Best SFF Novels of the Decade Readers Poll

Best SFF Novels of the Decade Readers Poll RESULTS

We are exhaustedly happy to announce the final results of the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novel of the Decade Reader’s Poll!

You voted more than 10,000 times for over 1600 titles over the course of seven days and we spent a long long amount of time hand-counting that, then recounting that over and over in order to shake out a final count free of inaccuracies and ineligibilities. Along the way we assembled some interesting data sets that we’ll be rolling out for you over the next few days.

Oh, but that’s just the cream. The real treat here are the top ten titles that you chose en masse as the Best SFF Novels of the Decade! Befitting novels of such status, we’ll be rolling out appreciations of these novels from a host of guest writers!


The Top Ten:

Without further delay, the top ten Best SFF Novels of the Decade, chosen by popular vote:

  1. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi – 295 votes
  2. American Gods by Neil Gaiman – 270 votes
  3. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – 231 votes
  4. Blindsight by Peter Watts – 221 votes
  5. Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey – 194 votes
  6. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin – 179 votes
  7. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke – 167 votes
  8. Anathem by Neal Stephenson – 141 votes
  9. Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson – 125 votes
  10. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville – 124 votes

All vote counts include series votes bundled in, a practice that shot Mistborn into the top ten and funnily enough bumped out Mr. Sanderson’s most recent original release, The Way of Kings.

All of the vote counts changed after recount, some more dramatically than others. Several books also had the benefit of their fanbase’s support, most notably Old Man’s War and Kushiel’s Dart, the former of which never let go of the top spot once it had it and the latter of which benefited from a massive influx of votes in the final few days of voting.

Also notable amongst the top ten is the presence of two debut novels which continually gathered votes with little to no help from their authors or a centralized group of fans, The Name of the Wind and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. These two books seem to have struck a particularly resonant chord along a wide swath of fantasy fiction readers.

Of course, none of the top ten books would be there if they weren’t widely beloved, and its in that spirit that we gathered appreciations for all ten titles!


The Appreciations:

We’ll be posting one appreciation each day in alphabetical order by book title, since that’s what readers were primarily voting for as opposed to author, appreciator, etc. The schedule is as follows:

American Gods by Neil Gaiman 03/01/11 – American Gods: An Appreciation by Patrick Rothfuss
Anathem by Neal Stephenson 03/02/11 – Anathem: An Appreciation by Jo Walton
Blindsight by Peter Watts 03/03/11 – Blindsight: An Appreciation by Elizabeth Bear
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke 03/04/11 – Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: An Appreciation by Lev Grossman
Kushiels Dart by Jacqueline Carey 03/05/11 – Kushiel’s Dart: An Appreciation by Claire Eddy, Senior Editor at Tor Books
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson 03/06/11 – Mistborn: The Final Empire: An Appreciation by Jason Denzel of
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss 03/07/11 – The Name of the Wind: An Appreciation by John Scalzi
Old Mans War by John Scalzi; 03/08/11 – Old Man’s War: An Appreciation by Ken MacLeod
Perdido Street Station by China Mieville 03/09/11 – Perdido Street Station: An Appreciation by Eileen Gunn
Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

03/10/11 – A Storm of Swords: An Appreciation by Elio and Linda of

We hope you’ll chime in along with your own appreciations!


The Data:

As mentioned above, we’ll be releasing sets of data gleaned from the poll every day this week. The first concerns an executive summary of data, along with voting trends and a voting timeline of the top ten, which you’ll see later today. Further on in the week we’ll be releasing data regarding gender, top authors, awards, and more!

But we also wanted to give the readers a chance to play with the data themselves, so go here to download a Google Docs spreadsheet of the raw collected data. [Edit: It looks like the Google Docs view cuts off about 3/4ths of the way through the sheet. Download the file to get the full sheet.]

An additional note: considering the freeform nature of the votes and general human error, there are bound to be some discrepancies within the data. Please take this margin into account when collating your own stats.

03/01/11 – Best of the Decade Data: Voting Trends, Timelines & More
03/02/11 – Best of the Decade Data: Votes by Year + Top 50 vs. Awards & Genres
03/03/11 – Best of the Decade Data: Votes by Author

This project was a great deal more massive than we envisioned from the outset and none of the results would have been realized without the help and extra effort of the entirety of the team. But most of all, we want to thank all of our readers for voting and for being so patient with us.

We hope you enjoy the results!


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