Top Ten Tuesday: autumn TBR

Text only: top ten TUESDAY

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It’s all about books, lists and sharing the love we have of both with our bookish friends. This week, it’s time to take a look at what we’ll be reading this autumn.

I had a warm fuzzy surprise prepping this post: I’ve actually read everything on my spring TBR this year (summer TBR? oh shhh you). Sure it was dominated by Subjective Chaos nominees and ARCs I was particularly excited about – and it took me until end of summer to do so – but still. It doesn’t happen very often; there’s always something that falls off the scope. So I’m going to take a moment and do a little dance before I point my crystal ball at my autumn line-up.

There will be three big influences on what I pick up between now and Christmas: our Subjective Chaos finalists; my determination to continue denting my ARC pile; and SciFiMonth (SF is well-represented in the first two categories, but of course I have MORE planned).

On the ARC front, I’ve got a wonderful mash-up of small presses, blockbuster pitches, debuts and an intriguing translation lined up.

I’m usually shy of anything purporting to be literary SF, but The Cabinet by Un Su Kim (translated by Sean Lin Halbert) sounds offbeat and delightful: a mosaic novel exploring the files of symptomers – humans exhibiting weird new abilities from the point of the view of the mundane office worker who takes their calls.

Unexpected developments are central to Cadwell Turnbull’s second novel No Gods, No Monsters too. As things that once went bump in the night step into the spotlight in search of safety, the world has some adjusting to do. While humanity responds in the many messy ways you would expect, the real question is what scares the monsters that have haunted our myths forever? This sounds like a delicious mash-up of ideas that – after some reshuffling of my reading list – I plan to make a Spooktastic Read.

Cantankerously competent oldsters is where I’m at in 2021 space opera: Assassin’s Orbit by John Appel delivers older women investigating murders on a space station, while Cat Rambo’s You Sexy Thing has a military unit kidnapped from retirement by a sentient spaceship.

This Is Our Undoing is Lorraine Wilson’s dystopian debut; I’ve already read a chunk, but have had to put it aside until my eyes/brain will let me read on my iPad. I really want to get back to it – I was loving Wilson’s prose and the gradual dialling up of paranoia as she exposes secrets and conflicts.

Jamie Mollart’s Kings of a Dead World is another dystopian debut, but offers a very different take on how we’ll cope with the pressures of climate change. Here, humanity has been forced to hibernate to ration dwindling resources – but perhaps not for much longer. This hints at themes of revolution but – perhaps more interesting to me – of human connection as two characters grapple with their isolation.

I’m still trying to decide how many Subjective Chaos finalists to read; and how many of those ARCs I actually read will likely depend no the outcome of this decision. I haven’t read either of our fantasy finalists (although I would very much like to), but I have just one book to read in each of three other categories – SF, Blurred Boundaries and Series – to complete them, so these will likely come first.

Charles Yu’s Interior Chinatown sounds like it’s doing many things at once – dry humour, fictional biography, (pop) cultural evisceration – whilst tackling themes of heritage, assimilation, stereotyping and appropriation in a tale of a Chinese-American actor who accidentally manages to move beyond playing bit parts in a cop show. The genre elements are where I’m blurriest – but this is Blurred Boundaries, so that’s part of the charm.

The Space Between Worlds is Micaiah Johnson’s debut, a dimension-hopping multiverse thriller. I love the premise that there’s only space for one version of you in each world – so travelling between realities is limited to those worlds where you didn’t survive. Let’s face it, that leaves a lot of room for shenanigans. Guess what this book features in spades…

First up – if last mentioned – is The Burning God, the finale to RF Kuang’s devastating reimagining of the rise of communism in 20th century China. I’ve already extended my library loan twice, so this needs too be my next read!

I’ve got one spot left in my top ten. For my last pick, I’m throwing maths to the wind and just saying novellas. All the novellas. I have been loving the quality and variety of shorter works these past few years, and I’ve got quite the stack laid by to dive into this autumn.

If you love an SFnal novella, are planning to join us for SciFiMonth and fancy reading one or more titles with a buddy or two, drop me a comment with a suggestion of what you’d like to read. I’d love to set up some group discussions through November for us all to compare notes (and I’m happy to take suggestions beyond the six I’ve featured here)!

What I’ll actually read? Anybody’s guess. My brain has been in full melt mode the past weeks, and reading new things has been really hard, so there’s a chance I’ll stop fighting it and just engage in rereads (oh hai, I started audiobooking The Expanse) and sequels. We’ll see.

What will you be reading?