Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2009?

The overlap between my readership and SF fandom is not as high as one might like, but I thought I would throw this out there anyway:

What were the best science fiction and/or fantasy stories of 2009?

(“Stories” here can mean anything from short stories to novels to feature films. We’re all about inclusiveness, here at Chateau Steelypips…)

My interest in this is not purely academic, as I am eligible to nominate works for the Hugos (as a member of this past Worldcon), and I intend to purchase a supporting membership for next year’s Worldcon, allowing me to vote for the 2010 Hugos. I don’t feel like I have a very good sense of the best 2009 has to offer, though, because most of my fiction reading recently has been done while rocking SteelyKid to sleep at night. This tends to limit my reading to the lighter/ trashier end of the genre.

(The award-caliber stuff I did read this year was mostly published last year, because I was voting for the 2009 Hugos…)

This should also serve as a gentle reminder to those who are prone to ranting about the make-up of award ballots in the genre that it is possible to do something constructive about this. At a minimum, you can suggest things to me that I can then nominate (assuming I like them, of course). Or, for $50 US, you can buy a supporting membership for AussieCon, and get full voting privileges for yourself. It does not take all that many nominations to get on the ballot, especially in the short fiction categories, so a few people can make a big difference.

If you act now, you can save both of us a lot of irritation– you, by ensuring a slate of nominees more to your liking, and me, by reducing the number of complaining rants I have to read when the final ballot comes out.

4 thoughts on “Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2009?

  1. District 9 was the best hard science fiction movie in years.
    I was also a big fan of Anathem (Neal Stephenson), but that came out last year, if only the end of it..

  2. For my money, the top genre novels published in 2009:

    -The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. Engaging near-future scifi, political intrigue, environmentalism, non-Western country. Thoughtful and morally complex presentation of all these elements, excels in both plot and characterization.

    -The City & the City by China Mieville. Fantasy. Mindblowing concepts applied with energy, as good as Mieville’s norm, which is in a different tier of excellence than most authors can manage.

    -Ark by Stephen Baxter. Interesting, engaging, benefits from having read the preceding volume Flood, but isn’t absolutely necessary.

    -Regenesis by C. J. Cherryh. Sequel after two decades of Cyteen. Complex worldbuilding and high with the moral ambiguity. Drags a bit in characterization and the plot is very slow for the first third, but after that it takes off.

    -Julian Comstock by Robert Charles Wilson. A bit traditional in style, but very good in terms of nuts and bolts of style and characterization. Not Wilson’s most exciting volume, but a neat addition.

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