Thursday, 16 December 2010

2010: the year of the book

I think I can safely say that 2010 has been the best year of my life in terms of reading and books in general. Hyperbole? I don't think so... I have found a host of new authors (old and new) to read; made friends with some lovely and talented people; reviewed over 60 books; attended 2 conferences; had my name published in the acknowledgements section of a forthcoming book; had quotes from my reviews used in book trailers and on book websites; attended book signings; learned a lot about the speculative fiction genre; set up a personal blog and joined a group review blog... this has been the year when I immersed myself into my passion. Books, reading and writing about what I have read. And I have loved every minute of it!

It's a big wide multiverse out there

My Best of 2010 has been published at Speculative Book Review along with the other collaborators' lists. It makes for interesting reading as our tastes vary considerably within the speculative fiction genre. Read the post here.
What I realised when compiling my list was that I had read less new releases than I thought. Some of the books I loved best were first published in the 70's and 80's. I have been discovering a rich seam of unmined gems in the form of classic SF and Fantasy.
[Picture from]

I reviewed books by:
  • Octavia Butler
  • Sheri S. Tepper
  • Christopher Priest
  • Joanna Russ. 
I read short stories by:
  • Howard Walthrop
  • Pamela Sargent
  • Avram Davidson
  • Tanith Lee. 
I sought out books by:
  • Gwyneth Jones
  • Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Elizabeth Bear
  • Charles de Lint.
What about the new and shiny? Well, I can be distracted by 'the next big thing' as much as the next person and have discovered some excellent new authors, most of whom had their publishing debut in 2010. There is some incredible new talent out there, and many of these are women, which always pleases me. Of the guys, these are names to watch:
  • Mark Charan Newton
  • Blake Charlton
  • Adam Neville
  • M.D. Lachlan
  • Stephen Deas
  • Scott Harrison
  • Gary McMahon
  • Sam Sykes
  • Mike Shevdon
  • J.C. Marino
There has been a lot of debate on a range of blogs and forums about women writing speculative fiction. All I will say on the subject is more, more, more! There are not enough women being published, partularly in science fiction yet some of the best new talent out there is female, especially in the realm of Fantasy. Here are my recommendations:
  • N.K. Jemisin
  • Catherynne M. Valente
  • Aliette de Bodard
  • Lauren Beukes
  • Kaaron Warren
  • Seanan McGuire
  • Kim Lakin-Smith
  • Jaine Fenn
  • Suzanne McLeod
  • Elizabeth Bear

And to all the new friends I have made: from bloggers, to authors, to tweeters and beyond, a very big thank you to you all, I couldn't have come this far without you. You know who you are and I appreciate every one of you. 

A few special mentions: Yagiz, Ty, Peter and Victoria at Speculative Book Review, Harry at Temple Library Reviews; Gav, ex of Nextreads for Short Story Month; Jason and Amanda for Eastercon; Mark CN for keeping me up to date with environmental issues. And to Kev, I have only one word to say to you... "Olives!"

[Cover of City of Hope and Despair by Ian Whates (released early 2011?)]


  1. It is a pleasure working with you as well. Thanks for the mention and I look forward to another great your with you at SBR.

  2. You're welcome Ty. It's been great working on SBR... your reviews have added considerably to my TBR pile :-)

  3. YOU rock, Cara. Your reviews are a life-saver and of excellent quality. Best thing was to have you on my team. :)

  4. Hey, thanks for the shout out, Cara, and the great company you've put me in :-)Lovely that you've had a fab reading year ... though not sure about those three dodgy-looking geezers in your first pic *g*

  5. Info update for you: City of Hope & Despair - UK & eBook 3rd March 2011, USA/Canada 29th March 2011 -- and (we've not mentioned this anywhere else yet, so you're getting an Xmas exclusive!) volume three, called City of Light & Shadow, to follow in early 2012.

    Thanks for all the great support, and roll on another year of fabulous books from one and all.

  6. Yay! Although those three at the top look a bit dodgy hun. ;p
    It has been a great year in blogging, can't wait to 2011.