Library Journals’ May 15th issue printed two lists of the top ten Science Fiction /Fantasy titles for 2011, as chosen by SF Site’s readers and editors (btw, SF Site is a super site for reviews and reading suggestions). As is often the case, these two lists were not completely the same. But there was consensus among readers and editors on the following four titles:
Among Others (M)
by Jo Walton
“This novel is up for this year’s Nebula Award. It’s a story of a teenaged girl growing up in late 1970s Britain. Following an accident in which her twin sister is killed and she, herself, is left with a permanent injury to her leg, Mori runs away from her mother to live with her estranged father. She is placed in an elite girls’ school, where she quickly finds herself to be something of an outsider. The novel is riddled with references to science fiction books and authors of the era, and includes some elements of what may or may not be urban fantasy magic. But what makes it one of the best books of the past year is Walton’s compelling storytelling. “ SF Site
The Crippled God (M)
by Steven Erikson
“The preceding volume in this series, Dust of Dreams, was the number one book chosen by the SF Site contributors two years ago. With hundreds of characters and countless plotlines and subplots, Erikson has managed to provide a very satisfying conclusion to this massive, long-running and much beloved series. To effectively tie up a work of such depth and complexity is a wondrous feat of literary dexterity. There are some revelations in this final book that should be encountered through reading, and therefore I will refrain from talking about the plot. I cannot recommend this series highly enough — but start at the beginning, with Gardens of the Moon. You won’t regret it.“ – SF Site
by China Miéville
“The favourite book of the year for the SF Site contributors and reviewers was Miéville’s Embassytown. It’s also up for the Nebula. It’s a bold and challenging work. The characters are fascinating and complex, although it’s primarily the ideas the author presents about language and how it shapes our relationship to the world that makes this an important and interesting work of science fiction.
Embassytown is the name of a human-inhabited section of an alien city on a distant and somewhat isolated world. The native inhabitants have two sets of vocal apparatus, meaning that their complex language is comprised of two voices speaking in tandem. They only understand language when it is spoken in this way, and only when they can also recognize the sentient mind behind the sounds. This has meant that humans have had to develop a way of communicating with them that does not use artificial voice synthesis. The humans have developed special ambassadors who are cloned individuals with cybernetic mind links.
Interestingly, the locals can only use language to express truth. The concept of lying had been entirely foreign to them before contact with humans. Now that they are beginning to learn how to lie, things are changing in Embassytown… “ SF Site
A Dance with Dragons (M)
by George R.R. Martin
“Fifth in a planned seven-volume series, begun with A Game of Thrones, recently made more popular by the TV series of the same title. As readers have come to expect from this series, the present novel is full of intrigue and scheming, myriad characters and plotlines. The primary stories revolve around threats of invasion in the far north, guarded against by Jon Snow, and the expedition of Daenerys Targaryen to disrupt trade while her dragons grow stronger… ” SF Site
Checkout SF Site’s website to see the complete lists, as well as many more lists, book reviews, and interviews.