This past weekend, my local newspaper, the Washington Post, printed a rare separate Book World section. (They used to have one every Sunday, but they’ve now placed that content in the body of the paper, spread throughout the week. Yes, it’s the same amount of coverage. No, it doesn’t feel the same. I hate the new way of doing things. But anyway…)
The Book World section contained the end-of-year lists – Best Fiction, Best Nonfiction, Best Children’s Books. There wasn’t any Best Speculative Fiction list. (Alas, the mainstream publications *never* have a Best Speculative Fiction list…)
So, I decided to make up my own list. In no particular order, here are the five best speculative fiction books that I read in 2010:
- MOCKINGJAY, by Suzanne Collins. The conclusion of the HUNGER GAMES trilogy, this book grabbed my emotions and didn’t let them go, as Collins did not flinch from bringing her characters to the logical conclusion of their actions, making the series’ final, difficult decisions.
- FEED, by Mira Grant. This zombie book isn’t about zombies — it’s about how much independence and control we give to others when we’re afraid. I loved the pace of this story — even when I questioned some character motivations, I went hurtling along with the storytelling, staying up way past my bedtime to finish.
- THE PASSAGE, by Justin Cronin. This vampire book isn’t about vampires — it’s about how much independence and control we give to others when we’re afraid. Gee, there’s a theme hidden in this post, somewhere… While I know a number of hard science fiction readers who threw up their hands at the alleged science in this novel, I loved the social analysis of this post-apocalyptic vision. Even if it was, you know, written by a literary author.
- LIAR, by Justine Larbalestier. This book is narrated by a self-admitted liar who is the very definition of unreliable narrator. So unreliable, in fact, that the book may or may not belong in a year-end summary of speculative fiction. I am absolutely, positively, 100% certain that I know the “true” story buried in this tale. Unless, um, I’m wrong about what is truth and what’s a lie.
- SOULLESS, by Gail Carriger. Yeah, I know this book came out in late 2009. But I didn’t read it until 2010, and this is my post, so I can cheat that way. I was surprised by the amount of romance in this book — especially because I picked it up to provide a *break* from my romance reading. Nevertheless, I thought the story was well told, and Carriger handled Victorian social conventions so deftly that I found myself simultaneously amused and bemused by her story.
So, what about you? What book or books would you put on your Year’s Best?