One of the most popular posts of all time here at The AudioBookaneers is last year’s rundown of the lists of the best books of the year, and who am I to argue against what the people want? So, while there are quite a few more lists that will come out over the coming weeks, I’ll run down 3 of the bigger lists so far of “the best books of 2013” and, at the end, ask for your input as part of a contest with the prize being a free six month subscription to Audiobooks.com. First! The sources so far:
- PW’s 101 Best Books of 2013 includes Rose Fox’s picks in science fiction and fantasy, and has been one of my favorite of these lists over the past few years; spread across Fiction, Mystery, etc. and a too darned squeezed and small 5-book “SF/Fantasy/Horror” section.
- Goodreads is running its annual Goodreads Choice Awards for 2013, and the first round is seeded by user ratings on the site, with the second round coming from voting on those initial seedings along with write-in votes across quite a few (and often overlapping) categories, including Fiction, Paranormal Fantasy, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Mystery and Thriller, Historical Fiction, Romance, Horror, etc. Update 11/11: As the write-in semi-finalists have just been announced, I’ve added the new books below.
- Not (never) to be out-done, Amazon.com also has its editor’s picks for the top 100 books of 2013, including breakout lists (with additional picks outside that 100) for Science Fiction & Fantasy, Teen & Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Romance, Children’s Books, and even their own Audiobooks list. Additionally, they have “celebrity picks” from (among others) Helene Wecker, George R.R. Martin, and Veronica Roth
So! Onto the sf and fantasy picks wherever they may be categorized, seeing where they overlap and intersect. (But in the interests of actually publishing this post this year, that even already focusing on SF/F fiction, I’m 1. coming back later to add more links and images etc. and 2. not including Romance or YA and children’s books, though do feel free to play along and follow the links yourself! And remember: PW has far fewer picks, particularly in its 5-book SF/Fantasy/Horror list, so don’t expect to see too many unanimous picks, OK? OK. OK!)
UNANIMOUS PICKS: FOUR
Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life is on PW’s Fiction list, the Goodreads Historical Fiction list, and Amazon.com’s Top 100 list (and its Literature/Fiction list). It’s available and fantastic in audio, read by Fenella Woolgar for Hachette Audio, in one of my top 10 favorite books/audiobooks of the year. (More links: Kobo, IndieBound.)
Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam is on PW’s Fiction list, the Goodreads Science Fiction list, and Amazon.com’s Top 100 list. It’s available in audio, read by Bernadette Dunne, Bob Walter, and Robbie Daymond for Random House Audio. (More links: Kobo, IndieBound.)
George Saunders’ collection Tenth of the December: Stories is on PW’s Fiction list, the Goodreads Fiction list, and Amazon.com’s Top 100 list. It’s available in audio, read by the author for Random House Audio. (More links: Kobo, IndieBound.)
V.E. Schwab’s Vicious is on PW’s SF/F/Horror list, the Goodreads Fantasy list, and Amazon.com’s SF/Fantasy list. It’s available in audio, read by Noah Michael Levine for Audible. (More links: Kobo, IndieBound.)
Peter F. Hamilton’s Great North Road is on PW’s SF/F/Horror list and the Goodreads Science Fiction list, but not any of Amazon.com’s lists. It’s available in audio, read by Toby Longworth for Tantor Audio. (More links: Kobo, IndieBound.)
Benjamin Percy’s Red Moon is on PW’s Mystery/Thriller list and Amazon.com’s Top 100 list (also its SF/F list), but not on any of the Goodreads lists. It’s available in audio, read by the author for Hachette Audio. (More links: Kobo, IndieBound.)
Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane is on the Goodreads Fantasy list, as well as Amazon’s Top 100 list, but not on PW’s list. It’s available in audio, read by the author for HarperCollins; Dave calls it “the most personal” of Gaiman’s novels in his review. (More links: Kobo, IndieBound.)
Helene Wecker’s The Golem and the Jinni is on the Goodreads Fantasy list and the Amazon.com Top 100 list (also its SF/Fantasy list), but not on PW’s list. It’s available in audio, read fantastically well by George Guidall for HarperCollins, another in my top 10 books/audiobooks of the year. (More links: Kobo, IndieBound.)
Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep is on the Goodreads Horror list and Amazon.com’s Top 100 list (also its Mystery/Thriller/Suspense list), but not on PW’s list. Read by Will Patton for Simon & Schuster Audio; Dave liked it quite a lot, as did The Guilded Earlobe (“a prime example of just how special the medium can be” in his review) and Salon.com’s Laura Miller calls it King’s best novel yet in her review of the audiobook for The Listener. (More links: Kobo, IndieBound.)
Stephen King’s Joyland is on the Goodreads Mystery/Thriller list, Amazon.com’s Top 100 list (also its Mystery/Thriller Suspense list, as well as GRRM’s list on Omnivoracious). but not on PW’s list. Read by Michael Kelly for Simon & Schuster Audio. (More links: IndieBound.)
Mira Grant’s Parasite is on the Goodreads Horror list and Amazon.com’s Top 100 list (also its SF/Fantasy list), but not PW’s list. Read by Christine Lakin for Hachette Audio. (More links: Kobo, IndieBound.)
Joe Hill’s NOS4A2 is on the Goodreads Horror list and Amazon.com’s Top 100 list (also its SF/Fantasy list and its Mystery/Thriller/Suspense list), but not PW’s list. Read by Kate Mulgrew for HarperCollins; Dave calls the audiobook “20 pretty incredible hours of storytelling” in his review, and The Guilded Earlobe calls the novel “brilliantly executed”. (More links: Kobo, IndieBound.)
The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch is on the Goodreads Fantasy list and Amazon.com’s SF/Fantasy list, but not PW’s list. Read by Michael Page for Tantor Audio; the first in this series (The Lies of Locke Lamora) is one of the all-time best high fantasy audiobooks. (More links: Kobo, IndieBound.)
A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson is on the Goodreads Fantasy list and Amazon.com’s SF/Fantasy list, but not PW’s list. Read by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading for Macmillan Audio. (More links: Kobo, IndieBound.)
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, is on the Goodreads Paranormal Fantasy list and Amazon.com’s SF/Fantasy list, but not PW’s list. Read very well by Alana Kerr for Audible for Bloomsbury. (More links: Kobo, IndieBound.)
Brilliance by Marcus Sakey is on the Goodreads Science Fiction list and Amazon.com’s Mystery/Thriller/Suspense list, but not PW’s list. The Guilded Earlobe really loved the audiobook of this one, read by Luke Daniels for Brilliance Audio. (More links: IndieBound.)
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes is on Amazon.com’s Top 100 list, and (updated 11/11) was just announced as a semifinalist in the Goodreads Mystery/Thriller category as well. I thought this was also one of the best books and audiobooks of the year, read by a fairly large cast for Hachette Audio. (More links: Kobo, IndieBound.)
Robert Jackson Bennett’s American Elsewhere was on PW’s SF/F/H list, and (updated 11/11) garnered enough write-in votes to make the semi-final round for Goodreads in Horror. (More links: Kobo, IndieBound.)
On PW’s SF/F/Horror list: David G. Hartwell and Patrick Nielsen Hayden’s anthology Twenty-First Century Science Fiction, Karen Heuler’s collection The Inner City, and Yoon Ha Lee’s collection Conservation of Shadows.
On the Goodreads Fantasy list: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo, The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway, The Crown Tower by Michael J. Sullivan, Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence, Forged in Blood by Lindsay Buroker, A Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan, The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley, Peter V. Brett’s The Daylight War, and R.A. Salvatore’s The Companions. Update 11/11: The semifinalists have been announced, adding a few more to this list including Marie Brennan’s A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent, Guy Gavriel Kay’s River of Stars, Emily Croy Barker’s The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic, and Terry Goodkind’s The Third Kingdom.
