2017 has been a year of ups and downs for many of us. But happily, it was a good year for speculative fiction reading in the Australian Women Writers Challenge. We had 233 reviews submitted to the Challenge, for 147 books by 115 authors. This is a nice increase from last year’s numbers. Thanks to everyone who participated! This was my last year writing for this blog, so it was nice to go out on a high note.
Over the year, I wrote a series of focus posts instead of monthly round ups. Mostly these focussed on various sub-genres that come under the speculative fiction banner and highlighted work by Australian women in each category. If you missed them, here is a handy list for you:
- Spec Fic Focus on Epic Fantasy
- Spec Fic and the Aurealis Awards
- Spec Fic Focus on Horror
- Spec Fic Focus on Far-Future/Distant SF
- Spec Fic Focus on Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance
- Spec Fic Focus on Dystopian and (Post-) Apocalyptic Fiction
- Spec Fic Focus on Portal Fantasy
- Spec Fic Focus on Fairytale Retellings
- Spec Fic Focus on Historical Fantasy (and Steampunk)
As for reviews submitted to challenge, the most reviewed author in 2017 was Jane Rawson, who garnered fourteen reviews for three books. Her most popular book — also the most popular book overall — was From the Wreck, which was reviewed by Robin Elizabeth, Ashleigh Meikle of The Book Muse and others. Her second most popular book was A Wrong Turn At The Office Of Unmade Lists, reviewed by Bill Holloway and a few others.
Here are some other popularly reviewed authors and books from 2017:
- Angela Slatter is our second most popular author of the year, garnering twelve reviews overall. Her most popular book was Vigil, reviewed by Jess @ The Never Ending Bookshelf, among others. Corpselight, the sequel to Vigil, was only slightly less popular, reviewed Elizabeth Fitzgerald, among others.
- Claire G Coleman is next in popularity, with her debut novel Terra Nullius reviewed by seven people, making it the second most popular speculative fiction book submitted to us. Check out these reviews by Brenda and Shannon of Giraffe Days.
- Equally popular was Christine Dibley and her novel To the Sea, which is set in Tasmania. Here are a couple of reviews from Debbish and Lisa Setepenre.
- Also with seven reviews, but spread over more books, was Jaclyn Moriarty. All three books in her Colours of Madeleine series proved equally popular. Cassandra Page and Emily of A Keyboard and an Open Mind reviewed the first book, A Corner of White.
- Clare Corbett’s Watch Over Me was also popular, with five reviews. Here’s one from Sally Nimon.
- Jodi McAlister’s Valentine was equally popular. Here’s a review from Rochelle Sharpe.
- Amie Kaufman also garnered five reviews for her science fiction YA books written with Jay Kristoff. Here’s a review of Gemina from Leonie Rogers.
- Catherine McKinnon’s Storyland was reviewed four times, including by Cass Moriarty.
- Rachel Nightingale’s Harlequin’s Riddle was also reviewed four times, for example by Wendy J. Dunn.
- Jessica Townsend’s Nevermoor garnered four reviews such as this one from Tessa Wooldridge.
- Thoraiya Dyer was reviewed four times, with her most popular book being Crossroads of Canopy, reviewed by Robin Elizabeth.
- Alison Goodman’s reviews were split over the books in her series. Here’s Tien’s review of Lady Helen and the Dark Days Pact.
- Melina Marchetta is a perennial favourite. Here’s a review from Elizabeth Fitzgerald Finnkin of the Rock.
- Tansy Rayner Roberts had some popularity with four reviews for her novella-length work this year. Here’s my review of Girl Reporter.
To round off this round-up, a briefer list of those authors and their books that were reviewed at least three times in 2017.
- Closing Down by Sally Abbot, reviewed by Theresa Petray
- The Impossible Story of Olive in Love by Tonya Alexandra, reviewed by Jess @ The Never Ending Bookshelf
- White Tiger by Kylie Chan, reviewed by Christine Sun
- The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth, reviewed by Amanda @ Mrs B’s Book Reviews
- Cassandra by Kathryn Gossow, reviewed by Isobel Blackthorn
- The Immortal Bind by Traci Harding, reviewed by Bree @1girl2manybooks
- Isadora by Charlotte McConaghy, reviewed by Shaheen @ Speculating On Specfic
- Bitten by Amanda Pillar, reviewed by Stephanie Gunn
Of course, the above list is not exhaustive; our Books Reviewed page (with search by categories) can be a practically limitless source of recommendations, too. To get you started, here is link to all the 2017 speculative fiction books reviewed.
What were your favourite AWW reads of 2017? Did they make the list above? Tell us in the comments!
Tsana Dolichva is a Ditmar Award-nominated book blogger who has been reading and enjoying Australian speculative fiction for as long as she can remember. She blogs her book reviews over at the creatively titled Tsana’s Reads. Along with Holly Kench, she edited Defying Doomsday, a Ditmar Award-winning anthology showing that people with disabilities and chronic illnesses also have stories to tell, even when the world is ending. In her spare time she is an astrophysicist.
Thanks Tsana for a terrific 2017 round up. As usual, I am surprised at what novels fall into the speculative band, once again disproving my notion that ‘I don’t read speculative’. Thanks for everything you have done for the challenge. You will be missed!
Glad to have dispelled some spec fic cooties for you, Theresa ;-p Hopefully you and others will consider reading more speculative fiction in the future 🙂