Pile by the Bed lists the top five fantasy novels of 2019 (with three honourable mentions)
Pile by the Bed reviews The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie, a book that reinvents the ground rules of the fantasy genre.
Some great science fiction reads in 2017 – here are five of the best (and three honourable mentions): Claire G Coleman’ stunning debut Terra Nullius was speculative fiction that shone a new light on the colonisation of Australia. John Scalzi created an empire just to start destroying it in the enjoyable space opera The Collapsing Empire. Yoon Ha Lee continued to impress with Raven Stratagem, the mathematically-driven by deeply humanist sequel to last year’s standout debut Ninefox Gambit. Becky Chambers also impressed with the follow up to her debut with A Closed and Common Orbit. Ann Leckie gave us Provenance, a stand alone novel set in the same universe as her award winning Ancillary series. Honourable Mentions: Places in the Darkness by Chris Brookmyer Luna: Wolf Moon by Ian McDonald Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel
When you have built an award-winning universe, there is little point starting a new one. Much better to go, as Ann Leckie does in Provenance, and explore another corner of it. Iain Banks understood this and, similarly, set many of his science fiction novels in and around his expansive Culture universe. For readers steeped in Leckie’s universe, having been on board for the trilogy that started with her multi award winning debut Ancillary Justice, small call backs and particular characters and situations have greater import. For those new to Leckie’s universe it allows her to produce a stand-alone novel with a more epic feel. The events of the Ancillary trilogy are referenced but as one of the characters herself observes “that was very far away”. Provenance opens with Ingray Aughskold trying to pull off an audacious plan to attract the attention of her mother, the Netano. Ingray, in competition with her brother to take the title of Netano, pays all of the money she has to organize the release of a prisoner from “Compassionate Removal” a prison from which, supposedly, no one returns. It is after the transaction does not go as planned and she is down her luck that…