The First of Many

Best of the year lists, that is. Publisher’s Weekly says the best genre books of 2008 are

The Living Dead edited by John Joseph Adams (Night Shade)
Pump Six and Other Stories by Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade)
Ink and Steel by Elizabeth Bear (Roc)
City at the End of Time by Greg Bear (Del Rey)
Fallen by Tim Lebbon (Bantam Spectra)
Filter House by Nisi Shawl (Aqueduct)
Half a Crown by Jo Walton (Tor)

— which if nothing else means that someone at PW (a) finished and (b) liked City at the End of Time, which is rather better than most of the people I know who’ve tried it have managed. (EDIT: see also.) To be fair, I do think Bacigalupi’s collection is excellent, and I want to read both the E. Bear and the Walton (although in both cases I need to find time to fit in the rest of the relevant series) … but from this UK perspective, where the G. Bear and the Lebbon are the only ones in print, it’s a list that looks a bit, well, remote.

Anyway: I am now at that stage of the year’s reading in which I face up to the fact that there are many more 2008 books left that I would like to read before January 1 than I will realistically have time to read, and thus start triaging like mad. Anyone got any suggestions for books I absolutely must not miss?


13 Responses to “The First of Many”

  1. Abigail Says:

    You left you Little Brother, Tender Morsels, and Nation on the children’s fiction list, not to mention several other novels which look genre-ish.

    And, of course, let’s take a moment to be horrified at a year’s-end summary published on November 3rd.

  2. Martin Says:

    I am intrigued by the Mass Market section.

  3. Niall Says:

    Abigail: Technically, according to the date on the article it’s published on November 11th. Not that that’s much of an improvement, I admit.

    You’re right, I did leave out the YA books, partly because if I was sceptical of the inclusion of City at the End of Time, I would have to make the rolly eyes of doom at the inclusion of Little Brother, and didn’t really want to get into that fight right now.

    It’s interesting that the YA stuff has a much higher success rate of getting into print in the UK — even Tender Morsels apparently has a UK edition scheduled, although according to Amazon not until July of next year. (Although that’s one case where I have splashed out for the US edition.)

    Martin: I am not just intrigued but baffled.

  4. Graham Says:

    My nominations for essential-to-read-before-the-curtain-comes-down would be Pratchett, Nation, Gaiman, The Graveyard Book, and Lanagan, Tender Morsels. You probably won’t catch fantasy cooties from any of them.

    The question of people’s expectations of the G. Bear book and what they’ve actually found in it…is a whole other can’o’worms.

  5. Niall Says:

    Ah, so they’re reading it wrong? :-p

    Will I really get much out of The Graveyard Book if neither “The Witch’s Headstone” nor Gaiman’s reading of the first chapter did anything for me?

  6. Joseph Nicholas Says:

    there are many more 2008 books left that I would like to read before January 1 than I will realistically have time to read

    Some of us are still working our way through stuff published several years ago, never mind this year, so count yourself lucky!

  7. Niall Says:

    Oh, there’s plenty of older stuff in the full TBR. But that can wait until the new year! (Or perhaps more accurately, until after whenever the Hugo nomination deadline is.)

  8. Jonathan M Says:

    Despite the amount of rubbish that gets shoved out with the YA label on it, I still find it a slightly depressing thought that as book as horrifically flawed as Little Brother might be considered among the best of the year.

    Interesting to see Half a Crown on their list though… it’s only been out a little while and I have yet to read any reviews of it.

  9. Ted Says:

    How serious is it that the summary is published on November 3rd? Surely PW has seen advance copies of all titles scheduled for the rest of the year?

  10. Graham Says:


    Ah, so they’re reading it wrong? :-p

    Well, since I felt the book was a letdown on many (though not all) levels, I doubt it.

    Will I really get much out of The Graveyard Book if neither “The Witch’s Headstone” nor Gaiman’s reading of the first chapter did anything for me?

    In which case, I suspect you will get something: further proof of your wrongheadedness…

  11. Kev McVeigh Says:

    Just to mention that Roc seem to be getting E.Bear into Waterstone’s across the country quite well. The copyright page lists all Penguin’s international arms and the UK adress has the HQ of the group. Does this make it a UK publication as far as BSFA Award nominations are concerned? I say yes.

    Curious though that as Ink & Steel is actually half a book, The Stratford Man, that the second half Hell & Earth doesn’t get a listing.

  12. Niall Says:

    Ted: no doubt, but it’s depressing for the rest of us.

    Kev: I would say that imports don’t count, personally, but I’m not the award administrator.

    Today’s list: Amazon’s 10, which has a grand total of one overlap with the PW list (Tender Morsels), and includes one book from 2007 (The Stone Gods).

  13. Martin Says:

    Well, it is the list and The Stone Gods was an April 2008 release in the US.

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