Monday, December 06, 2010

The Top Ten SF Novels of the Last Decade, Written by Women (and which i have read)

Over at Torque Control, Niall Harrison is having a weeklong discussion of SF written by women. The genesis of this stems from several different conversations, and you can follow the links from his post. I come into this sort of on the backend. What I missed over the last week was Niall's post several days ago asking for people to e-mail him their nominations for the Top 10 SF novels written by women over the last ten years (2001 - 2010). I quick looked over my collection, at my Years's Best posts from the last four years, and at a host of other links Niall had included and pulled together my list.

I had just missed the deadline, but since this isn't hard science, Niall let it slide and took my nominations anyway.

I noted to Niall that I'm not as well read in SF as I am in fantasy, which is true, but there is a further point is that I'm also less well read in SF from the last decade. Several novels I would have included without question or hesitation were published in the 90's. Nicola Griffith's Ammonite was published in 1992. The Sparrow, from Mary Doria Russell in 1996. Emma Bull's Bone Dance in 1991. Molly Gloss's The Dazzle of Day in 1998. Those were just the first four that came to mind.

So what, then?

There is no doubt that not only have I likely overlooked something awesome I read six years ago that would qualify for inclusion, I simply have to assume that there are dozens upon dozens (upon dozens) of novels which, if only had I read them, I would shout from the rooftops about how wonderful they are. To those authors, I apologize. I simply haven't read you.

Which brings me to the list of novels I did e-mail Niall as my nominations. I have some reservations about it, more regarding the novels I've overlooked and the novels I haven't read yet than regarding the actual inclusion of what I have here. Give me another decade and this list looks very different and I feel more assured of my choices. Another reservation is just where to draw my genre line between SF and Fantasy. Regardless, here are my nominees - based on what I have read and what I remember having read.

The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger (2003)
City of Pearl, by Karen Traviss (2004)
Alanya to Alanya, by L. Timmel Duchamp (2005)
Dust, by Elizabeth Bear (2007)
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins (2008)
Refining Fire, by Emma Bull and Elizabeth Bear (2008) (no review, per se)
Regenesis, by C. J. Cherryh (2009)
Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest (2009)
City Without End, by Kay Kenyon (2009)
Diving Into the Wreck, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (2009)

I have linked my reviews, where possible.

What would you have included? Sound off.


Anonymous said...

I 100% agree with Time Travelers Wife. That book ruled. I'd also add Oryx and Crake, despite Atwood's snobbery (personally, I think she was just having an off-day and didn't want to admit it) that book haunts me to this day. And when did The Left Hand of Darkness come out? Was that in the last ten years?

Joe said...

Oh, Kelly, I think you're off by just...let's say two years...on The Left Hand of Darkness. Sorry.

I need to re-read Oryx and Crake. I didn't really connect with it when I read it back in '03. If it wasn't early by a year (2000), I'd have to reconsider Atwood's Blind Assassin. That one was a fairly bold novel, if I recall correctly, with stories within stories.

Emma said...

CS Friedman! Her Magisters series is super awesome so far, as are her other books.

Joe said...

Emma: I haven't read Friedman since Black Sun Rising, but her Magister trilogy appears to be much more fantasy than SF.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the Blind Assassin! I'm reading it right now.

And HA re: Left Hand. Why on earth did I think that was recent? *facepalm* I blame my re-issue copy. Also: mombrain.

Jessica said...

Empress of Mars would be on my list, other novels by Kage Baker could be considered, she wrote quite a few in the last 10 years.

Connie Willis is the other one, I haven't read too much but what I have read is fantastic. Blackout, from earlier this year, is a time travel SF and really wonderful. As usual I'm not very eloquent about books I loved.

Catherine Asaro - I'm not sure which once, Quantum Rose if it in this decade, otherwise Ruby Dice was very good.

S.J. Higbee said...

Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan series is right up there - and she's just published the latest awesome addition 'Cryoburn'. Elizabeth Moon is another great contender, I'm just working my way through the Serrano series and I love 'Vatta's War'. 'Horizon' by Mary Rosenblum is also a really entertaining, intelligent read and I heartily endorse Kage Baker - her Company novels are wonderful. 'Mendoza in Hollywood' is one of my all-time favourite reads - and 'Empress of Mars' is certainly worth picking up.

Joe said...

Kelly: I assumed you were being clever. I'll keep pretending.

Jessica / SJ: Kage Baker isn't a bad choice. I'm not a huge fan, and the more she wrote about Alec the less engaged I was. I much preferred the early Mendoza and the stuff with Joseph / Lewis. Or - pretty much anything that gave stuff about the overall concept of the world without delving into Alec.

If it wasn't off by a year, Mendoza in Hollywood would have made an excellent choice (also, if I thought of it, but still, published in 2000).

I really haven't read much Willis aside from her short fiction (sadly), and nothing from Moon, Asaro, and Bujold (really). Willis and Bujold need to be rectified sooner rather than later.

Carl V. Anderson said...

TTW, Boneshaker and Diving into the Wreck would all definitely be in my list. I would also probably include Mary Modern by Camille DeAngelis as it is a literary novel with science fiction tropes and I really enjoyed it.

Joe said...

I haven't even heard of Mary Modern! I should probably read that.

Carl V. Anderson said...

It came out a few years back and I remember really enjoying it at the time. A little dark, mad scientist-ish at times.