The OF Blog: Countdown to Christmas: Shortlist of my choices for Best of 2007

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Countdown to Christmas: Shortlist of my choices for Best of 2007

I decided to forego the usual list-post of books that I thought were the best of 2007 and instead do a sort of "countdown." Starting on December 14 and going up to Christmas Day itself, I plan on discussing (and in some cases, reviewing in much more detail than I did beforehand, so expect a few quotes and minor "spoilers") the merits of each of the books below. Then on New Year's Eve, I'll list how I ranked them, as well as an "Honorable Mention" for books that were considered but didn't make the list. Also, on my non-genre blog, Vaguely Borgesian, I'll have a separate post for books that were released earlier than 2007 as well as my thoughts on the best non-genre books that I read/re-read this year.

So, here are the twelve contenders to date (note, there'll be a handful of 2007 (US) releases that I have yet to read by this time, so those will not be eligible), in no particular order:

1. Michael Cisco, The Traitor

2. Shaun Tan, The Arrival

3. Gene Wolfe, Pirate Freedom

4. M. John Harrison, Nova Swing

5. Sarah Monette, The Mirador

6. Catherynne M. Valente, The Orphan's Tale: In the Cities of Coin and Spice

7. Lucius Shepard, Softspoken

8. Richard K. Morgan, Thirteen/Black Man

9. Nalo Hopkinson, The New Moon's Arms

10. Dan Simmons, The Terror

11. Emma Bull, Territory

12. Andrzej Sapkowski, The Last Wish

Before I forget, there will be other sections in the 12/31 post devoted to novellas, story collections, and related works. Hopefully this will spark some interest (and some argument) in certain blog circles!


Neth said...

Even though I know your tastes run a bit askew from many of the people frequenting genre message boards, your list looks very good. The sad part is that I've only read one of those 12 and I don't even have the other 11 on The Stack yet. Of course if the usual volume of gift cards comes for Christmas/b-day, then I'll remedy this a bit.

Larry Nolen said...

Only one? I would have thought you would have had the Morgan one at least to go with the Sapkowski. But on the bright side, more excellent books to discover, no? :D

Anonymous said...

Good job, you just pulled my Christmas shopping list together. Thanks a lot, I knew I could rely on you to do it. Hehe. ;-)

Larry Nolen said...

Well, if it leads to more buys for these authors, the better. Thing is, a lot of what I prefer is not going to be liked by many who read this blog. Then again, I think I have a schizophrenic audience at times :P

Anonymous said...

Well, I think I know enough of your taste to judge whether these novels will be enjoyable for me, plus I will compare your list with the Amazon lists and the list Jay pulled together some time ago. Based on that I will purchase the ones that seem to be the most interesting. At the very least I am starting to enjoy reading a Gene Wolfe work more and more every page, and you recommended him so that counts for something.

Speaking of which, do I need to have read previous works written by M John Harrison for example? Is this novel a good starting point (have Viroconium lying around somewhere as well)? The Hopkinson, Simmons, Bull and Sapkowski ones seem fascinating read too. Ridiculious it is, really, the sheer volume of must reads out there. I wish I read as fast as you do. ;)

Larry Nolen said...

With MJH, he rarely writes anything that could remotely be called a "sequel," but Nova Swing is vaguely set in the same universe as his 2002 book, Light, so perhaps you might want to read that book first. But before doing that, I'd suggest a more "accessible" work, such as The Course of the Heart or Signs of Life. They give you a sense of his style within the context of a "familiar" setting.

Glad you are enjoying the Wolfe - I know I'm over a week behind in my reviews, but I decided I wanted to read three of his "Midwestern" novels first, so I could review them as a unit, before returning to review the Long Sun, Short Sun, and Wizard-Knight series, not to mention there'll be another review of three collections of his coming out soon. But first, I want to complete There are Doors this evening and then the final story collection I have left to be read, Strange Travelers.

As for reading speed, ever since I was young, I've been able to see/read/process multiple lines at the same time, similar to how people recognize dozens of objects in a room. Very hard, if not impossible, to teach that to another, alas.

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