Amazon’s Best Books of 2010: Top 10 Science Fiction/Fantasy

Amazon has just revealed their top 10 SF/Fantasy books of the year, as well as a general top 100, and I’ve posted two blog entries showcasing all ten titles. The writers on the list are Michal Ajvaz, Charles Yu, Karen Lord, Felix Gilman, N.K. Jemisin, Grace Krilanovich, Dexter Palmer, Nnedi Okorafor, Brian Conn, and Richard Kadrey. The order kept changing and if I had my druthers the list wouldn’t be numbered at all, but in the end Michal Ajvaz won out. The list reflects consultation with Amazon editors and my own reading throughout the year.

Ajvaz’s The Golden Age was a brilliant act of imagination that showcased this Czech writer’s amazing talent—a career-defining book. Charles Yu single-handedly revived the time travel story with a short novel both inventive and poignant. Karen Lord’s Redemption in Indigo is a miracle of storytelling ability and compression and generosity. The dialogue and characters and quality of writing in Felix Gilman’s novel took me by surprise several times, and the book displays complexity and moral ambiguity at every turn. N.K. Jemisin’s wonderful Hundred Thousand Kingdoms plots a non-trad course for fantasy in the twenty-first century. Grace Krilanovich created an amazing phantasmagorical Pacific Northwest in her The Orange Eats Creeps. Dexter Palmer revitalized retro-futurism by way of The Tempest and his own absurdist imagination, while Nnedi Okorafor’s novel Who Fears Death features a brave and original heroine and a unique, often heart-breaking story. Finally, Brian Conn’s The Fixed Stars is a awesomely strange post-capitalist surreal SF mosaic novel and Richard Kadrey continues to mix pop culture and genre tropes in bold, high-energy recombinations.

Anyway, I’ll post about a “second ten” of worthy novels next week, as well as posts on anthologies and story collections before the end of the year. I’ve also invited each writer on the top 10 list to submit their own top 10 list—either of books read during the year, favorite books, or books specifically from 2010–and will post those on Omnivoracious as they come in.

12 comments on “Amazon’s Best Books of 2010: Top 10 Science Fiction/Fantasy

  1. Kai in NYC says:

    Stop with the lists, damn it. I don’t have the *money* for this! Oh, well, two months, three months behind on rent; what’s the difference…?

  2. Don’t worry. I’m resting now.

  3. Gish says:

    Thank you for including Story Collections. I can’t wait.

  4. They appear to have accidentally left Finch off the list. You should mention that to them. They don’t want to look like fools.

  5. Very funny. It was a 2009 release and my penalty for being involved in compiling the list is to never, ever be eligible for it or any of their other lists. I go cry now.

  6. RM Milam says:

    Thanks for the excellent list. Keep up the good work.

  7. Mike says:

    Thanks for the list. I loved The Dream of Perpetual Motion and How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe. Yu’s short story anthology, Third Class Superhero, is even better. I couldn’t make it through Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. The magic seemed too easy and obvious. Maybe I’ll have to give it another try.

  8. Mike: I didn’t really care about the magic. I thought the characters and their interactions were excellent, though. I have to read Yu’s collection, I know!


  9. Wait… that was 2009? I think I have become unstuck in time. It doesn’t work the way it used to.

  10. Alex DM says:

    Wait, wait, Brian Conn has a book out? This I need.

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