Sunday, January 4, 2009

The ULTIMATE (and somewhat bloated) Best Of 2008 List [part 1]


There are already a few cumulative "Best of 2008" lists out there; there is one at Fantasy Book News & Reviews (and a follow-up to the first one), another one at Tia's Fantasy Debut, Larry of OF Blog of the Fallen has one as does someone else I shouldn't have missed, but I did, I'm sure - BUT the list I'm compiling here on after (and which I'll be updating regularly as I stumble upon new noteworthy content) strives to be the most wholesome of all, a little encyclopedia of 2008 "best of" lists if you wish. At the end of the list I'll try to summarize (in as vague fashion as possible) which books you should consider worthy of reading and maybe which ones you should stay away from. This might be a bit much to process in one reading (who said that you should anyway), but I really think a list like this might come in handy to many of you (I'm not doing this for myself - Best of 2007 for those interested - :)). Here we go...-

edit: because of the lenght of text I've decided to cut it up and serve it in more palatable portions (around 3 or 4, haven't decided yet). If your blog isn't mentioned it probably will be in one of the follow-up posts, if not, notify me.


Benjamin from The Deckled Edge has a fine selection of memorable reads of 2008. Above all, he praises "Shadow of the Wind" (Carlos Ruiz Zafon) as the best overall novel, "Last Argument of Kings" (Joe Abercrombie) as the best fantasy novel, "Wild Cards" (ed.George R.R.Martin) as best sf novel, "Lavinia" (Ursula K.LeGuin,) as best unexpected novel and "The Fade" by Chris Wooding as the most underrated novel of the year. Runner-ups include some terrific novels, such as "The Separation" (Christoper Priest), "An Autumn War" (Daniel Abraham), "The Ten Thousand" (Paul Kearney), "Sharp Teeth" (Toby Barlow) and others.

The reticent Darren Turpin recapped his reading experience of 2008 on his blog The Genre Files. He thinks much especially of Guy Gavriel Kay's "Ysabell" and Peter Crowther's mini-collection "The Land at the End of the Working Day".

Andrew's (The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.) twelve favorite - read his post for month-to-month walktrough and if you are in any way curious why he uses the word 'favorite' instead of 'best' - books of the year were: "The Speed Queen" (Stewart O'Nan), "The Dragons of Babel" (Michael Swanwick), "Three Shadows" (Cyril Pedrosa), "Good-Bye" (Yoshihiro Tatsumi), "Sharp Teeth" (Toby Barlow), "Buying In" (Rob Walker), "Skyscrapers of the Midwest" (Joshua W. Cotter), "Zot! 1987-1991" (Scott McCloud), "Nothing to Be Frightened Of" (Julian Barnes), "Caine Black Knife" (Matthew Stover), "Best American Comics: 2008" (ed.Lynda Barry) and "Bottomless Belly Button" (Dash Shaw).

SFX awarded the following ten 2008 sf or fantasy novels for being exceptional (the awarded novels were voted by the readers of the magazine): (1) "Making Money" (Terry Pratchett), (2) "Flood" (Stephen Baxter), (3) "Matter" (Iain M Banks), (4) "The Last Theorem" (Arthur C Clarke/Frederik Pohl), (5) "Empire of Ivory" (Naomi Novik), (6) "House of Suns" (Alastair Reynolds), (7) "The Red Wolf Conspiracy" (Robert VS Redick), (8) "Last Argument of Kings" (Joe Abercrombie), (9) "The Name of the Wind" (Patrick Rothfuss) and finally (10) "Anathem" (Neal Stephenson).

Plinnydog (Speculative Fiction Junkie) praises "The Resurrectionist" (Jack O'Connell), "Through A Glass, Darkly" (Bill Hussey), "The Name of the Wind" (Patrick Rothfuss), "The Shadow of the Wind" (Carlos Ruiz Zafon) and "Pump Six and Other Stories" (Paolo Bacigalupi, short-story collection) as his favorite 5 reads of 2008. Follow the link to find some of the reviews.

Patrick from Pat's Fantasy HOTlist awarded HOTties (2008 Year-End Awards) for top ten sf&f books among other categories. His top ten list is as follows: (1) "Toll the Hounds" (Steven Erikson) - *(1) "Neuropath" (Scott Bakker) would make the list as number one, but it isn't a specfic title as he claims -, (2) "The Secret History of Moscow" (Ekaterina Sedia), (3) "Return of the Crimson Guard" (Ian Cameron Esslemont), (4) "MultiReal" (David Louis Edelman), (5) "Last Argument of Kings" (Joe Abercrombie), (6) "Bloodheir" (Brian Ruckley), (7) "Inside Straight" (ed.George R. R. Martin), (8) "The Ten Thousand" by Paul Kearney, (9) "The Shadow Year" (Jeffrey Ford), (10) "The Edge of Reason" (Melinda Snodgrass). There are ten more follow-ups posted, but you'll have to follow the link to find out who they are (Pat's other Hottie categories are well worth the read as well). I totally agree on Pyr Books getting the publisher of the year award as they are absolutely entitled to it from my limited experience with the publishing world. "A World Too Near" by Kay Kenyon was awarded with the most underrated novel award - review of the first book ("Bright of the Sky") in the same trilogy is coming on this blog shortly.

Amras (A Slight Apocalypse) mentions the following sf&f titles as "Best of '08": (1) "The Gone-Away World" (Nick Harkaway), (2) "Little Brother" (Cory Doctorow) and (3) "Last Argument of Kings" (Joe Abercrombie). Follow the link for the short commentary on each of the book.
To be continued...



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