Sunday, February 8, 2009

Gary K Wolfe names his last year's pick from normal, revolutionary, & middle ground scifi novels

At Locus Roundtable.

For a "best of" list, his is a slightly unusual post - names 1 novel each that represents the familiar, future, & middle ground:

  1. Normal: "Paul McAuley’s The Quiet War. In terms of the familiar literary merits of character, plot, and style, it’s one of his very best novels—but as SF it’s essentially conservative, representing a 23rd-century interplanetary war of the sort we’ve seen often before, but seldom with such attention to current science and such political and psychological acumen."
  2. Revolutionary: "Neal Stephenson’s Anathem, which may draw on a number of familiar SF tropes, but which seems to violate nearly every principle we’ve inherited about what SF usually is—in terms not only of its massive length, its leisurely pacing (at least in the opening few hundred pages), its language, its humor, its preoccupations with systems, puzzles, and entire philosophical systems for their own sake. Like much revolutionary science, it may take some years for us to realize its full effect on the field, as people actually begin to finish it."
  3. Blend: "Greg Bear’s City at the End of Time ... both hauntingly familiar and energetically innovative."
Related: "best of" lists.