Edwin‘s top reads of the year
As designated Chief SFF Nerd at Binge On Books, it feels appropriate for my top 4 reads of the year to also be in the SFF genres. So what follows are the four science fiction and fantasy novels I read and enjoyed the most, in no particular order. Before I get to that, though, I should mention some books in the contemporary queer romance genre I enjoyed very much this year. Some honorable mentions, if you will: Kim Fielding’s Love is Heartless, Roan Parrish’s Small Change, and Liz Jacobs’ Abroad: part 1 are all wonderful books and well worth your time. I should also add that there are 2 or 3 other books it was really hard to leave off the list. 2017 has not been a good year, but it has had some damn good books. Now on to the main event.
Fantasy meets cyberpunk in near future California. The gayest, filthiest Shadowrun campaign you’ve ever run. Orcs & elves having dirty ass sex. Magic. AIs. Attack drones controlled with brain implants. Data heists. All written in raw, brilliant prose. Happily, this is book 1 of the Blue Unicorn series, and I look forward to more from Austin, JT, Buzz and their friends next year.
Book 2 in Burgoine’s brilliantly diverse, brilliantly Canadian Triad series of Urban Fantasies. Even better than the already very good first book, Triad Blood. An outstanding own voices reflection on the importance of found family and community. We get it both metaphoically – with how the magical triad supports Curtis, Luc, and Anders – and literally, with the abundance of queer characters and friends who support each other through thick and thin. Anders is one of my favourite characters of the last few years, and I can’t wait to see him deal with Feels in the upcoming book 3.
The latest book in Turner’s utterly brilliant Attolia series of YA historical fantasies. As put by Constance Grady on Vox,”this shit is Sun Tzu in kid lit drag.” A not!Persian bureaucrat and a not!Greek soldier flee together in what is functionally a buddy road trip tale. With underlying layers upon layers of scheming and espionage. Can be read largely on its own, but I highly recommend seeking out the earlier four books in one of my favourite series of all time. A joy to read for middle grades through to adults with PhDs.
Released in 2016 but, criminally, I didn’t get round to it till a year later. A portal fantasy/urban fantasy of the highest quality. What if angels were extradimensional assholes? What if they fled earth to live in a pocket dimension? What if their part-human progeny had something like superpowers? This is the world of The Root. Both major characters are black, and one is gay. A large number of queer support characters, too. I particularly like that Erik is given power by his anger, and we are invited to see that anger as justified. Book 2 in the series is out early next year, and I can’t wait to read it.
Edwin gets grumpy if his SF/F reading doesn’t feature happy queer main characters. Aside from that, he reads and writes for a living (though not fiction), so of course his hobby is reading, and now writing about what he reads. Why do anything else?
Connect with Edwin on Twitter: @gaybookgeek