LJ Best Books 2017

It's time again for LJ’s annual Top Ten Best Books of the year, selected by our editors, as well as Top Five lists for genre fiction, nonfiction, poetry and literature, graphic novels, and SELF-e titles.   SEE WHO MADE THE LIST

Best Books 2011: SF/Fantasy

Anderton, Jo. Debris. Angry Robot. (Veiled Worlds Trilogy, Bk. 1). ISBN 9780857661548. pap. $7.99.
Set in a world where mental powers construct fabulous works of engineering and architecture, this series opener revolves around a young woman who can use her abilities to destroy and build. An accomplished debut reminiscent of the visionary works of China Miéville. (LJ 10/15/11)

Bova, Ben. Leviathans of Jupiter. Tor. ISBN 9780765317889. $24.99.
A physicist must fight religious and political interference as he seeks to use a deep-pressure manned probe to confirm the sentience of the Leviathans‚ massive symbiotes‚ who inhabit Jupiter’s atmosphere. Stellar. (LJ 1/11)

Corey, James S.A. Leviathan Wakes. Orbit: Hachette. (Expanse, Bk. 1). ISBN 9780316129084. pap. $15.99.
This panoramic tale of war in space successfully blends top-notch space opera with noir detective fiction. At the heart of this outstanding series opener is a pair of unlikely heroes driven by their dedication to the truth. (LJ 4/15/11)

Goldstein, Lisa. The Uncertain Places. Tachyon, dist. by IPG. ISBN 9781616960148. pap. $14.95.
A Berkeley student falls in love with a family of unusual and eccentric women only to find they live under an eerie curse. A modern fairy tale elegantly told. (LJ 5/15/11)

Gregory, Daryl. Raising Stony Mayhall. Del Rey: Ballantine. ISBN 9780345522375. pap. $15.
Years after the end of the zombie plague, a woman and her daughters find a zombie infant on the side of the road and decide to raise him. A luminous tale of a love that defies standard limits. (LJ 7/11)

Martin, George R.R. A Dance with Dragons. Bantam. (Song of Ice & Fire, Bk. 5). ISBN 9780553801477. $35.
Nearly six years after A Feast for Crows was released, Martin’s long-awaited installment in his epic fantasy series will satiate his huge and hungry audience, as it picks up the action with favorite characters missing from the previous book. (LJ Xpress Reviews, 7/15/11)

Orullian, Peter. The Unremembered. Tor. (Vault of Heaven, Bk. 1). ISBN 9780765325716. $27.99.
This epic fantasy debut, which sets a coming-of-age tale in a world undergoing a cultural revolution, marks Orullian as an author to watch. (LJ 3/15/11)

Rajaniemi, Hannu. The Quantum Thief. Tor. ISBN 9780765329493. $24.99.
A master thief, a spaceship pilot, her sentient spaceship, and a beleaguered detective make up the building blocks of this remarkable debut by a talented Finnish master of literary sf on a par with Gene Wolfe and Samuel R. Delaney. (LJ 3/15/11)

Sullivan, Michael J. Theft of Swords. Orbit: Hachette. (Riyria Revelations, Vol. 1). ISBN 9780316187749. pap. $14.99.
A pair of mercenaries take pride in their uncanny ability to pull off the impossible until the theft of a sword leads to their arrest for regicide‚ and to more impossible tasks. First published online, this debut novel brings to mind Fritz Leiber’s classic Fafhrd and Gray Mouser adventures. (LJ 9/15/11)

Vinge, Vernor. The Children of the Sky. Tor. ISBN 9780312875626. $25.99.
Hiding a colony of children from the life-destroying alien Blight by relocating to a slow zone of the universe proves harder as the children grow. Revisiting his Zones of Thought series, Vinge demonstrates an original way of thinking about time and space that remains fresh and exciting a decade later. (LJ 6/15/11)

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  1. Shan says:

    For me, The Wise Man’s Fear has to be my favourite for 2011.

  2. Jake says:

    Agree with Shan. The Wise Man’s Fear was most excellent. Devoured it at the same pace as A Dance with Dragons (by far Martin’s best).

  3. Paul says:

    Have to concur with Wise Man’s Fear. Definitely my favorite of the year.

  4. CORY says:


  5. Matthew says:

    Yeah – it seems to me that it’s a big oversight not to include “The Wise Man’s Fear” on this list. Incredible book, in many ways.

  6. abcd says:

    seriously?? no” wise mans fear” on this list??? on par with Dance with the dragons tbh.

  7. Chris G. says:

    Several on here I still need to tackle (holiday reading, perhaps?), but at least at present I’d have to say my favorite from this list was A Dance with Dragons. Tragically, reading through it so quickly means that it’ll be years before the next one appears. Curse you Martin, and your addictive literature!

  8. David Benson says:

    Wise Man’s Fear was very over-rated. I’m glad it didn’t make the list. The Heroes, by Joe Abercrombie, however, is a serious omission!

    • Wodan says:

      I liked them both but I agree “The Heroes” might edge out ADWD at the very least. It’s probably tied with Wise Man’s Fear in my mind.

  9. The Captain says:

    Agreed that WMF was superb.

    Honestly, I found DwD to be brutally disappointing, made readable only through anticipation. Seriously, it was 250 pages of story spread across 950 pages of text. I don’t need 400 pages of characters feeling sad, taking baths and looking out of windows. This was the first of Martin’s books that I actually started skimming through. Definitely feel that Martin is heading down Jordan’s path here with fragmenting plots, copious uninteresting minor characters, and an overall sense of a loss of direction.

    I was disappointed by Crows, when this tendency towards Jordanism became immediately apparent, but I had faith that he might pull it out; I was wrong.

    • Wodan says:

      I feel you. “The Heroes” was a much tighter and more interesting story than ADWD. Martin seriously needs an editor with a will of iron to reign in his excesses. About 30% of that book could have easily been cut out. I also think introducing so many new characters and plot lines this late in the story is NOT a good sign. I think he’s going to get the point where he can’t possibly tie the major plot lines back together again.

      Of course I say this as a big fan of GRRM and will obviously buy his next book the instant its published.

  10. Billy says:

    Even though I’m looking for new reads, I feel I cant take this list seriously due to its omission of Rothfuss. Wise Man’s Fear was an amazing follow up to his debut and a must for any fantasy bookshelf.

  11. Amelia says:

    I read NOTW and WMF and I did enjoy the first but, it is way too overrated.