My top 22 books of 2021

This year I read 256 books – 243 of them for the first time. This included 91 by straight white men writing in English and 156 by the rest of the world (including 105 by women). And 9 that were edited collections or otherwise too complicatedly authored.

Of them, my top 22 were:

Fiction
In joint first place:
Alfred Döblin, Mountains Oceans Giants: A Novel of the 27th Century (1924)
Harry Josephine Giles, Deep Wheel Orcadia: A Novel (2021)

followed in no particular order (other than alphabetical):
Stephen Baxter, Evolution (2002)
Jim Crace, The Gift of Stones (1988)
Cherie Dimaline, The Marrow Thieves (2017)
Susan M. Gaines, Accidentals (2020)
M. John Harrison, The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again (2020)
Toshikazu Kawaguchi, Before the Coffee Gets Cold (2015)
Andrea Lawlor, Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl (2017)
Maja Lunde, The History of Bees (2015)
Annalee Newitz, The Future of Another Timeline (2019)
Sarah Pinsker, A Song for a New Day (2018)
Albert Robida, The Adventures of Saturnin Farandoul (1879)
Kim Stanley Robinson, The Ministry for the Future (2020)
Carter Scholz, Radiance (2002)
Audrey Schulman, Theory of Bastards (2018)

Non-fiction
In joint first place:
Joseph Mitchell, McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon (1943)
Ben Myers, Under the Rock: The Poetry of a Place (2014)

followed in no particular order (other than alphabetical):
Rita Felski, The Limits of Critique (2015)
Daisy Hay, The Young Romantics: The Shelleys, Byron and Other Tangled Lives (2011)
V.F. Perkins (ed. Douglas Pye), V.F. Perkins: Collected Shorter Film Criticism (2020)
Amitav Ghosh, The Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis (2021)

And in case anyone’s interested, here’s the full list of 256 titles:

Alhaji Abubakar Imam, Ruwan Bagaja: The Water of Cure (1934)
Tawfiq  al-Hakim The People of the Cave,(1933)
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Friday Black (2018)
Kathryn Allan and Djibril Al-Ayad, eds, Accessing the Future (2015)
Richard Allen, Boot Boys (1972)
–. Smoothies (1973)
–. Terrace Terrors (1975)
Anon, ed., Casting Shadows: Extraordinary Tales from New Writers (2013)
Catherine Asaro, Primary Inversion (1995)

Paolo Bacigalupi, The Water Knife (2015)
Honoré de Balzac, The Centenarian Or, The Two Beringhelds (1822)
–. The Quest of the Absolute (1834)
Stephen Baxter, Evolution (2002)
Agustina Bazterrica, Tender is the Flesh (2017)
Lauren Beukes, The Shining Girls (2013)
Michael Bishop, No Enemy But Time (1982)
Carmen Boullosa, Heavens on Earth (1997)
Jennifer Marie Brissett, Elysium or, The World After (2014)
Erna Brodber, The Rainmaker’s Mistake (2007)
Charlotte Bronte, The Professor (1857)
John Buchan, Mr Standfast (1919)
–. The Three Hostages (1924)
–. The Island of Sheep (1936)
Pearl S. Buck, Command the Morning (1959)
Edward Bunker, Death Row Breakout and Other Stories (2010)
Katharine Burdekin, The End of This Day’s Business (1989)
Sue Burke, Interference (2019)

Peter Cannon, Long Memories: Recollections of Frank Belknap Long (1997)
Terry Carr, ed., Universe 5 (1974)
Angela Carter, Heroes and Villains (1969)
Priya Sarukkai Chabria, Clone (2019)
Becky Chambers, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (2014)
Félicien Champsaur, Ouha, King of the Apes (1923)
Anne Charnock, Dreams Before the Start of Time (2017)
Leslie Charteris, The Saint Goes West (1942)
Claire G. Coleman, Terra Nullius (2017)
John Collier, His Monkey Wife (1930)
Zoraida Córdova, Labyrinth Lost (2016)
Peter Cowie, Revolution! The Explosion of World Cinema in the 60s (2004)
Jim Crace, The Gift of Stones (1988)
Julia Cruger, A Diplomat’s Diary (1891)

