As I mentioned in July, I’ve been tracking the year’s SF/F releases here, including young adult and urban fantasy only when I decided it had some crossover appeal:
Since Amazon et al. have begun publishing their editors’ picks for the year, I guess it’s not out of line to go ahead and generate a list of notable SF/F of 2012. Here are the criteria I’ve applied:
- All books should be from 2012 or at least eligible for this year’s Hugo.
- Books should either stand alone, start a series, or be a reasonable entry point for the series.
- YA or urban fantasy should be stuff I’ve heard about from non-YA/UF sources, suggesting it has crossover appeal.
- Roughly 100 people or more should have voted for it at Goodreads.
- Its Goodreads score should be among the top 15 or so after applying a Bayesian estimation heuristic that further penalizes books having few voters.
Here then are the most notable new SF/F books of 2012:
Joe Abercrombie, Red Country
Leigh Bardugo, Shadow and Bone
Sam Weller, Shadow Show: Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury
Daniel O’Malley, The Rook
Brandon Sanderson, Legion
David Levithan, Every Day
Dathan Auerbach, Penpal
Philip Pullman, Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm
Sarah Rees Brennan, Unspoken
Zack Parsons, Liminal States
Terry Pratchett, Dodger
Iain M. Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata
Margo Lanagan, The Brides of Rollrock Island
K.J. Parker, Sharps
China Miéville, Railsea
Eowyn Ivey, The Snow Child
There’s a substantial gap between those 16 titles and the next on the list that might qualify. But going on further, here are all the remaining books that more than 1000 people voted for. As it happens, none of their scores were bad–just kind of average–and getting such a wide audience is a kind of notability too:
John Scalzi, Redshirts
Jasper Fforde, The Last Dragonslayer: The Chronicles of Kazam
Justine Larbalestier, Team Human
Saladin Ahmed, Throne of the Crescent Moon
Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter, The Long Earth
Rob Reid, Year Zero
Lydia Netzer, Shine Shine Shine
Finally, the following authors had sequels out that would have put their books higher on my list than Leigh Bardugo’s, if I were counting non-standalone sequels: Brent Weeks, Michael J. Sullivan, Rae Carson, David Wong, Mark Lawrence, Scott Sigler, Cassandra Clare, Max Frei, Catherynne M. Valente, Lois McMaster Bujold, Jim Butcher, and James S. A. Corey. The scores of their earlier works are probably more comparable to the scores of the standalone / series starters above.