A lot of great books came out in 2017. Actually, literature had a really solid year – reading them all would require an effort of Nero Wolfian proportions. Here at The Game of Nerds, we cover the nerdy, the fantastic, and the absolute killer stuff that blew our socks off.
January – The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. Nothing can make a January night colder like a fantasy novel set in medieval Russia. Arden brings expertise on Russian folklore to the table in a genre saturated with Norse, French, and German fairy-tale influences.
February – All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai was a surprise. February had a lot of great book releases. I really thought John Darnielle’s Universal Harvester would have been February’s best genre read, but debut novelist Mastai’s time travel thriller absolutely stole the show.
March – Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar. Kalfar’s novel about a little-known scientist who becomes the Czech Republic’s first astronaut reflects on Eastern Bloc history from a non-Russian perspective, as well as the personal sacrifices that careers demand. Also, there’s space spiders that may or may not be real.
April – Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel. Sleeping Giants started a blockbuster trilogy, and Waking Gods continued it. This sequel brought unexpected deaths, darker character decisions, and new twists to a mysterious plot.
May – Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson. One of the most vocal celebrity-scientists in the business writes a short book full of quick answers to questions about outer space. Tyson remains true to his calling as an educator in a entertaining read for lifelong-learning adults who don’t time for an entire class on Khan Academy.
June – The Changeling by Victor LaValle. I had been waiting awhile for The Changeling and the payoff really satisfied. Everything about this modern American fairy tale works together masterfully and its probably my favorite book of all 2017.
July – Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero. If I waited a year for The Changeling, then I’ve been waiting half my life for Meddling Kids. Darker, edgier reboots of fairy tales don’t thrill me anymore, but I have always wondered, “Wait, so what happens to the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew/Mysteries, Inc./Cam Jansen when they grow up?” and now I have the answer in a novel.
August – The Lion Will Slaughter the Lamb by Margaret Killjoy. Killjoy’s little book totally took me by surprise both in it’s plot and the way it conserved words. Both a scary good and good scary book.
September – Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King. Owen King and Joe Hill are brothers, not the same person. For some reason, SK fans always talk about NOS4A2 and The Fireman in conversations about Sleeping Beauties – those are Joe Hill’s books! No, folks, this novel comes from the mind of King’s younger son, who has already produced award-winning short stories and a novel of his own.
October – From A Certain Point of View by Just About Every Popular Sci-Fi Writer Working Today. There’s so much detail in the Star Wars universe to explore and the Extended Universe just grew out of control like a Yuuzhan Vong kudzu. In this book, we get 40 differing views on the classic story (kind of like 40 miniature Rogue Ones) in a variety of loony styles that reflect not only the diversity of the Star Wars mythos, but also the current lassez faire attitude at Lucasfilm right now.
November – Oathbringer, Book Three of The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. A lot of nerds will find their stockings bulging with Stormlight Archive books in December. It’s a hefty read (I just released a full review of it) and the beautiful illustrations between the text really deserve mention.
December – Mississippi Roll, edited by George R.R. Martin. Keep your shorts on, Song fans – this is one of Martin’s many other projects. Martin edits the Wild Cards anthology series of superhero and science fiction stories, which tor.com is bringing back in a new set of five novels, starting with this one.