These are the nominees for the British Fantasy Awards 2013. Four nominees in each category were decided by a vote of the members of the British Fantasy Society and the attendees of FantasyCon 2012, with up to two further nominees in each category being added by the juries as “egregious omissions”. The exception is the Best Newcomer category, in which all authors under consideration were put forward by voters.

Best Fantasy Novel (the Robert Holdstock Award)

  • Blood and Feathers, Lou Morgan (Solaris)
  • The Brides of Rollrock Island, Margo Lanagan (David Fickling Books)
  • Railsea, China Miéville (Macmillan)
  • Red Country, Joe Abercrombie (Gollancz)
  • Some Kind of Fairy Tale, Graham Joyce (Gollancz)

Best Horror Novel (the August Derleth Award)

  • The Drowning Girl, Caitlin R. Kiernan (Roc)
  • The Kind Folk, Ramsey Campbell (PS Publishing)
  • Last Days, Adam Nevill (Macmillan)
  • Silent Voices, Gary McMahon (Solaris)
  • Some Kind of Fairy Tale, Graham Joyce (Gollancz)

Best Novella

  • Curaré, Michael Moorcock (Zenith Lives!) (Obverse Books)
  • Eyepennies, Mike O’Driscoll (TTA Press)
  • The Nine Deaths of Dr Valentine, John Llewellyn Probert (Spectral Press)
  • The Respectable Face of Tyranny, Gary Fry (Spectral Press)

Best Short Story

  • Our Island, Ralph Robert Moore (Where Are We Going?) (Eibonvale Press)
  • Shark! Shark! Ray Cluley (Black Static #29) (TTA Press)
  • Sunshine, Nina Allan (Black Static #29) (TTA Press)
  • Wish for a Gun, Sam Sykes (A Town Called Pandemonium) (Jurassic London)

Best Collection

  • From Hell to Eternity, Thana Niveau (Gray Friar Press)
  • Remember Why You Fear Me, Robert Shearman (ChiZine Publications)
  • Where Furnaces Burn, Joel Lane (PS Publishing)
  • The Woman Who Married a Cloud, Jonathan Carroll (Subterannean Press)

Best Anthology

  • A Town Called Pandemonium, Anne C. Perry and Jared Shurin (eds) (Jurassic London)
  • Magic: an Anthology of the Esoteric and Arcane, Jonathan Oliver (ed.) (Solaris)
  • The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women, Marie O’Regan (ed.) (Robinson)
  • Terror Tales of the Cotswolds, Paul Finch (ed.) (Gray Friar Press)

Best Small Press (the PS Publishing Independent Press Award)

  • ChiZine Publications (Brett Alexander Savory and Sandra Kasturi)
  • Gray Friar Press (Gary Fry)
  • Spectral Press (Simon Marshall-Jones)
  • TTA Press (Andy Cox)

Best Non-Fiction

  • Ansible, David Langford
  • The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature, Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn (eds) (Cambridge University Press)
  • Coffinmaker’s Blues, Stephen Volk (Black Static) (TTA Press)
  • Fantasy Faction, Marc Aplin (ed.)
  • Pornokitsch, Anne C. Perry and Jared Shurin (eds)
  • Reflections: On the Magic of Writing, Diana Wynne Jones (David Fickling Books)

Best Magazine/Periodical

  • Black Static, Andy Cox (ed.) (TTA Press)
  • Interzone, Andy Cox (ed.) (TTA Press)
  • SFX, David Bradley (ed.) (Future Publishing)
  • Shadows and Tall Trees, Michael Kelly (ed.) (Undertow Publications)

Best Artist

  • Ben Baldwin
  • David Rix
  • Les Edwards
  • Sean Phillips
  • Vincent Chong

Best Comic/Graphic Novel

  • Dial H, China Miéville, Mateus Santolouco, David Lapham and Riccardo Burchielli (DC Comics)
  • Saga, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
  • The Unwritten, Mike Carey, Peter Gross, Gary Erskine, Gabriel Hernández Walta, M.K. Perker, Vince Locke and Rufus Dayglo (DC Comics/Vertigo)
  • The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard (Skybound Entertainment/Image Comics)

Best Screenplay

  • Avengers Assemble, Joss Whedon
  • Sightseers, Alice Lowe, Steve Oram and Amy Jump
  • The Cabin in the Woods, Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro

Best Newcomer (the Sydney J. Bounds Award)

