My favorite books that I read in the calendar year 2013.
2013 was a relatively productive year. Although I don’t reach the reading speed of, say, Sarah Chorn, I managed to read 70 books, plus a small slate of audiobooks, and some novellas. I still do miss riding the bus to work and really having a decent book count.
Once again, statistics don’t lie (Thank you, Jamie Todd Rubin), and despite my self-perception to the contrary, I appear to read Fantasy at a 2:1 ratio over Science Fiction these days. I would have thought it was much closer to parity.
Anyway, Here Goes.
NB: I disqualified books that won in one category from winning in another.
Favorite Book You (Probably) Haven’t Read Yet.
Bear, Elizabeth: Steles of the Sky
You are (with some notable exceptions) are exceedingly unlikely to have read this already, since I got a look at it even before ARCs officially went out. Bear sticks the landing on her Eternal Sky Trilogy. I am more than satisfied with the resolution. I’d bet money you are going to agree with me.
Favorite Trilogy I read in one Year:
Newman, Emma: The Split Worlds Series (Between Two Thorns, Any Other Name, All is Fair)
I was absolutely charmed by both author and the novels. A Changeling the Dreaming RPG player who creates a intricate web of Fae, Fae touched, sorcerers, Elemental Courts all behind the scenes of our modern world? Yes, please. The writing holds up to the promise of the premise, and although there is clearly more to the stories of the characters, a complete story is told in three volumes.
Favorite Space Opera
Corey, James S.A. Abaddon’s Gate
James S.A. Corey, in the personages of Daniel Abraham (who I read a f*ckton of) and Ty Franck, write what looks like retro-future SF with modern sensibilities. That is in full flower in this third novel, with strong female characters front and center, a big dumb object, a chase across spaceships and much, much more. The news that there is going to be several more novels in this universe makes me squee.
Favorite SF [Novel] Debut:
Leckie, Ann: Ancillary Justice
Ann Leckie has written a number of stories, good stories, but with her first novel, Ancillary Justice, Leckie has upped and amped up her game. Space Opera with a touch of Delany and Banks, rich detailed writing that puts you there, and does interesting sociological things. While I’ve been agonizing on what else to include, Ancillary Justice is certain to go on my Hugo ballot.
Favorite Fantasy Novel Debut:
McClellan, Brian: Promise of Blood
This was tough. 2013 wasn’t the year I read fourteen debut novels, but I did read some very good ones. My heart finally went for this flintlock fantasy at my utter disappointment at the news that the sequel’s publication is being moved from February to July 2014. None of the other debut fantasy novels’ sequels I read being pushed back like that would cause quite the same reaction (although some might come close).
Favorite End of a Trilogy:
Elliott, Kate: Cold Steel
Lawrence, Mark: Emperor of Thorns
In the end I couldn’t choose between Kate Elliott’s fine Spiritwalker capstone with COLD STEEL and Mark Lawrence’s EMPEROR OF THORNS. Kate is an accomplished writer who sticks the landing. Lawrence is a newcomer who has made a splash quickly and rightly so.
Favorite Short Fiction Collection or Anthology:
Andreadis, Athena: The Other Half of the Sky
An anthology of original fiction focusing on women characters? Yes, please. There are some excellent stories, here, even beyond the usual suspects (including Aliette de Bodard, Jack McDevitt, and Joan Slonczewski). It delivers on its theme and the stories are entertaining. Can’t ask for more!
I have to decline to answer this category, since I have given the exclusive rights to this answer, fittingly in an audio clip, to SFF Audio. Stay tuned!
Favorite Non Fiction:
Wickham, Chris: The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages 400-1000
I read some non fiction this year as a way to recharge, refresh and educate myself. This thick work on the post-Roman Empire period in Western Europe taught me a lot and I recommend it to everyone remotely interested in the subject.
And that was my 2013. On to 2014!