71) Jay Lake – Mainspring. The Earth runs on clockwork. It travels around the sun, rotating along the inside of a solar-system spanning brass ring, whose inside teeth mesh with enormous brass teeth on top of a wall around the equator, hundreds of miles high. But it’s running down, and only Hethor can rewind it.
70) Ian C. Esslemont – Night of Knives. Speaking of Steven Erikson, Esslemont was his partner in inventing the world of Malaz. This is Esslemont’s first book. It tells the story of a very important event that happened before Erikson’s first book starts. It’s pretty good, I think maybe not quite up to Erikson but almost. I’m looking forward to his next book, if there is one.
Oh, and how convenient is it that Esslemont goes right next to Erikson on my bookshelves? :-)
69) Richard K. Morgan - The Steel Remains. This is Morgan’s first fantasy, and it is excellent. Right up there with Steven Erikson, and Glen Cook when he’s in the groove. Gritty, bloody fantasy, with good guys and bad guys, and some you just can’t decide about. I hope he does more.
66-68) Nick Bantock – Griffin & Sabine, Sabine’s Notebook, The Golden Mean. These books are far outside the usual things I read, but I enjoyed them. They tell the story of the relationship of two people who have never met, but have a kind of supernatural connection. The story is told by reproducing their correspondence in postcards and letters. Both are artists so every card and envelope is a new work of art, often connected in some way to the story.
65) Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan, ed. – The New Space Opera 2. I’m not sure what’s "new" about it, but this is definitely an excellent collection for those who are fans of space opera. Only one clunker in the batch. (Someone must like John C. Wright’s writing, as it keeps getting published. Personally, I find it incoherent gibberish.) Otherwise, highly recommended.
64) Lawrence Block – Hit Man. I think this is one of my favorites of Block’s. His burglar series is too light-weight, while his Scudder series is a bit too intense for me. This one is just right. Okay, so it’s a first-person story told by a hit man. But he’s really just a guy doing a job, thinking about what it’d be like to live in the town he’s working in at the moment, going to see a psychiatrist about his dreams, adopting a dog that had belonged to one of his "clients", losing the dog when his girlfriend leaves him and takes the dog with her…
63) Margery Allingham – Sweet Danger. I’m fascinated by the way that Allingham’s Campion stories don’t stick to one established genre. Some are traditional murder mysteries. Others, like this one, can be action adventure stories. In this one, Campion and friends try to decipher clues and find an ancient treasure before the violent bad guys can.