  • Alison Moore, for The Lighthouse (Salt Publishing)
  • Anne Lyle, for The Alchemist of Souls (Angry Robot)
  • E.C. Myers, for Fair Coin (Pyr)
  • Helen Marshall, for Hair Side, Flesh Side (ChiZine Publications)
  • Kim Curran, for Shift (Strange Chemistry)
  • Lou Morgan, for Blood and Feathers (Solaris)
  • Molly Tanzer, for A Pretty Mouth (Lazy Fascist Press)
  • Saladin Ahmed, for Throne of the Crescent Moon (Gollancz)
  • Stephen Bacon, for Peel Back the Sky (Gray Friar Press)
  • Stephen Blackmoore, for City of the Lost (Daw Books)

(Via: British Fantasy Awards 2013: the nominees – The British Fantasy Society)

Ok, what happened to the BSAs this year? They suddenly got much more exciting! 

Good luck to all the nominees. 

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The six shortlisted books for the Arthur C. Clarke Award for best science fiction novel of the year 2013 are:

  • Nod by Adrian Barnes (Bluemoose)
  • Dark Eden by Chris Beckett (Corvus)
  • Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway (William Heinemann)
  • The Dog Stars by Peter Heller (Headline)
  • Intrusion by Ken MacLeod (Orbit)
  • 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)

The six shortlisted titles were selected from a record-breaking long list of 82 individual eligible submissions, first published in the UK in 2012, and put forward by 32 different publishing houses and imprints.

The dark horse is Nod. I only heard if this one when it was on the submission list. It seems it asks what if most of the world couldn’t sleep?

It looks like a solid shortlist but not one female writer? I’m sure that will be debated elsewhere

Looking forward to seeing who wins.

 

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The winners of the 2011 Kitschies, presented by The Kraken Rum, are:

  • The Inky Tentacle for Cover Art: The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan, designed by Peter Mendelsund (Canongate)
  • The Golden Tentacle for Debut: God’s War by Kameron Hurley (Night Shade Books)
  • The Red Tentacle for Novel: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd (Walker)
  • The judges’ discretionary award, The Black Tentacle, was given to publisher SelfMadeHero.

I’m really going to have to read God’s War now aren’t I?

The unboundless Jared and Anne have really upped the stakes with their third year of The Kitsches:

The annual award is presented to the most “progressive, intelligent and entertaining novels that contain elements of the speculative or fantastic” published in the UK during the previous calendar year.

And the short list has just been announced:

FINALISTS ANNOUNCED FOR THE 2011 KITSCHIES, PRESENTED BY THE KRAKEN RUM

The Kitschies are proud to announce the finalists for the year’s most progressive, intelligent and entertaining works of genre literature.

The shortlisted books for the Red Tentacle (for novel):

  • The Enterprise of Death by Jesse Bullington (Orbit)
  • Embassytown by China Miéville (Tor)
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd (Walker Books)
  • The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers (Sandstone)
  • Osama: A Novel by Lavie Tidhar (PS Publishing)

The shortlisted books for the Golden Tentacle (for debut):

  • Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick (Tor)
  • God’s War by Kameron Hurley (Night Shade Books)
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Harvill Secker)
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Quirk)
  • The Samaritan by Fred Venturini (Blank Slate Press)

The shortlisted books for the Inky Tentacle (for cover art):

  • Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch; illustration by Stephen Walter, design by Patrick Knowles (TAG Fine Arts) (Gollancz)
  • The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan; design by Peter Mendelsund (Canongate)
  • The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco; design by Suzanne Dean, illustration by John Spencer (Harvill Secker)
  • Equations of Life by Simon Morden; design by Lauren Panepinto (Orbit)
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd; illustration by Jim Kay (Walker Books)

The winning author of the Red Tentacle will receive a £750 prize; the winners of the Golden Tentacle and Inky Tentacles each receive £250. All three will also receive iconic, hand-made Tentacle trophies

All the finalists receive a bottle of The Kraken Rum.This shortlisted titles were selected from a list of over 150 submissions received from 38 publishers and imprints.The winners will be announced on February 3, 2011 at an award ceremony to be held at the SFX Weekender 3.

Award Director Anne C. Perry said:
“Our goal in creating this award was not just to bridge the gap between genre and literature but to prove that there’s no gap at all. And we feel that 2011 has gone a long way towards illustrating that. We’re tremendously delighted by the passion we’ve seen from the authors, editors, publishers and fans – all of whom have contributed to make this an extraordinary year for The Kitschies.”

