Monday, February 6, 2012

In Which I Make Jeff Vandermeer's Short List

Over on Locus Online, the energetic Jeff Vandermeer has included my Dancing With Bears on his list of novels he liked last year, "A Dozen of the Best from 2011."

You'll have noticed the implied qualifier that these aren't necessarily the best, but only some of them.  That's because when you find yourself in a position to compile such a list, you become acutely aware of all the books you haven't read and indeed may not even know exist.  I say that as a former member of the Nebula Jury which failed to notice the existence of Tim Powers' The Anubis Gates in time to put it on the ballot.  You simply can't read everything, and other people often aren't as quick to alert you to works of brilliance as they should be.

This grace note of modesty is why I value getting on the list.   It implicitly acknowledges that such lists are simply one reader's preferences.  There is no, nor can there be, objective "best of" list.  But by compiling an approximation of such a list, a reader can create a kind of psychic map of his or her own year's reading.  Which can be valued in proportion to the esteem in which that reader is held.

Here are the other books Vandermeer included on his own psychic map:

The Great Lover by Michael Cisco (Chômu Press)  
The Sacred Band by David Anthony Durham (Doubleday)
God’s War by Kameron Hurley (Night Shade Books)  
Tattoo by Kirsten Imani Kasai (Del Rey)  
A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin (Bantam)  
Embassytown  by China Miéville(Del Rey)  
Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi (Riverhead)    
Osama by Lavie Tidhar (PS Publishing)  
Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti by Genevieve Valentine (Prime Books)  
Among Others by Jo Walton (Tor Books)  
Zone One by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)  

You can read the entire article here.


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