Welcome to Smugglivus 2012! Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2012, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2013.
Who: Susan Jane Bigelow, author of the post-apocalyptic superhero Extrahumans series. Given how much Ana loves the Extrahumans series, we’re thrilled to have Susan over for Smugglivus for the second year in a row!
Please give a warm round of applause to Susan, folks!
Hooray, it’s Smugglivus again! Huge thanks to Ana and Thea, who were kind enough to have me back this year.
I’ve had a busy year. Two books, a short story and loads of political columns came out, and I’ve been busy writing and editing lots more. If I hadn’t spent a few weeks this summer flat on my back I probably wouldn’t have been able to get much reading done at all. Here’s what I loved:
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
There’s not a lot about this book that I need to say, because everyone else has said it all already. It’s amazing. I cried a lot! I’m talking buckets, here, that’s how powerful and sad and hopeful and incredible this book is. I also saw all kinds of subtexts in it, so I really want to go back and read it again when I’m feeling particularly emotionally stable.
The Kingdom of Gods by N.K. Jemisin
I only discovered N.K. Jemisin this past year, but I’ve been rapidly catching up. I want to build worlds that are as evocative, tangible and unique as hers.
Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
I’m a big fan of Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Dykes to Watch Out For, so picking this graphic novel up was a no-brainer. This follow-up to the autobiographical Fun Home, which focuses on Bechdel’s complex relationship with her mother, isn’t as accessible or as straightforward as the earlier book, but perhaps is more rewarding in the end.
Erekos by A.M. Tuomala
This book by fellow Candlemark & Gleam author A.M. Tuomala took a while to hook me, but once it did I was well and truly caught. This is a very different fantasy, beautifully written and deep. This book deserves all the praise it’s received and more.
The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
The Rook caught me completely by surprise. The basic premise, that of a secret agent working for a paranormal agency in the heart of a major city, seems familiar, but Daniel O’Malley’s debut manages to be fresh, engaging, hilarious, and riveting. I devoured this book and can’t wait for more.
Redshirts by John Scalzi
This book was the most meta thing ever, and I loved it. Anyone who loves science fiction and Star Trek in particular will get a kick out of this story. I adored the various endings, as well, which grounded the book in a way I wasn’t expecting.
Bonus Guilty Pleasure: Dreadnought! – Diane Carey
I love Star Trek tie-ins. I own shelves of Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation books and comics, and every once in a while I like to crack them open and read them again. Dreadnought! is an action-packed space tale which makes up for deficiencies in plot and character by being really exciting and fun. I especially liked that this story doesn’t focus on Kirk and the main characters, but on unknown “lower decks” grunts. It’s great. I read this book not long before I read Redshirts, which was a fascinating thing to do.
2013: The Year in Susan
The Ghost of Susan Future has arrived to tell me that some of the cool stuff I want to talk about is embargoed, but I can tell you that my fourth book, The Daughter Star, will be out sometime in the spring of 2013! This is a new series set in an entirely new world, following the adventures of the three Grayline sisters as they grapple with their repressive homeland, a meddlesome alien species, endless conspiracies, interstellar war, and the future of the human race. I hope you’ll all check it out!
Thanks again to the Book Smugglers, on whom I rely to ferret out the best books, and to all of you for reading! Happy Smugglivus!
Thank you, Susan! (And now I totally need to track down a copy of Dreadnought! – love love love that cover.)