Popular NYRB Classics

Here are the 50 most popular titles in the current catalog of NYRB Classics, according to the usual formula (the log of the number of ratings at Goodreads times the square of the average rating expressed as a percentage):

John Williams, Stoner
Stefan Zweig, Chess Story
Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate
Nikolai Gogol, Dead Souls
Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution
Frans G. Bengtsson, The Long Ships
Yaşar Kemal, Memed, My Hawk
Carlo Collodi, Pinocchio
John Wyndham, The Chrysalids
Tove Jansson, The Summer Book
Stefan Zweig, Beware of Pity
Adolfo Bioy Casares, The Invention of Morel
Thomas Tryon, The Other
John Williams, Augustus
John Williams, Butcher’s Crossing
Magda Szabó, The Door
Patrick Leigh Fermor, Between the Woods and the Water
Elizabeth von Arnim, The Enchanted April
Oakley Hall, Warlock
Luigi Pirandello, The Late Mattia Pascal
Antal Szerb, Journey by Moonlight
Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time of Gifts
J.L. Carr, A Month in the Country
Alexandros Papadiamantis, The Murderess
Yaşar Kemal, They Burn the Thistles
Jessica Mitford, Hons and Rebels
Robert Bresson, Notes on the Cinematograph
Stefan Zweig, Confusion
Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim
Álvaro Mutis, The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll
Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound
Alistair Horne, A Savage War of Peace
G.B. Edwards, The Book of Ebenezer Le Page
Patrick Hamilton, Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
Don Carpenter, Hard Rain Falling
Vasily Grossman, Everything Flows
Alexander Pushkin, The Captain’s Daughter
Stefan Zweig, The Post-Office Girl
Erich Kästner, Going to the Dogs
Olivia Manning, Fortunes of War
Robert Walser, Jakob von Gunten
Euripides (Anne Carson, trans.), Grief Lessons
Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy
Christopher Priest, Inverted World
J.G. Farrell, The Siege of Krishnapur
Tayeb Salih, Season of Migration to the North
J.A. Baker, The Peregrine
Geoffrey Household, Rogue Male
C.V. Wedgwood, The Thirty Years War

For the sake of comparison, here are the top 50 titles sorted only by their current Goodreads rating:

Paul Blackburn, Proensa
Osip Mandelstam, The Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam
Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate
Aleksandar Tišma, The Use of Man
Richard Holmes, Shelley
Victor Serge, Memoirs of a Revolutionary
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons
Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution
Yaşar Kemal, They Burn the Thistles
Joseph Joubert, The Notebooks of Joseph Joubert
Álvaro Mutis, The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll
Yaşar Kemal, Memed, My Hawk
Patrick Leigh Fermor, Between the Woods and the Water
Henry David Thoreau, The Journal 1837–1861
Qiu Miaojin, Notes of a Crocodile
Boris Pasternak, Letters
Tim Robinson, Stones of Aran: Labyrinth
Oakley Hall, Warlock
Robert Bresson, Notes on the Cinematograph
Simon Leys, The Hall of Uselessness
Frans G. Bengtsson, The Long Ships
Arun Kolatkar, Jejuri
S. Josephine Baker, Fighting for Life
John Williams, Stoner
Stefan Zweig, Chess Story
John Ehle, The Land Breakers
G.B. Edwards, The Book of Ebenezer Le Page
Patrick Hamilton, Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky
J.F. Powers, The Stories of J.F. Powers
Randall Jarrell, Randall Jarrell’s Book of Stories
Friedrich Reck-Malleczewen, Diary of a Man in Despair
John Williams, English Renaissance Poetry
Benjamin Fondane, Existential Monday
Patrick Leigh Fermor, The Broken Road
Kabir, Songs of Kabir
Tim Robinson, Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage
Alistair Horne, A Savage War of Peace
Charles Simic, Dime-Store Alchemy
Saki, The Unrest-Cure and Other Stories
Iona Opie, The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren
Teffi, Tolstoy, Rasputin, Others, and Me
Aleksander Wat, My Century
Jean d’Ormesson, The Glory of the Empire
Alexandros Papadiamantis, The Murderess
Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy
J.A. Baker, The Peregrine
Jean Genet, Prisoner of Love
Elizabeth David, A Book of Mediterranean Food
Josep Pla, The Gray Notebook
Antal Szerb, Journey by Moonlight

Obscure but well-rated ex-bestsellers

Here are the Publishers Weekly 20th Century bestsellers with a number of ratings at Goodreads >= 250 and <= 2500 and an average rating >= 3.95, minus those shelved under spiritual, Christian, picture book, middle grade, or self-help and minus those not shelved under favorite or masterpiece, sorted for popularity by multiplying the log of the number of ratings with the square of the rating expressed as a percentage.

