Tue
Jan 17 2012 5:00pm

Tor.com 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards Update 01/17

2011 Tor.com Reader’s Choice AwardsWe’ve tallied your responses to the Tor.com 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards as of 5:00 PM EST, Sunday, January 15 and little has budged over the weekend.

Once Monday and Tuesday’s votes are tallied and verified we imagine that will change, but for now here are the top ten voted on Novels for the end of the weekend:

  1. The All-Pro by Scott Sigler (89 votes)
  2. The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (86 votes)
  3. The Seventh Throne by Stephen Zimmer (56 votes)
  4. The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson (49 votes)
  5. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (42 votes)
  6. Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi (37 votes)
  7. Embassytown by China Mieville (36 votes)
  8. Among Others by Jo Walton (33 votes)
  9. A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin (33 votes)
  10. Dancing With Eternity by J.P. Lowry (24 votes)

The presence of more and more small press or self-published books making gains in the poll has put the focus on how writers utilize social media. As the number of votes grows, we’re curious as to whether the results are heading towards a statstical homogenization or whether we’re on the cusp of differentiation.

Heavy online campaigning by Stephen Zimmer, Scott Sigler, J.P Lowry, and John Scalzi has produced significant results so far but so far the number of votes in the Reader’s Choice poll is roughly equal to the amount of people one is connected to through social media. Most people have around one hundred to five hundred people they’re connected to, so once that group has been mobilized would that author’s progress come to a halt? Or would it continue to ripple outwards based on appeal? Is there a point where perpetual motion comes in to play in regards to people championing a book?

On the other hand, a great many of the books in the top ten are there on appeal alone, gaining votes slowly and steadily without any campaigning from their authors. The majority of these books benefitted from marketing and awareness campaigns (including at least one from this very site) conducted by large publishers. The contrast is interesting to consider and we’re curious as to whether a conclusion can be reached in regards to how a reader becomes aware of a book.

In the meantime, let’s look at who’s in the top 20 for Novels:

11.  Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey (18 votes)
12.  Ghost Story by Jim Butcher (18 votes)
13.  The Crippled God by Steven Erikson (16 votes)
14.  The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie (14 votes)
15.  Snuff by Terry Pratchett (14 votes)
16.  Reamde by Neal Stephenson (13 votes)
17.  11.22.63 by Stephen King (12 votes)
18.  Dragon Fate by J.D. Hallowell (12 votes)
19.  Final Arbiter by Mark Rivera (12 votes)
20.  Osama by Lavie Tidhar (11 votes)


Author campaigns rule the day in the Short Fiction category. It would take a huge effort to unseat the number one slot:

  1. The Shadow War of the Night Dragons, Book One: The Dead City by John Scalzi (appearing on Tor.com) - 87 votes
  2. “An Island Sojourn” by Stephen Zimmer (appearing in Dreams of Steam) - 22 votes
  3. “All Mimsy” by Kelly Wright - 17 votes
  4. Awakening of Evarun, Part 1” by Tom Barczak - 13 votes
  5. “Absinthe Fish” by M. David Blake (appearing in Bull Spec) - 7 votes
  6. “Blood is Red” by Scott Sigler - 4 votes
  7. “Perfect Shadow” by Brent Weeks - 4 votes
  8. The Dala Horse by Michael Swanwick (appearing on Tor.com) - 4 votes

All other stories have 3 votes or less.


The Book Cover votes break down as follows:

  1. The Seventh Throne by Stephen Zimmer, cover by Matthew Perry (47 votes)
  2. The All-Pro by Scott Sigler, cover designed by Donna Mugavero (18 votes)
  3. Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente, cover by Beth White, design by Peter Lutjen (15 votes) - See how the cover to Deathless was created.
  4. The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson, cover by Chris McGrath (12 votes)
  5. Dragon Fate by J.D. Hallowell, cover credits not listed (11 votes)
  6. Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey, cover by Daniel Dociu (8 votes)
  7. God’s Eye by A.J. Scudiere, cover by Ruke, design by Greenleaf Book Group LLC and Alex Head (7 votes)
  8. Towers of Midnight ebook edition by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, cover by Raymond Swanland (7 votes)
  9. Rift Walker by Clay & Susan Griffith, cover by Chris McGrath, design by Grace M. Conti-Zilsberger (5 votes)
  10. The Unremembered by Peter Orullian, cover by Kekai Kotaki (5 votes)

Two new small press titles plus our first ebook!


