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Marissa Lingen

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Books of the decade, with approximation [Mar. 8th, 2011|04:50 pm]
Marissa Lingen

So Tor.com had a vote for best book of the last decade...ish thing. They were counting 2000-2010 inclusive. This is not, by my math, a decade. Is this a problem? Not at all! But if they don't have to do the math for a decade exactly correctly, I can also approximate with my own top ten list in science fiction and fantasy from that period. Ten is on the same order of magnitude as lots of other numbers! One of which is the number I wound up with for my list.

There are authors whose work I adore who don't appear on this list for various reasons. C.J. Cherryh, for example, writes an ongoing series I adore, but I'm not at all convinced that any one of them is jumping out. Nicola Griffith has been doing thrillers that are not the same genre as I'm talking about. And like that.

I put the list in reverse alphabetical order because that's what happened as I was looking through my library file. I'm sure I'm forgetting something I borrowed from a friend or the library, too, since I just used my own file. But here's what I got:

Walter Jon Williams, This Is Not A Game
Jo Walton, Tooth and Claw
Charles Stross, The Atrocity Archives
Sherwood Smith, Inda
Karl Schroeder, Sun of Suns
Terry Pratchett, Wintersmith
Tim Powers, Declare
Susan Palwick, The Necessary Beggar
Sarah Monette, Corambis
Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman, The Fall of the Kings
Gwyneth Jones, Bold As Love
Mary Gentle, Ash
John M. Ford, Heat of Fusion and Other Stories
Colin Cotterill, The Coroner's Lunch
Steven Brust, Issola
Marie Brennan, A Star Shall Fall
Elizabeth Bear, By the Mountain Bound
Daniel Abraham, The Price of Spring Edited: Okay, timprov and alecaustin have reminded me of enough coolness that I'm changing this one to An Autumn War

I am fascinated by some aspects of this. Clearly not all series books are out, and in some the first one holds the promise of the whole, while in others the culmination was the most satisfying. There are three books on this list that might as well have been written for me, but only one of them has my name on the dedication page. And...I don't know. It was fun to poke at things and come up with a list, and I'm perfectly happy to argue about it. I've been thinking about doing another of these for nonfiction or mystery or non-speculative fiction if anybody thinks it's fun.

[User Picture]From: pnkrokhockeymom
2011-03-08 11:14 pm (UTC)
I think it's fun. I suspect montreal will think it's triply fun and immediately start to-read lists from your best of lists, because he is even more of a list maker than am I.
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[User Picture]From: athenais
2011-03-08 11:37 pm (UTC)
I like this list because I've read almost all the books on it and agree wholeheartedly with eight of the choices. I don't disagree with any of them, but I might have picked a different book in a series, maybe.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-03-08 11:40 pm (UTC)
Which 8?
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[User Picture]From: athenais
2011-03-09 01:13 am (UTC)
Jo Walton, Sherwood Smith, Terry Pratchett, Susan Palwick, John M. Ford, Steven Brust, Elizabeth Bear, Daniel Abraham.
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[User Picture]From: aedifica
2011-03-09 12:16 am (UTC)
Neat! I'm surprised I've only read two of these, though one other is next on my mental to-read list. (Of the two, I agree strongly with one, and for the other, would have picked a different book by the same author.)
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From: zeborahnz
2011-03-09 12:21 am (UTC)
Susan Palwick, The Necessary Beggar

Whee! I've been trying to figure out if I really never saw this mentioned before picking it up in a bookbin for $2 and loving it to bits, or just never noticed it before and will now come across it mentioned every second day for the rest of my life. :-)
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[User Picture]From: aamcnamara
2011-03-09 12:22 am (UTC)
...huh. It's interesting; in 2000 I was nine years old and getting into the YA section of my library. I haven't been paying attention to the tordotcom list, so much, so it's startling to see things like Fall of the Kings (which I had assumed had been around Forever) on a list of the last decade-if-you-squint.

