Ten books read in December brings the total for 2014 up to eightyeight in total, six up from 2013. I’d hoped to have more of an end spurt, but a short illness put paid to that. 2014 has been the most unbalanced reading year since I started keeping count in 2001: seventyfour fiction books, of which fortysix science fiction and twentysix fantasy, against only fourteen non-fiction.
There are a couple of reasons for this of course. Because I went to Worldcon this year I got to read the Hugo Voters Package, meaning July and August were spent reading through that, while I also got interested in Dutch language science fiction again, reading a lot more Dutch sf than I had in a long time. Nevertheless I want to read more non-fiction this year.
Genderwise I’m still trying to fix the balance in my reading, having calculated back in 2010 that less than ten percent of the books I read had been written by women. So of the fortysix science fiction books, thirtyone were by female writers as were eighteen of the twentysix fantasy books. Since the only crime novels I read were by Nicola Griffith, the total for my fiction reading was fiftyone books by female versus twentythree books by male writers. Non-fiction on the other hand was male dominated: four women versus ten men. Something to pay attention to this year.
Though to be honest I’m less bothered by this, then I am with keeping my science fiction and fantasy more balanced and diverse; those are the genres I like the best and read the most of. What I like to do in 2015 is to keep reading more books by women, but also start reading more stories by authors from outside the UK or US. There’s a wide world of fantasy and science fiction outside these two countries and I want to know more about it.
In any case the last books I read in 2014 were the following:
The Violent Century — Lavie Tidhard
What if, only a few years before WWII, one particular quantum physics experiment creates a probability wave that gives some people superpowers?
The Dark Colony — Richard Penn
A self published, hard science fiction police procedural set on an asteroid belt colony.
De Scrypturist — Paul Evanby
A great steampunkesque Dutch fantasy story by what I suspect is one of Holland’s best sf&f writers.
The Nemesis from Terra — Leigh Brackett
Another of Brackett’s tightly plotted Mars adventures.
Meeting the Sculptur — Floris M. Kleijne
A clever little time travel story.
The Martian — Andy Weir
One of the sleeper hits of the year, this hard science fiction novel of an astronaut stranded on Mars and how he’s saved through ingenuity, can do spirit and NASA led teamwork.
Falling Free — Lois McMaster Bujold
The last novel in Bujold’s Vorkosigan saga I hadn’t read yet, set 200 years before the main series and showing how the Quaddies got their freedom in a sort of eighties update of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
The Story of the Stone — Barry Hughart
The second in Hughart’s series of fantasies set in mystical China and the only one I hadn’t read yet.
High Wizardry — Diane Duane
The third in the Young Wizards series: great YA fantasy adventure.
Monument — Lloyd Biggle Jr
A classic anti-colonialist science fiction story.