Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This is my first time participating, and it’s a doozy. The theme this week is Top Ten New-To-Me Favorite Authors of 2015. As it turns out, this was an exceptional year for me to discover authors, both new (Michael Livingston published his first book last month) and old (Jack Vance published The Dying Earth 65 years ago). So what was supposed to be a Top 10 turned into a Top 18, and I didn’t even try to sort them. They are instead roughly in the order read throughout the year. I could have made it slightly easier on myself by excluding non-speculative fiction and non-fiction, but I went ahead and included them. It’s rare enough I have an excuse to mention anything but speculative fiction here.
Charles C.W. Cooke (The Conservatarian Manifesto)
I’m cheating a bit here—I’ve been reading Cooke’s magazine articles since at least last year. But the British import who has become an indispensable defender of gun rights makes a strong case for conservative-libertarian fusionism in The Conservatarian Manifesto. Amazon review here.
Elizabeth Bear (Karen Memory)
Harry Turtledove (Joe Steele)
It took a while, but I finally picked up a book by the master of alternate history. It’s a rather terrifying look at Joseph Stalin (Americanized to Joe Steele) ruling the U.S. with an iron fist as a first-generation American. Review of Joe Steele to come (soon, I hope).
Jack Vance (The Dying Earth)
Vance is every bit as good as advertised, and nobody today is writing anything quite like it. Review of The Dying Earth to come (soon, I hope).
Jim Butcher (Skin Game)
It took a Hugo nomination, but I finally got around to reading Butcher. He sold all those books for a reason. Review of Skin Game here.
- Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel)
Wilson is another author I can thank the Hugo Awards for introducing me to. Her writing in Ms. Marvel, vol. 1 was head and shoulders above that of the other nominees. Review of Ms. Marvel, vol. 1 here.
Charles Murray (By the People)
Possessor of perhaps the greatest of all Twitter profiles: “Husband, father, social scientist, writer, libertarian. Or maybe right-wing ideologue, pseudoscientist, evil. Opinions differ.” Amazon review here.
Cixin Liu (and Ken Liu) (The Three-Body Problem (and The Grace of Kings))
The Three-Body Problem, written by Cixin Liu and translated by Ken Liu, deservedly won the Hugo Award for best novel, and Ken Liu’s doorstopper epic fantasy A Grace of Kings is a breath of fresh air. Review of The Three-Body Problem here. Review of A Grace of Kings to come (soon, I hope).
Guy Delisle (Burma Chronicles)
The second comic writer on the list, Delisle is known for graphic novels depicting the absurdities of the hellholes he’s traveled to following his wife’s job with Doctors Without Borders. I read his book on Burma on my trip there this summer.
Gregory David Roberts (Shantaram)
The convicted bank robber’s semi-autobiographical account of his adventures in India while on the run after escaping prison was another SE Asia vacation read. After publishing Shantaram in 2005, Roberts published a sequel just this year.
Richard Kadrey (Killing Pretty)
Make that two urban fantasy giants I read this year. Review of Killing Pretty here.
Jason Hough (Zero World)
One of two very good speculative fiction-spy thriller mashups by authors new to me I read this year, Zero World is about an assassin sent through a wormhole to a parallel earth. Review of Zero World here.
Bradley Beaulieu (Twelve Kings in Sharakhai)
I had heard good things about Beaulieu’s The Lays of Anuskaya trilogy and own the first book, but it was his new release set in a fantastical version of Arabia starring a Ronda Rousey-esque main character that I finally picked up. Review of Twelve Kings in Sharakhai here.
Zen Cho (Sorcerer to the Crown)
Salman Rushdie (Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Days)
This was another introduction to another sub-genre master, this time to the master of magic realism. Review of Two Year Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Days here.
Michael Livingston (The Shards of Heaven)
Livingston is one of only two debut novelists on my list (although Cho did previously self-publish a romance novel). It’s a hell of a debut, a historical fantasy set at the dawn of a Roman Empire where Poseidon’s Trident/Moses’ Staff is real. Review of The Shards of Heaven here.
John Sandford and Ctein (Saturn Run)
The second speculative fiction-spy thriller mashup, Sandford’s Saturn Run keeps it real with a hard sci fi story about, well, a Saturn run. Review of Saturn Run here.
Brom’s Krampus is what would happen if Richard Kadrey and Daniel Woodrell teamed up to write a dark fantasy. Come for devils in West Virginia, stay for Brom’s gorgeous original artwork. Review of Krampus to come (soon, I hope).