In a lot of ways, 2013 has been a fairly good year for debut novels, as much as 2012 was. There have been some really fantastic releases, and they have all continued an unofficial tradition of doing something different with the genres that they have been set in. I can say for certain that of all the debut novels I read this year, none of them have been quite what I expected. Some of these novels have been really, really good while a small handful have been disappointing.
I put together a list at the end of last year in which I ran through my top picks of all the debuts I’d read, and I found the experience to be quite rewarding, and a great help in figuring out just why these novels were so good beyond just writing up the reviews.
All in all, of the 20 debut novels I wanted to read this year as per my list (link), I read 18 of them. Here are the 8 books I consider to be the best of the bunch.
Tags: 2013 Debuts, 2013 Release, A Conspiracy of Alchemists, Alchemy, Aliens, Angry Robot, Angry Robot Books, Best Debuts, Between Two Thorns, Black Science, Brian McClellan, Chronicles of Light and Shadow, Debut Authors, Del Rey, Del Rey Books, Dire Earth Cycle, Fae, Fantasy, Gemsigns, Genetic Engineering, Gunpowder Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Irish Mythology, Jason M. Hough, Jo Fletcher Books, Julianna Scott, Liesel Schwarz, London, magic, Michael Martinez, Near Future, Nightshade Books, No Return, Noir, Orbit Books, Powder Mage, Promise of Blood, Random House, Random House Books, Regency Fantasy, science fantasy, Science Fiction, Skyhorse Publishing, Space Elevator, Space Opera, Split Worlds, Steampunk, Steampunk Fantasy, Stephanie Saulter, Strange Chemistry, Strange Chemistry Books, The Daedalus Incident, The Darwin Elevator, The Holders, Urban Fantasy, Zachary Jernigan
For two years now, my goal has been to read as many different kinds of novels as I can. I’ve tried out several different genres/subgenres that I normally would not, and the experience has helped me in becoming a better reader and a reviewer. Being a prolific reader and reviewer is all about diversity, in all its different forms. And that’s what I’ve come to value most.
Still, its not that easy, dealing with the diversity, or just the sheer volume of all the reading. When I put together the 2013 list of my most anticipated books (link), I intended to read all of them. But sadly that never happened and somewhere along the way I just lost track. The 2013 list had 51 books on it. The 2014 list has 41 books on it. A much more manageable number I dare say.
We’ll see how the year pans out and whether or not I will indeed be able to get through all them. I remain hopeful as ever. And there will be some more lists going up in the next couple weeks, so stay tuned for those.
Tags: 2014 Debut, 2014 Reading Challenge, 2014 Release, A Darkling Sea, Abaddon Books, Age of Monsters, Age of Shiva, Alex Bledsoe, Alternate History, Amalie Howard, Amish Tripathi, Andy Remic, Angry Robot Books, Anna Kashina, Anne Bishop, ®Evolution, Binary, Black Dawn, Black Jewels Trilogy, Black Library, Black Plague, Blades of the Old Empire, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, Brian McClellan, Brian Staveley, C. L. Werner, Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne, Daedalus, Daughter of the Blood, Dave Hutchinson, David Edison, Debut Author, Dirty Magic, Eddie LaCrosse, Emilie, Emilie and the Sky World, Epic Fantasy, Eric Brown, Europe In Autumn, Evie Manieri, Fantasy, Fortune's Blight, Gaie Sebold, Gareth Powell, Gav Thorpe, Gotrek & Felix, Graham Edwards, Graham McNeill, He Drank And Saw The Spider, Heaven's Queen, Heirs of a Demon King, Hindu Mythology, Historical Fiction, Hive Monkey, Honor's Knight, Horus Heresy, James L. Cambias, james lovegrove, Jani and The Greater Game, Jaye Wells, Joseph D’Lacey, Josh Reynolds, Julianna Scott, Kaiju Rising, Karen Lord, Last God Standing, Laura Lam, Legacy of Caliban, Majat Code, Marianne de Pierres, Martha Wells, Master of Sanctity, Mentats of Dune, Michael Boatman, Michael J. Martinez, Most Anticipated Books, Mystery, Mythology, Nick Kyme, Night Shade Books, Orbit Books, Pantomime, Paradox, Peacemaker, Powder Mage, Prospero's War, Rachel Bach, Ramona Wheeler, Rebirth, Religion, Salamanders, Sarah Cawkwell, Science Fiction, Shadowplay, Shanghai Sparrow, Shattered Kingdoms, Skyhorse Publishing, Space Opera, Steampunk, Steampunk Fantasy, Stephanie Saulter, Strange Chemistry, Talus and the Frozen King, The Almost Girl, The Book of The Crowman, The Crimson Campaign, The Doom of Dragonback, The Emperor's Blade, The Enceladus Crisis, The Galaxy Game, The Iron Wolves, The Oath of The Vayaputras, The Pilgrims, The Rage of Kings, The Seers, The Serpent Queen, The Shiva Trilogy, The Waking Engine, Three Princes, Thriller, Time of Legends, Tor Books (Macmillan), Uprising, Urban Fantasy, Vengeful Spirit, Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, Warhammer Fantasy, Will Elliott, Wolf of Sigmar, World of Fire
Earlier this month I posted two surveys on my blog. Sort-of surveys at any rate. You can find the one about books here and the one about comics here. I really had a lot of fun doing those, and I thought it would be fun to doing them again, but with a cool twist that I hope sounds as inspired to you as it does me. Or maybe not.
