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Author of queer, wry sci fi/fantasy books. On Amazon.
Editor of all fiction genres.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Top 10 Indie Books of 2013

Hello, hello!

Well, it's finally time to pick my Top Ten list for last year's books. Noteable non-indie books were Zamyetin's We, John Varley's Blue Champagne, John Scalzi's Redshirts, and Harlan Ellison's I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream. (On an unrelated note, wow, I read a lot of sci fi this year. My only regret is not reading more.) I'm not what you'd call a proper book reviewer, but I do like sharing my opinion, and I always like to share the word about my favorite books from each year.

So, let's not beat around the bush. Here's a list of the best things I read in the last year. You can find my full reviews on Amazon, of course. In approximate order of awesomeness, behold! The best of 2013!

10. Divorce Hotel 

This was just fun. I had heard good things, but I didn't expect to be laughing as much as I did. It reminded me of Sideways in some ways; it's not quite as bitter, though. If you're looking for a light read that doesn't involve turning your brain off, this is the one.

9. Tea Party Teddy

This one was delectable. It's a biting satire with the sting of truth, and it's both tragic and satisfying. The ending was a bit less dramatic than I expected, but--on second thought, nah, it was pretty good. I don't want to say much, but I will mention that this isn't just a 'Democrat only' satire. One of the female characters' moral choices are particularly conflicted and compelling. Definitely worth a read.

8. Lame Excuses

This one was sitting on my Kindle for a good long time, and I went in blind. I suggest not reading the synopsis at all on this one, because it made for a very rewarding read. It was nice to see an issue that is never addressed actually given some airtime; most books in this genre--which again, I'm not going to spoil--focus on the shiny addictions. Also, this book will make you hungry, so there's that. I also like the moral conflict in the ending. It's realistic, and not in a forced way.

7. The Northman

Now we're getting into the good stuff. How about an eerie sci fi/fantasy/horror/time travel book that also stands on literary merit? Sounds good? Awesome. Oh, and the author understands how women's brains work. Extra points. Frankly, this one could easily have been number one on the list, and it would have been if there weren't so goddamn many good books in the upper half. Anyway, it's amazing, and I highly recommend this for anyone who...screw it, just anyone. It's magnificent.

6. Demon Divided

I'm not really a Paranormal Romance or Paranormal fiction fan. It is known. However, I love this series. This is actually the second book in it, and I can't praise it or the author, Sharon Stevenson, enough for crafting realistic teenagers. I'm still very impressed by the self-contained logic, the chip grease, the alcoholism, and the bad life decisions that aren't overly romanticized. This book will cure your Buffyitis or Supernaturalitosis with its wit and logic.

5. Nexus

Okay, I admit it; Nic Wilson is on here twice. That should tell you something about the scope of the guy's prose. It's deft, sharp, and self-aware. I can dig that. I can't wait for the next one in this series--it had a comfortable Star Trek vibe with a self-awareness and dirtiness that you'd never get from the series proper, and Wilson actually seems to know how technology works. Add in some of the best insults I've ever read, solid science, and really good characters, and you have a surefire winner.

4. Fairwell, Horizontal

Admittedly, choosing between this and Kim Oh 1: Real Dangerous Girl was hard. Really, you should read both. This one won out for inducing sheer, gibbering excitement. It was impressive, original, and the characters were surprisingly subtle. The thing I loved most was the setting, though; I feel the need to reread it, just to try to picture its awesomeness. This book deserves to be a graphic novel.

3. Whores

This was a really challenging read. It was funny, too, but the breadth and depth of the work, and the extent to which it is based on real events, can only be described as terrifying. I don't want to mention any spoilers, but I will say that a very conservative Christian friend of mine couldn't get through the first two pages. That probably speaks for itself. That said, it's well-written, on point, and made me extremely aware of some of the horrifying legislation currently in effect or on the books in the 'home of the free, land of the brave'. Ever notice nobody calls America that anymore? Moving on...

2 Ghost In The Machine 

This is another one of those 'candy that's good for your brain' books. I got hooked on this and immediately bought every other book in the series. I didn't expect to like romance--my personal antipathy for the genre has been noted on many occasions--but the wit, the neat setting, and the self-assured pace of the prose really made it work for me. I love the characters, I love the humour, and I'm pretty sure this series is just crack cocaine in book form. Oh, and did I mention you can leave your brain in the 'on' position while you read these?

1 Neon Lights

This won out because it was the biggest surprise of the year, which is saying something. A completely different genre that I'd never heard of (Street Lit)? Check. Brilliant satire? Check. Layered examination of social/emotional diaspora and the difficulty in conforming to internal expectations of a marginalized group? Check. And the thing is, not only was it beautifully and tightly written, it was moving. I had to put it on top of the list.

So there you have it! Now go give that credit card a workout.


Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr, and find her work on Amazon. Check back on the blog to see when one of the irregular posts has careened onto your feed. This is the one and only SciFiMagpie, over and out! 


  1. I'm sure every author here would throw a big hug your way for loving their clockwork dolls and soft automatons. Words are perfect in lieu of having a robot army! Here's to writers taking over and altering the world's story!

  2. I can has robot army?! Clockwork doll army?!



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