Locus Poll Results

4 January 2013

Here follows an announcement from the Department of Plugging Our Books and Looking Smug At the Same Time:

Last November, we exhorted you all to vote in the Locus Poll of the best SFF of the 20th and 21st centuries. The results of the poll are now in, and, rather gratifyingly, SF Gateway and sister imprint Gollancz do quite well out of them. The top ten lists make for interesting reading and, no doubt, a few arguments. I imagine everyone will be having a broadly similar reaction – a mix of ‘quite right, too’ and ‘how on Earth did that make the Top Ten’ – but will vary quite a bit in terms of which books they regard as deserving or undeserving of a place.

Here are the Top Tens in each category . . .

10 BEST SF NOVELS FROM THE 20th CENTURY:

1. Frank Herbert, Dune (1965)
2. Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game (1985)
3. Isaac Asimov, The Foundation Trilogy (1953)
4. Dan  Simmons, Hyperion (1989)
5. Ursula K Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)
6. Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979)
7. George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)
8. William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)
9. Alfred  Bester, The Stars My Destination (1957)
10. Ray  Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953)

We publish nearly half of the 20th Century SF Novels, in one form or other:
Dune
in SF Masterworks hardback and SF Gateway eBook Hyperion in SF Masterworks paperback and SF Gateway eBook The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in SF Masterworks hardback The Stars My Destination in SF Masterworks paperback

 

10 BEST FANTASY NOVELS FROM THE 20th CENTURY:

1. J. R. R.  Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (1955)
2. George R. R. Martin, A Game of Thrones (1996)
3. J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit (1937)
4. Ursula K Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea (1968)
5. Roger Zelazny, Nine Princes in Amber (1970)
6. C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)
7. China Mieville, Perdido Street Station (2000)
8. Gaiman/Pratchett Good Omens (1990)
9. J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997)
10. John Crowley, Little, Big (1981)

Of the 20th century Fantasy novels, we publish Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens in hardback, have Nine Princes in Amber available as part of our Fantasy Masterworks The Chronicles of Amber volume and have an eBook of John Crowley’s Little, Big planned for  later this year.

 

10 BEST SHORT STORIES FROM THE 20th CENTURY:

1. Arthur C. Clarke, “The Nine Billion Names of God” (1953)
2. Ursula K Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” (1973)
3. Harlan Ellison, “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ said the Ticktockman” (1965)
4. Harlan Ellison, “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” (1967)
5. Arthur C. Clarke, “The Star” (1955)
6. Ray Bradbury, “A Sound of Thunder” (1952)
7. Robert A. Heinlein, “All You Zombies— ”(1959)
8. William Gibson, “Johnny Mnemonic” (1981)
9. James, Jr. Tiptree, “The Screwfly Solution” (1977)
10. Shirley Jackson, “The Lottery” (1948)

A decent showing here, too, with “The Nine Billion Names of God” and “The Star” both available in The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke (paperback | eBook). We also publish the two Harlan Ellison stories – “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ said the Ticktockman” is in Paingod and Other Delusions, and “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” is in the collection of the same name.

 

10 BEST NOVELETTES FROM THE 20th CENTURY:

1. Daniel Keyes, “Flowers for Algernon” (1959)
2. Isaac Asimov, “Nightfall” (1941)
3. Roger Zelazny, “A Rose for Ecclesiastes” (1963)
4. Isaac Asimov, “The Bicentennial Man” (1976)
5. George R. R. Martin, “Sandkings” (1979)
6. Alfred Bester, “Fondly Fahrenheit” (1954)
7. Harlan Ellison, “A Boy and His Dog” (1969)
8. Greg Bear, “Blood Music” (1983)
9. Octavia E. Butler, “Bloodchild” (1984)
10. Tom Godwin, “The Cold Equations” (1954)

The novel-length version of Flowers for Algernon is published as an SF Masterwork and a Gateway eBook, as is the novel-length version of Blood Music (SF Masterwork | eBook) so, if you’ll forgive us (and, in fact, even if you won’t!) we’re going to claim these two. We also have “Sandkings” in Volume One of George R. R. Martin’s Dreamsongs (paperback | eBook), a retrospective of his best short fiction, and Harlan Ellison’s “A Boy and His Dog” included in collection The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World.

 

10 BEST NOVELLAS FROM THE 20th CENTURY:

1. Ted Chiang, “Story of Your Life” (1998)
2. Ursula K Le Guin, “The Word for World Is Forest” (1972)
3. James, Jr. Tiptree, “Houston, Houston, Do You Read?” (1976)
4. John W. Campbell,  “Who Goes There?” (1938)
5. John Varley,  “The Persistence of Vision” (1978)
6. Gene Wolfe, “The Fifth Head of Cerberus” (1972)
7. Fritz Leiber, “Ill Met in Lankhmar” (1970)
8. Robert A. Heinlein, “The Man Who Sold the Moon” (1950)
9. Nancy Kress, “Beggars in Spain” (1991)
10. C. L.  Moore & Henry Kuttner, “Vintage Season” (1946)

And rounding out the 20th century, so to speak, are the novellas, where we have “Who Goes There?” in paperback and eBook collection of the same name, “The Fifth Head of Cerberus” as an SF Masterwork and a Gateway eBook, and “Ill Met in Lankhmar” included in the Fantasy Masterwork The First Book of Lankhmar and the Gateway eBook Swords and Devlitry.

