Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Charles' Summer Reading List 2016

Okay people, time for some hard truths. I have been plops at reading anything but short fiction this year. Seriously, it's been a little tough to find the time. But I am fresh-ish from my return from WisCon and am SO ENERGIZED to get to reading some of these books. Seriously. And yes, I know, there are two books of short stories on this list but just because I read short fiction almost constantly doesn't mean I don't want to read more of it. 

1. Infomocracy by Malka Older [Tor, 2016]

If I had to pick up this novel on the strength of the author's Tor dot com story, "Tear Tracks," that would be enough of an incentive to read. But the description of the book, that of a political techno-SF about the power and corruption of information, looks compelling as hell. Especially with the current US politics at play, this novel looks a timely and excellent read. So here's hoping!

2. The Root by Na'amen Gobert Tilahun [Night Shade Books, 2016]

I first heard Na'amen Gobert Tilahun speak at the 2015 WisCon and the energy and passion and wit he brought to every panel he was on was just amazing. So when I saw that he had a novel coming out I jumped on that. Hard. Mixing magic, government conspiracies, and celebrity, the story looks fast and fun and exactly the sort of thing I want to see more of.

3. Minions of the Moon by Richard Bowes [Lethe Press, 2013]

I have been charmed by Richard Bowes' short fiction since I first stumbled across it and to find a whole connected collection is amazing. From what I've noticed the author tends to write in bundles of shared-universe story series (mosaic novels?), and it's a form that fascinates me. It certainly helps that it's put out by Lethe, a publisher dedicated to putting out a lot of amazing content. Really this just seems a match made in heaven for me as a reader.

4. Trouble and Her Friends by Melissa Scott [Tor, 1994]

So this book keeps getting mentioned and apparently I must read it. So I will. It might be obvious from this list that my background in reading is mainly fantasy and I'm trying to branch more into science fiction. Of the strictly speculative fiction, this one is also the oldest on the list. I want to read more SFF from the 70s as well, but in some ways I'm bouncing all over at the moment, trying to find my own tradition, my own canon. So I'm interested to see how this book informs my past and future reading.

5. The Winged Histories by Sofia Samatar [Small Beer Press, 2016]

I read A Stranger In Olondria earlier this year and all I can say is yes. Yes of course I want to read this, especially on the heels of seeing and meeting the author at WisCon (!!!). The first book was all about place, travel, and culture, and if the jacket is anything to go by this second book is about history. I'm very excited to see what the author does with that and how the setting will continue to be revealed and complicated.

6. The Time and the Place and other stories by Naguib Mahfouz [Anchor Books, 1992]

This is the only not-really-speculative book on the list and I'm hoping it still has some speculative elements. This was something of a blind pull at the bookstore and it looked interesting and not huge (which can sometimes be important). Really I want to read more books from outside the USA and this one seemed like a likely candidate. Short fiction and especially short fiction in translation can be amazing and I'm quite excited for this one.

[p.s. I'm still participating in the K. Tempest Bradford reading challenge this year (with style, I might add) and all of these books handily qualify for that, so yeah, another reason to check them out.]  

POSTED BY: Charles, avid reader, reviewer, and sometimes writer of speculative fiction. Contributor to Nerds of a Feather since 2014.