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2001 SFFH Novels
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2001 Novels

What to read next? This page compiles new novels that have received especially positive reviews -- in Locus or elsewhere -- and will be amended throughout the year.
Quoted Locus reviewers are: GKW: Gary K. Wolfe; FM: Faren Miller; JS: Jonathan Strahan; EB: Ed Bryant; CC: Carolyn Cushman; RL: Russell Letson

Science Fiction Novels

  • Stephen Baxter, Manifold: Space (Del Rey, Feb [1st US edition])
    Second volume of hard SF epic about aliens, stargates, and the fate of the universe
    GKW, Locus Jan: "Baxter is a master of the zoom-out perspective, the gloomy catastrophe (there's a dandy ice age in here), the spectacular set-piece..."
    (Online review: Tim Sullivan, WP)

  • Terry Bisson, The Pickup Artist (Tor, April)
    Satire of 21st Century America when old works of art are 'deleted' to make room for the new
    GKW, Locus April: "Exactly the sort of demented and provocative treasure we've come to expect from Bisson"
    (Online review: John Clute, SF Weekly)

  • Orson Scott Card, Shadow of the Hegemon (Tor, Jan)
    Latest in Card's popular "Ender's Game" series
    GKW, Locus, Feb: A "fast-moving, well-plotted capture-and-rescue adventure ... [N]ot only a solid entertainment, but a far more substantial one than Ender's Shadow..."

  • John Clute, Appleseed (UK: Orbit, April)
    Revisionist space opera for the 21st century, by the erudite SF critic
    FM, Locus May: "Renaissance philosophy, the complicated evolution of religion, art history, even alchemy, get a heretical new spin as Clute keeps bursting through the confines of space opera, heading someplace different."
    (Online review: Ernest Lilley, SF Site)

  • Tony Daniel, Metaplanetary (Eos, April)
    Impending war in a spectacular, nanotech-webbed future solar system
    Online review: Paul Di Filippo, SF Weekly: "remarkably fresh and alluring, yet [the book] deliberately speaks to the past work of a handful of major authors, continuing that tradition of cross-generational dialogue for which SF is justifiably famous."

  • Stephen King, Dreamcatcher (Scribner, March)
    Four friends in Maine battle alien bodysnatchers
    EB, Locus April: "Perfectly straight-forward SF... [I'm] tempted to cite the sainted shades of Robert A. Heinlein and Eric Frank Russell."

  • Ken MacLeod, Cosmonaut Keep (Tor, May [1st US edition])
    Twin narratives of aliens and humans in an alternate-historical future; first in a new series
    GKW, Locus May: "The complex of romantic and political entanglements of the characters is far more fully realized than we'd normally expect in a hard SF tale."
    (Online review: Paul Di Filippo, SF Weekly)

  • Paul J. McAuley, The Secret of Life (UK: HarperCollins Voyager, Jan; US edition Tor, June)
    Government conspiracies, a renegade scientist, incipient ecological disaster -- and an expedition to Mars
    GKW, Locus May: "Exactly the sort of book you might want to hand someone who's just asked you what sorts of things SF writers are up to right now, in the first half of the year 2001."
    (Online review: Nick Gevers, SF Site)

  • Jack McDevitt, Deepsix (Eos, March)
    Old fashioned space adventure about an expedition trapped on a planet about to break up
    GKW, Locus March: "McDevitt, with his impressive storytelling skills and clear affection for SF traditions, certainly seems overdue for some sort of recognition."

  • Alastair Reynolds, Chasm City (UK: Orion/Gollancz, May)
    Far future space opera of pursuit and revenge; follow-up to debut novel Revelation Space
    JS, Locus June: "Much more impressive than its predecessor... Chasm City confirms Reynolds as the most exciting space opera writer working today."
    (Online review: John Clute, SF Weekly)

  • Pamela Sargent, Child of Venus (Eos, May)
    Final volume of trilogy about the terraforming of Venus
    Online review: Paul Di Filippo, SF Weekly: Sargent focuses on "generational change, family history and the burden of parental and grandparental choices on those who follow. ...a kind of interplanetary Roots."

  • Connie Willis, Passage (Bantam, April)
    Brain researchers investigate near-death experiences in a serious narrative examining issues of science and faith
    GKW, Locus March: "A compelling story on an irresistible theme ... may not be her altogether most perfect work, but it certainly stands as her most courageous."
    (Online reviews: Salon; Onion AV Club)

  • Gene Wolfe, Return to the Whorl (Tor, Feb)
    Final volume in concluding trilogy of Wolfe's grand, enigmatic epic
    FM, Locus Feb: "Wolfe reconfigures space opera's standard grand adventure into something as defiant of everyday logic as the alternate/simultaneous waves and particles of quantum physics."
    (Online reviews: Gerald Jonas, NYT; John Clute, SF Weekly)

Fantasy & Horror Novels

  • Lois McMaster Bujold, The Curse of Chalion (Eos, August)
    A destitute lord confronts old enemies and a royal curse
    CC, Locus April: "Bujold gets fantasy right this time, in her second fantasy novel, possibly because this time she's working with a character who has at least a few things in common with Bujold's most popular SF hero, Miles Vorkosigan."

