Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2014: Top SF Novels Of The Year

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This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2014, an event hosted by myself and Oh, the Books!. You can keep up to date by following @SciFiMonth on Twitter, or the official hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

Today I want to share with you my top SF novels of the year – by this I mean read this year, not necessarily published this year.

1. The Rise of Endymion (Hyperion Cantos #4) by Dan Simmons

The Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons

It took me a while, but I FINALLY finished The Hyperion Cantos! Dan Simmons’ epic series ends with The Rise of Endymion, and what a finish it was. The series is huge, complex and very much timey wimey but a DEFINITE recommendation to all science fiction fans out there.

2. Lexicon by Max Barry

Lexicon by Max Barry

Lexicon by Max Barry proved to be one of my surprise hits of the year. I was sent a copy of the book by Hodder & Stoughton, and I’d not actually heard of it beforehand. I’m so glad I made the time to read it before going off to university, because it’s so damn clever and unique and I cannot emphasise how much you should read this if you’re looking for something a little bit different in your sci-fi. You can also read my review of Lexicon.

3. Retribution Falls (Tales of the Ketty Jay #1) by Chris Wooding

Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding

Fan of Firefly? Distraught by the fact that it only got one season? (IT’S NOT FAIR OKAY THERE ARE SO MANY SHOWS THAT SHOULD BE CANCELLED BUT NO THEY CARRY ON) Then give Retribution Falls a try, I can guarantee it has everything you miss from Mal and co.

4. Insignia (Insignia #1) by S.J. Kincaid

Insignia by S.J. Kincaid

Insignia reminded me of a mix of Ender’s Game and Ready Player One, for young teens. Considering that these are two books I love, of course I was going to fall in love with this one! I really need to get my hands on the rest of the series. Any book involving gaming and online communities is pretty much going to grab my attention.

5. & 6. Behemoth & Goliath (Leviathan #2 & #3) by Scott Westerfeld

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld Goliath by Scott Westerfeld

Behemoth and Goliath, wow WOW. Actually, the whole series, but I read the first book last year. One of my absolute favourite young adult series, this steampunk retelling of the First World War is just SENSATIONAL. Perfect story, amazing steampunk inventions, wonderful characters – plus it’s beautifully illustrated. Yes, yes and yes. You can also read my review of Behemoth.

7. Leviathan Wakes (Expanse #1) by James S.A. Corey

Leviathan Wakes (Expanse #1) by James S.A. Corey

Leviathan Wakes is the first book in a new ‘epic’ sci-fi series that shows a LOT of potential. I’m so glad this one was chosen by my book group because it meant I got round to it sooner. I recommended it to my dad, who is a big sci-fi fan, and he took it on holiday with him earlier this year. He texted me whilst he was away to ask if I had the second book – definitely a hit with him too! You can also read my review of Leviathan Wakes.

8. Lockstep by Karl Schroeder

Lockstep by Karl Schroeder

Lockstep was a wonderful Netgalley find, and is one of the few standalone books on this list. For a relatively short science fiction novel (350 pages or so) it packs a lot in, and it felt huge. Definitely worth a look if you don’t want to delve into another new series at the moment and don’t know where to start!

What are your top science fiction reads of the year? Have you read any of the books on my list? What did you think?

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Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: July 2014

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Every first Wednesday of the month, I’ll be posting a roundup of the month just gone, and writing about what’s to come in the next few weeks.

July 2014

Last month I read a total of twelve books: Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen, Ironskin (Ironskin #1) by Tina Connolly, New X-Men: Childhood’s End by Craig Kyle, Uncanny X-Men Vol 5: She Lies With Angels by Chuck Austen, Earth Girl (Earth Girl #1) by Janet Edwards, Camelot Burning (Metal & Lace #1) by Kathryn Rose, Ultimate X-Men Vol 14: Phoenix? by Robert Kirkman, Uncanny X-Men: Wolverine, Wanted Dead or Alive by Chris Claremont, Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman, Smiler’s Fair (The Hollow Gods #1) by Rebecca Levene, The Rise of Endymion (Hyperion Cantos #4) by Dan Simmons and Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins..

