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The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 145): Panel Discussion: What’s the Best Debut Novel You Have Ever Read?

In episode 145 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester gathers a panel to discuss: The Best Debut Novel You Have Ever Read:

Everyone has to start somewhere, even authors. With so many debut books being published every year, they can’t all be spectacular, although they’re entertaining. But there’s always a few that stand out from the pack and make you go, “Whoa!” after you finish.

What’s the best debut novel you’ve ever read?

Why? What made it stand out to you?

This is Part 1 – Part 2 with a different panel will go live next week.

This week’s panel:

This episode is sponsored by Borderlands Books. Listen for a special coupon code to take 10% off your order from Borderlands.

© 2012
Featuring original music by John Anealio

About Patrick Hester (527 Articles)
Patrick Hester is a writer, blogger, podcasting dude, Denver transplant and all around Functional Nerd. Don't hate him cuz he has a cool hat.

13 Comments on The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 145): Panel Discussion: What’s the Best Debut Novel You Have Ever Read?

  1. Altered Carbon – Richard K. Morgan

    Blew me away.

    • I was kicking myself for not bringing up that book because it blew my mind too. Similarly was Chris Moriarty’s SPIN STATE that came out at about the same time. The two were often compared, but I think they were ultimately very different books.

      • Joerg Grau // August 27, 2012 at 10:05 am //


        I read those back to back myself when they came out. I thought both were excellent and quite different from each other, yet still very much in the same realm. Add to this Gridlinked (Neal Asher), which I read right after these two, and there seemed, at the time at least, to be some kind of new trend going on. I was quite excited about it, and then a little let down when nothing really came off that direction.


  2. As far as debut novels go, I don’t think I can top _Catch-22_ by Joseph Heller.

  3. Old Man’s War – John Scalzi

    It almost seems like these days publishers prefer debut novels, as if they’re trying to ‘hit the lottery’ with the next one.

  4. Ack, I wish I HAD asked to be on this one. I’d have plenty to share.

    Fred’s point about getting to know an author early and being rewarded is an excellent one!

  5. I’m sure I’m forgetting some favorites, but, skewed toward recent ish:

    The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss

    How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, Charles Yu

    The Quantum Thief, Hannu Rajaniemi

    Redemption in Indigo, Karen Lord

    Germline, TC McCarthy

    The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi

    Last Dragon, J. M. McDermott

    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch

    The Blade Itself, Joe Abercrombie

    Veniss Underground, Jeff VanderMeer

    Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    The Darkness That Comes Before, R. Scott Bakker

    The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell

    And so many I want to read:

    Vellum, Hal Duncan

    Warchild, Karin Lowachee

    The Etched City, K. J. Bishop

    House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski

    China Mountain Zhang, Maureen F. McHugh

  6. I know that The Quantum Thief is right at the top of John DeNardo’s list. 🙂

    • Ouch! 😛

      Fwiw, my bad reading experience there is clearly in the minority. The book has been receiving high praise just about everywhere else.

  7. This is a tough call. How about, Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

  8. Chris Lites // August 25, 2012 at 1:23 pm //

    The correct answer is Neuromancer.

  9. Joerg Grau // August 27, 2012 at 10:00 am //

    Neuromancer by William Gibson to me is still the most amazing first novel I have ever read! And one of the great SF novels of all time!


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