Red and Golden Tentacle Judge (and 2010 Red Tentacle winner) Lauren Beukes said:

“It’s been a fraught and bloody process winnowing the nominees down to shortlists of just five, involving passionate fan-rants, general geekery, some very silly jokes and occasional outbreaks of threatened violence between the judges.

2011 produced some remarkable novels. These are the ones that stood out for all of us, according to The Kitschies’ criteria: books that were inventive, playful and smart, packed with intriguing ideas, great characters and nudged at the boundaries of things, or overturned them altogether.

I suspect getting consensus on the ultimate winners is going to turn into even more of a knife-fight. A battle to which I fully intend to bring a mecha armed with autocannons.”

Inky Judge Hayley Campbell added:

“As we sorted through the mountain of submissions, we were glad to see our old pals the hooded druids, the snarling werewolves, and the miscellaneous bit of unfathomably large spaceship – we cast them a friendly wave as we sorted them out of the pile.

We were looking for stuff that went beyond the obvious, the kind of cover that would not relegate a book to the dark forgotten corner of the bookshop where the monsters live. What we were left with was an astonishingly diverse collection of covers, and an even more diverse collection of opinions.”

The judging panel for the Red and Golden Tentacles is:

  • Lauren Beukes (2010 Red Tentacle winner for Zoo City)
  • Rebecca Levene
  • Anne C. Perry
  • Jared Shurin

The judging panel for the Inky Tentacle is:

  • Darren Banks
  • Hayley Campbell
  • Catherine Hemelryk
  • Craig Kennedy
  • Anne C. Perry

What do you think? Surprising? Boring? Exciting?

It’s nice to see some smaller and specialist there. I need to ponder their selection some more but I’d say that they’d met their ambition of ‘progressive, intelligent and entertaining novels that contain elements of the speculative or fantastic.’

I wonder who will win?

Green Carnation Prize

This year’s longlist includes a diverse mix of genres, household names, debut authors and tales of love to tales of psychopaths and all sorts in between.

  • By Nightfall – Michael Cunningham (Fourth Estate)
  • The Strange Case of the Composer and his Judge – Patricia Duncker (Bloomsbury)
  • The Proof of Love – Catherine Hall (Portobello)
  • Red Dust Road – Jackie Kay (Picador)
  • The Retribution – Val McDermid (Little Brown)
  • Purge – Sofi Oksanen (Atlantic Books)
  • There But for The… – Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton)
  • Remembrance of Things I Forgot – Bob Smith (Terrace Books)
  • Ever Fallen in Love – Zoe Strachan (Sandstone Press)
  • The Empty Family – Colm Toibin (Penguin Books)
  • Role Models – John Waters (Beautiful Books)
  • Before I Go To Sleep – S.J Watson (Doubleday)
  • Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal? – Jeanette Winterson (Jonathan Cape)

You can hear the chair of judges Simon Savidge discussing the longlist, minutes after it was finalized, with me here.

 

Jackson

NOVEL WINNER:

Mr. Shivers, Robert Jackson Bennett (Orbit)

Finalists:

  • Dark Matter, Michelle Paver (Orion)
  • A Dark Matter, Peter Straub (Doubleday)
  • Feed, Mira Grant (Orbit)
  • The Reapers Are the Angels, Alden Bell (Holt)
  • The Silent Land, Graham Joyce (Gollancz)

NOVELLA WINNER:

“Mysterium Tremendum”, Laird Barron (Occultation, Night Shade)

Finalists:

  • The Broken Man, Michael Byers (PS Publishing)
  • Chasing the Dragon, Nicholas Kaufmann, (Chizine Publications)
  • One Bloody Thing After Another, Joey Comeau (ECW Press)
  • Subtle Bodies, Peter Dubé (Lethe Press)
  • The Thief of Broken Toys, Tim Lebbon (Chizine Publications)

NOVELETTE WINNER:

“Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains,” Neil Gaiman (Stories: All New Tales, William Morrow)

Finalists:

  • “–30–,” Laird Barron (Occultation, Night Shade)
  • “The Broadsword,” Laird Barron, (Black Wings, PS Publishing)
  • “Holderhaven,” Richard Butner, (Crimewave 11: Ghosts)
  • “The Redfield Girls,” Laird Barron (Haunted Legends, Tor)

SHORT STORY WINNER:

“The Things,” Peter Watts (Clarkesworld, Issue 40)

Finalists:

  • “As Red as Red,” by Caitlin R. Kiernan (Haunted Legends, Tor)
  • “Booth’s Ghost,” Karen Joy Fowler (What I Didn’t See, Small Beer Press)
  • “Six Six Six,” Laird Barron (Occultation, Night Shade)
  • “The Foxes,” Lily Hoang (Haunted Legends, Tor)

SINGLE-AUTHOR COLLECTION WINNER:

Occultation, Laird Barron (Night Shade)

Finalists:

  • The Ones That Got Away, Stephen Graham Jones (Prime Books)
  • The Third Bear, Jeff VanderMeer (Tachyon)
  • What I Didn’t See, Karen Joy Fowler (Small Beer Press)
  • What Will Come After, Scott Edelman (PS Publishing)

EDITED ANTHOLOGY

WINNER:

Stories: All New Tales, edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio (William Morrow)

Finalists:

  • Black Wings: Tales of Lovecraftian Horror, edited by S. T. Joshi (PS Publications)
  • Haunted Legends, edited by Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas (Tor)
  • My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales, edited by Kate Bernheimer (Penguin)
  • Swords and Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery, edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders (Eos)

Title: Yellow Blue Tibia
Author: Adam Roberts
Pages: 336
Genre: Science Fiction
Standalone/Series: Standalone
Release:  Hardback out now / MMPB out 13 May
Publisher: Gollancz

Synopsis

Russia, 1946, the Nazis recently defeated. Stalin gathers half a dozen of the top Soviet science fiction authors in a dacha in the countryside somewhere. Convinced that the defeat of America is only a few years away, and equally convinced that the Soviet Union needs a massive external threat to hold it together, to give it purpose and direction, he tells the writers: ‘I want you to concoct a story about aliens poised to invade earth … I want it to be massively detailed, and completely believable. If you need props and evidence to back it up, then we can create them. But when America is defeated, your story must be so convincing that the whole population of Soviet Russia believes in it–the population of the whole world!’ The little group of writers gets down to the task and spends months working on it. But then new orders come from Moscow: they are told to drop the project; Stalin has changed his mind; forget everything about it. So they do. They get on with their lives in their various ways; some of them survive the remainder of Stalin’s rule, the changes of the 50s and 60s. And then, in the aftermath of Chernobyl, the survivors gather again, because something strange has started to happen. The story they invented in 1946 is starting to come true …

Comments/Thoughts/Analysis

I had mixed feelings about Adam Roberts again. He’s written one of my favourite books ever, Stone. An amazing narrator. A clever story. Totally brilliant. And then I read Salt and On. I say read. It was more read a few pages and put down never to pick up again. I did read them out of order as Stone is his third novel and the other two are this first and second. So he might have started to find his feet then but it does make you weary not to find an authors other books living up to expectations.

Yellow Blue Tibia is his 10th straight novel (though he has written several parodies) so the question is was Stone a one off or does Yellow Blue Tibia contain an amazing narrator with a clever story and is it totally brilliant?

Yes, yes and yes! It is. And the review would be so much easier if I could stop there but I’d better explain myself.

The first thing to say that even though this is in essence a historical tale with a heavy science fiction edge it is so close to reality that I’m seriously questioning how much of it Roberts actually made up.

He’s written the memoir of Konstantin Skvorecky who, along with four other SF writers were gathered together by Starlin to write the story of an alien invasion. The trouble is that several years later their story seems to be coming true.

Told in the first person what is immediately apparent is the character that Skvorecky has. The dialogue is whitty with jovial banter between a strange and eclectic cast all drawn to Skvorecky who’s wanted as an ‘expert’ in his field, which is UFOs rather than translation skills that make up his day job.

Though his journey and life are anything but normal. The progress of his career as a science fiction writer doesn’t seem to grow as he gets older and Roberts has some poignant comments on the genre and what motivates its writers.

But it’s the drawing in to Skvorecky’s Russia and the strange life he leads that carries you along with the dialogue. The plot, as I said, feels real but only in the context of the narrator himself. It is a fantastical tale as Robert’s twists reality. He brings you  fully into his creation.

I was, am probably still am completely drawn in to the ‘what if?’ elements.That isn’t to say that this is a huge tale. It’s a small personal tale of one man who has the power to save Russia from disaster, but can he save himself?

BSFA Thoughts

The biggest compliment you can pay to a writer is to believe their lies no matter how closely they base them on the truth. You have to be drawn in to the characters they create and the lives they end up leading.

And truth and lies seems to be an emerging theme in this shortlist.

