Tag Archives: year’s best

2013: A Year in Reading

A strange reading year for me – after reaching new heights of reading the previous year, getting the closest to my pre-motherhood numbers of books read than ever before, I put my feet up and took it all VERY casually this year. Not as much actual reading as I would like – as has been the case a lot lately, my reading desires have been rather stomped on by my love of listening to audio books and plays – but the books I have read have been decadently unstructured. Once I made my way through Parade’s End by Ford Maddox Ford and the entire Song of Ice and Fire thus far, I kind of felt like I didn’t owe the household library gods ANYTHING ELSE for the year.

It’s been mostly classic literature, re-reading and Doctor Who tie-ins. Which also, actually, means a much more gender-balanced year instead of my usual 80% female authors. I’ve read whatever the hell I felt like this year, and mostly it has not been science fiction and fantasy at all – or published this year.

I even stopped keeping track of titles read in my log. Sooooo slack.

Here’s an equally slack and slapdash rundown of it all:

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Sad but Shiny

So, things are not okay right now. It’s not something I’m going to be talking about in detail (please don’t ask), and this isn’t any kind of cry for help. The support networks are all in place, etc. I just kind of want to acknowledge here that everything sucks right now rather than putting up another peppy post that pretends otherwise. In the future, when everything is okay again, I want to be able to look back on my blog and see at least a hint of reality in between the weekly Doctor Who posts (be glad I’m a few weeks ahead on writing these) and the Friday links.

I also want to acknowledge it because – well, if you’re not an immediate member of my family, and you need or expect anything of me over the next couple of weeks, then chances are incredibly high that I’m going to let you down, cancel plans and commitments at the last minute, forget an important detail, leave emails unanswered, and generally drop the ball. All the balls. I hate being that person, but right now it’s a miracle that I’m (mostly) driving in straight lines, and not leaving essential personal possessions at every SINGLE place I visit in a given day.

If you do need something from me, or are waiting on something, then don’t be afraid to ask/remind me of it! At the very least I should be able to give you some sort of revised timetable on when it might be possible. Or that might be one of the emails I manage to not answer for several weeks. But it’s the thought that counts, right?


TheYearsBestAustralianFantasyAndHorror2012There have also been a couple of nice shiny announcements that have managed to gleam brightly enough through the clouds that I have noticed them. And, you know. If you don’t acknowledge the wins, what’s the point of anything?

My story “What Books Survive” from the Fablecroft anthology Epilogue has been picked up for the Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror, which is lovely. I won’t post the TOC here as it seems to have been published pretty much everywhere, but it really never gets old to be picked for something like this and I am very proud to share a table of contents with so many wonderful friends and colleagues in the Australian spec fic community.

I’m also quietly pleased to have someone notice “What Books Survive” as it was a ridiculously hard story to write and it joins several others I have been working on which will hopefully at some point be a collection of stories about books, predictive futures of publishing, and ruined childhoods in general. Narrelle Harris (@daggyvamp) read it recently and tweeted: “I just read What Books Survive by @tansyrr and it made me so sad.” Yep, bringing the joy, people, that’s what I do.

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2012: A Year in Reading

Trying something a bit different for my reading round up this year – I found this Annual End Of Year Book survey and decided to try out the questions for myself. Note I’ve already done a Pleasures of Reading etc. post over at Ambling Along the Aqueduct, and covered my experience with the AWW reading challenge. I talk about books a lot, all right?

At 175 titles, including graphic novels, audio books, ebooks etc, I’ve come the closest to my pre-motherhood reading levels than ever before! If nothing else, my ‘don’t buy without shifting books from To Read Shelf’ system seems to be guilting me into finding more reading time, which I am happy about.

Best In Books 2012

1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)

Best Fantasy Novel: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
Best Science Fiction Novel: Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold
Best Collection: Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan
Best Anthology: Under My Hat, edited by Jonathan Strahan
Best Young Adult Novel: Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein, only just edging out The Diviners by Libba Bray and Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan.
Best General Fiction: Last Chance Cafe by Liz Byrski
Best Comic: Hawkeye & Captain Marvel
Best Graphic Novels: Astonishing X-Men #1-5 by Joss Whedon & John Cassaday
Best Doctor Who Book: Chicks Unravel Time! Yes, I’m in it. I still love it BEST!

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Galactic Suburbia – quick picks from the best of 2011

If you’re just joining us, and want to try out Galactic Suburbia for the first time, here are the top episodes that we think represent the best of 2011.

Episode 32: 11 May 2011
In which we bid farewell to Joanna Russ, talk e-publishing (again) and Alisa reads a real live actual book. With bonus raving about Doctor Who and Alistair Reynolds – in other words, another episode of Galactic Suburbia.

Episode 36: Spoilerific Book Club: Joanna Russ Featuring: “How To Suppress Women’s Writing,” by Joanna Russ; “The Female Man,” by Joanna Russ and “When it Changed,” by Joanna Russ

Episode 47: 24 November 2011
In which we bid farewell to the queen of dragons, squee about 48 years of Doctor Who, dissect the negative associations with “girly” fandoms such as Twilight, and find some new favourites in our reading pile.

Or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can check out our entire 2011 catalogue of episodes! Thanks to our silent producer for gathering those links.