Nevil Shute, Trustee from the Toolroom
John Hersey, The Wall
Irwin Shaw, The Young Lions
Kenneth Roberts, Northwest Passage
Franz Werfel, The Forty Days of Musa Dagh
Richard McKenna, The Sand Pebbles
Fletcher Knebel, Seven Days in May
Rafael Sabatini, The Sea-Hawk
Pearl S. Buck, Dragon Seed
P.C. Wren, Beau Geste
Robert Ruark, Something of Value
Isak Dinesen, Seven Gothic Tales
Hans Fallada, Little Man, What Now?
Thomas Wolfe, Of Time and the River
Edna Ferber, Giant
James Hilton, Random Harvest
Mika Waltari, The Wanderer
Mika Waltari, The Adventurer
Irving Stone, Love Is Eternal
Irving Wallace, The Man
John Jakes, California Gold
Samuel Shellabarger, Prince of Foxes
Howard Fast, Second Generation
Irving Stone, Those Who Love
Louis Bromfield, The Rains Came
Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Murder
Robert Crichton, The Secret of Santa Vittoria
Willa Cather, Shadows on the Rock
John Galsworthy, Swan Song
Herman Wouk, Youngblood Hawke
Irving Stone, The Passions of the Mind
Kenneth Roberts, Oliver Wiswell
Jan Struther, Mrs. Miniver
Thomas B. Costain, Below the Salt
Marcia Davenport, The Valley of Decision
A.J. Cronin, The Green Years
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Shuttle
Samuel Shellabarger, Captain from Castile
Walter D. Edmonds, Drums Along the Mohawk
Meyer Levin, Compulsion
Edwin O’Connor, The Last Hurrah
Bess Streeter Aldrich, A White Bird Flying
John Galsworthy, The Silver Spoon
Kenneth Roberts, Lydia Bailey
Thomas B. Costain, The Tontine
Frank Yerby, The Foxes of Harrow
Ben Ames Williams, Leave Her to Heaven
Irving Stone, Immortal Wife
A.J. Cronin, Shannon’s Way
Lillian Smith, Strange Fruit
Mary Jane Ward, The Snake Pit

Popular SF/F/H Books of 2016

When SFSignal stopped publishing this year, I stopped systematically keeping track of new releases in SF/F, though I’m aware of sources like Kirkus, LocusTorThe Verge, and so on. I just relied on the book blogs I read to keep me informed of what people were reading.

But when I noticed that Locus’s lists of new and/or reviewed books would be easy to cut and paste into a tool I already have for looking up Goodreads scores, I thought that would be a nice, simple way to get a list of popular SF/F books for the year and sort them by the usual metric (the log of the number of ratings at Goodreads times the square of the rating expressed as a percentage).

After cleaning up the data a little and adding in a few more books, I had a sorted list of ~200 books published in 2016. Getting reviewed in Locus is already to some extent an indicator of likely popularity, but I still deleted anything that didn’t have at least a 3.64 on Goodreads to eliminate ~20%.

I’ve broken the books up by category (SF/F, Horror, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, and Non-Fiction) somewhat arbitrarily. The results are not as comprehensive as my past efforts, but this list covers most of what I’ve seen pass by on book blogs this year.