Anthony Delius, The Day Natal Took Off: A Satire (1963)
Comte Didier de Choosy, Ignis: The Central Fire (1883)
Agustín de Rojas, A Legend of the Future (1985)
Cherie Dimaline, The Marrow Thieves (2017)
David Diop, At Night All Blood Is Black (2018)
Alfred Döblin, Mountains Oceans Giants: A Novel of the 27th Century (1924)
Cory Doctorow, Walkaway (2017)
John Dos Passos, The 42nd Parallel (1930)
–. Nineteen Nineteen (1932)
–. The Big Money (1936)
Todd Dufresne, The Democracy of Suffering: Life on the Edge of Catastrophe, Philosophy in the Anthropocene (2019)
Katherine Dunn, Geek Love (1989)
Corinne Duyvis, On the Edge of Gone (2016)

David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives (2009)
Janet Edwards, Earth Girl (2012)
Greg Egan, Incandescence (2008)
Kate Egan, Trash or Treasure: Censorship and the Changing Meanings of the Video Nasties (2007)
Carol Emshwiller, The Mount (2002)
Louise Erdrich, Future Home of the Living God (2017)
Frank Espinosa, Rocketo: Journey to the Hidden Sea, volume one (2005–6)
–. Rocketo: Journey to the Hidden Sea, volume two (2006)

Rita Felski, The Limits of Critique (2015)
Jack Fennell, ed., It Rose Up: A Selection of Lost Irish Fantasy Stories (2021)
Tom Fielder, Infinitum: An Afrofuturism Tale (2021)
Mark Fisher (ed. Matt Colquhoun), Post Capitalist Desire: The Final Lectures (2021)
Robert Fishman, Bourgeois Utopias: The Rise and Fall of Suburbia (1987)
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom (2010)
Lester D. Friedman, Bonnie and Clyde (2000)
–. ed., Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde (2000)

Susan M. Gaines, Accidentals (2020)
Jessica Gaitán Johannesson, How We Are Translated: A Novel (2021)
Emma Geen, The Many Selves of Katherine North (2016)
Sulari Gentill, A Few Right Thinking Men (2011)
Amitav Ghosh, The Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis (2021)
Harry Josephine Giles, Deep Wheel Orcadia: A Novel (2021)
Ted Gioia, The History of Jazz, third edition (2021)
Molly Gloss, Wild Life (2000)
William Golding, The Inheritors (1955)
Matthew David Goodwin, ed., Latinx Rising: An Anthology of Latinx Science Fiction and Fantasy (2017)
Theodora Goss, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (2017)
Mira Grant, Into the Drowning Deep (2017)
Nicola Griffith, So Lucky (2018)

Sarah Hall, The Wolf Border (2015)
Andrea Hairston, Will Do Magic For Small Change (2016)
Thomas Hardy, Two on a Tower (1882)
Dan Harries, Film Parody (2000)
Anne Harris, Accidental Creatures (1998)
Jordan Harrison, Marjorie Prime (2016)
M. John Harrison, The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again (2020)
David M. Hartley, Own Worlds (unpublished manuscript)
L.P. Hartley, Facial Justice (1960)
Daisy Hay, The Young Romantics: The Shelleys, Byron and Other Tangled Lives (2011)
Jason Heller, Strange Stars: David Bowie, Pop Music, and the Decade Sci-Fi Exploded (2018)
Carlos Hernandez, The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria (2016)
Carl Hiaasen, Native Tongue (1991)
William Hjortsberg, Fallen Angel (1978)
Ada Hoffmann, The Outside (2019)
Eva Hoffman, The Secret (2001)
Rob Hopkins, From What Is To What If: Unleashing the Power of Imagination to Create the Future We Want (2019)
Justin Hopper, The Old Weird Albion (2017)
Leon Hunt, Danger: Diabolik (2018)
Kameron Hurley, The Light Brigade (2019)

Kenneth T. Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States (1985)
Muriel Jaeger, The Question Mark (1926)
Liz Jensen, The Rapture (2009)
Ruchir Joshi, The Last Jet-Engine Laugh (2001)

