe, Jane Eyre, Janny Wurts, Jean Johnson, Jo Fletcher Books, Julianna Scott, Juliet E. McKenna, K. A. Applegate, Kate Elliott, Katy Stauber, Literature, Lou Morgan, Margaret Weis, Marketing, Marsheila Rockwell, Martha Wells, Miserere, Night Shade Books, North & South, Obsidian & Blood, Orbit Books, Penguin Books, Publishing, Publishing & Marketing, Sarah Cawkwell, Science Fiction, Self-published, Shard Axe, Skein of Shadows, Solaris Books, Spin The Sky, Spiritwalker, Stephanie Saulter, Strange Chemistry, Teresa Frohock, The Famous Five, The Gildar Rift, The Holders, Theirs Not To Reason Why, Urban Fantasy, Wizards of the Coast, Women in SFF
Joining me on the blog today for Names: A New Perspective is debut author Stephanie Saulter. Her first book, Gemsigns, is now available from Jo Fletcher Books and from what I’ve read of it so far, it is shaping up rather nicely. A near-but-distant future Earth where mega-corporations have created tens of thousands (perhaps more) of bioengineered human slaves who have recently been given their freedom? Behind-the-scenes industrial politics and conspiracies to control these slaves even as they form a rebellion against the oppression? Sounds pretty fantastic to me and so far, about 70 pages in, Stephanie has definitely maintained my interest in the book. Looking forward to the rest of it! Here’s what Stephanie has to say on the topic of names, how she came up with the naming conventions, and what they all mean.
Really excited to welcome today’s guest Evie Manieri for Names: A New Perspective, author of Blood’s Pride, released last year in August through Jo Fletcher Books and in February this year by Tor. I read the book earlier this year, and I thought it was a pretty good start to what promises to be an excellent series (my review). It certainly is a different and innovate approach to epic fantasy, and I can’t wait to read the sequel, Fortune’s Blight. The naming conventions used by Evie in Blood’s Pride are really interesting, and in this guest post she goes into some detail about them.
With regards reading, 2012 was a fantastic year for me. It was the year that I stepped out of my comfort zone and read in genres that I normally would not read, such as urban fantasy (involving angels, vampires, werewolves etc) and historical fiction. It was also the year that I read more than the traditional fantasy, and tie-in fantasy at that. My experiments seem to have mostly been successful as I’ve started to really like reading these kind of books.
My goal for this year is to continue on that same path and read as widely as I can. Which is why this massive list is so huge in scope, with tons of variety. I went through the catalogues for most of these publishers and picked out things I liked,and which caught my eye. Getting through the entire list this year will probably not happen, but then again, never say never!
Tags: 2013 Most Anticipated, A Discourse in Steel, A. E. Rought, Adam Christopher, Aliens, Amanda Carlson, Amish, Androids, Angry Robot Books, Baneblade, Before The Fall, Ben Bova, Ben Counter, Between Two Thorns, Billy Fox, Binding, Black Feathers, Black Library, Blighted Empire, Blind God's Bluff, Blood of Asaheim, Blood's Pride, Brian McClellan, Broken, C. L. Werner, Carol Wolf, Cassandra Rose Clarke, Cat Adams, Chris Wraight, Christian Schoon, Chuck Wendig, Cora Oglesby, Cracked, David Annandale, David Guymer, Earth Thirst, Egil and Nix, Eliza Crewe, Elspeth Cooper, Emillie and The Hollow World, Emma Newman, Epic Fantasy, Eve of Darkness, Everness, Evie Manieri, Fade To Black, Fantasy, Far Future, Farside, Fortune's Pawn, Francis Knight, Gail Z. Martin, Gemsigns, Gotrek & Felix, Guy Haley, Heroic Fantasy, Hot Blooded, Ian Irvine, Ian McDonald, Ice Forged, Imperial Guard, Jessica McClain, Jo Fletcher Books, John R. Fultz, Joseph D’Lacey, Josh Reynolds, Julianna Scott, Lee Collins, Linda Stasi, M. C. Planck, Mark Teppo, Marked, Martha Wells, Michael Flynn, Michael J. Martinez, Michael J. Sullivan, Moon Saga, Near Future, Nightshade Books, No Return, Orbit Books, Paul S. Kemp, Paul Tobin, Peter Higgins, Pimm and Skye, Planesrunner, Playing Tyler, Powder Mage, Prepare To Die, Promise of Blood, Rachel Aaron, Rebellion, Richard Lee Byers, Riyria Chronicles, Road of Skulls, Robots, Rod Belcher, Rojan Dizon, S. J. Day, Science Fiction, Seven Kings, She Returns From War, Space Marine Battles, Space Opera, Space Wolves, Split Worlds, Steampunk, Stephanie Saulter, Sword and Sorcery, T. Aaron Payton, T. L. Costa, The Age Atomic, The Black Plague, The Blue Blazes, The Constantine Affliction, The Crown Tower, The Curse of the Everliving, The Daedalus Incident, The Death of Antagonis, The Eldritch Conspiracy, The Holders, The Immortals of Meluha, The Kassa Gambit, The Lives of Tao, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, The Secret of the Nagas, The Six-Gun Tarot, The Sixth Station, The Wreck of The River of Stars, Tor Books, Trinity Rising, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Van Horstmann, Warhammer, Warhammer Heroes, Werewolves, Wesley Chu, Wild Hunt, Wolfhound Century, Zachary Jernigan, Zenn Scarlett
As most people who follow my reviews know, I rarely do negative reviews. Part of it is my experience with doing negative reviews, and another is that I consider myself to be somewhat easy to impress (more on all that here). Another part is that I do negative reviews when I feel strongly about the work in question. If a book, for me, is bad, then that means that I consider it to be pretty terrible. Especially when I have some high expectations of it. One such novel was The Emperor’s Knife, the 2011 debut by Mazarkis Williams. Now, I read the novel way back early in the year and this review is somewhat from memory, so if I get details wrong, I do apologize.