Tag Archives: fiction

GoodReads Book Choice Awards 2012 Results Announced

The 2012 goodreads winners.
The 2012 goodreads winners.

More than 1 million votes were cast and the results are in for the best books in Goodreads 4th Annual Awards.

J.K. Rowling’s book ‘The Casual Vacancy’ won in the ‘Fiction’ category with 11,525 votes. The Edinburgh author got mostly positive reviews for her first book following the Harry Potter series.  The Guardian referreds to it as ‘a solid, traditional and determinedly unadventurous English novel’. It tells the story of the English town of Pagford, whose inner turmoils comes to the surface after councilman Barry Fairbrother dies and the community has to elect a new member in his place. It deals with issues relating to drugs, self-harm, and sex. It’s a drastic turn away from the warmth of Harry Potter.

The media hype around J.K.Rowling’s first book for adults has boosted sales. “We had a really steady flow of sales. We were lucky enough to get some signed copies, and they just disappeared before we could get a proper look at them ourselves” says Cat Anderson, a bookseller at The Edinburgh Bookshop in Bruntsfield. She also comments on the content: “It was quite hitting in terms of the social comments she is making, but I personally wouldn’t have put it in my top books list.”

In the Young Adult category, John Green’s ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ won a convincing victory with 37,438 votes. The story revolves around Hazel, who after being diagnosed with stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, was prepared to die until a medical miracle gave her a new chance at life. She later meets with Augustus at a cancer support group for kids. Their romantic relationship helps her get a new perspective on sickness and health and their influence on her identity and legacy. Ms. Anderson comments that: “Everyone who’s read it has been blow away by it. John Green is a beautiful writer.”

2012 has been a big year for Queen Elizabeth II, the top book in Goodread’s Biography category being Sally Bedell Smith’s ‘Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch’. There has been a sea of books talking about the Queen’s life  “The focus on her being a modern monarch is what has given Sally Bedell Smith’s edge over the others”, says Ms. Anderson

Here is a list of some of the winners and runner ups of the GoodReads Choice Awards 2012.


‘The Casual Vacancy’ J.K. Rowling – 11,525 votes
“Where We Belong” Emily Giffin – 7,841 votes
“Home Front” Kristin Hannah – 6,072 votes


“Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” Susan Cain – 7,532 votes
“Behind the Beautiful Forevers” Katherine Boo – 5,356 votes
“The Power of Habit” Charles Duhigg – 3,300 votes

Young Adult

“The Fault in Our Stars” John Green – 37,438
“Easy” Tammara Webber – 8,890 votes
“Slammed” Colleen Hoover – 6,495 votes

History and Biography

“Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch” Sally Bedell Smith – 6,507 votes
“Drift” Rachel Maddow – 4,313 votes
“Killing Kennedy” Bill O’Reilly – 4,280 votes


“The Wind Through the Keyhole” Stephen King – 8,226 votes
“The Woman Who Died a Lot” Jasper Fforde – 5,221 votes
“The First Confessor” Terry Goodkind – 4,510 votes

 What books would make it in your ‘Best of 2012’ list? Do you agree with the choices of voters at Goodreads?

ConCERNing Science and Fiction

By Ewan Angus

Recently the University of Manchester was home to the release of an anthology that was a little bit different in its approach. It wasn’t just a anthology of short stories, it wasn’t just an anthology of science fiction. It was an anthology of science fiction writers writing the stories with real scientists bringing the science fact.  Named When it Changed, the book has a vast pull of British Sci Fi Greats.

It was, in effect, a team up of britain’s leading scientists and Science fiction authors. Think of it like a real life literature version of an issue of Marvel Team Up.

Taking 14  leading authors and asking them to write a short story that is scientifically relevant and realistic was the main goal of the project and has been made even more plausible by the inclusion of afterwords by the scientists to back up the science in the stories. Headed up by Geoff Ryman, author of the critically acclaimed Was, a surreal take on the Wizard of OZ and Air. as editor of the anthology I spoke to him about the process, how it came about and the reasoning behind it.

The premise of the book is to make the science in science fiction novels more believable by giving the facts held within to back up the plot. A large goal and one that is strangely unique.

“In 2002 I started a movement called the Mundanes with a bunch of young writers who didn’t like where a lot of SF was going.  In those days, even then, people didn’t seem to be taking on board the difference that peak oil and climate change might make to our future.  You got faster than light travel, very fast travel with no time dilation, time travel… the commericial wing of the genre (not the really good stuff) seemed trapped writing about ideas that were not only very unlikely to ever become true and which were getting stale.”

“I felt that maybe we needed another approach, one that specifically identified more positively what we actively wanted, not just what we didn’t want.  I can’t now remember who had the idea for this specific anthology me or the publisher.  I do know Ra Page came to me asking if I wanted to edit a short story anthology.  No matter who contributed what to the final idea, there was no doubt in my mind that it was a great idea.  The Manchester area is full of unis and research institutions full of people doing brilliant work.  Marry them up with writers and see what will happen.  The idea got huge amounts of support from within the University of Manchesrter and from the Manchester Area Beacon, Dame Nancy Rothwell.  There was then a lot of work, getting writers to agree, then scientists, then introducing them to each other, then watching sometimes as the collaborations didn’t quite work.  It took a year longer than scheduled, but it worked in the end.”

Authors such as Ken Macleod, author of the critically acclaimed trilogy Engines of Light and the Orwellian Night Sessions, was teamed up with Dr Richard Blake, the director of STFC’s Computational Science and Engineering Department at Daresbury Laboratory. their story revolved around the possible horrors of future supercomputers. This isnt Ken’s first anthology as he has featured in Nova Scotia, an anthology of Scottish Science Fiction Writers with the likes of Hal Duncan.

Marvel comics scribe and part of the Doctor Who 2005 revival, Paul Cornell took time out of his busy schedule to contribute a story revolving around a facility that is akin to the current Large Hadron Collider. His current work on A list Comic titles such as Dark Reign: Young Avengers, Dark XMen and the celebrated, Captain Britain and MI:13 has been lauded for its tight plotting and in depth character growth. The subject is one that scientist Dr Rob Appleby is very clued up on, he works at the LHC with CERN in Switzerland.

Other authors for  the anthology include Adam Roberts, author of Stone and Swiftly, Gwyneth Jones, Feminist Science Fiction author who is known for comparisons to Ursula K. Le Guin.

Editor of the anthology Geoff Ryman contributed a short story centering on how current technology may help us to explore and learn more about artifacts from Mars.

“My scientist gave me all kinds of great information about how physics is now used in archaelogy and the study of artefacts.  I went away and wrote the story, but the good bit was having someone to check the result out with.  Not just to correct errors, but to tell me if there were any  bright new directions or ideas that I was missing.”

The Book is available now from Amazon.co.uk.