I read a lot in the first half of 2015 and then very few books in the second half of 2015. And since a lot of my reading was devoted to reading for the 2015 Hugos, I mostly read novels from 2014, last year. Currently my total of novels read that were published in 2015 comes in at 4. That’s not enough to fill my Hugo ballot, not that I would want put all of those on the ballot. Those are the novels from 2015 that I have read at this point:
Seveneves – Neal Stephenson
This is currently my favorite. While it has some weeknesses, it was one of the best books I read last year. It even gave me a severe reading hang-over: I could not start a new book for over a month after I had finished it. This puts Seveneves at the top of my current to-nominate list.
Signal to Noise – Silvia Moreno-Garcia
I liked this novel a lot when I read it and its plot has stayed with me over time. (It’s been a year since I read it.) I believe that is a very good indicator for the quality of the work. Unfortunately, the phantastic elements in this novel a very small. Although it’s definately a novel with fantasy elements, I feel that there might be to few of them for this novel to have a chance at winning the Hugo. Hm. If I don’t find enough better-suited novels it might make it onto my ballot.
Updraft – Fran Wilde
This is a YA fantasy novel. It’s a coming of age tale with unveiling of secrets in a secretive society and batteling against unfairness, etc. I did not know that this is a YA novel and I was surprised at how good it is. The world building is amazing (although it would of course not work in realty for various reasons). People live in life towers of ever-growing bone somewhere up in the sky among the clouds and never see the ground. They move about using something akin to winged gliders. This sounds like fun to read about and it is. Also, the plot is reasonably believable, even though it has all the typical YA-novel-plot elements.
S.H. Jucha – The Silver Ships
This is the sole self-published novel I read in 2015. The setting sounded like I might enjoy the novel and the reading sample interested me so I bought it. An artifact that must be an extra-systemic space ship enters said system (lost human colony somewhere in space). A lone water-miner catches the ship, enters it and finds humans(!) on board who need his help to survive. The first 30% of the novel are an engaging and fun read. But then, all conflicts are resolved and 70% of “Friede, Freude, Eierkuchen” (peace, love & pancakes) remain where everyone is helpful, friends with everyone else and things work out to everyones’ satisfaction. While it’s great when things run this smoothly in real life, here it totally killed my enjoyment of the novel. It was boring. It’s no fun to read a novel, when it’s obvious that everything will be resolved smoothly and with no opposition to speak of. I was missing a conflict, an opposition or some antagonizing forces. You know, the bad guys. Maybe an intrigue or two added in and I would have been happy.
So, that’s it. I know there are lots of favored novels from 2015 swimming around in list on the internet, and I will try to read as many of those as I can during the next months. Currently I am reading Cixin Liu‘s The Dark Forest and I like it so far.