I carried on reading more Marvel comics, although this will probably be the last month I’m able to for a while. Alias Hook was a great start to the month – a five star book as my first read of July! I also absolutely loved Marvel 1602, I mean you can’t really go wrong with Marvel and Neil Gaiman, right? Towards the end of the month I read Smiler’s Fair by Rebecca Levene, which was kindly sent to me by Hodderscape. It’s a new epic fantasy series and WOW. Not only is the writing fantastic, but it also has a truly gorgeous cover. I also managed to fit in a re-read of Mockingjay, which I desperately wanted to do after seeing the new trailer for the film.

 

Challenge progress:

  • I read six books towards the Avengers vs. X-Men Challenge. I managed to recruit Cyclops and Nightcrawler, as well as successfully defeat Dr. Doom, securing extra points for my team. August’s villain is the hungriest creature in the world, Galactus!
  • I have currently read ninety-seven books towards my Goodreads goal. I may increase it to 125 for the whole year.

 

Currently reading:

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy

Off the blog:

I went to London Film and Comic Con/Young Adult Literature Convention on 12th July, but more on that later! I also spent three days in London with my mum and sister, which was lovely. We visited the Natural History Museum, Borough Market, London Zoo, saw lots of the sights such as Westminster, Big Ben, the Globe Theatre – and we saw Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at the Savoy. IT WAS SO GOOD. SOOOO GOOD. My whole family absolutely love the film (can’t remember how many times I’ve watched it), and it worked so well as a musical. One word of advice – don’t buy drinks in the Savoy Theatre. £22 for three drinks? Nah.

I also saw Guardians of the Galaxy, which I’ve been wanting to watch since January or so – and IT WAS SO WORTH THE WAIT. Funniest Marvel film yet, so crazy and fun but still full of wonderfully built characters and emotions! Go watch it now.

They were also giving out postcards for Beaumont-sur-Mer with this view on it!
They were also giving out postcards for Beaumont-sur-Mer with this view on it!

How was July for you?

 

Top Lists

Top Ten Tuesday #3: Books I’d Like To See As A Movie Or TV Show

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I’m joining in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and this week’s theme is:

Top Ten Books I’d Like To See As A Movie Or TV Show

I first read this series when I was about ten or eleven, not too long after it had first been released in the UK, and absolutely fell in love with it. I was lucky enough to interview Marianne Curley a couple of months ago, and The Named was also my first ‘Five Reasons Why You Should Read This Book’ feature. As it’s set in Australia, there would be some beautiful scenery – not to mention all the time travel scenes. I even have an idea for cast members – I could see Douglas Booth as Arkarian because of his chiseled features, and Robert Sheehan as Ethan.

One word: epic. This space opera series is just absolutely fantastic and would make SUCH a brilliant series of films. With a great variety of characters, there are plenty of actors and actresses who would fit in so well. Plus seeing the Shrike on the big screen would be amazing. There’s just the right mix of action and character development to make this a silver screen hit, in my opinion. Apparently Warner Bros. have had the rights to make a film for several years, and Matt Damon has expressed interest in working on the script, but they have yet to make any progress on it. It would certainly be an expensive project so I guess that’s the main issue at the moment. I also featured Hyperion as my second ‘Five Reasons Why You Should Read This Book’.

Oh, this would be a tough one. With the fanbase it has, the film version would need to be perfect and match Rothfuss’ writing precisely. It could be an absolutely stunning film, a sort of Harry Potter for the older generation (popularity, not strictly content wise). My book group actually discussed a fantasy casting for a film of this, and came up with some pretty interesting ideas. I haven’t yet read The Wise Man’s Fear, but several friends have said they did not enjoy it as much as the first book – I’ll have to wait and see.


