So far this year, I’ve seen a number of posts listing the best books of the past decade. For example, the Boston Public Library has a top ten fantasy novels and a top ten sci-fi novels list, and Adri and Joe list their best books at Nerds of the Feather. And of course, the definition of best varies enormously from site to site and writer to writer. The point, though, is to talk about books. 🙂
Here’s my take on the “best of” list – the most memorable stories of the past ten years. And I’ll tell you upfront that I’m going to cheat: instead of listing a dozen or so monographs, I’m including groups of books when appropriate.
Katherine Addison: The Goblin Emperor. The way an abused minor relative dismissed to the edges of the realm claims the throne and becomes an emperor who believes in himself is beautifully described.
Becky Chambers: ALL of it! The Long Way to a Small and Angry Planet; A Closed and Common Orbit; Record of a Spaceborn Few; To Be Taught, If Fortunate. I just LOVE her humanity-affirming style.
Thoraiya Dyer: Titan’s Forest series (so far I own Crossroads of Canopy and Echoes of Understorey). I don’t really care about the people, but the forest is so astounding it might as well be a major character in the story! (Note to self: Get Tides of the Titans.)
Jim C. Hines: Libriomancer. I wasn’t quite as grabbed by the sequels, but this one contains a scene so out of this world (literally!) that it got me to sit bolt upright in my armchair (when Isaac took the automaton to the moon).
N.K. Jemisin: The Killing Moon and The Shadowed Sun. I had heard good things about TKM long before picking it up; I kept resisting it because of the title – at the time I was so, so, SO tired of dystopias and violence in my fiction. I wish I could remember why I decided to pick it up, though; whatever it was, I’m thankful, for Jemisin immediately became by favorite living author.
Mary Robinette Kowal: The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky. These surprised me, since I really am not interested in 1950s and 60s. At all!
Yoon Ha Lee‘s Machineries of the Empire series (Ninefox Gambit, Raven Stratagem and Revenant Gun) is so different from anything I’ve read before. I’m lagging behind in my reading, though, and haven’t yet gotten to the third book. Bad me! (Note to self: Check whether I already bought it or not!)
Leena Likitalo‘s historical fantasy duology The Five Daughters of the Moon and The Sisters of the Crescent Empress were loosely inspired by a setting that I find completely uninteresting (end of the Romanov family and revolution in Russia), but the books proved I should keep an open mind.
Karin Lowachee: Warchild. Shifting alliances and survival story extraordinaire. Without gore.
Emma Newman‘s Planetfall series: Planetfall, After Atlas, Before Mars and Atlas Alone. Which author has the gumption to destroy a planet and stay around to see what it does to people?
Nnedi Okorafor: Who Fears Death. It was part of my 21 Authors reading project, and even though I like the Binti trilogy more, there’s no denying that WFD has serious staying power.
Mike Pohjola: Ihmisen poika. Autobiographical fiction that also includes some of the history of introducing larping to Finland. Note: Mike is a friend, and there’s also a reference to me, well-veiled but there. 🙂
Martha Wells‘s Murderbot diaries (so far published are All Systems Red, Artificial Condition, Rogue Protocol and Exit Strategy, with full-length novel Network Effect forthcoming this year). The series is all-round excellent, but Murderbot really is the best grumpy, conscientious, self-preservation-centered protagonist there is. (Note to self: Must. Read. Again. Soon!)
Also, I unfortunately had to skip a couple of books like A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter by William Deresiewicz or Kelley Eskridge’s Solitaire, either because they aren’t novels or I came to them too late.
What would you pick and why?