On the Goodreads Paranormal Fantasy list: Blood Trade by Faith Hunter, Cold Days by Jim Butcher, Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire, Written in Red by Anne Bishop, Heart of Venom by Jennifer Estep, Omens by Kelley Armstrong, House Rules by Chloe Neill, Magic Rises and Steel’s Edge by Ilona Andrews, Fifth Grave Past the Light by Darynda Jones, Hunted by Kevin Hearne, Touch of the Demon by Diana Rowland, Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs, and Ever After by Kim Harrison.
On the Goodreads Science Fiction list: Abaddon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey, Countdown City by Ben H. Winters, The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough, The Humans by Matt Haig, Shadow of Freedom by David Weber, The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu, The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Guardian by Jack Campbell, The Human Division by John Scalzi, Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos, Dust by Hugh Howey, and Lexicon by Max Barry. Update 11/11: The write-in semifinalists have been announced, adding: The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord, Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, and Perdition by Ann Aguirre.
On the Goodreads Horror list: Diana Rowland’s White Trash Zombie Apocalypse, Jonathan Maberry’s Extinction Machine, Richard Kadrey’s Kill City Blues, J.L. Bourne’s Shattered Hourglass, E.B. Hudspeth’s The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black, Dean Koontz’s Deeply Odd, and Peter Clines’ Ex-Communication. Update 11/11: Joyce Carol Oates’ The Accursed was added as a write-in semi-finalist; it’s a great — if long and dry — audiobook, read by Gover Gardner.
On Amazon.com’s SF/Fantasy list: The Walking Dead: Fall of the Governor: Part One by Jay Bonansinga, George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois’ anthology Dangerous Women, Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon, The Long War by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, Bloodfire Quest by Terry Brooks, Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead, Fiend by Peter Stenson, and Mage’s Blood by David Hair.
While Robert Jackson Bennett’s American Elsewhere should be on more of these lists — c’mon, people, it’s a “kaleidoscope of wtfuckery” (as Dave Thompson quotes The Guilded Earlobe’s review) — as should Lauren Beukes’ The Shining Girls, a few more of my personal top 10 aren’t on any of the lists: Shaman by Kim Stanley Robinson, Guy Gavriel Kay’s River of Stars, Karen Lord’s The Best of All Possible Worlds, and Nathan Ballingrud’s collection North American Lake Monsters. (Update 11/11: the Kay and Lord books did get enough write-in votes to qualify for the second round at Goodreads, as did The Shining Girls and American Elsewhere to place them on two of the three lists.) But if I have to pick just one — which I’m about to ask all of you to do below — I’ll go with Shaman. And, because I’ll ask you to give at least a minimal explanation, because of its narrator, “the third wind”, which comes to you when you have nothing left, when you can’t go on, and you go on, anyway. (And the audiobook narrator, Graeme Malcolm, did a marvelous job bringing this book to life for Hachette Audio as well.)
As I hint in my own “overlooked” notes above, I’m asking you to pick your favorite “overlooked” sf or fantasy book of 2013, whether it’s a book not on any of the lists or it’s a book that’s only made one and you feel deserves more interest, or, heck even one of those unanimous picks, because hey, every good book deserves a few extra eyeballs or eardrums or fingertips or however you read/listen. And, while I’m not asking for a review, just a one-liner reason why. OK? OK!
- leave a comment on this post before Monday, November 18, 12 PM Eastern Time (US).
- the comment should have A. your pick for most overlooked adult sf/f book of 2013 and B. a short one-liner reason why.
- later on next Monday, I’ll collect the valid entries in order, and use Random.org to get a random number, and that entry is the winner.
But what do you win? A six-month subscription to Audiobooks.com, to catch up on the audiobooks you’ve missed in 2013 and get a big head start into 2014! Note that: “For the contest winner to get their award they will have to leave you with contact information and consent to having us contact them to set up their free 6-month membership.”
If I can’t get ahold of the first winner, or they decline the prize or aren’t otherwise eligible for some reason, then I’ll ask the random number generator for another comment. So! I hope you enjoyed this year’s bit of running down the lists and I’ll hopefully see you soon with another list: The AudioBookaneers Arrrrrrrrrdies. Note: there may be fewer Rs. And we might just call it our favorite listens of the year again. We’ll see.