I enjoyed Jasper Fforde’s several Thursday Next novels, and recently picked up a non-Next book, Shades of Grey (no, not the numbered Shades of Grey book). Published in 2009, this is a book that should have merited Prometheus Award consideration. Though Fforde’s novels exist somewhat beyond the traditional genre borders of science fiction, Shades of Grey fully embraces the “What If” nature that forms the core of SF writing. It also falls into the dystopian genre, albeit with some ambivalence.
I find that I’m often playing catch-up with books. Like Shades of Grey, I read some good books, check the publication date, and see they were published well outside the nomination deadline. Fforde’s novel (and the one with the similar name), didn’t leap into the public eye as much as the Hunger Games series. I’ve read the first one and about the other two, and they all seems to fit right into the reason our award for best novel exists: well-written and tackling issues of individual liberty.
As a reminder, any member of the LFS can nominate books for the Prometheus and Hall of Fame Awards—don’t hesitate to mention good books to the respective chairs (see left side bar for email addresses). As for 2012 books, Darkship Renegades, the sequel to Sarah Hoyt’s Prometheus Award winning Darkship Thieves, is a book that should be on everyone’s radar. It’s dangerous to speak of books based solely on cover-blurbs, but Brenda Cooper’s The Creative Fire appears intriguing.
Not every book we read falls into the Prometheus Award category, though that doesn’t make some of them less enjoyable. Ian McDonald’s Everness series comprise excellent young adult SF, starting with Planesrunner and the sequel Be My Enemy; at least one more will follow in this series. These are books clearly connected and part of a longer series, which can be both frustrating and exciting. SF spawns trilogies and longer series like no other genre. In McDonald’s two books I feel that I know the characters, care about some of them, and look ahead to the outcome.
I cannot say the same about every series. Investing time and money in multi-book series is like investing in the stock market I suppose. Sometimes even as the stock plumets you feel the need to see it through, hoping events will turn. I’m 5/6th through one such series at the moment, wondering whether to adandon ship or just finish that last book.
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