2011: Blog Highlights

My most popular blog posts of 2011:

Pratchett’s Women: The Boobs, The Bad and the Broomsticks
Tender Morsels: Not Bitchy Enough
Lunatic with Lethal Combat Skills [Xena Rewatch 3.1-3.4]

Blog series kicked off in 2011:

DC Reboot Reviews
Friday Links
Pratchett’s Women
Rock the Romanpunk & Matrons of Awesome
Slapdash Blog Tour of Doom
Watching New Who

My personal favourites:

Science Fiction on the Radio
Strong Books Make Strong Girls
Ask Not What Your Library Can Do For You…
Remembering the Brigadier
Old Age and Treachery
“She Vanquished Me,” – Doctor Who: Battlefield
On Awards, At Length
How My Six Year Old Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Doctor Who (thanks to the Ood Cast)
Time to Write
The Social Habits of Forsytes
My Daughter’s Doctors
What Rowling Got Right: Worldbuilding as Plot
This is What Feminist SF Looks Like: Big Finish and Gallifrey
The Story of Cesc
Writing Fantasy: Finding the Words
Slash! Stab! A Lesson in Practical Queening
Wonder Woman’s Daddy Issues
Pratchett’s Women III: Werewolf Glamour & the Sexing of Dwarves
Australian Award-winning Women in SF and Fantasy
Lego For Girls

Best Reading of the Year 2011 (so far)

This one’s for Jonathan, Gary & Mondy, who have been speculating a lot lately about what are the best books published in 2011 so far, that they should be paying attention to.

These are mine. It’s entirely personal, of course, and based what I’ve actually read (as opposed to the towering To Read pile that will one day cause me major injury) but given that I haven’t done nearly enough this year of reviewing the books I love, I think it’s worth doing.


Jo Walton
Among Others

A wonderful, wonderful book about the reading habits of young girls, with subtle magic and a fabulous theme of iconic SF books. At some point I hope I will write that essay I want to, about my lifelong relationship with Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin and how that book trained me to get the most out of this one despite the fact that I’ve never read Delaney, Zelazny or more than two novels by Heinlein.

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Best Australian Short Spec Fic 2010

We’ll be posting our Best Of The Year lists over at Last Short Story shortly – which means it’s time to put together my Australian list!

2010 was a great year for short fiction – a lot more fantasy and slipstream than SF, especially on Australian shores. Plenty of Aussie authors were getting published, both locally and overseas, and there were a few excellent single author collections from Kaaron Warren, Marianne De Pierres and two from Angela Slatter – though with the exception of Sourdough, they were mostly reprints. It’s certainly nice to see more Australian women having their work collected, something that has been a shameful omission in previous years.

My Absolute Favourite Spec Fic stories by Australian Authors in 2010 were:

Margo Lanagan, “The Miracle Aquilina,” Wings of Fire
Thoraiya Dyer, “Yowie,” Sprawl
Elizabeth Carroll, “The Duke of Vertumn’s Fingerling,” Strange Horizons

Also Highly Recommended:

Peter M Ball, Bleed, Twelfth Planet Press
Peter M Ball, “One Saturday Night, With Angel,” Sprawl
Thoraiya Dyer, “The Company Articles of Edward Teach,” The Company Articles of Edward Teach/The Angalien Apocalypse
Dirk Flinthart, “The Best Dog in the World,” Worlds Next Door
Margo Lanagan, “A Thousand Flowers,” Zombies vs. Unicorns
Garth Nix, “To Hold the Bridge,” Legends of Australian Fantasy
Angela Slatter, “Lost Things,” Sourdough and Other Stories
Angela Slatter, “Lavender & Lychgates,” Sourdough and Other Stories
Angela Slatter, “Under the Mountain,” Sourdough and Other Stories
Angela Slatter & LL Hannett, “The February Dragon,” Scary Kisses
Cat Sparks, “All the Love in the World,” Sprawl
Kim Wilkins, “Crown of Rowan,” Legends of Australian Fantasy

Honourable Mentions:

Peter M Ball, “L’esprit de L’escalier,” Apex
Peter M Ball, “The Clockwork Goat and the Smokestack Magi,” Shimmer
Deborah Biancotti, “Never Going Home,” Sprawl
Simon Brown, “Sweep,” Sprawl
Stephanie Burgis,** “Speaking English,” Belong
Stephanie Campisi, “How to Select a Durian at Footscray Market,” Sprawl
Marianne De Pierres, “Mama Ailon,” Glitter Rose
Paul Haines, “Her Gallant Needs,” Sprawl
Jennifer Moore,** “United,” Belong
Angela Slatter, “The Dead Ones Don’t Hurt You,” The Girl With No Hands
Angela Slatter, “Brisneyland By Night,” Sprawl
Angela Slatter, “The Shadow Tree,” Sourdough & Other Stories
Angela Slatter, “Dibblespin,” Sourdough & Other Stories
Angela Slatter, “The Story of Ink,” Sourdough & Other Stories
Angela Slatter, “The Bones Remember Everything,” Sourdough & Other Stories
Anna Tambour, “Dreadnought Neptune,” Asimov’s
Kaaron Warren, “Hive of Glass,” Baggage
Kaaron Warren, “Sins of the Ancestors,” Dead Sea Fruit
Scott Westerfeld, “Innoculata,” Zombies vs. Unicorns

** not actually Australian authors but published in an Australian anthology.