Pile by the Bed’s top five science fiction novels for 2021 with five honourable mentions.
Pile by the Bed’s top 5 (okay, 6) fantasy novels for 2020 and four honourable mentions.
Pile By the Bed’s Top 5 crime fiction books for 2018 with 5 honourable mentions
So many great books this year (see also Top 5 Crime, Science Fiction and Fantasy). This is an all Australian Top 5 fiction for 2017 (in no particular order and with four international honourable mentions). Jock Serong’s On The Java Ridge moved away from crime and created a humanist thriller out of Australia’s border protection policies. Michael Sala’s The Restorer centred on a family trying to put a violent past behind them in 1980s Newcastle. Mark Brandi’s debut, Wimmera, was a timely exploration of child sexual abuse and its impacts. In City of Crows, Chris Womersley explored the power of belief in seventeenth century Paris. Another great debut, Tony Jones created Australia’s very won Day of the Jackal in The Twentieth Man. Honourable (international) mentions: House of Names by Colm Toibin was a retelling of Greek myth. Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan, a historical novel set in the New York shipbuilding yards in World War II. Spoils by Brian van Reet…
Very different fantasy novels make up the top five (plus three honourable mentions) for 2017: Andrew Caldecott’s Rotherweird was fantasy that was also a little bit Dickens and a little bit Monty Python and centred around a forgotten town with a strange past and stranger residents in the middle of England. Australian fantasy author Angela Slatter delivered the second installment of her engaging noir-crime meets urban fantasy series starring half-weyrd detective Verity Fassbinder on the mean streets of Brisbane in Corpselight. Natasha Pulley continued to impress with her second novel – a historical and mystical journey into deepest darkest Peru in The Bedlam Stacks. Joe Hill’s novella collection Strange Weather was part horror, part fantasy, part science fiction and all class. And Margo Lanagan’s best-of short story collection Singing My Sister Down reaffirmed why she is one of Australia (and the World’s) best fantasy writers. Honourable mentions: It Devours by Fink and Cranor – a novel set in the world of Night Vale Red Sister by Mark Lawrence…
In 2017, most of the top crime was Australian. Adrian McKinty took out the Ned Kelly Award for the sixth novel in his Sean Duffy series – Police at the Station and they Don’t Look Friendly. Candice Fox was shortlisted for the same award for Crimson Lake – the first book in her new series set in steamy far north Queensland. Michael Robotham’s The Secrets She Keeps was a stand-alone page turning thriller with two intriguing women at its centre. Mark Brandi’s debut novel Wimmera, a story of the impacts of child sexual abuse, not only on the victim but on all those around them, was a revelation. And Attica Locke went to rural Texas and revealed the deep seated vein of institutionalised racism in the United states in Bluebird Bluebird Honourable mentions: Under the Cold Bright Lights by Garry Disher Too Easy by JM Green Places in the Darkness by Chris Brookmyer Corpselight by Angela Slatter
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