A couple weeks ago I found out that CITY OF THE LOST wound up on the Kirkus Reviews Best 100 list for fiction in 2012. Exciting? Absolutely. Surprising? You betcha. What I hadn’t realized until last night is that it also ended up on their Top Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2012 list. Makes sense. They just split out the SF&F books from the list and boo-yah! There ya go.
And this is where it gets weird for me. Seeing the book in a sea of ninety-nine other books is fantastic. Seeing it with ELEVEN other books is a tad daunting. I now get to see the other authors that they felt were worthy of this honor.
Authors like Charles Stross, Elizabeth Bear, Jack McDevitt. These are authors who I would honestly have a problem talking to over the fan squee oozing from my pores. I was on a panel one time with Tim Powers and I was fine during the panel because I was being Professional Author Type Person (For A Given Value of Professional), but I was so freaked out over it being TIM FUCKING POWERS that I froze up and bailed without talking to him afterward.
To be in these authors’ company in any capacity is astounding to me. I am happy and grateful that CITY OF THE LOST has been so well received by the people who took the chance on a debut author to read it. Thank you very much. Really. I truly hope that you enjoy DEAD THINGS as much if not more. I honestly think it’s a better book. I hope you do, too.
So after seeing all that I figured what the hell. Here’s my list.
I know this comic isn’t new but I came to the series late, which is good for me. If I’d had to wait for each issue I’d have gone nuts. This series is phenomenal. As it is I tore through what was out there over the course of a week and now I only have to wait a little longer to see the ending. Hill brings horror and humor and sadness all roiling together into a big ball of fucking awesome.
Lovecraftian Noir. Brubaker’s deft hand at crime writing coupled with the raw edges of Phillips’ style makes for a gripping, superbly told story about arcane evil and doomed redemption. Cross over crime writing with supernatural horror and I’m so there.
Some disclosure here, I love Sean Phillips’ work and was lucky enough to get his art on the cover of CITY OF THE LOST, which somehow springboarded into writing an essay for Brubaker on Raymond Chandler and the inspiration for Philip Marlowe for the back of FATALE #4. So not only is this a series I love, but in some very small way, I’m a part of it and that amazes me.
- BLACKBIRDS – Chuck Wendig
Wendig has a very distinctive style and if I had to compare him to anyone it’d be Stephen King. He has a way with dialog and little side menaderings that solidify a place, a person or a particular type of batshit crazy. Though I love the follow-up, MOCKINGBIRD, BLACKBIRDS was so different from the usual fare that it will always be the better book in my mind.
- BLACKOUT – Mira Grant
What do we do when the zombie apocalypse is over and done with? What sort of people will we have become? BLACKOUT is the final book in Grant’s Newsflesh trilogy and it’s fantastic. The whole series is great in what it says about society, media and politics in the wake of something as devastating as a zombie apocalypse. This is an excellent closer.
- DARE ME – Megan Abbott
Abbott’s noir novel about high school cheerleaders makes Heathers look like a fucking Hallmark special. The dialog is so crisp, the characters so vivid and the emotional blackmail and backstabbing so brutal it’ll make your skin crawl. No one does the subtleties of noir nearly as well as Abbott does.
- DEAD HARVEST – Chris F Holm
Sam is a Collector of souls for Hell. You make a deal with the Devil, he’s the one who’s gonna come knocking when the bill comes due. This books mixes a hard-boiled detective story with the machinations between Heaven and Hell with this poor schmuck caught in the middle. Extraordinary book. You should buy it and everything Holm has written.
- THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON – Saladin Ahmed
Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, “The last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat,” is old, fat, cantankerous, tired and bitter about the thankless life he’s led in service to the people of Dhamsawaat. And he’s one of the best fantasy protagonists I’ve ever read. Ahmed manages to shrink down an epic plot down to a very personal and intimate story of a man and his young charges who are badly outgunned and out of their depth.
I know I’m missing others books. A lot of them. ASHES OF HONOR and DISCOUNT ARMAGEDDON by Seanan McGuire are both fantastic urban fantasies, though in radically different ways. EVEN WHITE TRASH ZOMBIES GET THE BLUES by Diana Rowland is a blast. PLAGUE TOWN by Dana Fredsti, GETAWAY by Lisa Brackmann, SEAWITCH by Kat Richardson, SEVEN WONDERS by Adam Christopher, THIS DARK EARTH by John Hornor Jacobs, and on and on. A great year for books.
I know I’m missing stuff from this list and I’ll be kicking myself in half an hour for not including something.
But what about you? What are your favorites for 2012? What do you think should be here that isn’t?
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