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The Guardian on the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2017

Saturday, December 30th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Paul McAuley Austral-small Djinn City-small Under the Pendulum Sun-small

As we continue the countdown towards New Years, here at Black Gate we continue to survey the best of the Best of the Year lists. Tonight I want to showcase British writer Adam Roberts’ Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2017, published in The Guardian. Roberts kicks off his list talking about Kim Stanley Robinson, “the unofficial laureate of future climatology, and his prodigious New York 2140,” and then pivots to another climate-apocalypse novel:

Just as rich, though much tighter in narrative focus, is Paul McAuley’s superb Austral (Gollancz), set in a powerfully realised near‑future Antarctica transformed by global warming.

Paul McAuley was Black Gate‘s first book reviewer; we recently covered his early novel Red Dust. Austral (a word which means “south”) was published by Gollancz on October 19, 2017 (288 pages, £14.99 in trade paperback).

Next on Roberts list is a novel and writer much less familiar to me — but no less fascinating for all that.

Bangladeshi author Saad Z Hossain’s Djinn City (Unnamed) is set both in his home country and the realm of the Djinns. It’s a richly evocative adventure about a father and his half-Djinn son searching for one another – a sort of dark-fantasy Finding Nemo, as charming and funny as it is inventive and strange.

Djinn City was published by The Unnamed Press on November 28 (238 pages, $17.99 in trade paperback).

The third novel I pulled from Roberts’ list is one I’ve been hearing a great deal about on this side of the pond.

In the wake of the success of Game of Thrones there has been no shortage of commodified genre fantasy, but the best writing in this mode is far richer and stranger than the commercial norm. Jeannette Ng’s Under the Pendulum Sun (Angry Robot) is an opulently atmospheric piece of neo-Victorian fantasy set in a 19th century in which the British are sending missionaries to Fairyland. It’s a strange, brooding and occasionally perverse debut.

Under the Pendulum Sun was published by Angry Robot on October 3, 2017. It is 416 pages, priced at $9.99 in paperback.

Read the complete list at The Guardian here.

If you’re still in the market for more Best of the Year lists (and why wouldn’t you be?) check out Unknown Worlds.

Unbound Worlds on the Best Sci-fi and Fantasy Books of December

See all our recent Book coverage here.

2 Comments »

  1. Gollancz is not really helping authors like McAuley and Roberts reach an American audience. You can buy their novels for the Amazon Kindle in the US. Book form for them is rather erratic. They’re not released by Orion. If you can find them they’re just British Gollancz copies with an American price sticker over the British price. A really shoddy way to treat two wonderful authors.

    Comment by bosola - December 31, 2017 9:42 am

  2. bosola,

    Yeah, I know it can be frustrating for US readers to get British books sometimes. But the intricacies of international publishing are contorted, and usually opaque.

    My assumption is that Gollancz simply didn’t have the US rights for McAuley and Roberts, so they can’t legally make their books available here no matter how much they might want to. If there’s no US publisher, or that publisher dropped the ball, that’s not Gollancz’s fault.

    Comment by John ONeill - December 31, 2017 12:48 pm


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