As we do every year at SFFWorld, Mark and I took a look back at what we read and reviewed at SFFWorld. This year, we pulled in KatG, who serves as one of the moderators, and Nila (N.E.) White (aka tmso) who moderates, writes reviews for us and makes sure the folks in the writing forum play nice with each other.
April saw a slew of Fantasy novels reviewed. Rob reviewed The Hammer and the Blade by Paul S. Kemp, his first non-shared world/media tie-in which is a great example of modern Sword and Sorcery, as well as Elizabeth Bear’s ‘first true venture into Epic Fantasy’, Range of Ghosts. Mark read Alchemist of Souls by Anne Lyle and Fire by Kristin Cashore, occasional reviewer Kathryn read Forged in Fire by J.A. Pitts and Nila reviewed the third Mike Shevdon novel, Strangeness and Charm. Rob’s favorite in April was his much anticipated Caine's Law by Matthew Woodring Stover
For the start of June SFFWorld went old-school, with the review of a game-book, Destiny Quest: The Legion of Shadow by Michael J. Ward. Mark found it quite fun. He also reviewed the UK re-release of George R.R. Martin’s Armageddon Rag, expanding on a short review he wrote for The Fortean Times. Rob enjoyed the fast-paced mayhem of Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia, and the Young Adult tale Thief's Covenant by Ari Marmell, but his favourite of the month (and of the year) was The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett, a Bradbury-esque tale of strange goings-on in a circus troupe.
January started strongly for Space Opera, with Alastair Reynolds’ Blue Remembered Earth which Mark reviewed. Rob reviewed The Recollection by Gareth L. Powell. We also reviewed something we should do more of at SFFWorld, an audio drama, when occasional reviewer Kathryn Ryan reviewed a Ciaphas Cain story Dead in the Water by Sandy Mitchell. Mark reviewed a superhero reimagining with Empire State by Adam Christopher and an old-fashioned duo of future-colony tales, Tau Ceti by Kevin Anderson and Steven Savile. Elsewhere, Paul Mc Auley’s In the Mouth of the Whale was another Space Opera liked by readers, as too Chris Beckett’s alien planet tale Dark Eden, though Mark was not as impressed. Lavie Tidhar’s Osama was published this month, with an audacious meta-fiction premise and was generally well liked, winning the World Fantasy Award for 2012 later in the year.
..Just as impressive in June was David Brin’s Existence, which Rob loved for its big, bold ideas and complex plot, saying ‘Brin achieved an excellent gestalt of character, big ideas, and narrative energy.’ We also had the US release of John Scalzi’s Redshirts, a book Rob recommended because it ‘succeeded in making me laugh a great deal and had the all-important powerful pull to keep reading to find out what happens next.’ Mark also reviewed the book on its UK release in December.