Favorite Books of 2014

Favorite Books of 2014

It’s that time again, when we all gather round and report on the loot we scored during the most recent solar year. Nothing like below freezing weather to coax a Best Of post from me. (I shouldn’t complain – we’re bottoming out in the mid-20s here while my hometown deals with -40 wind chill.) I waited until the very last second to make this list, mostly because I wanted to make sure that William Gibson made it in time. As always, these are my favorites that I read during the year, not necessarily the best that were published in 2014, and of course in no particular order.

The Peripheral – William Gibson
I assumed that this would make the list, thus my wait until I finished it last Sunday. Expect a more detailed post soon, but suffice to say for now that this is everything awesome about Gibson.

Causal AngelHannu Rajaniemi
Maybe not for everyone, but I consider it a landmark release in 2014. This is a must read for anyone serious about Hard SF and where the subgenre is going.

City of Stairs Robert Jackson Bennett
I went on at length about this one, so there should be no surprises when it makes the list.

The Cusanus Game Wolfgang Jeschke
I’m not sure what the rules are on translations, but this would have been on my 2013 Hugo ballot had I read it in time. Complex and unforgiving look at both our future and the realities of time travel.

In the Garden of IdenKage Baker
Baker makes the list for the second year running. I suspect this isn’t the last time we’ll see her here.

The Future is JapaneseEd. Nick Mamatas and Masumi Washington
I ran low on Japanese SF this year, to my shame, but this long awaited collection lived up to my every expectation.

The BarrowMark Smylie
I did not expect to like this book, but lo and behold, here it sits on my Favorites list. Subversive, brash, unapologetic, and huge amounts of fun. This is grimdark with an agenda, brains beneath all the blood and swearing, and surprisingly memorable. I’m lining up for part two.

The Hostile Takeover TrilogyAndrew Swann
Another surprise. Operatic pathos, desert cyberpunk, and economic treatise do not often go together, but here we are. This is a courageous and daringly intelligent trilogy that deserves wider recognition.

The Time Roads – Beth Bernobich
I’m seeing a trend here with the politico-economic SFF. Also the mind benders that drive off casual fans.

Ancillary Sword – Ann Leckie
I didn’t love this like I loved the first book, but it’s still one of the best out there. More than covers in grace and wit what it passes up in audacious mindstorms.

Honorable mention this year goes to God’s War, Gemsigns, Queen City Jazz, Cibola Burn, Shipstar, The Thousand Names, and Inversions. We won’t even think about everything I missed out on.


6 thoughts on “Favorite Books of 2014

  1. Well, I’m in the same place with your list as you were with mine, I’ve not read any of them. At least not in their entirety. I have read a handful of stories out of The Future is Japanese. Ken Liu’s story is amazing, and was one of my favorites of the year prior.

    I have yet to read any Gibson at all. And I call myself a science fiction fan!

  2. Oo glad to hear that you liked the Jeschke. I have that on my shelf right now, one of my further explorations of German SF, but I have yet to get to it. Really excited about his writing in general. It’s interesting, it’s hard to find German SF sometimes, until you realize it’s almost all being shelve in the thriller isle.

    • I did not realize that it is all on the thriller aisle. May have to check that out.

      Cusanus Game was quite good. It’s slow moving, but thorough, and the ending made it all work for me. I also enjoyed the very European view of the world, which I thought was noticeably different from how Americans write about things.

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