1) A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L'Engle
2) The Wayfarers Trilogy (The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet; A Closed and Common Orbit), Becky Chambers
Probably my favourite "grownup" read of the year. Definitely the one I want to tell all of you to read, so I have other people to talk with about it. I liked it because it has bits of all my favourite things about speculative fiction: good flow and pacing to the writing, accessible diction that's space-y without being hard SF, excellent world building, excruciating detail in to those worlds, breaking down present-day social barriers by playing with the possibilities of social constructs. This book is home to one of the single stickiest things I read all year, in the Aandrisks and how they construct family units (and specifically, how they confer 'personhood' upon their younglings.) I devoured the sequel and am excited to see what else Chambers will put out.
3) Omnia, Laura Gallego García
What's this two-star rated book doing in my year-end list?? I may not have liked the writing in Omnia (though to be fair, it probably suffers more than a bit from lost-in-translation), but there was something captivating in this take on an intergalactic (maybe even inter-dimensional?) Amazon-like company, and it was easily one of my most talked about books of 2018. Appropriately, this is only available via Amazon Kindle.
4) Octavia's Brood, edited by Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha
I checked this book out from the library roughly 10 times this year, and is the only library book that I had to turn in to a purchase. Octavia's Brood is a collection of POC speculative fiction, inspired by Octavia Butler, written by authors, community leaders, social justice activists, and more. Every story is speculative, but not every story is told by a SFF writer, and that's what makes it fascinating. It's more like a conversation with a bunch of people who have ideas of what the future could be. Not every story is a home run, but the entirety of this collection is deeply satisfying.
5) The Grishaverse (Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising), Leigh Bardugo
6) The Forgetting, Sharon Cameron
Who loves a fully fleshed out world rooted in the absence of memory, even if the characters are silly and some of the prose is clunky? I do, I do! The Forgetting is here for all of your "I sure do wish The Giver had a female narrator instead" needs.
7) Trashed, Derf Backderf
|Definitely the best comic about municipal waste I've ever read. Also features some cute trash pandas on p.237.|
8) Dept. H, Matt & Sharlene Kindt
What's sort of a stock-standard Matt Kindt story (science, intrigue, weird shit, murder) is brought to life by the phenomenal colorwork of his wife, Sharlene Kindt. I don't know where Matt has been hiding her all these years, but I am super fucking excited to see more of her work.
9) Being Human, William Wegman
This retrospective of Wegman's work is a standout not only for the art, but for the interviews and essays included about his process and work with his doggo-collaborators. I never gave much thought to Wegman's photos over the years, but seeing them collected, learning about his process, and finally realizing the breadth and depth of what he's been doing for the last forty years was delightful.
10) Warcross, Marie Lu
I struggled with picking a 10th standout read for 2018. I hate-read a lot of books, so a lot of things that I spent a lot of time yelling about really don't belong on a list like this. I read a lot of interesting, but not particularly engaging, novels - stuff I'd recommend to people who were specifically interested, but that I didn't feel a particular connection to. And then there's Warcross, which, honestly, I didn't even really like, but it's the sort of novel that I want there to be more of. Y'see, Warcross is the book that, by every measure, Ready Player One should have been. At least, if we didn't live in a cis-het patriarchy that favored the needs and pleasures and even retro kitsch of boring white guys over literally anyone else at all. Warcross isn't for me. But it's absolutely for every teenage gamer that doesn't identify as a white guy, who is interested in video games for what they are and what they can be, and who appreciates source material as reference, not as substance. It's not an eye-opening, world-melting novel, by any means. It's just... it's fine. It's fine in a way that female written, female fronted books don't ever get to just be fine, because they're always carrying the entire weight of an entire genre-type in their rarity. And I want there to be more of that. I want more representation in SFF, in YA: better archetypes, better heroes, even better villains; and the only way we're going to get that is if we have more diversity, more voices, more ideas. So bring on more Marie Lus, more Warcrosses. Let's open this pit up.
The Power, Naomi Alderman
Vox, Christina Dalcher
Ms. Marvel, G. Willow Wilson