The publication of Seoul Survivors made 2013 a busy year for my writing career. With the next two SF novels pawing at the door, however, at times I feared my reading was suffering. In line with my random book-grabbing habits, I made a haphazard effort to post reviews on Goodreads, but found it impossible to keep up regular appearances. So when Charles Boyle kindly asked me to contribute a title or two to his cbeditions Books of the Year blog post, the invitation provoked a bout of serious year-end reflection. Compiling the following more fulsome list helped me to pick out recurring themes in my reading and writing, and set some intentions for 2014; it may also bring to your attention titles that may otherwise have flown under your radar. For those who really like this sort of thing, The Rules were: 1) Contenders did not have to be published…

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          Raw sewage and muddy rainwater rising in the fruit and vegetable market. Six hours of electricity a day, while snow blankets the Middle East. Will it be frostbite, corpses and medieval diseases this Christmas for Gaza? The world’s media, of course, pays not a fig of attention to the crisis.* Meanwhile here in Brighton & Hove, today at the weekly Boycott Ecostream demo – urging consumers not to buy products made by an Israeli company with its HQ illegally situated in occupied territories – local Zionists chanted ‘The BDS-ers don’t care about Palestinians, they only care about their human rights agenda’. The Zios also repeatedly, loudly, denounced us all as ‘crybabies’ and anti-Semites, and gleefully hurled vacuous personal slurs – ‘You spit like a girl’ to one man who hadn’t even opened his mouth. We laughed about that one later on in the cafe – …

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