 

By our reckoning, SF Gateway and Gollancz have 21 of the 50 works voted as the best of the 20th century, which is not too shabby at all. We don’t fare quite as well the 21st century categories but still rack up a creditable half dozen . . .

10 BEST SF NOVELS FROM THE 21st CENTURY:

1. John Scalzi, Old Man’s War (2005)
2. Neal Stephenson, Anathem (2008)
3. Paolo Bacigalupi, The Windup Girl (2009)
4. Robert Charles Wilson, Spin (2005)
5. Peter Watts, Blindsight (2006)
6. Richard Morgan, Altered Carbon (2002)
7. Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games (2008)
8. William Gibson, Pattern Recognition (2003)
9. China Mieville, The City & the City (2009)
10. Charles Stross, Accelerando (2005)

 We have two of the best SF novels of the century so far, in Robert Charles Wilson’s Hugo Award-winning Spin, which is available as an SF Gateway eBook, and Richard Morgan’s Philip K. Dick Award-winning debut Altered Carbon (paperback | eBook). Perhaps also worth noting that, while we don’t publish Old Man’s War, we have recently signed John Scalzi and published his acclaimed Redshirts in November last year.

 

10 BEST FANTASY NOVELS FROM THE 21st CENTURY:

1. Neil Gaiman, American Gods (2001)
2. Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2004)
3. Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind (2007)
4. China Mieville, The Scar (2002)
5. George R. R. Martin, A Feast for Crows (2005)
6. J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007)
7. Lois McMaster Bujold, The Curse of Chalion (2001)
8. China Mieville, The City & the City (2009)
9. Jasper Fforde, The Eyre Affair (2001)
=10. Lois McMaster Bujold, Paladin of Souls (2003)
=10. Terry Pratchett, Night Watch (2002)

There’s another debut in the fantasy section, with Patrick Rothfuss’s epic (in every sense of the word) The Name of the Wind, which is available as a paperback and an eBook.

 

10 BEST SHORT STORIES FROM THE 21st CENTURY:

1. Ted Chiang, “Exhalation” (2008)
2. Margo Lanagan, “Singing My Sister Down” (2004)
3. Neil Gaiman, “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” (2006)
4. Peter Watts, “The Things” (2010)
5. Michael Swanwick, “The Dog Said Bow-Wow” (2001)
6. Ursula K Le Guin, “The Bones of the Earth” (2001)
7. Kij Johnson, “26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss”
8. Daniel Abraham, “The Cambist and Lord Iron” (2007)
9. Kij Johnson, “Spar” (2009)
10. Alastair Reynolds, “Zima Blue” (2005)

Just the one entry in the short story section: congratulations to Alastair Reynolds for “Zima Blue”, available in the collection of the same name, in both paperback and eBook.

 

10 BEST SF NOVELETTES FROM THE 21st CENTURY:Two rings to rule them all . . .

1. Ted Chiang, “Hell Is the Absence of God” (2001)
2. Ted Chiang, “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” (2007)
3. Neil Gaiman, “A Study in Emerald” (2003)
4. Paolo Bacigalupi, “The Calorie Man” (2005)
5. Kelly Link, “The Faery Handbag” (2004)
6. Paolo Bacigalupi, “The People of Sand and Slag” (2004)
7. Jeffrey Ford, “The Empire of Ice Cream” (2003)
8. Charles Stross, “Lobsters” (2001)
9. China Mieville, “Reports of Certain Events in London” (2004)
10. Peter Watts, “The Island”

We have no stories in this section, so here is a picture of Bilbo Baggins fighting Green Lantern. To determine whose ring is best. Probably.

 

10 BEST SF NOVELLAS FROM THE 21st CENTURY:

1. Kelly Link, “Magic for Beginners” (2005)
2. Charles Stross, Palimpsest” (2009)
3. Ian R. MacLeod, “New Light on the Drake Equation” (2001)
4. Ted Chiang, “Liking What You See: A Documentary” (2002)
5. Vernor Vinge, “Fast Times at Fairmont High”
6. Alastair Reynolds, “Diamond Dogs” (2001)
7. Connie Willis “Inside Job”
8. Charles Stross, “The Concrete Jungle” (2004)
9. Kage Baker, “The Empress of Mars” (2003)
10. John Scalzi, “The God Engines” (2009)

Another triumph for Alastair Reynolds with “Diamond Dogs” – available in Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days, in both paperback and eBook – and we’re also going to claim Connie Willis’s “Inside Job”, which is included in the best of collection scheduled for publication later this year as an SF Masterwork paperback and SF Gateway eBook.

So there you have it. This list will no doubt provoke furious debate across the internets (if it hasn’t already), but we would like to leave that to others and simply congratulate those authors whose work appears above and offer fulsome gratitude and thanks to the fine folks at Locus for undertaking what must have been a mammoth task in collating and tabulating all of the results.

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