Joanna Kavenna, Zed (2019)
Toshikazu Kawaguchi, Before the Coffee Gets Cold (2015)
–. Before the Coffee gets Cold: Tales from the Café (2017)
Oleg Kashin, Fardwor, Russia! (2010)
Daniel Keyes, Flowers for Algernon (1966)
Caitlín R. Kiernan, Agents of Dreamland (2017)
–. Black Helicopters (2018)
–. The Tindalos Asset (2020)
Margaret Killjoy, A Country of Ghosts (2014)
Geoff King, Film Comedy (2002)
–. American Independent Cinema (2005)
David Kipen, The Schreiber Theory: A Radical Rewrite of American Film History (2006)
Damon Knight, The Man in the Tree (1984)
William Kotzwinkle, Doctor Rat (1976)
Jacqueline Koyanagi, Ascension (2013)
Nancy Kress, An Alien Light (1988)

Andrea Lawlor, Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl (2017)
Georges Le Faure and Henri de Graffigny, The Extraordinary Adventures of a Russian Scientist Across the Solar System, volume one: The Moon (1888)
–. The Extraordinary Adventures of a Russian Scientist Across the Solar System, volume two: The Sun and the Inner Planets (1889)
–. The Extraordinary Adventures of a Russian Scientist Across the Solar System, volume three (1890)
–. The Extraordinary Adventures of a Russian Scientist Across the Solar System, volume four (1896)
Jules Lermina, Mysteryville (1904–5)
Doris Lessing, The Cleft (2007)
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn (1999)
Roy Lewis, The Evolution Man (1960)
Sinclair Lewis, Arrowsmith (1925)
Robert Ludlum, The Bourne Identity (1980)
Maja Lunde, The History of Bees (2015)

Ross Macdonald, Experience with Evil (aka Meet Me at the Morgue) (1953)
Ken MacLeod, Learning the World (2005)
Ania Malinowska and Pola Dwurnik, Unhappy Ending: Poems for the Broken/Hearted (2020)
Arkady Martine, A Memory Called Empire (2019)
Colin MacInnes, Mr Love & Justice (1960)
Tom McCarthy, Satin Island (2015)
Diana McCaulay, Daylight Come (2020)
J.R. McNeill and Peter Engelke, The Great Acceleration: An Environmental History of the Anthropocene since 1945 (2013)
Elle McNicoll, Show Us Who You Are (2021)
Andreas Malm, Corona, Crisis, Chronic Emergency: War Communism in the Twenty- First Century (2020)
–. How to Blow Up a Pipeline (2020)
Jennie Melamed, Gather the Daughters (2017)
Kenneth Millar, The Dark Tunnel (1948)
Louise Michel, The Human Microbes (1887)
Denise Mina, The Long Drop (2017)
Joseph Mitchell, McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon (1943)
–. Old Mr Flood (1948)
Laura J. Mixon, Glass Houses (1992)
Sy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus (2015)
Elizabeth Moon, Speed of Dark (2002)
Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Gods of Jade and Shadow (2019)
David Morrell, The Totem, restored text (1979/1995)
Tamsyn Muir, Gideon the Ninth (2019)
Haruki Murakami, IQ84, book one (2009)
–. IQ84, book two (2009)
–. IQ84, book three (2010)
Ben Myers, Under the Rock: The Poetry of a Place (2014)

Alec Nevala-Lee, The Icon Thief (2012)
–. Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction (2018)
Annalee Newitz, The Future of Another Timeline (2019)
Emma Newman, Planetfall (2018)
Vítěslav Nezval, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1945)
Claire North, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August (2014)

Nnedi Okorafor, Binti (2015)
–. Binti: Home (2017)
–. Binti: The Night Masquerade (2017)
Malka Older, Infomocracy (2016)

Manjula Padmanabhan, Harvest (1997)
Ada Palmer, Too Like the Lightning (2016)
Caroline Parkhurst, The Dogs of Babel (2003)
William Paul, Laughing Screaming: Modern Hollywood Horror and Comedy (1994)
Edmundo Paz Soldán, Turing’s Delirium (2003)
Mervyn Peake, Titus Alone (1959/1970)
Claire Perkins, American Smart Cinema (2012)
V.F. Perkins (ed. Douglas Pye), V.F. Perkins: Collected Shorter Film Criticism (2020)
Gary Phillips, The Underbelly, Plus… (2010)
–. Matthew Henson and the Ice Temple of Harlem (2020)
Sarah Pinsker, A Song for a New Day (2018)