This series. Read it now. Another one that I’ve featured in ‘Five Reasons Why You Should Read This Book’ – it would make a brilliant fantasy epic. Although I wasn’t as impressed with The Daylight War as I have been with the other two (I plan on putting a review up soon), I still love Brett’s writing. He’s pretty awesome and interacts with his fans a lot, including hosting fanart contests. I’d love to see how the different types of demons appear on the big screen, and the fight scenes would just be fantastic.

This would make such a fun movie, although it could be potentially problematic what with all the pop culture references. I also wonder how the OASIS would appear. Would they just film it normally so it looks real? Or would there be a subtle hint of illusion hidden beneath everything? I could also imagine the stark differences between reality and the game, and how well that would work on film.

As with the Guardians of Time trilogy, this is another series I fell in love with when I was younger, and another of my favourite childhood authors that I recently interviewed! It would make a lovely film series for the middle grade audience, and would definitely be something different to the usual fantasy series. The only problem with making a film like this would be finding the right cast – for example, in my opinion the first few Harry Potter films suffered because of the acting skills of the cast when they were younger.

I’m so amazed that this hasn’t been adapted yet. It’s been out for over fifteen years, has a massive fanbase and it just so, so brilliant. Perhaps when it was published the techniques hadn’t yet been developed to allow the film to be created to its full potential, but now they definitely have. The last news of a film based on the series was in 2008 – someone in the film industry is missing out on something big!

Yeah so I haven’t even read the second or third books. I’m STILL waiting for Fire to arrive at my local library (it’s been in transit for nearly three weeks?!), but I know that Graceling would make a fantastic film. I discussed in my review of Graceling that I somehow pictured Po as Fenris from Dragon Age II… so if he doesn’t look like that in the film I will be very confused, even though his description is completely different. Oh, and this one actually is heading to the big screen, it’s just not clear when.

My first non-fantasy or science fiction suggestion! I really loved this book and think it would make a beautiful film, as it’s set in Cambridge, as well as an excellent thriller. The casting for this one would have to be very well done though, as the portrayal of each character is very important.

And my last choice… some historical/mythology-based fiction. I love Greek mythology, particularly the stories surrounding Troy, so I would definitely watch a film of this. I also think that it would be wonderful to see Miller’s take of the story on screen as it covers a homosexual relationship, a part of the story that many screen versions of Achilles leave out. Of course, it’s not completely certain what the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus really was (if the two ever actually existed), but it’s nice to see it addressed this way for once. Plus the story is beautifully written and highly emotional.

Challenges

Challenge: 2013 TBR Pile Challenge


I am continuing this challenge throughout 2014, as I hope to have read all 30 books by the end of the year.

I have decided to join the 2013 TBR Pile Reading Challenge, which runs from 1st January – 31st December 2013. You can read the rules and join the challenge here. There is also a handy Goodreads group for the challenge, which will track your challenge books for you, as long as you shelf them correctly.

I have almost 300 books on my TBR list, and some have been sitting there for years. One of the rules of this challenge is no books published after 2013, and no ARCs – which rules out a lot of my review books. This means I can read the books I want to, and have been meaning to read for some time – which means they’ll most likely be ones that I already own. I have set a goal of 15 books (considering that I also have to read review copies), any from this list:

1. The Odyssey by Homer
2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (read 2014)
3. Endymion by Dan Simmons
4. The Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons (read 2014)
5. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
6. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
7. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
8. Redhead by Ian Cook
9. Tristan and Iseult by Rosemary Sutcliff
10. The Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martinez
11. The Ice Storm by Rick Moody
12. The Twelve by Justin Cronin
13. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
14. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
15. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
16. The Magicians by Lev Grossman
17. Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs
18. The Sun in my Eyes: Two-Wheeling East by Josie Dew
19. The Weeping Empress by Sadie S. Forsyth
20. A Walk in the Wood: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trial by Bill Bryson
21. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
22. Dear Fatty by Dawn French
23. Gone by Michael Grant
24. Virals by Kathy Reichs
25. Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds
26. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (read 2014)
27. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (read 2014)
28. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
29. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
30. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Keep track of my progress or take a look at my tbr-pile-challenge shelf!

 Just under half of my list…