This last year I deliberately cut back on the amount of reviewing I was doing, because 2011 was just mad. The reduction in reviewing also seems to have had the knock-on effect of cutting down the amount I read. Just over 70 books this year, which was a comfortable amount. As ever, I have put in bold the ones I really rate.
1: We Others by Steven Millhauser — retrospective collection by one of the best short story writers working today.
2: His Last Bow by Arthur Conan Doyle — continuing my Holmes reading from 2011.
3: Planesrunner by Ian McDonald — reviewed at SF Site.
4: Context by Cory Doctorow — reviewed at SF Site.
5: The Islanders by Christopher Priest — re-read, my review was at LARB.
6: An Exile on Planet Earth by Brian Aldiss — reviewed at Strange Horizons.
7: The Highest Frontier by Joan Slonczewski — not a novel that spoke to me.
8: In the Mouth of the Whale by Paul McAuley – reviewed at Strange Horizons.
9: God’s War by Kameron Hurley — which I wrote about here.
10: Rule 34 by Charles Stross — futuristic police procedural that works well enough without doing anything particularly fresh or surprising.
11: The Door Gunner by Michael Bishop — reviewed at SF Site.
12: Literary Theory: An Introduction by Terry Eagleton — he’s always worth reading.
13: The Godless Boys by Naomi Wood — reviewed for Vector.
14: Soft Apocalypse by Will McIntosh — a novel that deserved far more attention than it received.
15: Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey — sf as it used to be, which makes you wonder why anyone is still writing this stuff.
16: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline — simple-minded shoot-em-up adventure game that slips down easy without leaving the slightest trace afterwards.
17: The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle — finishing my Holmes re-read.
18: Thomas World by Richard Cox — someone pretending to be Philip K. Dick, and not succeeding.
19: These Dreams of You by Steve Erickson — which I wrote about here.
20: Chango’s Beads and Two-tone Shoes by William Kennedy — which I wrote about here.
21: The Frock-Coated Communist by Tristram Hunt — a biography of Friedrich Engels that is superbly written and taught me huge amounts about the history of the left.
22: The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano — I’ve been meaning to read Bolano for a long time, and I am so glad I finally got around to it. A very impressive novel.
23: Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru — another superb novel that I wrote about here.
24: The Coincidence Engine by Sam Leith — great fun, but it doesn’t really hold together.
25: The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature edited by Farah Mendlesohn and Edward James — I’m included in this, so I’ll say no more about it.
26: Blackout by Connie Willis
27: All Clear by Connie Willis — I reviewed these two for Vector, as I said somewhere else there’s a halfway decent 300 page novel in among 1400 pages of bloat.
28: Three Science Fiction Novellas by J.H. Rosny aine — reviewed in Interzone, and written about here.
29: Wind Angels by Leigh Kennedy — re-read for a review for Foundation.
30: Critical Discourses of the Fantastic by David Sandner — reviewed for Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts.
31: Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds — reviewed at SF Site.
32: Police at the Funeral by Margery Allingham — I aim to read at least one of her books every year.
33: The Year’s Best Science Fiction 29 edited by Gardner Dozois — the first of the books read for that infamous LARB review.
34: Sibilant Fricative by Adam Roberts — a collection of reviews due out later this year for which I wrote the introduction.
35: Dancing with Bears by Michael Swanwick — I really disliked this novel.
36: Nebula Awards Showcase 2012 edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel — more for the LARB review.
37: Waiting For Sunrise by William Boyd — which I wrote about here.
38: Radiant Days by Elizabeth Hand — reviewed at Strange Horizons.
39: Things to Come by H.G. Wells — atrociously annotated edition (by Leon Stover) reviewed for JFA.
40: Man Who Could Work Miracles by H.G. Wells — more for the JFA review.
41: The Sea Lady by H.G. Wells — and again for the JFA.
42: Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers — as with Margery Allingham, I try to read at least one of her books a year.
43: The King Must Die by Mary Renault — which I wrote about here.
44: Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel — just superb.
45: The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2012 edited by Rich Horton — and the final contender for the LARB review.
46: Fame by Daniel Kehlmann — Chris Priest kept insisting I read this. He was right. Strange but very interesting.
47: The Time Machine by H.G. Wells — a superb novel spoiled by the annotation, reviewed for JFA.
48: Wake Up and Dream by Ian R. MacLeod — not his best, but a very amusing alternate history.
49: The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells — if Stover wasn’t dead, I’d kill him.
50: The Fifty Year Sword by Mark Z. Danielewski — rather too clever and too contrived for its own good.
51: Empty Space by M. John Harrison — which I wrote about here. My book of the year.
52: Jack Glass by Adam Roberts — I did a review and interview for Interzone.
53: Selected Poems by T.S. Eliot — I dip into this collection regularly, but it’s a long time since I read the whole thing. I’d forgotten how strange some of these poems are.
54: Railsea by China Mieville — reviewed at SF Site.
55: The Adjacent by Christopher Priest — read in manuscript, and it’s stunningly good.
56: Angels and You Dogs by Kathleen Ann Goonan — reviewed at SF Site.
57: The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
58: Winter Journal by Paul Auster — I’ve lost track of how many autobiographical works Auster has produced, this one is both interesting and rather strange.
59: When the Sleeper Wakes by H.G. Wells — and this is the volume when Stover’s annotations reach their apotheosis of baroque wrongness.
60: Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon — it took me a little while to get into this, but once I did it was superb.
61: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury — I realised I’d never actually read this. A book that is by turn beautifully lyrical and disturbingly off-kilter.
62: At the Mouth of the River of Bees by Kij Johnson — reviewed at SF Site.
63: Ancient Light by John Banville — which I wrote about here.
64: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury — re-read to prepare for a panel discussion at the Folkestone Book Festival.
65: Communion Town by Sam Thompson — somewhere between a novel and a collection of stories, with shades of Viriconium, a superb invention.
66: Hawthorn and Child by Keith Ridgway — I love books that disturb your expectations, and this does so brilliantly.
67: Digital Rapture edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel — reviewed for SF Site.
68: Open City by Teju Cole — a vivid and atmospheric novel about New York.
69: Starboard Wine by Samuel R. Delany — reviewed for SF Site.
70: Spin by Nina Allan — Nina asked me to blurb this novella, and I was glad to oblige because it’s superb.
71: Vengeance by Benjamin Black — I am becoming increasingly puzzled why no-one seems to be adapting these pseudonymous Banville novels for TV, they seem a natural.