New review: Favourites of 2013, by Jolene Tan

// 15 December 2013

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Jolene Tan rounds up the best science fiction and fantasy she has read in 2013 – from novels to short stories

I’ve read a lot of fantasy and science fiction this year: it’s a sort of comfort blanket for me, which has been handily non-taxing while I’ve been learning the ropes as a new parent.

I’ve been particularly struck by Kit Whitfield’s alternate-historical novel In Great Waters. In its Renaissance-era analogue of Britain, human beings as we know them – “landsmen” – live alongside a powerful sentient species of, essentially, mermaids or “deepsmen”,

whose cooperation is vital to the military security of the landsmen nations. All European royal houses consist of landsmen-deepsmen hybrids, the purity of whose lineages is preserved by brutal policing of sexual contact between the species (which is in any case, for a range of reasons, infrequent).

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