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Publishers Weekly Selects the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels of 2016

Sunday, January 8th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

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Publishers Weekly is pretty darned discerning in their list of the very best SF/Fantasy/Horror of 2016. Where the Amazon list is fairly comprehensive (20 titles) and B&N splits theirs up into three separate lists — SF & Fantasy novels, Horror, and Anthologies & Collections — PW has a single list for all the categories, and only six novels manage to make the cut.

Nonetheless, they do manage to highlight some terrific titles neglected by other lists, such as Fredric Durbin’s latest novel A Green and Ancient Light (Saga Press, June). Here’s what they say.

In a deliberately blurred time and place, a young boy sent to live with his grandmother while his father is at war finds solace in her splendid garden and the magical woods. Things take a turn for the strange and complicated when they provide help and shelter to an injured enemy soldier. Durbin works true magic with understated, gripping narration and a heartstopping emphasis on love and compassion.

Their list also includes Meg Elison’s The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (47North, October), which won the Philip K. Dick Award last year in its original small press edition.

In Elison’s brutal could-happen-tomorrow novel, a nurse makes it her mission to provide birth control and midwifery to the few women left alive after a virus ravages the population. Recognizing that any woman who lacks access to reproductive care is already living in her own dystopia, Elison writes frankly and with surprising optimism about the power of women helping one another through personal and global crises.

It also includes All Good Children by Dayna Ingram (Lethe Press, May).

The physically and psychologically monstrous Over have subjugated humans, and they take a significant percentage of human adolescents to feed on. One selected teen girl, her mother, and her handler find ways to fight back. Ingram combines dystopian young adult fiction with a terrifying tale of alien invasion in this powerful story of queer women carving out their identities in a world trying to crush them into nothingness.

Check out the complete Publishers Weekly list of the best SF/Fantasy/Horror of 2016 here.

We previously covered two of the titles on the PW list.

2015 Philip K. Dick Award Winners Announced: The Book of the Unnamed Midwife
Cover Reveal: A Green and Ancient Light by Frederic S. Durbin
A Downed Pilot, a Mad Duke, and a Riddle in the Grove of Monsters: A Green and Ancient Light by Frederic S. Durbin

Still hungry for more of the best books of the year? Black Gate has you covered. Here’s our picks for the top lists so far.

Amazon Selects the Best Books of 2016
GeekDad Selects the Best Tabletop Games of 2016
Kirkus Selects the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2016
Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Selects the Best Novels of 2016
Andrew Liptak Selects the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels of 2016
Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Selects the Best Horror Books of 2016
Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Selects the Best Collections and Anthologies of 2016

See all our coverage of the best New Treasures here.

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