I spent the last 3 hours thinking of some kind of a blogpost to write. There are some ideas I had but nothing I could put up today, which was the whole point really. So yeah, this is going to follow the same meta layout as the other surveys. I’m not limiting this survey to just novelists, I’m including comics writers as well.
Hope you enjoy! And do share your thoughts in the comments!
Tags: Amanda Conner, Anne Lyle, Arvid Nelson, Book Lists, Book News, Books, Bradley P. Beaulieu, Brian T. McClellan, Brian Wood, C. L. Werner, Chuck Dixon, Comics, Comics News, Courtney Schafer, Darwyn Cooke, David Annandale, David Guymer, Ed Brubaker, Editorial, Emma Newman, Epic Fantasy, Fantasy, Francis Manapul, Frank Herbert, Frank Tieri, Gail Simone, Gav Thorpe, Geoff Johns, Helen Lowe, Iain M. Banks, James Robinson, Jason Aaron, Jean Johnson, Kate Elliott, Kyle Higgins, Larry Hama, Lou Morgan, Mateus Santolouco, Matt Forbeck, Mike Costa, Nathan Long, Near-Future SF, News, Nick Kyme, Paul S. Kemp, Peter Milligan, Rachel Aaron, Rob Sanders, Ron Marz, Sarah Cawkwell, Science Fiction, Scott Snyder, Selso Xisto, Space Opera, Stephanie Saulter, Teresa Frohock, Tom Sniegoski, Troy Denning, Urban Fantasy, Ursula K. LeGuin, Wesley Chu, William King, Zachary Jernigan
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 Debuts, 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, Best of the Best, Bill Willingham, Birds of Prey, Black Canary, Black Library, Book Lists, Brandon Sanderson, Brian McClellan, Brian Wood, 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, 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, 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, Judge Dredd: Trapped on Titan, 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, 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 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, 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, Wonder Woman: Odyssey Vol. 1, 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, 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.
The last two weeks have been spent in a mad scramble to get people on board for the next phase of Names: A New Perspective. I really should have gotten this done a month ago, but I kept getting sidetracked by other things (Game of Thrones, finishing edits on Project Dharmayoddha, reading a ton of graphic novels, catching up on my monthly reading, etc), that it just didn’t happen on time.
But, I have the new schedule done and all worked out, and my thanks to everyone who has agreed to participate. The last few guest posts that have gone up have not been mentioned in any of the schedules, since I was mostly just winging it all, but now everything is set for the most part. This is the schedule that I will be referring to in the coming weeks, and I will also be expanding on this one as I contact yet more authors and bring them on board.
Here they are:
Tags: Adrian Tchaikovsky, Amy McCulloch, Andy Smillie, Angel Exterminatus, Beneath The Flesh, Bruce Cordell, Bryony Pearce, C. L. Werner, Christian Schoon, Cold Magic, DAW Books, Deathwatch, Debut Authors Guest Series, Django Wexler, Dragonfly Falling, E. J. Swift, Elizabeth Bear, Empire In Black and Gold, Epic Fantasy, Evie Manieri, Fantasy, Flesh of Cretacia, Forgotten Realms, Francis Knight, Generation V, Gini Koch, Graham McNeill, Guest Posts, Horus Heresy, James Maxey, Jean Johnson, Joe Parrino, John C. Scott, Kate Elliott, King's Dragon, M L Brennan, Names, Names A New Perspective, Nathan Long, Orbit Books, Patrick Hester, Priests of Mars, Robbie MacNiven, Science Fiction, Scott Lynch, Shadows of the Apt, Solaris Books, Space Opera, Spinner of Lies, Stephanie Saulter, Steve Parker, Sword of the Gods, Tau, The meaning of Names, The Patient Hunter, The Thousand Names, The Weight of Souls, Urban Fantasy, Warhammer 40000, Wizards of the Coast, Young Adult
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, Androids, Angry Robot Books, Baneblade, Before The Fall, Ben Bova, Ben Counter, Between Two Thorns, Billy Fox, Binding, Black Feathers, Black Library, Blighted Empire, 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, Egil and Nix, Eliza Crewe, Elspeth Cooper, Emillie and The Hollow World, Emma Newman, Epic Fantasy, Evie Manieri, Fade To Black, Fantasy, Far Future, Farside, Fortune's Pawn, Francis Knight, Gemsigns, Gotrek & Felix, Guy Haley, Heroic Fantasy, Hot Blooded, Ian Irvine, Imperial Guard, Jessica McClain, Jo Fletcher Books, Joseph D’Lacey, Josh Reynolds, Julianna Scott, Lee Collins, Linda Stasi, M. C. Planck, Mark Teppo, Marked, Martha Wells, Michael J. Martinez, Michael J. Sullivan, Moon Saga, Near Future, Nightshade Books, No Return, Orbit Books, Paul S. Kemp, Paul Tobin, Playing Tyler, Powder Mage, Promise of Blood, Rachel Aaron, Rebellion, Richard Lee Byers, Riyria Chronicles, Road of Skulls, Robots, Rojan Dizon, Science Fiction, She Returns From War, Space Marine Battles, Space Opera, Space Wolves, Split Worlds, Steampunk, Stephanie Saulter, Sword and Sorcery, 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 Sixth Station, Tor Books, Trinity Rising, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Van Horstmann, Warhammer, Warhammer Heroes, Werewolves, Wesley Chu, Wild Hunt, Zachary Jernigan, Zenn Scarlett