Dora Raymaker, Hoshi and the Red City Circuit (2018)
Maurice Renard, The Blue Peril (1911)
Mack Reynolds, The Earth War (1963)
Waubgeshig Rice, Moon of the Crusted Snow (2018)
Lilliam Rivera, Dealing in Dreams (2019)
Rebecca Roanhorse, Trail of Lightning (2018)
Albert Robida, The Adventures of Saturnin Farandoul (1879)
Kim Stanley Robinson, Galileo’s Dream (2009)
–. The Ministry for the Future (2020)
Sally Rooney, Normal People (2018)

Saki, When William Came: A Story of London under the Hohenzollerns (1913)
Thomas Sanchez, Zoot-Suit Murders (1978)
Sathnam Sanghera, Marriage Material (2013)
John Scalzi, Lock In (2014)
Franz Schätzing, The Swarm (2004)
Paul Scheerbart, Rakkóx the Billionairre & The Great Race (1901)
Carter Scholz, Radiance (2002)
Audrey Schulman, Theory of Bastards (2018)
Tai Shani, Our Fatal Magic (2019)
Nat Shapiro and Nat Hentoff, eds, Hear Me Talkin’ To Ya: The Story of Jazz As Told By The Men Who Made It (1955)
Steven Shaviro, Extreme Fabulations: Science Fictions of Life (2021)
Mary Shelley, Matilda (1819–20; 1959)
Lucius Shepard, The Golden (1993)
Clifford D. Simak, The Trouble with Tycho (1960)
–. Way Station (1963)
Upton Sinclair, What Didymus Did (1954)
Johanna Sinisalo, Birdbrain (2008)
–. The Core of the Sun (2013)
Joan Slonczewski, Brain Plague (2000)
Zadie Smith, Feel Free (2018)
Rivers Solomon, An Unkindness of Ghosts (2017)
–. The Deep (2019)
Vladimir Sorokin, The Blizzard (2010)
Jeff Sparrow, No Way But This: In Search of Paul Robeson (2017)
Francis Spufford, Golden Hill (2016)
Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Machine’s Last Testament (2020)
Brian Stableford, The Plurality of Imaginary Worlds: The Evolution of French Roman Scientifique (2016)
–. New Atlantis: A Narrative History of Scientific Romance, volume I – The Origins of Scientific Romance (2016)
–. New Atlantis: A Narrative History of Scientific Romance, volume II – The Emergence of Scientific Romance (2016)
–. New Atlantis: A Narrative History of Scientific Romance, volume III – The Resurgence of Scientific Romance (2016)
–. New Atlantis: A Narrative History of Scientific Romance, volume IV – The Decadence of Scientific Romance (2016)
Anna Starobinets, The Living (2011)
Izumi Suzuki, Terminal Boredom: Stories (2021)

Adrian Tchaikovsky, Children of Ruin (2019)
Aiden Thomas, Cemetery Boys (2020)
Valerie Valdes, Chilling Effect (2019)
Jean-Christophe Valtat, Aurorarama (2010)
A.E. van Vogt, Slan (1940)
Hans Jakon Cristoffel von Grimmelshausen, The Adventures of Simplicius Simplicissimus (1669)
Vercors, Borderline (1952)
Kurt Vonnegut, Galápagos (1985)

Jo Walton, My Real Children (2014)
Rosie Warren, ed., Salvage 9: That Hideous Strength (2021)
–. Salvage 10: The Disorder of the Future (2021)
David Weber, On Basilisk Station (1993)
H.G. Wells, The Star-Begotten: A Biological Fantasia (1937)
Bernard Werber, Empire of the Ants (1991)
Will Wiles, The Way Inn (2014)
Elvia Wilk, Oval (2019)
Ellen Wilkinson, Clash (1929)
Connie Willis, Doomsday Book (1992)
–. Bellwether (1996)
Val Wilmer, As Serious As Your Life: Black Music and the Free Jazz Revolution, 19571977 (1977)
Daniel H. Wilson, Robopocalypse (2011)
Ben H. Winters, Underground Airlines (2016)
P.G. Wodehouse, The Swoop!, or How Clarence Saved England (1909)
Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary: A Fiction (1788)
–. The Wrongs of Woman or, Maria (1798)
Alexis Wright, The Swan Book (2016)
Tina Wyngarde-Hopkins, Peter Wyngarde: A Life Amongst Strangers (2020)

Lisa Yaszek, Galactic Suburbia: Rediscovering Women’s Science Fiction (2008)
Yoss, Red Dust (2004)

Émile Zola, Doctor Pascal (1893)

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