Locus Online has tabulated 2007 Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror books that have appeared on Year's Best Books lists (other than Locus Magazine's own 2007 Recommended Reading List) -- Amazon.com, Publishers Weekly, Time Magazine, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, Library Journal, Salon.com, New York Times, and Los Angeles Times, as well as genre publications SF Site, Bookgasm, Fantasy Magazine, and Strange Horizons. Also tabulated are Jeff VanderMeer and Claude Lalumière's essays for Locus Online. (Note: For purposes of this tally, Strange Horizons' multi-contributor page was treated as a single source, while Jeff VanderMeer's Locus Online essay and the SF/F list at Amazon.com, largely compiled by VanderMeer, were combined as a single source.)
The most frequently cited books are listed below. (All references to SF/F/H titles from the compiled sources, and those included on Locus' 2007 Recommended Reading List, are included on the 2007 Directory pages.)
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Scholastic (US); Bloomsbury (UK); Raincoast(Canada))
The final volume of Rowling's popular series is recognized as a landmark event in popular culture as much for its literary credentials; of SF sources compiled, only the Strange Horizons collective and SF Site's readers poll include it. But Newsweek's Malcolm Jones ranks it #1: "You could call it the most satisfying ending to a guessing game since the casting of Scarlett O'Hara."
Ian McDonald - Brasyl (Pyr)
McDonald vividly depicts three eras of Brazil, past, present, and future, in a stylistic tour de force that exploits the classic SF theme of quantum realities and alternate worlds. Lisa Tuttle, writing for The Times, calls it "the best novel yet by Ian McDonald, who deserves to be much better known."
Michael Chabon - The Yiddish Policemen's Union (HarperCollins)
A literary novel with genre credentials -- alternate history SF and noir crime drama -- it is cited as one of the best novels of the year, not merely as a genre novel. And Locus' Jonathan Strahan calls it "easily the finest alternate history of the decade". (And now there's news that Joel and Ethan Coen will write and direct a film adaptation.)
Dan Simmons - The Terror (Little Brown)
This recreation of the doomed 1845 Franklin expedition to find the Northwest Passage includes a supernatural monster on the ice born of Esquimaux cosmology. Jeff VanderMeer ranked it #1 when he compiled Amazon's SF/F list, and calls it one of Simmons' "most compelling and deeply felt novels, with topnotch characterization and description."
Patrick Rothfuss - The Name of the Wind
Rothfuss' debut novel is a big epic fantasy, first of a trilogy. SF Site's Readers poll ranks it #1, as does The A.V. Club: "Combining the academic setting of Harry Potter, the tortured heroism of Frodo, and the bittersweet apocalyptica of A Song Of Ice And Fire, Rothfuss' first novel in the Kingkiller Chronicles weaves a rich, fluid, irresistible world." And the American Library Association cites it as their Fantasy title of the year.
Richard K. Morgan -
(Ballantine Del Rey; UK first edition as Black Man)
Near-future thriller about genetically enhanced humans, with lots of violence and sex -- Jeff VanderMeer says "It's a complex future tale of genetic manipulation and intrigue -- a thriller with a pulse-pounding heart, but with a brain as well."
Emma Bull -
A magical-realist take on the famous Old West shoot-out involving Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. Jeff VanderMeer says "her achievement in making it all seem fresh and new is remarkable. Some of the exchanges between Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and others are genius-level in their sharpness and ingenuity."
David Anthony Durham -
Durham's first fantasy novel concerns an empire built on slavery and drug trade. Fantasy Magazine's Paula Guran calls it "A truly epic fantasy -- or rather the beginning of one -- with a rich world and nuanced characters. Superbly written."
Guy Gavriel Kay - Ysabel (Roc)
This contemporary fantasy pits a 15-year-old American boy in Provence, on location with his photographer father, against supernatural figures from the region's past. Fantasy Magazine's Paula Guran says it's "Sheer enchantment. ... Contemporary thriller, historical fantasy, full of myth and magic, and a novel all about sex in which there is nary a fleshly scene."
Kay Kenyon -
Bright of the Sky
First in a series about a man searching for his family in a strange parallel world. SF Site's Greg L. Johnson, ranking it #1, says it was "the one book of the year that, once I started reading, was impossible to put down."
William Gibson -
Gibson's novel isn't precisely science fiction -- the technology in play is the Global Positioning System, and the plot concerns tracking the contents of a certain cargo ship -- but Gibson's incisive, crystalline style make this one of his best. Canada's National Post Holiday book guide describes it as a "Crackling thriller of post-Twin Towers America [that] explores the interface where art, commerce, criminality and the military meet; how they rip what they need from technology; and how the results turn up on the battlefield or in the gallery."
Kathleen Ann Goonan -
In War Times
This alternate history set in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor concerns an army engineer who acquires a "time machine" device that could save mankind from violence. The American Library Association's selection of genre titles ranks this #1 for science fiction in 2007: "Goonan flavors her multiverse with rich details of jazz, quantum physics, and history."
Joe Hill -
This horror novel, about an aging rock star who collects morbid curiosities, garnered acclaim even before the author was revealed as Stephen King's son. It's the American Library Association's horror book of the year: Hill turns a simple ghost story into a cinematic, nightmare ride that blends gothic references with a razor-sharp sensibility.
Susan Palwick -
Near-future SF novel about a high-tech house in 21st century San Francisco that overcomes its programming to give shelter to a homeless man in a storm; Library Journal says "Palwick brilliantly tackles the issues of human interconnectedness and runaway technology in a novel that seems all too likely to be a blueprint for the future."
Matt Ruff -
A Philip K. Dick-like tale of a murder suspect who tells of a secret organization (called Bad Monkeys) devoted to disposing the world of evil people. Locus Online's Claude Lalumière calls it "fast-paced, hilarious, menacing, and superlatively entertaining."
Shaun Tan -
(1st US editon: Scholastic)
This graphic novel without words tells of refugees arriving in a strange new land. It's Amazon.com's #1 titles for Teens; Strange Horizon's Donna Royston calls it "a work of startling imagery and wonderful artistry". It's already won two Aurealis Awards in Australia, where it was first published in 2006.
Robert Charles Wilson -
Sequel to Wilson's Hugo Award winner Spin, this book concerns events on a planet colonized by humans where a mysterious infall of cometary dust gives rise to speculation about the alien Hypotheticals. Locus Magazine's Gary K. Wolfe said that in this book "Wilson has chosen depth over expansion, and the result is arguably what a middle novel in a trilogy should be, adding weight and density to the narrative instead of merely offering a place-holding intermezzo for the fireworks to come."
Bonus associational title--
Junot Díaz -
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
This isn't a genre title exactly, but its protagonist, a nerdy Dominican immigrant, is heavily into sci-fi and fantasy. The book is Time Magazine's #1 fiction of the year: a "massive, heaving, sparking tragicomedy". And it's currently a finalist for this year's National Book Critics Circle Awards.