Science Fiction and Fantasy

Cixin Liu, Death’s End
Blake Crouch, Dark Matter
N.K. Jemisin, The Obelisk Gate
Brandon Sanderson, Arcanum Unbounded
Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad
Dennis E. Taylor, We Are Legion (We Are Bob)
Becky Chambers, A Closed and Common Orbit
Robert Jackson Bennett, City of Blades
Ken Liu, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
James S.A. Corey, Babylon’s Ashes
Juliet Marillier, Den of Wolves
Charles Stross, The Nightmare Stacks
Joe Abercrombie, Sharp Ends
Marie Brennan, In the Labyrinth of Drakes
Michelle Sagara, Cast in Flight
Lois McMaster Bujold, Penric and the Shaman
Guy Gavriel Kay, Children of Earth and Sky
Anthony Ryan, The Waking Fire
C.J. Cherryh, Visitor
Sylvain Neuvel, Sleeping Giants
Daniel Abraham, The Spider’s War
Seanan McGuire, Every Heart A Doorway
Ben Winters, Underground Airlines
Michael Chabon, Moonglow
Naomi Novik, League of Dragons
T. Kingfisher [Ursula Vernon], The Raven and the Reindeer
Matt Ruff, Lovecraft Country
Margaret Atwood, Hag-Seed
Neal Asher, War Factory
Ken Liu, The Wall of Storms
Yoon Ha Lee, Ninefox Gambit
Lois McMaster Bujold, Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen
S.K. Dunstall, Alliance
Ada Palmer, Too Like the Lightning
Todd Lockwood, The Summer Dragon
Thomas Olde Heuveldt, Hex
Mercedes Lackey, Closer to the Chest
Alastair Reynolds, Revenger
S.K. Dunstall, Confluence
R. Scott Bakker, The Great Ordeal
Mary Robinette Kowal, Ghost Talkers
Ian Tregillis, The Liberation
Brom, Lost Gods
Emma Newman, After Atlas
Yoshiki Tanaka, Dawn (Legend of the Galactic Heroes v. 1)
Sharon Shinn, Unquiet Land
Kij Johnson, The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe
Mercedes Lackey, A Study in Sable
Bob Proehl, A Hundred Thousand Worlds
K.B. Wagers, Behind the Throne
Alexander Weinstein, Children of the New World
Kai Ashante Wilson, A Taste of Honey
Connie Willis, Crosstalk
Jo Walton, Necessity
Carlos Hernandez, The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria
Paul Cornell, The Lost Child of Lychford
Wesley Chu, The Rise of Io
Ann VanderMeer, The Big Book of Science Fiction
Alan Moore, Jerusalem
K.J. Parker, The Devil You Know
Paul McAuley, Into Everywhere
Ali Shaw, The Trees
Madeline Ashby, Company Town
Allen Steele, Arkwright
Robert J. Sawyer, Quantum Night
Sofia Samatar, The Winged Histories
China Miéville, The Last Days of New Paris
Indra Das, The Devourers
J. Kathleen Cheney, Dreaming Death
Daniel Polansky, A City Dreaming
Chuck Wendig, Invasive
Patricia A. McKillip, Dreams of Distant Shores
Lian Hearn, Emperor of the Eight Islands
Marshall Ryan Maresca, The Alchemy of Chaos
Patricia A. McKillip, Kingfisher
David D. Levine, Arabella of Mars
Kerryn Offord, 1636: The Chronicles of Dr. Gribbleflotz
Dominik Parisien, The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales
Foz Meadows, An Accident of Stars
Robert Kroese, The Big Sheep
Michael Swanwick, Not So Much, Said the Cat
Walter Jon Williams, Impersonations
Joan Aiken, The People in the Castle
Laurie Penny, Everything Belongs to the Future
Robert Charles Wilson, Last Year
Ellen Kushner, Tremontaine: Season 1
Will McIntosh, Faller
Beth Cato, Breath of Earth
Haris A. Durrani, Technologies of the Self
Christopher Priest, The Gradual
K.J. Parker, Downfall of the Gods
Blake Charlton, Spellbreaker
Eleanor Arnason, Hwarhath Stories: Transgressive Tales by Aliens
Alyc Helms, The Conclave of Shadow
Julie E. Czerneda, The Gate to Futures Past
Miyuki Miyabe, The Gate of Sorrows
Jonathan Strahan, Bridging Infinity
Michael A. Armstrong, Truck Stop Earth
Jonathan Strahan, Drowned Worlds
Sonia Orin Lyris, The Seer
Greg Egan, The Four Thousand, the Eight Hundred
Leanna Renee Hieber, Eterna and Omega
Mike Allen, Clockwork Phoenix 5
Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Galactic Games
Andrea Hairston, Will Do Magic for Small Change
Jesse Bullington, Swords v. Cthulhu
Zachary Brown, Titan’s Fall
Kelly Barnhill, The Unlicensed Magician
Nava Semel, Isra Isle
Nick Wood, Azanian Bridges
Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Decision Points
Lisa Yaszek, Sisters of Tomorrow: The First Women of Science Fiction
Sarah Tolmie, Two Travelers
Jeffrey E. Barlough, Where the Time Goes
Jack Cady, Fathoms

