First of all, I am so entirely thrilled that Maureen McHugh’s collection After the Apocalypse made it onto the top 10 list. It’s become almost a running joke that every year, I have book #11 of the top 10. This year, I pushed hard for Maureen’s book to be considered, and to my shock and delight, the other editors read it and agreed that it deserved top billing. Well done, Maureen!
The list for SF/F/H:
Zoo City by Lauren Beukes — I have been waiting to list this for something like a year and a half, since it was originally slated to come out in the U.S. in October 2010. It has continued to astonish and delight me since then.
Triptych by J.M. Frey — This book has aliens, time travel, queer polyamorous romance that feels absolutely real, loss and grief and soldiering on, languages, family… in short, it was written for me. I haven’t felt this loved and acknowledged by a book in a very long time.
Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan, Vol. 1 by Caitlín R. Kiernan — Yes, that makes three collections out of these six books, but there was no way I was going to pass this one up. Kiernan is one of the most consistently powerful, surprising authors writing today, and this collection is a must for anyone who likes exploring the dark interstices between genres with only a half-dead flashlight and some matches to light the way.
Erekos by A.M. Tuomala — Plenty of people have tried to combine zombies and romance, but Tuomala combines zombies with sororal love and love of country in a meditation on just how far we’re willing to go to preserve the things we care about, even if it means we’re really not preserving them at all.
Those paying attention will note that six out of six of these titles were put out by ambitious, daring small outfits. I hope a lot of people are paying attention. Congratulations and heartfelt thanks to Small Beer, Angry Robot, Dragon Moon, Fairwood, Subterranean, and Candlemark & Gleam for taking chances on these extraordinary books.
Honorable mentions: The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie, Broken by Susan Jane Bigelow, The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham, Dead Iron by Devon Monk.
Onward to 2012!