Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My top ten of 2007

Read in 2007, that is, not necessarily published in 2007. I acquire books more rapidly than I can read them and always have a large backlog waiting to be read. As a result, my top ten for 2007 includes very few books actually published in 2007. My top ten, in no particular order:

Galactic North by Alastair Reynolds- Collects the short stories set in Reynolds’ Revelation Space universe. Great hard science fiction/ space opera with a touch of horror.

The Draco Tavern by Larry Niven- A rather strange book of connected short (often very short) stories that form a sort of episodic novel. Full of interesting alien races, technologies, and ideas, with speculations on topics from religion to artifical intelligence to cosmogony. Essential for Niven fans, or anyone who likes science fiction that gets you thinking.

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester- Fully deserving of its classic status. Exciting, strange, and wonderfully inventive.

Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson - I read this book's predecessor, Gardens of the Moon, on the strength of various reviews. I liked it, but didn't see why Erikson was so huge. Then I read the sequel, Deadhouse Gates, and was utterly blown away. It's just stunning in every respect- action, imagination, emotional impact.

Coalescent by Stephen Baxter – One of the creepiest and most disturbing science fiction novels I've read in a long time.

Pandora's Star/ Judas Unchained by Peter F. Hamilton – One continuous story, so I’m cheating a bit and counting this as one rather than choose between them. Lots of excitement, and some interesting speculations on subjects like the social effects of immortality and personality downloads.

Orion Shall Rise by Poul Anderson - My all-time favorite post-apocalyptic novel, by my all-time favorite author.

The Wreck of the River of Stars by Michael Flynn - An absolutely stunning work- hard science fiction combined with wonderfully drawn characters and tremendous emotional power. Utterly heartbreaking.

The Line of Polity by Neal Asher- Had to buy it as an import because the geniuses at Tor decided to release books 1 and 3 of Asher’s Ian Cormac series in America without publishing this one, which is book 2. But it was well worth it! Asher demonstrates himself to be a master of space opera here, with intense action, a fascinating future society, and one of my favorite alien characters, the bizarre and enigmatic Dragon. I can only hope that Tor gives this book a proper release in the United States soon.

Chindi by Jack McDevitt- A wide-ranging story about an expedition sent out in search of an enigmatic alien civilization. Full of enjoyable characters, intriguing mysteries, and the thrill of discovery.

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