Horror

Stephen King, End of Watch
Joe Hill, The Fireman
Michael Wehunt, Greener Pastures
Stephen Graham Jones, Mongrels
John Langan, The Fisherman
Laird Barron, Swift to Chase
Paul Tremblay, Disappearance at Devil’s Rock
Christopher Buehlman, The Suicide Motor Club
Matthew M. Bartlett, Creeping Waves
Livia Llewellyn, Furnace
Cherie Priest, The Family Plot
Sarah L. Johnson, Suicide Stitch
Lynne Jamneck, Dreams from the Witch House: Female Voices of Lovecraftian Horror
Damien Angelica Walters, Paper Tigers
Glen Hirshberg, Good Girls
Pedro Cabiya, Wicked Weeds: A Zombie Novel
Richard Gavin, Sylvan Dread: Tales of Pastoral Darkness
Ross E. Lockhart, Eternal Frankenstein
Sunny Moraine, Singing with All My Skin and Bone
Michael Cisco, The Wretch of the Sun

Young Adult

Leigh Bardugo, Crooked Kingdom
Victoria Schwab, This Savage Song
Neal Shusterman, Scythe
Holly Black, The Bronze Key
Kelly Barnhill, The Girl Who Drank the Moon
Gail Carriger, Imprudence
Garth Nix, Goldenhand
Melissa Landers, Starflight
William Ritter, Ghostly Echoes
Rae Carson, Like a River Glorious
Erika Johansen, The Fate of the Tearling
Rachel Caine, Paper and Fire
Mercedes Lackey, Elite
Kate Elliott, Poisoned Blade
Gwenda Bond, Lois Lane: Double Down
Sarah Beth Durst, The Queen of Blood
Jessica Cluess, A Shadow Bright and Burning
Cat Winters, The Steep & Thorny Way
Jennifer A. Nielsen, The Scourge
Kat Howard, Roses and Rot
Jennifer Mason-Black, Devil and the Bluebird
Destiny Soria, Iron Cast
Delia Sherman, The Evil Wizard Smallbone
Sandra Evans, This Is Not a Werewolf Story
Jonathan Stroud, Lockwood & Co: The Creeping Shadow
Laurence Yep, A Dragon’s Guide to Making Your Human Smarter
Fran Wilde, Cloudbound
Sarah Prineas, Rose & Thorn
Zetta Elliott, The Door at the Crossroads

Urban Fantasy

Ilona Andrews, Magic Binds
Patricia Briggs, Fire Touched
Anne Bishop, Marked in Flesh
Seanan McGuire, Once Broken Faith
Daniel O’Malley, Stiletto
Faith Hunter, Blood of the Earth
Ben Aaronovitch, The Hanging Tree
Faith Hunter, Blood in Her Veins
Benedict Jacka, Burned
Faith Hunter, Curse on the Land
Kevin Hearne, The Purloined Poodle
Seanan McGuire, Chaos Choreography
Richard Kadrey, The Perdition Score
Wen Spencer, Project Elfhome
Jim C. Hines, Revisionary
Victor LaValle, The Ballad of Black Tom
Elliott James, In Shining Armor
Mishell Baker, Borderline
Richard Kadrey, The Everything Box
Jim Butcher, Shadowed Souls
R.S. Belcher, The Brotherhood of the Wheel
Paul Crilley, Poison City
Melissa F. Olson, Nightshades
Angela Slatter, Vigil
Colin Gigl, The Ferryman’s Institute
Joseph Nassise, Urban Allies
Linda Grimes, All Fixed Up
E.E. Richardson, Spirit Animals

