Let me just confess up front: reading more short fiction in 2011 cut into the novel reading time. If you look at the list of books I’ve read since 1996, you’ll note that in this year, much of my reading consisted of issues of Astounding. In the past, I never added magazine reading to the “books” list, but I chose to do so this year because I was reading the magazines cover-to-cover and therefore treating them like collections of short stories. From that list, you can see that most of what I read this year were those Astounding issues, leaving little time for much else.
But some time remained.
This year, for instance, I started reading George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. It took only 2 episodes of the HBO series to get me interested in the book. After reading the book, I wrote about how George R. R. Martin made me a fan of epic fantasy. I read two more books in the series before taking a break.
However, if we are sticking to just novels that were published in 2011, then two really stand out:
- 11/22/63 by Stephen King. I was looking forward to this book when it was first announced and I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading it, but I absolutely loved it. It was not only a well-done time travel story, but it was just plain good fiction.
- Firebird by Jack McDevitt. I think I’ve said before that Jack is one of my favorite writers today and his Alex Benedict novels are guilty pleasures for me. I love the universe he has created in the far future. I love Alex and Chase. Most of all, I love the mysteries they attempt to solve. This one was pure fun.
I know there were lots and lots of great novels published this year and I barely read any of them. But at this point, my focus in both my writing and my reading is with short fiction. And the truth is, so is my heart. I suspect it will continue this way next year as well.
Tomorrow: my review of science fiction conventions I attended in 2011.