Six Favorites of 2017
These are the six best books I read (for the first time) last year.
Soldier of the Mist - Gene Wolfe
Combine the Greek pantheon with an amnesiac soldier trying to discover himself and you get one of my new favorite fantasy novels. Wolfe has a reputation for both beautiful prose and unreliable narrators; these are on full display here. This was the first novel I've read by Wolfe; it will not be the last.
The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Liu, Ken (March 8, 2016) Hardcover - Ken Liu
A brilliant collection of short stories, some magic realism, most SF. Tears through quite a few subgenres, including alternate history and cyberpunk. Themes of alienation, parenthood, and racism repeat throughout.
A beautiful, and hilarious, remembrance about the author's parents, especially his father. There are a few painful moments, but also a lot of laughs.
The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead
The first Pulitzer-winning novel I've read, this is a fantastic piece of magical realism / speculative fiction, with an emphasis on racial prejudice. This book imagines the Underground Railroad as a literal train route, and we follow an escaped slave on the various legs of her trip. Through various means, Whitehead examines many historical crimes against Black Americans, including several that took place well after slavery. How the author does this should be discovered through the reading; this book is magic.
The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies - John Langan
One of the best horror collections I've read in years. Many of these stories are post-modern in their approach to horror, using the genre's themes and tropes (as well as formal experimentation) to examine it. Good stuff.
A great suspense/mystery novel that centers around horse-racing. It also deals with grief, confidence, and despair. Loved it.
I would highly recommend these books to anyone; they're all amazing.