I didn’t read as many books as I’d like this year for a variety of reasons (work, study, illness you name it). I was a lot more picky about the books I read this year. I only read things I knew I had a pretty good chance of liking. Very little in the way of risks. The usual end of year lists of favourites is not going to happen for me so instead……
This year I am going to do something different. I am going to talk about women. I’m not going to pretend an understanding of gender politics but the reason I am writing this post is that I feel that there are a lot of women not receiving the attention they deserve in the literary world (or the world in general but that is another battle). To show how little I understand gender politics I’m going to start by mentioning Paul Cornell. It is very easy for somebody like me to say that women should be taken more seriously as it costs me nothing. Mr Cornell on the other hand turned down appearances on panels unless there was an even gender balance. Putting your primary earning potential at risk takes a big person. That it is a man doing this is very impressive.
Before you read the rest of this post please bear in mind that this is a small selection of the talented females involved in genre fiction and that you shouldn’t take my word for it. Go out and do some research yourself. Find some lesser known female writers that deserve to be more widely known and after enjoying their work make sure you tell people.
The first woman I’m going to mention is Aliette de Bodard. I am a huge fan of her Obsidian and Blood Aztec crime noir series but it is her short story The Shipmaker that has me itching to read a sci-fi novel by her. To be honest she’d probably make a shopping list sound interesting and I keep checking her website for news of new novels. If you have not read the Obsidian and Blood series I can highly recommend it. The Mexica empire sounds so rich and vivid in these stories and combined with some exciting characters and plots they are a great read.
Next up is Adele Wearing. I met her at an event and she is as lovely as she seems online. When I heard Adele had her own publisher called Fox Spirit and was looking for reviewers for her anthology The Nun & Dragon I was at the front of the queue with my hand up saying me please miss. One of the big reasons for me wanting to read this book was that the first story was by Sarah Cawkwell. She’s best known for her Black Library works and her Valkia the Bloody Warhammer novel is the first one to get me excited about Warhammer since William King. I’m a 40k fan and tend not to enjoy the fantasy setting but Valkia was an incredible read and I don’t quite understand why everybody else doesn’t seem to feel the same way. If you are a Black Library fan then you should really look up her work. The final story story in this anthology brings me nicely on to the next author I want to talk about.
Karen Davies is one of those people that I followed on Twitter before reading her fiction. Always entertaining and with something interesting to say it was likely I’d enjoy her fiction. The Red Knight is an epic fantasy released by Anachron Press (I’ll get back to them in a moment). Female leads in epic fantasy in my experience can come across too whiny and too absorbed with themselves (lots of the male ones too) but there is none of that here. There is no veneer of strength to cover a sensitive soul, this lead is my kind of woman. Honesty, integrity and absolutely no tolerance for crap. The story telling is fantastic and I can’t wait to read the second novel. I said I’d get back to Anachron Press. With their anthologies there seems to be a lot more female authors than I’d expect in collections of horror stories. The City of Hell Chronicles in particular is just superb and well worth a read.
In a complete change of pace I read a piece of Erotica by Tara Olsen called Harvest Moon. Freya Press is billed as being erotica for women and by women but that didn’t stop me enjoying it. I blushed a couple of times whilst reading this.
I could mention many more really talented ladies but this is already twice the length of my usual blog posts. Before I finish though I want to mention The Lost Children: A Charity Anthology. Not just because it has some fantastic stories by some amazing female authors, but for what it represents. If you haven’t read it then I suggest you do so. Not only are there some scarily hard hitting stories about children in jeopardy but more importantly monies from the sale of this book help not only the victims of abuse but also help raise awareness to try and prevent abuse.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and any of my reviews this year. I hope that next year brings you all joy and success.