The Year of Our War (GOLLANCZ S.F. Book 1)

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Stalin calls together a group of science fiction writers and orders them to produce a scenario of alien invasion; he perceives the American threat to be on the wane, and the Soviet state needs an enemy against which to rally. No sooner have the writers developed a scenario than Stalin demands they forget the idea on pain of death.

Skip to , when Konstantin Skvorecky, ex-SF novelist and world-weary alcoholic now working as a translator, is approached by an old colleague who tries to convince him that their long-forgotten scenario is in fact coming to pass: aliens appear to be invading the world. What follows is in part a droll comedy of manners parodying the fall of Soviet communism, part an intellectual inquiry into the idea of multiple quantum realities and part an attempt to discover why, despite the ubiquity of reported sightings, UFOs have never been proved to exist.

As ever with Roberts, the writing is impeccable and the ideas riveting. This balance is threatened by the ambitions of the rising generation of Outers, who want to break free of their cosy, inward-looking pocket paradises, colonize the rest of the Solar System, and drive human evolution in a hundred new directions.

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On Earth, many demand pre-emptive action against the Outers before it's too late; others want to exploit the talents of their scientists and gene wizards. Amid campaigns for peace and reconciliation, political machinations, crude displays of military might, and espionage by cunningly wrought agents, the two branches of humanity edge towards war.

However, in testing his invention, Blue inadvertently destroys half of Seattle and releases a toxic gas that turns anyone exposed to it into the living dead. A wall is built to contain the resulting horror. Now, sixteen years later, Blue's teenage son Zeke leaves the relative security of the shanty town that has evolved around the disaster area to enter the forbidden zone in an effort to redeem his father's memory.

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This novel represents the first in a new steampunk world Cherie is calling the Clockwork Universe, and it's already generating quite a lot of positive attention, including a Nebula nomination. Religious freedom is severely limited, state censorship is the rule of the day, indentured servitude is the new norm, representation in the Senate is based on wealth and property, and the presidency is now hereditary. Julian Comstock is a free-thinking radical, who also happens to be the nephew of the current president. He befriends a young writer, and the pair travel, adventure in and explore the world, while Julian strives to make it a better place than he found it.

Many years later, his writer friend will recount all these adventures -- but how much is truth, and how much is fiction? Best Served Cold is a stand-alone novel that takes place in the same world as his previous books, but one that doesn't require any previous knowledge of what has come before. I don't think I'll spoil anything by telling you this is a book about vengeance. Monza Murcatto, horribly disfigured and left for dead when her brother is murdered, dedicates herself to tracking down her brother's killers. In describing his work, Abercrombie said : "If forced to sum it up I'd probably call it a fantasy thriller, light on the magic and heavy on the blood, treachery and poison, with the usual hefty portions of dark grey characters and black humour.

Visiting that world once again, this time with a full-length novel, he's been nominated for a Nebula. The Windup Girl is not quite human.

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Emiko is "an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as soulless beings by some, devils by others, New People are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in a chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe" quoted from the publisher's web.

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  • This is a novel that will surprise you, even as it disturbs, horrifies and delights you. He's appeared several times before on the Readers's Choice top 10, but this is the first time you've chosen his work above all others -- and it was an uncontested win, easily surpassing your other selections.

    The two cities overlap physically, but are in different nations with different languages, customs, styles and laws.

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    The ultimate crime in either city is to Breach -- to cross illegally from one to the other. But since citizens of each city may find themselves walking down two different streets that are in reality only one street, Breach could happen simply by acknowledging a citizen of the city you are not legally in. And acknowledgement can be as simple as reacting to a car backfiring, smiling at someone, or even to be caught seeing them. Life in this environment is very stressful, and particularly challenging for outsiders.

    Investigating a murder in which the victim is found in Beszel is complicated when it is discovered that the murder itself took place in Ul Quoma. Things get even more interesting when the victim is found to have been a foreigner researching the existence of an alleged third city that exists if it exists at all only in the in-between places, those zones that Ul Quoma and Beszel each believe to belong to the other It's also nominated for the Nebula, so you're not alone in your good opinion of this book.

    Honourable Mentions As you may have noticed, our top 10 list this year contains more than 10 books because of a few ties. And of course there are many, many more books worth reading that appeared in What follows are a few more that nearly made it onto the Top 10 for , which should also be considered as what your fellow readers regarded to be among the best reading of the past year: The Red Tree , by Caitlin R.

    1. Season of Life: A Football Star, a Boy, a Journey to Manhood;
    2. See a Problem?.
    3. Jump into new realities with second-hand fantasy books.
    4. 21st-century British short story writers;
    5. Richard Rorty: Politics and Vision (20th Century Political Thinkers);
    6. Stephen Baxter?
    7. The Words Just Come For Free;

    Everything mentioned above represents recommendations from the SF Site readers among the books of If you're searching for even more good reading, have a look at our previous Best Read of the Year pages, below. Hope you had as much fun with this as I did. I'm looking forward to seeing your recommendations for next year too. Paranoid, he begins drafting troops from across Awia for his own guard, leaving the country unprotected.

    In response, several other manors withdraw their troops for defence, leaving the front undermanned. Insects begin to roam unchecked in great numbers, causing towns to be abandoned. At the Castle, Governor Swallow Awndyn petitions the Emperor to be made immortal on the strength of her musical talents, but he refuses her, unconvinced that music can be used to protect the Fourlands from Insects. Devastated, she leads her troops to the front to prove herself. Though she is desperate to be accepted into the Circle, she consistently refuses Lightning's proposals of marriage, wanting to gain immortality on her own merit.

    At the front, Swallow's force observes the Insects building a strange bridge into the sky. Soon after they are attacked and routed with severe losses. They retreat to Rachiswater Palace, but find that Staniel has closed the gates against them. In the ensuing massacre, Swallow is gravely wounded and she, Lightning and Jant barely escape.

    The Year of Our War

    Jant receives word from Vireo and Tornado that they are running out of supplies, as the Insects begin to build a wall around Lowespass Fortress. Insects are appearing across Awia and elsewhere, threatening to overrun the Fourlands completely. Amidst this crisis, a feud develops between the immortal Sailor Shearwater Mist and his wife Ata when she devises a plan to rescue Tornado and Vireo's forces by sailing up river. She issues a challenge for his position of Sailor. In the ensuing conflict, Mist is killed and the Emperor offers Ata his position in the Circle if she is successful in relieving Lowespass.

    While under the influence of scolopendium, Jant learns that Dunlin has united the people of the Shift and driven the Insects out of many of their territories, causing their migration in huge numbers to the Fourlands through the sky bridge.

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    Dunlin agrees to halt his attacks for four weeks, in order to give the Castle a chance to save Awia. Rescuing Lightning and Swallow from being overrun by Insects, Jant and Ata set sail for Lowespass, while the other immortals attempt to rally the people of the Fourlands to hold the Insects at bay. Ata's forces engage the Insects in a desperate battle, holding them off long enough to break out Tornado and destroy the bridge, but Vireo is killed.

    As the troops celebrate the rescue of the Fourlands, Lightning assures Jant that, in the life of an immortal, their trials will in time make the best stories. The book won the Crawford Award [1] and the author was nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.