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SF Signal Readers’ Choice: What was Your Favorite SF/F/H Book of 2012?

The end of the year is often a time of reflection and, more importantly, list making!

Help us compile a list of the best genre reads of the year by telling us which science fiction, fantasy and/or horror stories were your favorite reads. These do not have to necessarily be books that were originally released this year — we are more interested in the best books and stories that you consumed for the first time in 2012.

Sound off in the comments!

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

45 Comments on SF Signal Readers’ Choice: What was Your Favorite SF/F/H Book of 2012?

  1. WOOL by Hugh Howey

  2. “Rook” by Daniel 0’Mallley. I loved that book so much I’ve already read it twice.

  3. Phil Ackerman // December 25, 2012 at 1:27 am //

    Best New books read
    1.4 by Mike Lancaster
    Adrift on the sea of Rains by Ian Sales
    Starship Winter by Eric Brown

    Best old books read
    Soft Apocalypse by Will Mcintosh
    Axiomatic by Greg Egan (collection)
    On Basilisk Station by David Weber

  4. Dino Mascolo // December 25, 2012 at 2:20 am //

    1. “11/22/63” by Stephen King
    2. “Among Others” by Jo Walton
    3. “Lord Valentine’s Castle” by Robert Silverberg
    4. “Leviathan Wakes” by James S. A. Corey

  5. 1. Railsea, by China Miéville
    2. A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness
    3. Raising Stony Mayhall, by Daryl Gregory
    4. Among Others, by Jo Walton
    5. Evaporating Genres, by Gary K Wolfe (though that’s not fiction but a SF/F essay).

  6. And Blue Skies from Pain by Stina Leicht
    Infidel by Kameron Hurley
    Killing Moon/Shadowed Sun by NK Jemsisin
    Blackbird and Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig
    The Last Policeman by Ben Winters
    Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow
    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
    Lies of Locke Lamora/Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
    7 Wonders by Adam Christopher

  7. Helen Oyeyemi, Mr. Fox
    China Miéville, Embassytown
    China Miéville, Railsea
    Jo Walton, Among Others
    David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
    Ryan Boudinot, Blueprints of the Afterlife
    Charles Yu, Sorry Please Thank You
    Patrick Somerville, The Universe in Miniature in Miniature
    Matt Bell, Cataclysm Baby

  8. The Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey.

    Running a close second would be Allen Steele’s Heinlein-juvenile-esque Apollo’s Outcasts.

  9. Steve Oerkfitz // December 25, 2012 at 9:07 am //

    The Rise of Ransom City by Felix Gilman
    Jack Glass by Adam Roberts
    The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters
    Crackpot Palace by Jeffrey Ford
    The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
    The Man From Primrose Lane by James Renner
    The Drowning Girl by Caitlan R. Kiernan
    Immobility by Brian Evenson
    The Pottawattomie Giant by Andy Duncan
    Deadfall Hotel Steve resnic Tem
    Last Days by Adam Nevill
    Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce
    Any Day Now by Terry Bisson
    The Night Lamp by Jack Vance(older novel I missed reading when it first came out)

  10. Hm. Hard to choose one best work.. mainly because nearly everything I read this year (for the first time – rereads don’t really count) was a bit subpar..
    Mieville’s Railsea was nice, I suppose.
    Wool.. I guess it should be mentioned, even if the style got hijacked almost instantly after the very first book.

    I guess Blue Remembered Earth and 2312 were fun reads (though nowhere near the respective author’s strongest works, unfortunately).

    Fractal Prince was a decent sequel (unlike caliban’s war, which was a letdown in all meanings of the term) and well-worth recalling.

    From that humble bundle ebook thing, obviously Pirate Cinema and The shortstory collection from Paulo Bacigalupi.

    Hmm, what else.. OH YEAH, right, this year I read Dan Simmon’s Illium/Olympos. Now *that* was suitably different. Though I might be biased in favour of his works after liking Hyperion so much.

  11. Alif the Unseen, by G. Willow Wilson

  12. Favorite SF of this year; Rapture by Kameron Hurley
    Favorite F of this year; King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
    Favorite Steampunk (which is kind of a combination of the two…); The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest
    I don’t read much horror, so I don’t have one for that category…

  13. Faith by John Love
    Of Blood and Honey and Blues Skies from Pain by Stina Leicht
    Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
    Catherynne Valente’s YA Fairlyland books

    in the last 14 months or so I got hooked on Iain Banks’ Culture books, discovered Kage Baker, and played a lot of catch up on Steven Brust titles, all which culminated in some awesome reading of older stuff.

  14. Jerry Gaiser // December 25, 2012 at 11:31 am //

    Only two books stood out my list for this year:

    Dawn by Octavia Butler – My first Butler book and it blew me away.

    Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey – The books are starting to feel overhyped, but the story really drew me in.

  15. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

  16. Didn’t read a ton of SFF published in 2012 this year. But of the older stuff I read, Daniel Abraham’s A Shadow in Summer was probably my favorite. Very excited to read the next 3 books in the quartet.

    I also really enjoyed Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, which I’d somehow missed until this year.

    And honorable mention to The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume 1 (2006, I think) edited by Strahan, which introduced me to some wonderful SFF writers this year.

  17. As it was the only SF book I read in the whole year of 2012 as I was a graduate student but recently graduated and still looking for a job, it was Old Man’s War by John Scalzi.

  18. periklis begzos // December 25, 2012 at 1:16 pm //

    I loved equally, “Red Country” – Joe Abercrombie and “Bones of the Old Ones” – Howard Andrew Jones.

  19. Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey

  20. Haven’t read a lot from 2012. Just catching up to some great novels from past years:
    REAMDE (Stephenson)
    THE QUANTUM THIEF (Rajaniemi)
    CYTHERA (Calder)
    BRASYL (McDonald)

    THE SOUL CONSORTIUM (Simon west-Bulford) deserves a 2012 shout, deserving of far more attention–now or later.

    On the horror front, THE LAST FINAL GIRL (Stephen Graham Jones) is the love letter deconstruction of slasher films that is a can’t miss for any fan of that film genre. Highly entertaining as a novel, and sure to be the next film to out-scream Scream. Really, I should just recommend Jones as an author everyone should be reading.

  21. Catherynne M. Valente – The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There

    That book took me into a world of wonder. Cat Valente is my discovery of the year!

  22. The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary by Ken Liu
    The Fantasy Writer’s Assistant by Jeffrey Ford
    The Complete Short SF of Fredric Brown (I had read some of his stories, but not all of them)
    After the Apocalypse by Maureen McHugh

  23. Tears in Rain, by Rosa Montero. Loved it.
    The Constantine Affliction, by T. Aaron Payton (Tim Pratt) also is a knock-out.

    I believe those are the only 2012 releases I read this year, but if we can mention stuff from the ye olde times, I’d recommend:

    A Matter of Oaths, by Helen S. Wright
    Any book of the Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold (read six of them in 2012)
    The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson.

  24. My absolute favorite of the year was The Scar by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko. It’s an incredible blend of epic fantasy escapism and classical Russian morality tale, and restored much of my faith in the potential for originality and stellar writing in epic fantasy.

    Others I loved, either from this year or not:

    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
    Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
    The Prince Roger series by David Weber and John Ringo
    Seeker by Jack McDevitt
    Spin by Robert Charles Wilson

    And I reread most of the Vorkosigan Saga and added Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, reaffirming that series as one of my all time favorites.

  25. Scifi top 5
    Existence by David Brin
    Hydrogen Sonata by Ian Banks
    Reamde by Neal Stephenson
    Halting State by Charles Stross
    Caliban’s War by James Corey

    Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson
    The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie
    Dreamblood Series by N.K. Jemison
    Naomi Novik Temaire Series
    Assassin’s Apprentice Series by Robin Hobb

    Newsflesh Trilogy by Miranda Grant
    Angel of Darkness by Caleb Carr
    World War Z by Max Brooks
    Zone One by Colson Whitehead
    11/22/63 by Stephen King

  26. David Whitbeck // December 25, 2012 at 9:59 pm //

    My favorite horror novel published in 2012 is David Wellington’s 32 Fangs, a fine entry providing closure to my favorite vampire series.

  27. SF: Seven Wonders by Adam Christopher | Swords of Waar by Nathan Long | Particle Horizon by Selso Xisto | Siege of Castellax by C. L. Werner | Phalanx by Ben Counter | Legion of the Damned by Rob Sanders

    Fantasy: The Merchant of Dreams by Anne Lyle | Valkia The Bloody by Sarah Cawkwell | Greatshadow by James Maxey | Heir of Night by Helen Lowe | Songs of the Earth by Elspeth Cooper

    Urban Fantasy: Blood and Feathers by Lou Morgan |
    The Wrong Goodbye by Chris F. Holm | Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson | The Dead of Winter by Lee Collins

  28. A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin
    The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
    The Gentleman Bastard books by Scott Lynch
    World War Z by Max Brooks
    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
    Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear

    All got 5 star reviews from me.

