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On Friday, Locus published their annual, stunningly comprehensive Recommending Reading List for 2012's speculative fiction and, pleasingly, five SH stories were included:

Congratulations to all five of the above authors from all of us here. Karen Burnham has also compiled a list of all the recommended short fiction available online, so you've got plenty of good reading ahead of you. Congratulations also to Brit, whose essay We Wuz Pushed: On Joanna Russ and Radical Truth-Telling and anthology Beyond Binary both made the list.

A couple of general thoughts about this year's list: I think it accurately suggests that it was a pretty stunning year for collections, and a very decent year for first novels; but the Best SF Novel and Best Fantasy Novel lists are both a bit too generous with their inclusions for my taste, and I wish they had a bit more academic input into their best non-fiction list. It doesn't look like the best of years for novellas, so I'll be interested to see what turns up on awards ballots in that category. A few things I'm particularly pleased to see: the Singh/Menon anthology Breaking the Bow, which I haven't quite finished yet, but is in general very strong; Kiini Ibura Salaam's Ancient, Ancient, which would certainly have been on my best-of-year list if I'd finished it in time; and Roz Kaveney's Rituals, ditto.



Niall Harrison is a reader and fan.
6 comments on “Recommended!”

I'd be interested to hear more about the titles you feel should have been on the Non-Fiction list; I'm always looking out for good criticism.

Well, that's the thing -- I'm not deep enough in the academic arena to pick up on things as they're published either. I find books three or five years later, and think yes, that's pretty great and useful, and then look back and they were never on the Locus list. Recentish examples would be the Bould/Vint Concise History of SF, Rieder's Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction, Heise's Sense of Place and Sense of Planet, and Ruddick's Fire in the Stone.

I was staggered that the Crooked Timber roundtable on Spufford's Red Plenty didn't make the locus non-fiction cut: really stimulating and varied responses to Spufford's novel and SF/Utopia more generally, not least from the author himself.
http://crookedtimber.org/category/red-plenty-seminar/
Also on CT: John Holbo's piece on 'Metaphysical MacGuffins' was, i thought, very thought-provoking (in a genre-related, and in a wider sense)
http://crookedtimber.org/2012/11/21/metaphysical-macguffins-and-benjamin-button/
Also online, my friend Scott Kaufman blogs a lot and well about SF/Fantasy, particularly cinematic. Here's a two part post about High Fantasy films:
1: http://acephalous.typepad.com/acephalous/2012/10/fellowship-of-the-ring-conventions-of-film-conventions-of-genre.html
2: http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2013/01/fellowship-of-the-ring-conventions-of-genre-sorta-kinda-part-the-second
More specifically academic: I enjoyed Lysa Rivera's "Future Histories and Cyborg Labor: Reading Borderlands Science Fiction after NAFTA" in November 2012's Science Fiction Studies, which dealt with something ('Chicanafuturism') about which I know almost nothing. And Istvan Csicsery-Ronay's "What Do We Mean When We Say 'Global Science Fiction'? Reflections on a New Nexus" in the same issue is interesting too.
I was horrified at the absence of Jess Langer's Science Fiction and Postcolonialism (Palgrave) book from the Locus List; although looking again I discover it was published Dec 2012, so maybe that's why it didn't make it.
Thomas Elsaesser's essay on "The 'Return' of 3-D: On Some of the Logics and Genealogies of the Image in the Twenty-First Century' has only just appeared in Critical Inquiry; it's online as a pdf here:
http://criticalinquiry.uchicago.edu/uploads/pdf/Elsaesser.pdf
Sara Wasson and Emily Alder's collection of essays Gothic Science Fiction 1980-2010 (Liverpool Univ. Press 2012) has got some v. stimulating and worthwhile things in it; including a good Roger Luckhurst essay.
Whilst I'm here, I may just hijack this comments thread to note that there's still a month to go before submissions close on Mark Bould's 'Africa and SF' edition of Paradoxa: see here --
http://iafa.highpoint.edu/2012/cfp-paradoxas-africa-sf-issue/
[apologies for naked links; I didn't have time to bury them in the text]

Excellent recommendations gentlemen, thank you!

Two more 2012 books which I haven't yet read, but which looks promising, though neither made the locus non-fiction list:
Andrew Milner,Locating Science Fiction (Liverpool 2012); ambitious theoretical work that apparently sets out a whole new critical paradigm for the genre (as I say, I haven't read it; but I've read other things by Milner and he's worth reading)
Andrew M. Butler, Solar Flares: Science Fiction in the 1970s (Liverpool 2012). Again I haven't yet read this, but I know Andrew and he blogged some of the material that went into the making of this book. Looks interesting.

And there's a perfect case in point -- I knew Andrew was working on that book, I had completely missed the fact that it had been published. Of course now there's the added frustration of academic book prices (£70!), but at least I can start thinking about acquiring it...

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