The City and The City has a world where two different cities share the same physical space even if the inhabitants have long learnt to unsee and unheard each other.

Lavinia is a retelling of a series of events form a minor character while still sticking closely to all the facts.

And Ark is the continuation of the flooding of Earth is based on an extreme scientific example. And you’ll see from the review of Flood, the basis of Ark, it is very real. Though I hope that Baxter will keep that strong sense of reality in Ark.

Summary

Robert’s has written a believable memoir of a science fiction writer who finds that his joint creation is coming to life several years after he wrote it. His narrator is quirky, challenging and effected by the Great War. Oh and aliens. There are definitely aliens.

And a questioning of reality. But whose reality will you question? The life of Skvorecky or your what you think you know about the Challenger and the Chernobyl disasters?

Roberts has shot right back up my list of must read authors.

Oh and reason the title is what it is an amazing touch.

link: Locus Online: Magazine: February 2010: 2009 Recommended Reading List

This recommended reading list, published in Locus Magazine’s February 2010 issue, is a consensus by Locus editors and reviewers — Liza Groen Trombi, Gary K. Wolfe, Jonathan Strahan, Faren Miller, Russell Letson, Paul Witcover, Graham Sleight, Carolyn Cushman, Adrienne Martini, Tim Pratt, Karen Haber, and Rich Horton — with inputs from outside reviewers, other professionals, other lists, etc. Essays by many of these contributors, highlighting their particular favorite books and stories, are published in the February issue.

Nice to see Under the Dome, This is Not a Game, Avilion, Unseen Academicals, and The Manual of Detection getting a nod especially as all of them bar Avilion made it into The Reads 2009 and Robert Holdstock had special mention for Mythago Wood. Good to know my taste isn’t that far off then.

And books I’m sorry I didn’t get around to include Ark, Yellow Blue Tidia, Galileo’s Dream, The City & The City, The Ask and Answer, Leviathan, The Windup Girl, Soulless, The Adamantine Palace, Oceanic Song of the Dying Earth and Poe. Though there is still 11 months left of the year!

Any books you’re glad they made it on the list? Any you want to read?


After 47 books reviewed (including unreviews) on Next Read it’s that time again to look back and present my selection of the books of the year.

This year I’m biting the bullet and making a Top Ten as well as making some other awards like I did last year. I made a mid-year post called Year Review: Halfway in July and three of my choices make the Top Ten but where to they come?

The Reads are the books that have most effected me, have stuck with me and that I’ve enjoyed this year with all bar one first published in 2009.

Without further ado here, in reverse order, are:

The Reads Top Ten 2009

10) The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry

This isn’t  perfect but what grabbed me was Berry’s attempt to mirror a handbook’s contents with chapters in a novel. He creates a strange little world which is stylised and does feel artificial but not false. There is a good mystery element that keeps both the reader and the main character, Charles Unwin, moving along trying to figure out why his boss, Travis Sivart, a detective at the agency where Unwin works, has mysteriously vanished.

9) The Domino Men by Jonathan Barnes

If you have ever had a boring office job have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk into your office one day to find out that your life isn’t as it seems? That’s just what Henry Lamb does. He has to save the world. And it seems that the Queen is keeping secrets. Barnes tells a world altering event through the eyes of the key people that make it happen without limiting the scale or the scariness.

8. This Is Not A Game by Walter Jon Williams

I’ll admit this book is here because while reading it it crept into my consciousness and caused a certain level of paranoia. Williams shows how reality and online role play, that is quickly becoming some quasi-reality, can merge and combine. The events of ARG – Alternate Reality Game – has no boundaries and that seems to include figuring out how to extract people from a coup d’état when the US government can’t and finding a murderer. A dangerous game all round.

7) The Naming of the Beasts by Mike Carey

This is book five and the penultimate book in current adventure of Felix Castor. And his worse nightmare has come to pass. This isn’t a stand alone book and can’t be. The routines, for the main cast that Carey has set up, has been set aside as each  is placed outside their comfort zones. The balance of the world is finally twisting away. Human’s are loosing against the ghosts, demons, and zombies that has been slowly rising in the world over the last few years. I really can’t wait for the next one.

6) Nova War by Gary Gibson

Gary Gibson is one of this years finds for me and along with someone later in the list has reminded me what I’ve been missing in science fiction. This continues straight from Stealing Light but manages to immediately to expand the scope of the story and it’s characters. Nova War only cements the fact that Gibson has a devious imagination, a sense of bigger picture and a more twists than a corkscrew.