Non-Fiction

Neil Gaiman, The View from the Cheap Seats
Kameron Hurley, The Geek Feminist Revolution
Jack Womack, …Flying Saucers Are Real!
Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Making Conversation
Mike Ashley, Science Fiction Rebels: The Story of the Science-Fiction Magazines from 1981 to 1990
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg

Popular manga

I’ve relied on ~8 Wikipedia category articles and Goodreads lists to supply over 440 manga titles assigned uniquely into the categories shōnen, shōjo, seinen, and josei, and I’ve sorted them based on their first volume’s Goodreads stats (the log of the number of raters multiplied by the cube of their score expressed as a percentage). Obviously, dubious categorizations as well as biases inherent in the ratings are problems in the results. Still, the top 50 titles in each category and in all categories combined are given below, as usual minus any actual data from Goodreads.

50 popular manga

Fullmetal Alchemist
Death Note
Attack on Titan
Ouran High School Host Club
One Piece
Fairy Tail
Naruto
Black Butler
Tokyo Ghoul
Maid-sama!
Dragon Ball
Blue Exorcist
Fruits Basket
Rurouni Kenshin
Bleach
Hunter x Hunter
OnePunch-Man
Kamisama Kiss
Soul Eater
Skip Beat!
InuYasha
Sailor Moon
Akira
Case Closed
Electric Daisy
Hellsing
Yotsuba&!
Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You
Cardcaptor Sakura
Oyasumi Punpun
Love So Life
Berserk
Horimiya
Vampire Knight
Naoki Urasawa’s Monster
Yu Yu Hakusho
Nana
D.Gray-man
Beast Master
Hana to Akuma
Hana-Kimi
Pandora Hearts
Blue Spring Ride
Gakuen Alice
Trigun Maximum
Alice in the Country of Hearts
xxxHolic
Reborn!
Love★Com
Ranma ½

50 popular shōjo manga

Ouran High School Host Club
Maid-sama!
Fruits Basket
Kamisama Kiss
Skip Beat!
Sailor Moon
Electric Daisy
Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You
Cardcaptor Sakura
Love So Life
Horimiya
Vampire Knight
Beast Master
Hana to Akuma
Hana-Kimi
Blue Spring Ride
Gakuen Alice
Alice in the Country of Hearts
Love★Com
Faster than a Kiss
From Far Away
Special A
Kitchen Princess
Beauty Pop
Orange
Suki-tte Ii na yo
Last Game
The Wallflower
High School Debut
Tokyo Crazy Paradise
Black Bird
MeruPuri
Shugo Chara!
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun
Akatsuki no Yona
Daytime Shooting Star
Snow White with the Red Hair
Fushigi Yûgi: The Mysterious Play
Boys Over Flowers: Hana Yori Dango
Happy Cafe
1/2 Prince
Dawn of the Arcana
Full Moon O Sagashite
Kodocha: Sana’s Stage
Absolute Boyfriend
Natsume’s Book of Friends
D.N.Angel
Tail of the Moon
Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne
Barajou no Kiss

50 popular shōnen manga

Fullmetal Alchemist
Death Note
Attack on Titan
One Piece
Fairy Tail
Naruto
Black Butler
Dragon Ball
Blue Exorcist
Rurouni Kenshin
Bleach
Hunter x Hunter
OnePunch-Man
Soul Eater
InuYasha
Case Closed
Yotsuba&!
Yu Yu Hakusho
D.Gray-man
Pandora Hearts
Reborn!
Ranma ½
Bakuman
Trigun
Sword Art Online
Assassination Classroom
Pokémon Adventures
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
Shaman King
DRRR!! Durarara!!
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
Azumanga Daioh
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
Hikaru no Go
Rave Master
Chibi Vampire
Koe no Katachi
Tegami Bachi
Yu-Gi-Oh!
Rosario+Vampire
The Ancient Magus’ Bride
Akame ga KILL!
The Devil is a Part-Timer!
High School DxD
Cross Game
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Negima! Magister Negi Magi
Yakitate!! Japan
Love Hina
Cage of Eden

