Last week, I took a look at backlist SF authors I’m yet to read, focusing on women published before 2000. Today, I’m looking at authors that I’m dying to read publishing SF in the last few years.
The joy of the modern is that this list is more diverse than last week’s without me even trying. I’m still shying away from male authors (although tell you what, I’ll do a bloke-focused list for International Men’s Day next year), but even with an exclusion the size of half the planet trying to keep this to a top ten is an enormous challenge. So – assuming the actual list is many times the size, which female or nonbinary authors do I want to start with?
The Bel Dame Apocrypha trilogy. The Stars Are Legion. The Light Brigade. I’ve been hearing about Hurley’s remarkable output for several years, and it’s past time I got to grips with her violent, feminist, pitch black work.
Malka Older burst onto my radar with Infomocracy, a cyberpunk political thriller about micro-democracy and engineering elections. It was immediately relevant and then fell into my bucket of too on-the-nose to read, so I’ve been putting it off – but I need to get over that and get on.
I ignored Linda Nagata for years because I had her tagged as milSF, which is very much Not My Thing. But I’ve seen enough reviews by people I trust to think she’ll actually be right up my street – and I’m open to recommendations on where to start.
R E Stearns
Oh look, this one is easy: space pirates. O HAI, THIS IS RELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS.
I’ve read Emma Newman’s faerie urban portal fantasy, but I’m long overdue venturing into her Planetfall SF universe. I love that the Planetfall books are connected but stand-alone and I hear all manner of good reviews for their thoughtfulness. I’ve been itching to dive in since seeing her do a reading (she’s an awesome voice artist, who also reads other peoples’ work).
Jacqueline Koyanagi’s science fiction features queer women of colour, disabled characters, and neuroatypical characters – but frankly just the amazing cover art of her Sidewise-honoured debut Ascension me at hello. I want to meet this woman.
Shawl is best known for her non-fiction, educational work and short stories, but her debut novel Everfair was released in 2017. A steampunk alternative history of the Belgian Congo? I don’t usually jump at steampunk, but Nisi Shawl has me intrigued.
I didn’t judge the SF category in the first year of the Subjective Chaos Kind of Awards because I ran out of reading time. I’ve had An Unkindness of Ghosts – with its arresting cover art – sat on my shelf ever since. Racism, class and gender come under the spotlight in a remarkable tale set aboard a generation ship. Yep, my jam.
A hopeful apocalypse with a neuroatypical heroine and a generation ship? I’ve had On The Edge Of Gone on my must-read list for far too long, but hearing Duyvis talk at Worldcon reminded me that I really cemented my interest in reading her work.
Kate Elliott will be returning to science fiction next year with Unconquerable Sun (and how how HOW did I not know that Kate Elliott is Alis Rasmussen, who very nearly made my list last week too? That’s entirely on me. Tut). For some reason I’ve never quite picked up her fantasy novels – but I can’t wait for her gender-bent space opera.
Think I’m missing a trick? Tell me who else I should be prioritising…