Best SFF Novels of the Decade Readers Poll

Best SFF Novels of the Decade Poll Update 01/11

We’ve tallied your votes from 700 comments so far in the Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Novels of the Decade Poll and from that we’ve got some new frontrunners! Check the list out below the cut. 

As we continue onward with the Best Of, we thought user Moebius Street brought up a thoughtful point regarding one’s personal criteria for the best books in the past decade eleven years.

…judging by some of what others listed, votes are being made for “favorite books” rather than for “best books,” which is a similar but different criteria. It’s perfectly possible to greatly enjoy a book while accepting that it’s pure fun without any “greatness.” Conversely, one can acknowledge greatness in a book that one doesn’t personally enjoy (although that’s more of a stretch).

There’s also a small debate regarding whether to include mentions for series and it’s one that mirrors our own discussions. (And, we assume, discussions behind any Best Of or Award that spans a significant amount of time.) On one hand, many series run together as one story and it seems worthy to recognize that storytelling achievement and the fulfillment it’s provided to a reader.

On the other hand, a new author with only a couple books under their belt can’t hope to match the heft of a series with a legacy. And a series can crowd out a lot of deserving titles.

For the moment, we’re keeping track of single novels and series in tandem, but not including series mentions in with the single novel votes, so we’ll see how it all falls out by this Friday. (So if you’ve already voted for a series, don’t worry, you’ve been counted.) The discussion is an interesting one, though, so we’ve opened up comments on this entry so there’s a place to talk about it.

Please do not vote in this post. The voting thread is here. Votes in this post’s thread will not be counted.


We present the Top 20 voted novels as of 2:00 PM EST on Tuesday, January 11th.

  1. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi – 180 votes
  2. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – 135 votes
  3. American Gods by Neil Gaiman – 127 votes
  4. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke – 93 votes
  5. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson – 88 votes
  6. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin – 87 votes
  7. Anathem by Neal Stephenson – 76 votes
  8. Perdido Street Station by China Miéville – 70 votes
  9. Spin by Robert Charles Wilson – 63 votes
  10. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch – 56 votes

Following them…[Updated at 7:26 PM, 1/11]

  1. Blindsight by Peter Watts – 50 votes
  2. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling – 48 votes / Night Watch by Terry Pratchett – 48 votes [TIE]
  3. Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson – 46 votes / Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan – 46 votes [TIE]
  4. The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold – 44 votes / Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson [TIE]
  5. The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson – 43 votes
  6. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi – 42 votes
  7. Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan – 41 votes

Scal-zi! Author Jon Scalzi rallied like a champ and shot to the top of the heap today. Rothfuss and Gaiman better step it up here. Way of Kings and Storm of Swords cooled some, but Way of Kings managed to just overtake its blood-soaked rival. Rowling separated herself from the Wheel of Time and began her ascent while dark horse Niffenegger fell off the chart. She hovers there, just out of sight, with Deadhouse Gates, The Hunger Games, and The Graveyard Book.

This is mostly the same batch of leading books as yesterday’s list, so it remains to be seen whether we’ll see too much differentiation from here on out. We certainly hope so!

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