50 popular josei manga

Nana
Red River
The Crimson Spell
Mars
Paradise Kiss
Pet Shop of Horrors
Midnight Secretary
Nodame Cantabile
Solanin
Princess Jellyfish
The Story of Saiunkoku
Tramps Like Us
Bunny Drop
Karneval
Sand Chronicles
Private Prince
Cat Street
7 Seeds
Wandering Son
Sensual Phrase
Gokusen
Sakamichi No Apollon
Ōoku: The Inner Chambers
Honey and Clover
A Drunken Dream and Other Stories
The Cain Saga
Chihayafuru
Desire Climax
Little New York
My Lovely Honey
Maison Ikkoku
My Girl
Aria
Butterflies, Flowers
Utsubora – The Story of a Novelist
Oishii Kankei
Kaze Hikaru
Bitter Virgin
Tada, Kimi Wo Aishiteru
Doll
For The Rose
Princess Ai
anata ni hana o sasagemashou
Beautiful People
Model
Deep Love: Ayu’s Story
X-Day
Hanshin
Suppli
Flat

50 popular seinen manga

Tokyo Ghoul
Akira
Hellsing
Oyasumi Punpun
Berserk
Naoki Urasawa’s Monster
Trigun Maximum
xxxHolic
20th Century Boys
PLUTO
Uzumaki
Mushishi
Ghost in the Shell
Chobits
Vagabond
Tekkon Kinkreet
Lone Wolf and Cub
Gangsta.
A Bride’s Story
Parasyte
Chi’s Sweet Home
Buddha
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Battle Angel Alita
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Liar Game
Vinland Saga
Blade of the Immortal
Higurashi When They Cry
All You Need Is Kill
Angel Beats!
Planetes
Clannad Manga
Blame!
Wolf’s Rain
Battle Royale
Black Jack
Gantz
Showa: A History of Japan, 1926-1939
Elfen Lied
Domu: A Child’s Dream
Black Lagoon
Ode to Kirihito
Chang Ge Xing
Spice & Wolf
The Voices of a Distant Star
Museum of Terror: Tomie
Ajin: Demi-Human
K-ON!
Corpse Party

Selected SF/F Previews for 8/2015

Below are the titles I’ve chosen to highlight from SF Signal’s lists of books and comics released in August 2015.

  • Becky Chambers, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. I’ve heard a lot of buzz about this originally self-published space adventure novel, and the preview seems both readable and pleasant: classic space opera tropes but with a light, contemporary feel.
  • Terry Pratchett, The Shepherd’s Crown. Terry Pratchett’s last Discworld novel is pretty much by definition a gift to be treasured. I can’t imagine this is the best place for someone to begin the series, but to a fan, the opening scenes call to mind many warm and happy memories.
  • John Scalzi, The End of All Things. This is the latest in the Old Man’s War series, and as usual, it seems to be compulsively readable stuff.
  • Christopher Moore, Secondhand Souls. The sequel to Moore’s very funny Grim Reaper comedy, Dirty Job, this seems like fun too, though I’m sure the experience of reading the preview benefits from also having read the first book.
  • Tom Scioli, American Barbarian. This seems to be a parody of 80s cartoons like Thundarr the Barbarian, but with more than a hint of the 70s comic Kamandi to it as well. Like its source material, it appears to be delightfully unsophisticated yet strange.
  • Stefan Petrucha, Deadpool: Paws. Deadpool first appeared well after I’d stopped keeping track of the Marvel Universe, and I’ve been neither here nor there about the Deadpool comics I’ve read. But I did like a couple of the jokes in the opening chapters of this prose novel, e.g. the bit about “Goom hungers!”

Selected SF/F Previews for 7/2015

Here are the titles I’ve chosen to highlight from SF Signal’s round-ups of books and comics released in July 2015.

