While I’m working on a few reviews, I wanted to post this awesome link to all the best 2013 science fiction and fantasy novels coming out in 2013.
My husband sent me this link, and the first thing that struck me about this list was how many of my favorite authors AND my husband’s favorite authors are included. And we don’t share much in our reading tastes. Mine: Diana Gabaldon, Kate Atkinson, Stephen King, Gail Carriger, Neil Gaiman, Paulo Bacigalupi, Terry Pratchett, and Brandon Sanderson. His: Charles Stross, Peter Hamilton, James A. Corey. We both like Robert Sawyer, John Scalzi, and J.R.R. Tolkien (yes, new Tolkien coming out!).
But what really struck me about the list is how gender-neutral most of it seems. My husband reads really “male” science fiction (he calls it “hard” science fiction, tee hee). I like science fiction that’s more plot, less science, like Ray Bradbury or the recent anthology I read, Diverse Energies. I’m struggling with the term “gender-neutral”, which seems a horribly dry way to discuss books, but what I mean are books that aren’t girly and not screamingly-male.
For example: urban fantasy or steampunk usually = girly.
Space opera = only guys are reading this stuff.
But look at most of the books on the list and you tell me where the categories fall. You can’t. Sure, I’m judging mainly by the covers, but let’s face it, science fiction and fantasy covers are usually about as gender-specific as you get in the world of fiction. And even though I hardly read books with physical covers any more, covers still determine who buys what book.
For a collection of science fiction and fantasy to look this varied says a lot about the changing world of science fiction and fantasy. I see boundaries being mixed, borders being crossed. I’m happy to see writers like Stephen King and Diana Gabaldon being included in science fiction and fantasy rather than segregated in the back of the store as horror and romance. I see new ideas about what is science fiction and fantasy, and women writers emerging as more equal in the field.
Granted, I’m seeing a lot from just a list. And I’m sure there’s room for criticism: too many series books? Too much YA? Too many white authors? What do you think?
Amidst all the greatness on this list, there are also tons of authors I’ve never heard of and can’t wait to try out. So thanks to the husband not only for a fantastic reading list but for turning me on to io9, a really cool website (and while you’re there, you have to check out this awesomeness).
Thanks for the link to the post! I found several interesting books that I hadn’t run across yet. And they all seemed to have really pretty covers. 🙂
Soooo many books I want to read. #1 on the list Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell. I’m also fascinated with Life After Life!
I’ve heard so many good things about Swamplandia, I was surprised to see Karen Russell on this list but intrigued. And I love Kate Atkinson! Another surprise. I like the idea that some of these are cross-over writers.
Oh dear…that’s my Amazon wishlist up by a fair few! I’m really looking forward to Gail Carriger’s new series – I loved the Parasol Protectorate series so I’m looking forward to seeing where this new one goes. I’ve never read any Neil Gaiman or Paulo Bacigalupi but I do have a book by each (Neverwhere and The Windup Girl), which I really do want to get to.
I like your points about covers – I remember when I was younger and I wanted to read more fantasy but was too embarrassed to be seen carrying around Maybe part of why they have become less gender-orientated is because fantasy is becoming “cool”? Or maybe that’s because of the types of sites that I gravitate to online. In the UK, though, there’s definitely a difference in the location and layout of science fiction and fantasy sections in bookshops – they used to be sort of tucked away but now they feel a lot more accessible and welcoming. Changes for the better, definitely!
Thanks for the comment! I’ve definitely felt embarrassed by the covers of some books, especially urban fantasy. I once recommended Patricia Briggs’ Moon Called to some co-workers and they looked at the cover and said no thanks. Of course now with everyone reading Shades of Grey on the bus it’s hard to care too much. I just thought it was really cool that most of these books don’t look like traditional fantasy or sci fi.
Have you seen Sword & Laser on You Tube? They do a nice long interview with Carriger about the new series. Lots of other good stuff too.