You’re staying for the free stuff, aren’t you? I know. It’s OK. I would too.
But that’s the best, and thus I shall save it for last. Today begins the second week of Rinn Reads Sci-Fi Month, and it also marks the third anniversary of this little internet asylum of mine!
Three years ago, I was inspired by a science fiction novel I’d more or less stumbled into the genre by reading to set myself up with a little online nook where I could talk about books I enjoyed, because I’d enjoyed that one so very much that the thought of blogging wouldn’t leave me alone. That book was John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, and while I like to think my reviewing skills are much improved now, I am happy in the knowledge that my enthusiasm for doing this has gone nowhere.
It’s been challenging at times, and the last three or so years have been especially difficult in a personal sense – but this is still my joy, even when it’s forcing me to take a critical look at myself and what I’m doing, and what I want to do. Heck, I can appreciate it for that very reason.
And I have had so many marvellous people to share it with. The reception I’ve gotten and the friends and acquaintances I’ve made are so far beyond anything I expected that it still boggles my mind sometimes. I couldn’t quit now if I tried, and it’s all your fault. You all know who you are.
And the STORIES. Oh my teacup, the stories! Science fiction started this whole thing, and since I am currently happily wallowing in the stuff for Sci-Fi Month, I thought I’d happily wallow a little more here! Now, there have been so many books read and so much out there to read, that to try to feature it all would be insanity – but I couldn’t write this post without highlighting some personal favourites. After all, what good is a review blog if you can’t recommend books?
To start with, I have to (once again) sing the praises of few UK-based SF authors. Stephanie Saulter’s Revolution Trilogy almost passed me by completely, and would have done had I not been in a curious mood when Jo Fletcher Books offered me a copy of Gemsigns to review. Since then all three books in this series have been released in the UK (you can find my reviews on the Reviews page), and I’ve been consistently floored by how excellent they are. Since then I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Stephanie in person (at Satellite 4) and Jo Fletcher Books has become a go-to publisher for diverse and ambitious SF/F.
And speaking of diverse and ambitious SF, another standout writer I’ve discovered is Naomi Foyle, author of The Gaia Chronicles (also published by Jo Fletcher). The first two books, Astra and Rook Song, utterly blew me away with the ideas they explored (full reviews for these are also up on the Reviews page). If you can get your hands on these, and if you’re looking for challenging science fiction, try both of these authors.
More recently, I’ve been singing the praises of Emma Newman, a previous favourite writer for her urban fantasy series The Split Worlds, and Becky Chambers, whose self-published success The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet was recently picked up by traditional publishers and is gaining even more acclaim. You can read my review of Planetfall and follow the Small Angry Planet Read Along on my Sci-Fi Month page.
Now, for something else I really want to highlight here – short fiction.
Short stories and SF/F magazines are not something I’d ever expected to enjoy as much as full-length novels, but *clutches teacup, wide-eyed* GUYS IT’S SO AMAZING. Over the last couple of years I’ve found a handful of go-to magazines where I can and do regularly get my short fiction fix, and it’s brought me to writers whose work I fully intend to keep up with where and however I can. People like Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Nina Allan, Sarah Pinsker, Seth Dickinson, Sam J. Miller, Amal El-Mohtar, Elizabeth Bear – AUGH THERE ARE SO MANY. Just, trust me. If you don’t read short SF/F, you are missing out SO BADLY.
Aaaaand now we’re getting to the part that (I hope!) you’re still here for…
See, I have come to love short fiction and the places I find it so much that, in another happy coincidence of timing for this blog birthday, I am going to wave my promotional flag a bit in my second Sci-Fi Month giveaway!
I posted a bit about this last week, but today I am giving a little something back to you guys! I am offering one lucky SF/F reader the chance to win a free 1-year subscription to Apex Magazine! All you need to do to be eligible is be in possession of a valid email address. That’s it. There are no territorial restrictions on this one.
In order to enter, simply leave a comment on this post before November 11th, and I will announce the winner in a special guest post by Apex Magazine’s Managing Editor, Lesley Conner! (That post is so awesome, by the way. You guys will love it. I can’t wait!)
So there you have it. Happy third birthday to this thing of geekiness I acknowledge mine. Go forth and read awesome stuff, and good luck in the giveaway, sentient beings of Earth!