Jan 14 2011 7:04pm

Best SFF Novels of the Decade Poll Update 01/14

Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels of the Decade Poll on

We’ve tallied your votes from 1393 comments so far in the Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Novels of the Decade Poll and we’ve got another jump into the Top 20. We’ve also updated the other 27 title we listed yesterday. Check the list out below the cut.

We present the Top 20 47 voted novels as of 3:02 PM EST on Friday, January 14th.

  1. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi - 293 votes
  2. American Gods by Neil Gaiman - 262 votes
  3. Blindsight by Peter Watts - 218 votes
  4. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss - 217 votes
  5. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke - 163 votes
  6. Anathem by Neal Stephenson - 143 votes
  7. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin - 139 votes
  8. Perdido Street Station by China Miéville - 133 votes
  9. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson - 130 votes
  10. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch - 110 votes

Following them...

  1. Spin by Robert Charles Wilson - 95 votes / Night Watch by Terry Pratchett - 95 votes [TIE]
  2. The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold - 93 votes
  3. Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan - 87 votes
  4. Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson - 83 votes
  5. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling - 76 votes / Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey - 76 votes [TIE]
  6. Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson - 72 votes
  7. Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan - 69 votes / The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - 69 votes [TIE]

In the Top 10 we’ve got Blindsight and The Name of the Wind wrestling for third. (We’ll bet the positions have changed and then changed back and then maybe changed again since we tallied this a few hours ago.) Perdido Street Station continues its steady progression upwards, besting The Way of Kings today.

The Curse of Chalion echoes the same progressions in the Top 20 but it’s under threat from Kushiel’s Dart, which saw a huge surge of votes after Jacqueline Carey notified her fans of this poll over Facebook last night. Currently it’s dancing with Harry Potter, but we expect it will leave Deathly Hallows behind once all is said and tallied.

Oddly enough, Knife of Dreams and The Hunger Games were tied yesterday, as well. Those two need to hug it out. (Rand al’Thor and Katniss Everdeen are known for that, right?)

In the trailing 27:

  1. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi - 67 votes
  2. Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson - 65 votes
  3. The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson - 63 votes
  4. Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds - 56 votes
  5. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - 52 votes
  6. The Scar by China Mieville - 49 votes
  7. His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik - 48 votes
  8. Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold - 47 votes
  9. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow - 45 votes
  10. The City & the City by China Miéville - 38 votes
  11. Going Postal by Terry Pratchett - 38 votes
  12. The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie - 38 votes
  13. Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson - 38 votes
  14. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson - 36 votes
  15. The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon - 36 votes
  16. Sunshine by Robin McKinley - 31 votes
  17. River of Gods, Ian McDonald - 31 votes
  18. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin - 31 votes
  19. The Magicians, Lev Grossman - 29 votes
  20. A Feast For Crows by George R. R. Martin - 29 votes
  21. The Android’s Dream by John Scalzi - 28 votes
  22. Pandora’s Star, by Peter F. Hamilton - 28 votes
  23. The Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham - 27 votes
  24. Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson - 27 votes
  25. Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds - 26 votes
  26. Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge - 26 votes
  27. Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay - 22 votes

Not too much movement there, aside from Going Postal, Deadhouse Gates, and His Majesty’s Dragon.

Only a few hours ago until we stop counting! This is definitely not the final count, as we’ll be doing a total tally, then a recount. We’ll also be making a decision on whether to bunch votes on series in or keep them separate.

Until then, have a great weekend and, once more, with feeling...

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

1. surfwax
I'm immensely grateful for this poll!!! My reading list for 2011 just grew by a factor of three.
2. Jim Kiley
It is Rainbows End, not Rainbow's End. The difference is relevant to the book itself.
3. Doug Wagner
A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin.
4. trench
Ok, out of 47 books Brandon Sanderson wrote 6 of them. Not to shabby.
larry shirk
5. lorenzo
It definitely is working! There are a number of people listed that I did not know about. I've been sampling Peter Watts' work for days now - if all of the people on the notable list are this good, I will be having a lot of fun for a long time to come.
I hope you will leave the final vote thread accessible for a long while, so I can check out the people who got a vote but not on the top-however-many list. Unless your final list has EVERYbody on it...
6. Vermicelli
1. John Scalzi's Old Man's War
2. The Unincorprated Man by Kollin Bros.
Alex Brown
7. AlexBrown
Um, I'm not sure why this has to be repeated in every post but for those voting in this post they WILL NOT BE COUNTED! Go to the actual post and vote there.

Also, I'm really glad The Time Traveler's Wife has finally been kicked off the main top 10. There's no reason at all it should've been in there in the first place. Yeah, yeah, flame war, blah blah, but seriously. How is that in any way, shape, or form anywhere close to Sanderson, Gaiman, Mieville, Scalzi, or anyone else in the top spots? It annoyed me seeing it there and I'm glad it's gone.
8. 'nother Mike
Will there be a consolidated list also published? Not just the top whatever, but these are the books that readers remember from 2000 to 2011?
9. alan1983
It's a shame some author's began manipulating the results of this poll. I don’t think they cheated or anything, but it’s not very fair to other author’s who don’t point their fans to this way. I’m not trying to say those particular books have no merit or don’t belong here. It’s just that when the vote is manipulated in that way, it lessens the lists credibility. Personally I think I’ll just use one of the earlier result lists as my must read list. Its just a purer list in my opinion because it is not skewed towards certain authors. Those books made it there more on merit rather than on a rabid fanboy push.
David Betz
10. RDBetz
@7 Milo1313: I hate to be negative but I have to say I totally agree.
11. Smaug's Li'l Brother Puff
alan1983: You have a point, though I disagree there's any "shame" in it. Polls like this are by nature popularity contests. And the process and results should be taken in a spirit of fun competition — like fans painting their faces to cheer on their teams and wrestlers flexing ringside.

