In this traditional ArmadilloCon session, panelists recommend recently published science fiction and fantasy titles to the audience. The people entrusted with this honor are usually ones whose work or hobbies cause them to read lots of new genre fiction. This year, the team of "pundits" is Anne Sowards (ArmadilloCon 32 editor guest), Lawrence Person (a once-and-future editor of fanzine "Nova Express"), Willie Siros (an Austin bookseller), and Thomas Martin Wagner (a SF/F reviewer).
Anne Sowards describes herself as an editor who, in her own words, only edits "fun books", such as Jim Butcher and Ilona Andrews. She doesn't do award-winning books, and she likes it that way. Here is what she recommends:
Patricia Briggs "Wolfsbane", a sequel to "Masques";
Jim Butcher "Changes";
Caitlin Kiernan "Red Tree", a very dark fantasy nominated for World Fantasy award this year;
K. A. Stewart "The Devil Is In The Details", a Jim Butcher-like urban fantasy.
Martin Wagner's recommendations
Kay Kenyon "The Entire and the Rose", a 4-volume series about a pocket universe that uses our own universe for fuel. Martin says Kenyon writes humanist science fiction.
Kit Reed "Enclave", a book about a bunch of spoiled rich kids, whose parents were hoodwinked into sending kids to a school on a remote island. It's a "Lord of the Flies" type of situation, says Martin. He adds that Kit Reed is a New Wave author that has been off of everyone's radar until now.Willie Siros recommendations Novels
Kage Baker, The Bird of the River (Tor)
Iain M. Banks, Surface Detail (Orbit US)
Greg Bear, Hull Zero Three (Orbit US)
Steven Brust, Iorich (Tor)
Lois McMaster Bujold, Cryoburn (Baen)
C. J. Cherryh, Deceiver (DAW)
Suzanne Colins, Mockingjay (Scolastic Press)
Greg Egan, Zendegi (Gollanz; Night Shade Books)
Jasper Fforde, Shades of Gray (Hodder & Stoughton; Viking)
Michael Flynn, Up Jim River (Tor)
William Gibson, Zero History (Putnam)
Joe Haldeman, Starbound (Ace)
Peter F. Hamilton, The Evolutionary Void (Ballantine Del Rey)
Joe Hill, Horns (Gollancz; Morrow)
Robin Hobb, Dragon Haven (HarperVoyager)
Robin Hobb, Dragon Keeper (Eos)
Alexander Jablokov, Brain Thief (Tor)
N. K. Jemisin, The Broken Kingdoms (Orbit US)
Diana Wynne Jones, Enchanted Glass (HarperCollins UK, HarperCollins / Greenwillow)
Guy Gavriel Kay, Under Heaven (Penguin Canada; Roc)
Ken MacLeod, The Restoration Game (Orbit)
Jack McDevitt, Echo (Ace)
Ian McDonald, The Dervish House (Pyr)
Robin McKinley, Pegasus (Putnam)
China Mieville, Kraken (Macmillan UK)
Elizabeth Moon, Oath of Fealty (Orbit; Ballantine Del Rey)
Christopher Moore, Bite Me (Morrow)
Nnedi Okorafor, Who Fears Death (DAW)
Daniel Pinkwater, Adventuers of a Cat-Whiskered Girl (Houghton Mifflin)
Terry Pratchett, I Shall Wear Midnight (Doubleday UK; HarperCollins US)
Cherie Priest, Dreadnought (Tor)
Alastair Reynolds, Terminal World (Gollancz)
Kim Stanley Robinson, Gallileo's Dream (Ballantine Spectra)
Michael Shea, The Extra (Tor)
Lucius Shepard, The Taborin Scale (Subterranean Press)
Sharon Shinn, Troubled Waters (Ace)
Dan Simmons, Black Hills (Little Brown / Reagan Arthur Books)
Peter Straub, A Dark Matter (Doubleday)
Charles Stross, The Fuller Memorandum (Ace)
Charles Stross, The Trade Of Queens (Tor)
Scott Westerfeld, Behemoth (Simon Pulse)
Connie Willis, Blackout (Ballantine Spectra)
Connie Willis, All Clear (Ballantine Spectra)
David Wingrove, Son of Heaven (Atlantic Books UK / Corvus)
Gene Wolfe, The Sorcerer's House (Tor)
Jane Yolen & Midori Snyder, Except the Queen (Roc)
Collections and Anthologies
Poul Anderson, Young Flandry (Baen, collection)
Poul Anderson, Captain Flandry: Defender of the Terran Empire (Baen, collection)
Poul Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight of Terra (Baen, collection)
Peter S. Beagle, Mirror Kingdoms: The Best of Peter Beagle (Subterranean Press, collection)
Kevin Brockmeier, ed., Real Unreal: Best American Fantasy, Vol 3 (Underland Press, anthology)
Terry Dowling, Amberjack: Tales of Fear and Wonder (Subterranean Press, collection)
Karen Joy Fowler, What I Didn't See And Other Stories (Small Beer Press, collection)
Neil Gaiman & Al Sarrantonio, eds., Stories (Headline Review; William Morrow, anthology)
Nick Gevers, ed., The Book of Dreams (Subterranean Press, anthology)
Joe R. Lansdale, Flaming Zeppelins: The Adventures of Ned the Seal (Tachyon Publications, collection)
Fritz Leiber, Selected Stories (Night Shade Books, collection)
George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, eds., Songs of Love and death (Simon & Shuster / Gallery, anthology)
Kim Stanley Robinson, The Best Of Kim Stanley Robinson (Night Shade Books, collection)
Theodore Sturgeon, Case and the Dreamer: The Complete Sturgeon: V XIII (North Atlantic, collection)
Ann Vandermeer & Jeff Vandermeer, eds., Steampunk Reloaded (Tachyon Publications, anthology)
Walter John Williams, The Green Leopard Plague and Other Stories (Night Shade Books, collection)
Thomas Martin Wagner, Willie Siros, Lawrence Person, and Anne Sowards on the What You Should Have Read This Year panel.
Books recommended by more than one person
China Mieville "Kraken". Recommended by Martin Wagner and Willie Siros. Martin says it's the most accessible of China Mieville's books, pure pop-corn entertainment. The end of the world takes place in London, and there are squid worshippers. Mieville's earlier books, like "City in the City" (that was on last year's recommended list) is a literary novel, but "Kraken" has explosions. Willie Siros adds that "Kraken" is not as angry as Mieville's first novels. In this book he has settled down and matured.
Guy Gavriel Kay "Under Heaven". Recommended by Martin Wagner and Willie Siros.
Connie Willis "Blackout" and its sequel "All Clear" -- a time-travel story set during the blitz in London. Historicians travel to London during World War II to see how London coped with bombings, but then they get stuck in there, and also worry if they changed direction of history. Recommended by Martin Wagner and Willie Siros.
Gene Wolfe "The sorcerer's house" -- a Gene Wolfe Cthulhu mythos book. Recommended by Lawrence Person and Willie Siros.
Several panelists also discussed "Ariel" by Steve Boyett, a postapocalyptic fantasy, in which magic happens. Electricity stops working, and a dragon rises into the sky. "There is a unicorn in it, but it's gritty and edgy. It won't emasculate you if you read it," promised Lawrence. Last year, two decades since "Ariel", its sequel came out, titled "Elegy Beach". In it a boy uses magic in a programmatic way. "Also has totally bad-ass swordplay," Lawrence added.
Pictures from Armadillocon 2010 are in my photo gallery.