Best of 2013

Best of 2013

In the midst of several other writing projects, I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize some stand outs from the last year. Unlike 2012, I didn’t keep close tabs on new releases. To be honest, 2012 was a bit of an aberration, as I normally spend more time digging through archives than staying current. Add to that a dearth (to me at least) of high profile SF publications, and I find myself unable to even make a page worth of 2013 reviews. So in this, the third annual wrap up on Two Dudes, we will switch format yet again and present randomly titled awards to deserving books, in reverse chronological order (because that’s how I pulled the titles off of Goodreads).

Ultimate in Tall, Dark, and Handsome Award: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by NK Jemisin
Explanatory post is forthcoming, even though the read-along ended sometime before Christmas.

Inexplicably Still Going Strong, Even After 3000 Pages Award: Midnight Tides by Steven Erikson
I really should write a review for something in the Malazan series, but where to start? I’m now five books in and, while I’ve heard things start to peter out towards the end, Midnight Tides is still part of a remarkable run as a standard bearer for epic fantasy.

Dual Mention for Best Debut and Best SF of 2013 Award: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
Great stuff here, one of the most talked about books of the year. Not everyone liked it, but it’s probably my favorite book from last year.

Omigosh Where Have You Been All My Life Award: The Anvil of the World by Kage Baker
Why didn’t I read Kage Baker sooner? I have no idea.

Seriously Intimidating But Basically Everything SF Aspires to Be Award: Cyteen by CJ Cherryh
Cyteen is as dense and claustrophobic as anything Cherryh has ever written, which says a lot, but is the Platonic form of SF. Not only is she digging deeper than almost any other SF writer out there, but the very science fictional-ness of the book allows her to take on subjects that mainstream literature can barely touch. Must read for anyone serious about the genre.

Simultaneously Mind Blowing, Creepily Perverse, Too Long, and Thoroughly Literate Award: 1Q84 by Murakami Haruki
Many deep thoughts about this covered here.

Onward Comrade! To the Taiga! Award: The Winds of Khalakovo by Bradley Beaulieu
Action-packed, raucous, Russian-esque fun. Also earned me a nod on the author’s homepage for a gamboling pandas joke.

Best Plug for Two Dudes Award: Jagannath by Karin Tidbeck
A throw-away, grossly stereotypical gag about Swedes landed me a coveted blurb here, right underneath names like “Le Guin” and “Mieville.” (!!!) I still can’t get over this one. (Also, this is a remarkable book of stories and should be read by all.)

Our Man in Havana Memorial Award: Trafalgar by Angelica Gorodischer
Gorodischer is actually from Argentina, but I prefer the movie in the award name to Evita.

Not a Great Book but Really Fun to Review Award: Parasite Eve by Sena Hideaki
Marauding, sentient lady bits? Check. Pederasty? Check. Mitochondria plotting to take over the world? Check. Must come from Japan.

Unjustly Overlooked, Hidden Gem From the Past Award: Carve the Sky by Alexander Jablokov
I am now a huge Jablokov fan and looking forward to reading and reviewing more of his books this year. This guy deserves a Scalzi-like following.

Holy Cats There Are Awesome People All Around Us Award: All of the new friends I met in the past year. This whole project is much more worthwhile because of all of you. Thank you!

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8 thoughts on “Best of 2013

  1. How awesome is that? Someday maybe I can get a blurb. And you got one with a joke, which is great because most of my reviews are one long joke.

    And I need to read Kage Baker too. I think I even OWN a Kage Baker book. Just need to research if it is a good starting point or not.

    • Slowly getting back on the comment train after a short vacation.
      I can’t quite get over the fact that someone liked a gag enough to make a blurb. It may remain the blog high point for the rest of my life.

      I’m kicking myself for not reading Baker sooner. Apparently everything else is just as good as Anvil of the World.

  2. Nodding along to that last one. Been a great year for a number of reasons.

    We should choose another slightly intimidating door-stopper and have another bash sometime later this year. Make an occasion of it. I’ll bring the drinks if you bring the food 😉

    • One Cup Ozeki Sake for everyone! I had discussed some sort of “Series Continuation Festival” with someone else (Lisa? Lynn?) for later in the year. I would also love to pick something scary and heavy for another trans-oceanic collaboration. Maybe once I settle my reading list for the year, we’ll find a common goal. Or do you have a suggestion?

      • Thought you’d never ask.

        Sticking to the theme of ‘chunky stuff I might not otherwise tackle by myself’ there’s a list including –
        Reamde – Neal Stephenson
        Great North Road – Peter F Hamilton
        From the Fatherland, with Love – Murakami Ryu
        Carrion Comfort – Dan Simmons

        Slightly lower down the ‘intimidation’ scale there’s-
        On the Steel Breeze – Alistair Reynolds
        The Dervish House – Ian MacDonald

        And if we really want to push the boat out I bought The Luminaries when it was on sale for a quid on the kindle…

        Love the new look, by the way 😉

      • Thanks. I realized that at least two other WordPress blogs on my feed were using the same theme, so I changed it up.

        I will definitely read the Reynolds when it arrives at the library. The Dervish House is also on my TBR. Both the Stephenson and Hamilton books would be fun, though I need to read others of theirs this year as well. I have mixed feelings about Murakami Ryu, but maybe I just need to read the right one.

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