Science fiction and fantasy
ListsWho Reviews What In 2013
A chart of the sub-genre preferences of prominent speculative fiction book bloggers reviewing in 2013.
The Best Books Of 2012
A list of some of the outstanding releases of 2012.
Who Reviews What In 2012
A chart of the sub-genre preferences of a number of prominent SFF book bloggers writing reviews in 2012.
The Best Books Of 2011
My choice of the best genre reading of 2011.
Top 10 Cheerful, Bleak, Highbrow and Accessible YA Books
The best books, listed according to various qualities.
Top 10 Lists: Books
Top rated authors and books by genre and date.
A Short List of Under-Appreciated Books
A list of some of some books that have slipped under the radar.
10 Years of Warpcore SF
6th September 2011It's hard to believe it's 10 years since I had the idea of starting a science fiction and fantasy blog. Back then hardly anyone talked about blogs, so it was just a website like any other. In those days there was no fancy-schmancy Wordpress or Blogger to make it easy to publish online. Webmasters huddled for warmth in caves around glowing monitors the size of obelisks, hacking out code with flint and copies of vi. Those were the days.
Warpcore SF was launched in September 2001, although it didn't get its own domain until 2002. However I'm not going to go on about how the website has evolved over the years. I'll spare you the screenshots of bad taste web design with yellow backgrounds and centre-aligned everything. Instead I'm going to mark the occasion with my best-of-year picks from each year I've been blogging.
2001Although I wasn't blogging for much of 2001 I still came across a couple of very high quality selections for this year.
Film: A Knight's Tale
Not even strictly fantasy, but Brian Helgeland's movie adaptation of Chaucer's tale is so exuberant and playful that it's far and away my favourite from 2001.
Book: The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents
This dark twist on the Pied Piper story is Terry Pratchett at his best. Disguised as a children's book, it deals with questions about death, souls, and how we treat creatures we see as beneath us, and it's a rattling good adventure to boot.
2002Film: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets directed by Chris Columbus
Some people see this movie as a bit sprawling, but I've always preferred the style of Chris Columbus over the later, darker movies. It helps that the source book is also a lot lighter, and the screenwriters didn't need to compress so much material into the length of a feature film. It's a little cute, but this movie captures the magic and sense of wonder that I think makes the Harry Potter series appeal to so many people.
Book: Lost In A Good Book by Jasper Fforde
2002 offered a lot of good books from the likes of Anne Bishop, Trudi Canavan, and others. Jasper Fforde's witty and wonderful Thursday Next literary adventures wins out because of the way it combines cleverness with absurdity and comes out making an odd sort of sense.
2003Film: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
I loved every minute of Peter Jackson's take on The Lord of the Rings, and the fact that it lasts for hours is, in my view, a bonus.
Book: Fool's Fate by Robin Hobb
The last in the Tawny Man trilogy. All of the books in that series had a special kind of intensity, but this was the only one that actually had me in tears at the end.
2004Film:I Robot directed by Alex Proyas
2004 was one of my leaner blogging years as far as films were concerned. I, Robot is still a good, solid movie however.
Book: Nylon Angel by Marianne de Pierres
The first book in the Parrish Plessis series introduced us to a take-no-prisoners kick-ass heroine fighting against media corruption and brutal gangs in a landscape blasted by environmental destruction. Very grrl power, and very compelling.
2005Film:Mirrormask directed by Dave McKean
Mirrormask is one of those movies that I very nearly missed entirely, but I'm so glad I didn't. It's quietly strange and beautiful.
Book: Priestess of the White by Trudi Canavan
Trudi Canavan's Age of the Five series is one of those fantasies you can dive in and stay absorbed in that world for days, so long as you have the whole trilogy.
2006Film:V For Vendetta directed by James McTeigue
I know Alan Moore, perfectionist that he is, isn't a massive fan of this movie, but quite a few scenes from it had a big impact on me. They weren't merely memorable or iconic, they made a point about what it means to fight for freedom and face our fears, and they did it in a shocking and powerful way. This is no candyfloss.
Book: The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
This was my standout favourite for 2006, not least because Inquisitor Glokta is such a superb character. The wicked torturer is so pessimistic and hilarious, and the tone is so dark, that after this book fantasy started to get its edge back.
2007Film: Pirates of the Caribbean : At World's End directed by Gore Verbinski
Sometimes you want to go and see a movie and have a lot of fun. It's not clever, it's not incisive and it's not particularly meaningful, but it's a couple of hours of pure pleasure.
Book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
The Harry Potter series promised much, so the last book really had to deliver to fulfil the expectations of its legions of fans. And it did.
2008Film: The Dark Knight (2008) directed by Christopher Nolan
I loved the way Christopher Nolan took Batman in a darker direction than past directors, and this movie takes a good thing and makes it even better. It's always going to be tinged with the tragedy of Heath Ledger's untimely death. Nevertheless it stands out as an intelligent, moving and scary piece of cinema.
Book: Principles of Angels by Jaine Fenn
I'm a sucker for unusual visions of the far future, and Jaine Fenn's high-up society on Kesh City ticks all the right boxes: there's vertigo, an unusual political system, crazy tech, aliens, the sense of a place with a troublesome history, and a unique slang. Top all this off with an action-packed storyline, and that's why this is my read of 2008.
2009Film: Coraline directed by Henry Selick
This movie could easily have been far too cute, but it holds on to Neil Gaiman's vision and darkness, and the differences from the book aren't jarring, so the end result is charming, with a side order of completely freaky.
Book: Johannes Cabal The Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard
There's just something about the arrogant necromancer Cabal, with his buttoned-up dress code and utter disdain of anyone and everything that isn't himself, no matter what dimension it comes from. I love a rotter, and a smart villain is all the more appealing.
2010Film: Repo Men directed by Miguel Sapochnik
This movie was somewhat overlooked, but Repo Men is an intelligent and dark satire on corporate murder and the need to balance acting ethically with making a living.
Book: Wolfsangel by M. D. Lachlan
2010 was an exceptional year for genre literature from my point of view, and there were exceptional books out from authors such as Gary McMahon, Paul Hoffman, Aliette de Bodard, Lauren Beukes, Guy Adams and many others. But M. D. Lachlan's Wolfsangel was the one that left me with the most tingling down my spine.
2011It's not over yet, but 2011 has thrown up some good stuff already. Bloody War by Terry Grimwood is the standout book for this year so far, with its uncompromising and scary look at London in a state of modern war.
As far as films go however, I haven't seen anything I could point to and say "Awesome!" without being sarcastic. This is more down to me watching fewer movies (and reading more books) than because of a drastic decline in the quality of genre films being made.
So that was the first ten years of Warpcore SF, summed up in 20 absolutely fantastic pieces of work. Here's hoping the next ten will be as good.
© Ros Jackson