What I would STRONGLY encourage Stubby to do, though, is change the name of the contest from "Best" to "Favorite" Novels of the Decade. "Best" will never be defended as well as "Favorite" can. I, for instance, don't think Blindsight belongs in the top 20 and can't fathom how people prefer American Gods to The Graveyard Book, and I have the most discerning taste here.* Oh, well, right?

* :-D
Sergey Benchuk
12. voidrunner
Well, I definitely think that counting series as a single giant book would be quite unfair, both because the quality of different works in a series can (and often does) vary, and because that would give any series an automatic advantage in a poll.

Having said that, yeah, this poll has contributed a lot to my reading list as well.
Jonah Feldman
13. relogical
I'm not that upset about the authors who linked to the poll from their blogs, because of the nature of the poll. If their fans had just voted for a single book and left, it would be skewed, but most people voted for several books. That ensured that we got a better sampling of voters, which gave more accurate results for the majority of the poll's books at the cost of alienating the votes of a single one.

If you downplay the tiny fraction of the poll that swung wildly from the authors' links, you get a much better count overall. Plus, more traffic for, and those authors' readers will want to read the other high-ranked books if they haven't already, which are both always good.
Gabriele Campbell
14. G-Campbell
What the poll shows is that an active web presence helps expanding the fanbase. A more or less static website alone won't work, you need a blog or something and interact with the readers/fans. And I'm totally fine with that.

Ah well, next steps in my career:
1) Finish that damn novel.
2) Find agent/publisher.
3) Get a cat and some bacon. A blog I already have.

15. wizardbear
Please, when you're done, post the whole list in some form. I'd like to mine it for reading suggestions. Thanks - WB
Joris Meijer
16. jtmeijer
@ 11. Smaug's Li'l Brother Puff
I would not like it if they switched from Best to Favourite. I voted for the best books I read, which does not necessarily correspond to my favourite reads.
Hardly any of the fantasy published in the last decade made my best list, while I really enjoyed reading it. It would have made a favourite list. The SF works I voted for would probably stay though.
Madeline Ferwerda
17. MadelineF
If you were to create a spreadsheet with columns like "username" "title" "author" and put it up where it could be found, that would be a fantastically useful thing... I mean, if you're going through it all again anyway. This set of comments seems like a great source for "So, you liked _The Curse of Chalion_. You will probably also like _Farthing_" type data.

And I bet we could all look at the list and say "Oy, THAT book is in the top 10/20/whatever?". I like the largely positive comment thread over there, though.
With regard to the social media controversy: In 2011, you have to expect that people are going to learn about polls that way! I was happy to learn about the poll from my favorite author via Facebook. However, I didn't just vote for that person's work, but also for a couple of other books. So I hope there won't be a controversy over this issue.

I'd also love to see the final list! I'm hoping it's not being delayed because of the social media situation.
Irene Gallo
19. Irene
PJPG: No, we are not delaying because of the social media issue...In fact, I don't think there really is an issue. It's a popular vote, having a direct connection to your audience helps authors be popular. Writers and publishers (us included) very often point to their works when award season comes around.

We didn't post an update last week because, well, it ended on midnight on a Friday night. And because we do want to want to take the time to recount from the beginning, check everything twice. It'll probably take us a few days to do that. It really is being done by hand (to account for spelling errors and such.). We'll start counting on Tuesday (Monday is a holiday) and hope to have results a few days latter.
@Irene Thank you for clarifying! We'll all look forward to final results next week sometime.
21. @Corum
Let me echo MadelineF at 17 -

It would be really cool to somehow be able to select the books you thought best from the list and see what folks who included multiple titles from *your* list included in thier list which you haven't read yet.

From reading over the the first half of the 'votes' I decided that the next tile out of the "to read" pile would be Morgan's _Altered_Carbon_ and was not disappointed.

Sergey Benchuk
22. voidrunner

So, when can we expect results? The masses are itching with curiosity!
Bobby Stubbs
23. Valan
Can't wait for the final results, I already read Old Man's War because of this poll and was very pleased with it. In fact, it was pretty fucking awesome.

Might I suggest a permanent link over to the side of the main page, like the Re-reads and such when the results come in?

Personally, I think quite a few numbers will change with the doing it by hand kinda deal going on. But we will see.
Peter Marcantonio
24. pmarcantonio
I can't seem to find the final results for the poll, has it been published? If it has, can you please let me know where it is.

Goetz Kruppa
25. goetznl
Well, one week ago the update said: "Those numbers should be appearing later on this week, fingers crossed,"....
I guess counting with crossed fingers didn't work out...
Or does one of the volunteers have the initials GRRM?
A short update or progress report would be highly appreciated!
Thanks and strength and groetjes from Amsterdam!
Sheila Miguez
26. shekay
Are you guys writing a script to skim through the comments to guestimate counts for everything? Can I see your script?
Any luck, Tor? We remain eager...
28. akthom
Still counting?
I hate to be a jerk, but how about an update.
Irene Gallo
29. Irene
We are still counting. We know the top ten but we'd like to release full results. And we are lining up people to write appreciations about the top ten. We'll give an update as soon as we can. Promise!
30. akthom
Nice, thanks for the update. Cant wait to see the results.

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