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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Gifts For 2010: Favorite SF/F Reads in 2010

I've already done a podcasting kit for authors and like-minded individuals, but no discussion of Christmas gifts in the SF/F world should leave out books and magazines.  So, below are my favorite reads for 2010 (so far, anyway, what with there being another 15 days left).

Here goes:

Fiction -- Top Picks
The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell
Badass of the Year:  Temple
A lot of books came out this year, and at the top of my list is Alden Bell's post-apocalypse literary zombie novel.  Check out my review to see why I loved it so much.  Oh, and we interviewed Mr. Bell here.

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer
The end of the world always has tornadoes...
I was sad to see this series end, but Pfeffer did a fine job pulling everything together in the third of her post-apocalyptic YA novels.  Told in the form of journal entries, it follows a young girl and her extended family as they try to survive in world changed by a massive impact on the moon, which pushes it into a closer orbit around the Earth.  My review can be found here, and I've interviewed her two times, in case you're interested.

City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VanderMeer
An oldie, but definitely one of the most enjoyable and fascinating books I've read this year.  Whether you want to call VanderMeer a New Weird writer, or something else entirely, his fiction is fantastic.  City of Saints and Madmen is a prime example of the man's talent, moving through various literary styles and modes with a uniquely categorical attention to detail.  The novel reads almost like a catalogue of Ambergrisian wonder.  If you're going to get an oldie for Christmas, this should be it.

Graphic Novels -- Top Pick
Mouse Guard:  Fall 1152 by David Petersen
Better than Brian Jacques...
A beautifully drawn animal fantasy tale with an entertaining story.  It's like Duncton Wood meets Narnia.  Fun, adventurous, and cute (yes, cute, because even kickass ninja mice are adorable).  Give it a shot if you're up for a little adventure.

Non-fiction -- Top Picks
Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction by John Rieder
Ew!  Colonialism!
If you're going to choose a critical text about science fiction this year, then Rieder's book is the one to go with.  We read this book for my Utopia/SF course and it has become one of my favorite theoretical works in the class.  If you're interested in how colonialism informs and is tied into the very structure of SF as a genre, this is a book worth reading.

Rogues by Jacques Derrida
Will the real rogue state please stand up!
Nothing like a little political philosophy to get your day going, right?  The good news is that this is one of Derrida's shortest and most coherent works, which deals specifically with the idea of the "rogue state."  And, of course, as Derrida always does, he deconstructs the term to explain its ambiguities, eccentricities, and so forth.  There's a lot of useful stuff in here for worldbuilding if you ask me.

Magazine -- Top Pick
Interzone Magazine from TTA Press
The only magazine worth subscribing to...
Best.  Magazine.  Period.  Subscribe.

And there you go.

Which books and magazines would you recommend for Christmas and why?  Let me know in the comments!

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