Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top 11 reads of 2013

So these are my favorite reads 11 to 1 of the last year. I read 60 novels, so I promise these are all pretty good. These are not all new releases. This is just my favorite books of the year no matter when they came out.

11. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King: King had misdirected his serious fans when he said this was more a Dan Torrance story than a Shining sequel. It was much more of a Shining sequel than I expected. It is the story of an adult Danny who works in hospice, his shine gives him a knack for helping those who are dying. They call him Doctor sleep and teamed up with the hospice cat they help the dying. King did a worthy sequel and his most creepy novel in years.

10.Lesser Creatures by Peter Giglio:
Lesser Creatures is a truly odd novel, one thing I loved is it shared no tropes or any common structure with any other horror novels or the zombie subgenre. This is a very original feeling novel. In that respect someone looking for a paint by the numbers zombie novel is going to be bummed. Anyone looking for a challenging weird exploration of loss and love will be stoked.

9.The Summer I Died by Ryan C. Thomas: Vivid and powerful horror, well written and engaging, it is not for the faint of heart but certainly if you dare you’ll enjoy. On a personal note, I tend to not enjoy first person narrative for horror fiction but Thomas pulled it off for sure. I forgot and lost myself in the book. Well done.

8.Chickbassist by Ross E. Lockheart: Lockhart catches lightining in bottle by grabbing a hold of the raw feeling and energy of the era and buttering it up with all the smells pleasant and unpleasant of a pre-internet rock and roll.

7. (Tie) The Departure/Zero point by Neal Asher: giant space battles, spider gun robots and 23rd century warfare and revolution. It was a fun wild ride and only after it was done did I realize that Asher and I see a lot of the same problems coming in the future we just don't agree on the root cause. In the end I enjoyed The Departure and Zero Point, excited for book three.

6.New Taboos by John Shirley: Short but sweet new introduction to one of my all time favorite authors.

5.Haunt by Laura Lee Bahr: This novel won the bizarro writers association’s wonderland award for best novel and it deserves it because it is indeed like reading your way through a hall of mirrors. It is a cool looking and formatted paperback that adds to atmosphere of the novel. Laura Lee Bahr has a strong and unique voice that drips off these pages.

4. Art of War Blackguard Book 2: Morris wears his influences on his sleeves like patches sewn on on punk rock leather jacket. What we end up with is an edgy novel that is not quite cyberpunk, military sci-fi, First Contact story or distopia. It is all those things and more. I know I am bias because I just co-wrote a novel with Edward, but there is a reason I was excited to work with the guy!

3. The Chosen Seed by Sarah Pinborough:
Chosen seed is a fantastic final act in a trilogy that is one epic story. Each novel has a distinct story with its own strengths. Each one builds off of the previous books but the foundation and atmosphere in the first book “A Matter of Blood” worked on me like being hit by lightening. Pinborough has created a cross genre masterpiece in this trilogy that defies simple classification and is impossible to speak of without hyperbole. It is that good.

2. 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson:
Being a left coast liberal and radical thinker Robinson explores the nature of capitalism, hierarchy and environmentalism. While he may not get the attention from the crusty punks the way Ursala Leguin and Octavia Butler have gotten recently this is a subtly subversive speculative novel.

1. Immobility by Brian Evenson:
This is a strange and unsettling novel, that is so powerfully written it has a spooky feeling throughout. It is all done with a subtle tone, and no wasted words. Evenson is not so in love with his words and never overwrites, he writes with a tight control rarely since in genre work that is also considered “high lit.” It doesn’t remind me of any other book immediately but if pressed to make a comparison I would have to say a cross between Cormac McCarthy’s The Road with a little bit of a THX 1138.

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