Some traditional and not-so-traditional categories (all based on content, not construction or presentation) for books/stories published and read in 2006:
Blindsight by Peter Watts
Best First Novel
Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell
The Empire of Ice Cream by Jeffrey Ford
The Bible Repairman by Tim Powers
Best Story (this was a tough one)
The American Dead by Jay Lake
Best Book Published Only in the Small Press
Alabaster by Caitlin R. Kiernan
Plumage from Pegasus by Paul Di Filippo
“Where Are You?” Award
The Third Alternative/Black Static
All in all, I had a lot of good books and stories to chose from this year. Despite reading more Fantasy than Science Fiction, I found the majority of my favorites to be Science Fiction. For example, John Scalzi and Charles Stross would take the remaining top three places for best novel if I extended these lists. Tim Powers would likely be the highest fantasy author on the list and Jeff Vandermeer a little further down. I think I’m just becoming jaded with the current state of fantasy, with a heavy reliance on sequels and stories that don’t end. Perhaps this is another reason I’m finding myself more drawn to short fiction over the last few years.
So, that’s my meaningless list. How about you?