Two science fiction giants,Jack Vance and Doris Lessing, died in 2013 at a ripe old age. Iain Banks also died – much too young. Several very well established masterful writers put out books: Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep – his sequel to The Shining which was regarded as a great return to form and gets 5 starts from 11 Leeds readers!
Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam concluded the trilogy of apocalyptic near-future fables she began with Oryx and Crake. Christopher Priest’s The Adjacent is regarded as one of his best novels;Alastair Reynolds’s On the Steel Breeze moved ‘his ambitious Poseidon’s Children series into interstellar space’. Graham Joyce’sThe Year of the Ladybird 5 STARS AGAIN – showed what a good ghost story writer he is – It is the summer of 1976, the hottest since records began and a young man leaves behind his student days and learns how to grow up. A first job in a holiday camp beckons. But with political and racial tensions simmering under the cloudless summer skies there is not much fun to be had. And soon there is a terrible price to be paid for his new-found freedom and independence. A price that will come back to haunt him, even in the bright sunlight of summer
Some new names Mitch Benn’s Terra; James Smythe’s pitiless The Machine. Another author who’s got loads of 5 star ratings is Hugh Howey who brought his near- future dystopian Wool trilogy to a conclusion with Dust (Century).which has been compared to the Hunger Games and started off as a self published effort
Look out for Jeff Vandermeer’s Annihilation and of course The Man Booker prize shortlist contained more “fantasy” novels than realist ones: not least the winner, New Zealander Eleanor Catton’s powerful magic-history fable The Luminaries