  29. David Whitbeck // December 26, 2012 at 7:28 am //

    From what I’ve read in 2012 (but not published in 2012):

    Science Fiction: Revelation Space series by Alastair Reynolds
    Fantasy: Dark Tower series by Stephen King
    Horror: The Pariah by Graham Masterton

  30. Paul Connelly // December 26, 2012 at 11:46 am //

    Newer books (2012 or close):
    Isles of the Forsaken/Ison of the Isles by Carolyn Ives Gilman (can we get a collection of her short stories soon, please?)
    The Dragon Arcana by Pierre Pevel (rousing finish to his trilogy set in a fantasy Richelieu era France)
    Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis (alternate WW II history that is a lot different from what you usually get with that description)
    Worldsoul by Liz Wiliams (just for fun)
    Older books (finally read in 2012):
    Endless Things by John Crowley (very melancholy and beautifully written final volume of the Aegypt tetralogy)
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susannah Clarke (great fun in spite of its length, two very flawed protagonists)

    • Aqueduct Press have two short books by Carolyn Ives Gilman available – Aliens of the Heart, and Candle in a Bottle. Two of her novellas are also available from Phoenix Pick.

  31. David Greybeard // December 26, 2012 at 1:18 pm //

    Of the 350 book I read this year (the great majority being comic book collected editions) these are the top novels I’ve enjoyed in 2012, being those I gave 5 star rating to on Goodreads.

    BETWEEN TWO FIRES by Christopher Buehlman
    THOSE ACROSS THE RIVER by Christopher Buehlman
    STAR WARS: ANNIHILATION by Drew Karpyshyn
    BITTER SEEDS by Ian Tregillis
    HOLLOW CITY by Dan Wells
    MONSTER by Dave Zeltserman
    COLD VENGENCE by Preston and Child
    SOMETHING RED by Douglas Nicholas
    RED SHIRTS by John Scalzi
    EX-COP by Warren Hammond
    BREED by Chase Novak
    ODD APOCALYPSE by Dean Koontz
    LIBROMANCER by Jim C. Hines
    THE SPACE MERCHANTS by Frederik Pohl
    RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA by Arthur C. Clarke
    MICRO by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston
    THE LONG EARTH by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
    DOCTOR WHO: SHADA by Gareth Roberts
    77 SHADOW STREET by Dean Koontz
    HEAVEN’S SHADOW & HEAVEN’S WAR by David Goyer and Michael Cassutt
    AMERICAN GOTHIC by Robert Bloch
    THE LAST WEREWOLF by Glen Duncan
    READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline
    DOCTOR WHO APOLLO 23 by Justin Richards

  32. Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan by Robin Maxwell
    Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
    Cold Days by Jim Butcher
    Steel’s Edge by Ilona Andrews
    Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines
    Quarter Share by Nathan Lowell
    Permeable Borders by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
    Ashes of Honor by Seanan Mcguire

  33. Ready Player One – Cline
    Redshirts – Scalzi
    Fate of Worlds – Niven/Lerner

  34. Range of Ghosts, Elizabeth Bear (to limit myself to one)

  35. Favourite SF:
    Revolution World by Katy Stauber
    Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts
    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

    Favourite Fantasy:
    The Engineer’s Trilogy (Devices and Desires, Evil For Evil, The Escapement) by K.J. Parker
    The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfusss
    Among Others by Jo Walton
    The Truth About Sharks and Pigeons by Matt Phillips
    Mercury Falls

    The Pilo Family Circus

  36. GreatNorthernTroll // December 26, 2012 at 8:08 pm //

    Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi
    Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
    The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
    The Last Colony by John Scalzi
    Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi
    The Android’s Dream by John Scalzi
    Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi

    You may have noticed a theme here. I “discovered” John’s body-of-work in the late summer of 2012, and had read all of it (except for Red Shirts which was NYR.)within about two weeks.

    Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe

    • I’m with you all the way, Scalzi is one of my favorites. Looking forward to the new Old Man’s War universe episodes coming out in ebook format starting next month.

  37. RedEyedGhost // December 26, 2012 at 10:39 pm //

    Gears of the City by Felix Gilman was my favorite read this year.

    And since it’s be listed a couple of time, let me de-recommend Seven Wonders by Adam Christopher. That was the worst book I read this year by quite a large margin.

  38. THE TROUPE by Robert Jackson Bennett. As good as some of the other books I read in 2012 were (Control Point by Myke Cole, The King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence, Existence by David Brin, Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear) THE TROUPE was the equivalent of god amongst men of the 2012 books I read.

  39. Caliban’s War. Best Hard SF in YEARS (along with Leviathan Wakes of course.)

  40. JULIAN COMSTOCK by Robert Charles Wilson
    THE ROOK by Daniel O’Malley
    CONSIDER PHLEBAS by Iain M. Banks
    SWAN SONG by Robert R. McCammon

  41. My top sci fi novel was Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey, and my top fantasy novel was Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.

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