  • Jonathan Carroll, The Wooden Sea (Tor, Feb)
    Surreal goings-on in small-town New York; third in loose trilogy following Kissing the Beehive and The Marriage of Sticks
    The New Yorker: "A quirky piece of intelligent pop that is also surprisingly moving."
    (Online reviews: Alan Cheuse, NYT; Nalo Hopkinson, SF Weekly)

  • Neil Gaiman, American Gods (Morrow)
    A road trip through America, and American mythology, as the old gods give way to the new
    GKW, Locus June: packing "much mythical freight into a fast-moving narrative without leaving the reader feeling assaulted by a blunt instrument is a tribute not only to [Gaiman's] always considerable storytelling skills, but to a clear, controlled, and sophisticated voice that seems far more original and passionate than anything we've seen from him before."

  • Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Past the Size of Dreaming (Ace, March)
    Magical friends in small-town Oregon search for the remaining members of their group
    FM, Locus April: "The feel for contemporary life, and the quirkiness of its magics, may sometimes recall the works of Ray Bradbury or Peter Beagle, but Nina Kiriki Hoffman is in the process of developing a form of the fantastic for the 21st century."

  • China Miéville, Perdido Street Station (Del Rey, February [1st US edition])
    SF and dark fantasy meet extravagantly in the city of New Crobuzon; already winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award
    FM, Locus July 2000: "a Dantesque fable for the Industrial Ages, from that of Dickens to our own with its cybernetics, astrophysics, and big business. ...runs the gamut with its moments of joy and tragedy, intellectual marvels, explorations of justice and self-judgement, and much, much more."

  • Tim Powers, Declare (Morrow, Jan)
    Le Carréan spy fiction and the secret history of the 20th century, with fallen angels and Kim Philby
    GKW, Locus Feb: "In its various parts, Declare is not only Powers's most ambitious novel to date, but it may well be his best"
    (Online reviews: Nick Gevers, SF Site; John Clute, SF Weekly)

  • Terry Pratchett, Thief of Time (HarperCollins, May)
    Latest Discworld novel sends up philosophy and martial arts movies as monks plot to end time.
    CC, Locus April: "In one particularly brilliant development, Pratchett brings new meaning to the expression 'death by chocolate.' "

  • Sean Russell, The One Kingdom (Eos, Feb)
    Refreshing fantasy epic about feuding families and a magical, mapless river; first in a series.
    FM, Locus Jan: "avoids the flashy, the outlandish, ... in favor of a subtler narrative style, well-drawn characters, and an admirable lack of hysteria"
    (Online review: Lisa DuMond, SF Site)

  • Tad Williams, Otherland: Sea of Silver Light (DAW, April)
    Finale to the Otherland tetralogy
    CC, Locus May: "The real and virtual plots all come to a spectacular climax ... a surprisingly satisfying conclusion."

First Novels

  • Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel's Dart (Tor, June)
    Tale of a masochist in a land whose inhabitants are descended from angels and worship all forms of sexuality
    FM, Locus June: "This first novel is compulsively readable a long, complex saga worthy of the field's best writer on such a scale, George R.R. Martin. It's an astonishing debut."

  • Donna McMahon, Dance of Knives (Tor, May)
    Locus New & Notable: "Action-packed post-holocaust SF set in a grim Vancouver BC after rising sea levels have transformed the Pacific coast. A compelling first novel."

  • Karen Michalson, Enemy Glory (Tor, Jan)
    Locus New & Notable: "Fantasy tropes get delightfully twisted as an earnest, unappreciated boy with magic talents grows up to become an evil cleric in a region torn by political conflicts. A rich and complex first novel, first in a new series, by a professional musician."

Associational-interest Novels

  • Andrew Crumey, Mr. Mee (Picador, March)
    Octagenarian book collector discovers the Internet; Borgesian
    Online review: WP: "It's the rare novel that makes you want to begin anew as soon as you've finished the last page."

  • Louise Erdrich, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse (HarperCollins, April)
    A priest among the Ojibwe community of North Dakota; by author of World Fantasy Award winning The Antelope Wife
    Online review: Ursula K. Le Guin (WP): "a deep, sweet novel"

  • Karen Joy Fowler, Sister Noon (Putnam, May)
    1890s San Francisco, with voodoo goddesses and a mysterious orphan
    Online reviews: Salon; NYT: "Here is a novelist who absolutely comprehends the pleasures of imagination and transformation."

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