Episode 315: Liz Bourke, Niall Harrison and Debut Novels of 2017

This week, we are joined by distinguished critics Niall Harrison, late of Strange Horizons, and Liz Bourke, whose latest collection of reviews and essays is Sleeping With Monsters: Readings and Reactions in Science Fiction and Fantasy (Aqueduct), to discuss the debut novels of 2017 that we’re all excited or curious about. Here are some of the titles that come up in the discussion:

  • Annalee Newitz, Autonomous
  • Theodora Goss, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter
  • Karin Tidbeck, Amatka
  • Robyn Bennis, The Guns Above
  • Lara Elena Donnelly, Amberlough
  • Ruthanna Emrys, Winter Tide
  • Cat Sparks, Lotus Blue
  • Nicky Drayden, The Prey of Gods
  • Marek Sindelka, Aberrant
  • Prayaag Akbar, Leila
  • Rivers Solomon, An Unkindness of Ghosts
  • Megan Hunter, The End We Start From
  • Mohsin Hamid, Exit West
  • Christopher Brown, Tropic of Kansas
  • Sam Miller, The Art of Starving
  • N.J. Campbell, Found Audio

There’s a long list of debuts with links to reviews and ordering here.

Here are specific recommendations and shout-outs from Liz and Niall:

Liz Bourke

  • The Guns Above, Robyn Bennis (Tor)
  • Amberlough, Lara Elena Donnelly (Tor)
  • The Prey of Gods, Nicky Drayden (HarperVoyager)
  • Winter Tide, Ruthanna Emrys (Tor.com)
  • The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Theodora Goss (Saga)
  • Lotus Blue, Cat Sparks (Talos)
  • Strange Practice, Vivian Shaw (Orbit US)
  • Gods & Monsters: Food of the Gods, Cassandra Khaw (Rebellion/Abaddon US)
  • The Tiger’s Daughter, K Arsenault Rivera (Tor)
  • Barbary Station, R. E. Stearns (Saga)
  • Autonomous, Annalee Newitz (Tor)

Niall Harrison

Books that I have read and recommend:

  • Leila by Prayaag Akbar (Simon & Schuster India)
  • Spaceman of Bohemia, Jaroslav Kalfar (Sceptre)
  • Aberrant, Marek Šindelka (Twisted Spoon Press)
  • Amatka, Karin Tidbeck (Vintage)

Books that I am particularly keen to read that other people did not
mention (i.e. excluding Goss, Newitz, Brown):

  • An Unkindness of Ghosts, Rivers Solomon (Akashic Books)
  • American War, Omar Al Akkad (Picador)
  • An Excess Male,  Maggie Shen King (Harper Voyager)

A first fantastic novel rather than first novel, but excellent:

  • Exit West, Mohsin Hamid (Penguin)

Not a novel at all, but a notable debut:

  • Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado (Graywolf Press)

As always, our thanks to Liz and Niall.

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