(Given this, I don't think I could make a best-books-of-2000-2010 list if we're counting publication dates; I have very little sense of that, and had even less when I was younger. I could make a best-books-I-read-between-2000-and-2010 list, but that would jump wildly all over the place with regards to publication year, I suspect. Or maybe not? Hmm.)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-03-09 01:37 am (UTC)
For me the publication dates of my reading are certainly all over the place. The reason I could do this at all coherently is that I keep a library file I could just filter by date.

And I remember being at your time of college and how much things were "classics" that have been around "forever" that were actually not that old, so I do sympathize.
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[User Picture]From: timprov
2011-03-09 12:30 am (UTC)
Hm. Agreed on Tooth and Claw, Sun of Suns, Wintersmith, The Fall of the Kings, Ash, and Issola.

As for different books by the same authors I'm picking Iron Sunrise and The Last Hot Time.

Additions would be Doctorow's Little Brother, Bujold's Paladin of Souls which I expect you forgot, and Cherryh's Explorer because I did read them recently enough to remember which one was the best.

And maybe the Baroque Cycle, I haven't made up my mind about that yet.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-03-09 01:39 am (UTC)
And now we've conversed and you know that I didn't forget Paladin of Souls, but I'm waffling on that and The Curse of Chalion. I'm at least as likely to reread them as a bunch of stuff on this list, which seems like it ought to mean something.
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[User Picture]From: mamculuna
2011-03-09 04:15 pm (UTC)
Agree about Last Hot Time.
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[User Picture]From: ex_truepenn
2011-03-09 12:44 am (UTC)
Wow. Thank you!
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-03-09 01:36 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: alecaustin
2011-03-09 01:42 am (UTC)
I'd probably go for The Privilege of the Sword over The Fall of the Kings, The Paths of the Dead over Issola, and An Autumn War over The Price of Spring (the latter two for reasons we've discussed), but both the Stross and the Powers are definitely on my list, and Tooth and Claw probably ought to be.
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[User Picture]From: swan_tower
2011-03-09 01:45 am (UTC)
Our reading does not overlap as much as I might have expected, though two three four five of your choices are high on my list to read.

And one of them, well. Thanks. :-)
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[User Picture]From: sartorias
2011-03-09 01:47 am (UTC)
Privilege of the Sword over Fall (which I think is half a book)

But Declare? Oh yes!
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-03-09 02:31 am (UTC)
Which half do you think it is, and what do you want the other half to be doing?
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[User Picture]From: sartorias
2011-03-09 02:44 am (UTC)
I think it's the first half, and as for the second half, I've had some very long conversations about Ellen about that!
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-03-09 04:12 am (UTC)
Well, it's not that I think nothing else can happen. I just felt it was complete as itself, so I was curious as to what else you wanted of it.
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[User Picture]From: sartorias
2011-03-09 04:32 am (UTC)
I felt it was all setup with not enough payoff--that the payoff was yet to come.
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[User Picture]From: alan_yee
2011-03-09 05:40 pm (UTC)
I did like The Fall of the Kings, but I ultimately liked Privilege of the Sword better. Fall of the Kings was interesting because it was a lot different from the other two books, but it didn't feel as fulfilling as Privilege.
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[User Picture]From: dichroic
2011-03-09 08:29 am (UTC)
Book lists are always fun!
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[User Picture]From: mamculuna
2011-03-09 04:13 pm (UTC)
I'd vote for the whole Inda series, if possible. Can't decide which I like best. The first one is really good, but so is the last one. The first one's the only one you could read alone, though.
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[User Picture]From: ashnistrike
2011-03-11 08:25 pm (UTC)
I love most of those that I've read. Like many above, I'd take Privilege of the Sword over Fall of the Kings, and I'd take The Stratford Man over By the Mountain Bound. I'd add Susannah Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mister Norrell.

I enjoyed the Karl Schroeder while I was reading it, but it failed the Bechdel test in some ways I found really annoying. (I have less patience for Level 3 failures than Level 1 and 2 failures.)
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