5) The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas

This is one of those surprising reads that occasionally happens when books drop through the door. Vargas brand of crime relies, from what I’ve seen, on slight of hand. All the clues are there but the penny doesn’t seem to drop until Vargas wants it to. She centres this story about a small group of people that have more links than you first imagine. This is the first appearance of detective Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg although, strangely, it’s not his first appearance in the UK. And is a wonderful introduction to both Adamsberg’s unique brand of detection and Vargas’s own way of storytelling.

4) Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett*

I’ve been a Pratchett fan since I got hooked on this reading lark and I credit him and his Witches Trilogy on getting me hooked but I haven’t read an adult Pratchett since the Night Watch in 2003 though I read everyone one up until then. I have been enjoying his Tiffany Aching YA series in the gap. I’m a big Witches fan.  If one thing can attract me back it’s the Wizards rather than the football. I’d forgotten how intelligent, funny, and enjoyable he can be. And 2010 I’m going to fill in the gap and read Monstrous Regiment, Going Postal, Thud, and Making Money.

(*review forthcoming)

3) The Gabble and other stories by Neal Asher

I’ve decided this is my ideal form of a short story collection. Like A Touch of Dead (but in a completely differently league) This collects together stories set in the Polity universe. I found it a wonderful introduction to both Neal Asher and the Polity. I am now a firm fan of Gabbleducks and think that you should be too.

2) Hell’s Belles by Paul Magrs *

Paul Magrs’ Effie & Brenda Mysteries have been a real joy to read.  I read the first, Never the Bride, in October 2007 and stupidly waited 2 years before reading another. Hell’s Belles is the fourth and most ambitious so far. Not only to we get to see events from a slightly outsiders view. Whitby comes under the spell of someone who isn’t Mrs Claus, who we also get to know better and see another different aspect to. That woman is full of surprises. But the two main characters. Effie, who has magic running through her family and Brenda, who is so much more than the sum of her parts, make this worth reading. I’d read their next adventure in an instant.

(*review forthcoming)

1) Under the Dome by Stephen King

I had to force myself to read the 877 pages that is Stephen Kings latest epic and I’m so glad I did. A dome gruesomely cuts off the town of Chester’s Mill and it’s not long before all hell breaks loose. I don’t mean supernatural hell though there is a touch of otherness throughout. It’s the people that turn it into hell and you’ll be shocked and saddened by Kings looking-glass inspection of human nature. Thankfully there are people who try their best to intervene. But you’ll need to read it to see if they manage to save themselves. I was truly blown away by the scope and scale that this tale brings. It’s going to be very hard for King to come close to this again for a long time.

And there you have it. My top reads of 2010 but I can’t leave it there. There are some more books that deserve a special mention:

Debut Reads:

A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin

Griffin really challenged the idea of Urban Fantasy. Madness is chaotic and amazing though it didn’t quite beat those in the top ten. I am very much looking forward to Midnight Mayor and taking Griffin’s hand through another adventure in her unique and magical version of the unseen places in London.

Nights of Villjamur by Mark Charan Newton

This is a book that I purposely didn’t include in my top ten. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed reading it, Newton has a great story to tell and has a strong imagination that makes a textured and colourful read. But it is a debut novel and as such serves as an introduction to him and his writing. I just feel that Nights showed that he’s got a lot of potential and I couldn’t help feeling that this is just the beginning. I have high hopes for City of Ruin.

Classic Read:

Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock

I’m cheating slightly as I didn’t directly review this on NextRead but as my first official guest review for the prolific and amazing Book Smugglers. I couldn’t have an end of year post without remarking on it. Now here is a book that deserves the world classic. The wood that surrounds an isolated house contains a world within a world within a world. Robert Holdstock takes fantasy back to it’s roots combining myth and love and madness making a wholly enchanting tale. A true classic in every sense of the word.

Comfort Reads

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

I’ve read more books in this series than any other this year. Jim Butcher has come up with a character, setting and story that has so many possibilities. It allows him to keep Harry Dresden going from case to case saving himself and others over and over again. I’m trying to finish Turn Coat before the end of the year (not going to make it though) and that brings me up to do date until Changes is released. It’s a comfort read because there is a a rhythm and a pattern to them. Not formulaic as Butcher has lots of twists and turns and surprises but I know I’m going to like them as I love the cast he uses. A wonderful series.

And I don’t like leaving on a bad note so I’m going to leave you with just a link to my:

Most Disappointing Read

Twelve by Jasper Kent