  • China Miéville, Three Moments of an Explosion. I wasn’t aware before this summer that Miéville had even written any short fiction (at least, not more than one story), but I was instantly interested in reading all of it. The preview offers a look at two stories. The first was strange, as expected, and I liked what I could read of the second one: a magical realist story about icebergs that suddenly appear in the air over London and mostly just float there.
  • Dennis Mahoney, Bell Weather. In a fantasy world loosely inspired by Earth’s 18th century, a woman with amnesia arrives in a small town by unusual means: drifting unconscious in the river’s annual flood of flowers. That and other enigmatic natural phenomena made this preview stand out for me.
  • Max Gladstone, Last First Snow. I’ve read the first book in this series, which combines the breezy tone of an urban fantasy novel with an intriguingly weird fantasy setting—one in which people manage bizarre gods via magic and (oddly enough) legal process. The preview for this fourth book in the series leaps right into that stuff, and I appreciate fantasy novels that put the fantastic elements front and center.
  • Jodi Taylor, No Time Like the Past. Judging from the preview of its fifth volume, The Chronicles of St. Mary’s seems to be a light, witty, and mildly absurd time travel series blending historical details with simple fun. In this episode, the historians from St. Mary’s visit their own institution during the English Civil War.
  • D.B. Jackson, Dead Man’s Reach. I’ve been meaning to try the Thieftaker Chronicles, which take place in a magic-infused colonial Boston on the verge of the Revolution. This is the fourth book, and I thought it started reasonably well by introducing numerous series characters without making too many assumptions while still getting into some plot issues quickly.
  • E.R. Eddison (trans.), Egil’s Saga. I had no idea fantasy fiction pioneer E.R. Eddison had translated Egil’s Saga, but much more interesting was the fact that he chose to maximize the use of vocabulary with Germanic rather than Latinate roots so that the translation would sound more like the original. Based on the preview, I don’t think the result is something I could read all the way through, but sampling it was interesting, and I’m glad someone tried it as an experiment.

Selected SF/F Previews for 6/2015

Here are the Amazon previews that I enjoyed out of those linked in SF Signal’s June round-ups of new SF/F books and comics.

  • Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology. The VanderMeers are responsible for several of the very best SF anthologies, and I’m delighted to see that they’ve assembled a collection of feminist SF that appears to include both classic and lesser-known but intriguing stories. Insta-buy.
  • Garth Nix, To Hold the Bridge. The major selling point for this collection of Nix’s short fiction seems to be that it has an Old Kingdom story, i.e. something set in the same world as his YA novels, and the preview for it seems decent. The collection doesn’t seem to have any Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz stories in it, though, which would interest me even more.
  • Taiyo Fujii, Gene Mapper. A blurb says this SF novel about GMOs, augmented reality, and other contemporary issues was a self-published hit in Japan. The preview’s breathless litany of science news imagery reminded me of Ramez Naam’s Nexus, which I also enjoyed.
  • Philip Zaleski & Carol Zaleski, The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams. Tolkien and Lewis were a big part of my childhood, but I haven’t maintained the connection. What appeals to me just as much about this is its focus on literary friendships and its scholarly detail.
  • Matthew Meyer, The Hour of Meeting Evil Spirits: An Encyclopedia of Mononoke and Magic. This is volume two of a guide to Japanese folklore. Evidently it was funded via Kickstarter, which may explain the high cost of the print edition. The electronic version, though, still seems pretty nice. Volume one is The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons: A Field Guide to Japanese Yokai.
  • Jon Morris, The League of Regrettable Superheroes: Half-Baked Heroes from Comic Book History. This encyclopedia of odd and mostly discarded superheroes appeals to me on many levels: it’s funny and informative, but it’s also easy to imagine a slightly alternate universe in which these heroes had more fans or better writers to help them gel into something more lasting.
  • Sebastien de Castell, Knight’s Shadow. This is the second book in the Greatcoats series, and I found its preview slightly more compelling than that of the first, though I had almost been persuaded to try the first one a while back. Anyway, it’s a musketeers-ish fantasy series that promises to deliver a lot of swashbuckling action.
  • Paul Tremblay, A Head Full of Ghosts. Contemporary horror novels are often not my thing, but the preview for this one seemed smoothly written and cleverly topical, in view of reality shows, Paranormal Activity, etc. Certainly it left me wondering what had happened and wanting to know more, so … success.
  • Andrew MacLean, ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria for the End Times. This graphic novel about a girl and her cat companion poking around in a post-apocalyptic landscape seems light and well-illustrated, but I also liked that the writer would drop in the text of an aria in French and footnote it as if to say to non-speakers, “Look it up.”