As the year draws to a close I thought I’d highlight some of the delights I’ve read in the SF genre this year.
Two of the best books I’ve read this year are Spook Country by William Gibson and The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon but as they are generally considered mainstream rather than SF, I’ve left them out of my top five. Gibson in particular brings the boundaries between the present and the future closer together than ever before.
Top Five for 2007:
5. Joel Shepherd – Breakaway/Killswitch (books 2 + 3 of the Casssandra Kresnov trilogy) – Pyr have brought over this extremely good trilogy from Australia and the combination of insightful interstellar politics, kickass action and Battlestar Galactica-esque discussion of what it means to be human make these books following android Cassandra Kresnov a real hit.
4. Alastair Reynolds – The Prefect A real step up for Reynolds comapred to his previous work, with a much more sympathetic protagonist and a racy police-thriller plot. The worldbuilding in each of the space stations along the Glitter Band and the crisis that develops are intriguing and engaging.
3. Ian McDonald – Brasyl Three plotlines across three times in Brazil’s past, present and future interconnect with dizzying vision and skill. In addition to some incredibly cool future tech and scientific ideas, McDonald continues his trend of highlighting a country less explored in SF, really giving the reader a feel for the wonderfully different world of South America.
2. Charles Stross – Halting State Stross has many pans in the fire but this is easily my favourite of his novels so far. The extrapolation of today’s MMOs and online games into a complex near future of virtual realities and spy networks is breathtaking and the humour helps the thriller aspects tick along nicely. This year’s Rudy Rucker in the ‘most likely to happen’ category.
1. Richard Morgan – Thirteen (or Black Man in Europe) Morgan really stepped it up a notch with his fifth novel. The near-future Earth is brilliantly done and the moral ambiguities of the genetically altered hero and the world’s politics resonate strongly with current events. The action is frenetic and the plotline zips along but the worldbuilding of 90 years from now is what made me love this novel.
A special mention to the anthology edited by Lou Anders – Fast Forward #1. It’s really encouraging to see a broad remit anthology featuring superb new stories from big authors, rather than reprints and best of the year collections. John Joseph Adams’ Wastelands is also excellent. I’m sure I’ve missed a few books – what were your highlights of 2007?