The Comic votes shake out as follows:

  1. Across Thin Ice - 15 votes
  2. Girl Genius - 10 votes
  3. The Order of the Stick - 7 votes
  4. XKCD - 6 votes
  5. Schlock Mercenary - 5 votes
  6. The Unwritten - 4 votes
  7. Animal Man (The New 52) - 4 votes
  8. TURF - 3 votes
  9. Locke & Key: Clockworks - 3 votes

All other titles have two votes or less. Girl Genius made the biggest jump over the weekend, doubling its votes.


And that’s the weekend’s results. We’ll be a couple days behind in vote tallying due to the holiday weekend, so expect tomorrow’s results to be up to 5 PM Monday.

As always, keep an eye on the Tor.com Readers’ Choice Awards index for updates and don’t vote in this post. You vote here and only here.


Stubby the Rocket is the mascot and often random voice of Tor.com. Through the power of ballistic rocket hypnosis, which is real, it is making everyone vote for stories about space football and thrones.

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12 comments
seth e.
1. seth e.
You're going to need some subcategories. "Best Novel By An Author Who Never Linked Here," "Best Novel From A Series Not Currently The Subject Of A Massive Reread On This Same Site," etc. Cline, Mieville, and Walton are looking pretty good for the subwins. And go Dala Horse! Go!
seth e.
2. M. David Blake
First of all, I am amazed that "Absinthe Fish" is still listed! (Technically, I am amazed that my first professional sale garnered enough votes to be tallied at all... but as soon as Scalzi called out those kittens, I figured it was bye-bye fishies. The fact that this story is still being counted, and even gained a vote or two in the face of such impressive competition, feels truly remarkable.)

Thank you to everyone who has already voted. Although I am unable to speak for any writer other than myself, I still hope that each and every one shown feels a similarly overwhelming sense of awe that anyone would select our words as the "most enjoyable," and for even the fleeting few days in which my name appeared among the others in your tally, I am grateful.

If you have not yet voted, please do... and may your own selections give another writer the same, incredible, and potentially unmerited emotional high with which you have already blessed me. Thank you!
Sam Brougher
3. Azuaron
I'm somewhat disheartened by all the author campaigning. This is supposed to be the Tor.com Readers' Choice Awards, not the awards for the Authors Who Can Best Mobilize Their Fanbases (Who May or May Not Have Ever Visited Tor.com Before).

I think I would much prefer a Readers' Choice Awards were the voting was limited to actual Tor.com readers (however that could be determined).
James Goetsch
4. Jedikalos
I totally agree with Azuaron. The author getting-out-the-vote is incredibly irritating to me.
seth e.
5. yvette falcon
Best novel 2011 The Final Arbiter by Mark Rivera
seth e.
6. seth e.
Well, sure, it's impossible to take the poll seriously as a poll after all this. Uncontrolled processes don't yield meaningful results.

But honestly, I didn't think tor.com was really trying to find meaningful results about "readers'" tastes. Which readers, for one thing? Tor.com readers? Blog readers? I'm not trying to be a jerk about it, that's my genuine impression. It seems to me they're just throwing an event, like a new year party, to see what happens. Tor.com readers learn about Scott Sigler, Sigler fans learn about tor.com, knowledge increases!

And I assume Scalzi must have thought the same thing, or he wouldn't have cheerfully subverted the democratic process with kitten-related bribes. Am I wrong?
Sam Brougher
7. Azuaron
Presumably, this is the Tor.com blog readers' choice, as the blog is hosting the event. I do expect this is more of a publicity thing for them than an actual voting process.

Scalzi, in addition to kitten bribery, writes for Tor.com. Conflict of interest much?
seth e.
8. seth e.
@Azuaron - Well, sf&f is intertwined enough that you'd be hard put to find a total lack of conflicts of interest. Jo Walton also writes for tor.com, rather more than Scalzi does, and I'm glad to see her latest book in the results (sans self-touting, that I know of).
Sam Brougher
9. Azuaron
@seth e. Yeah, but having a conflict and exploiting it is a lot different than having a conflict and ignoring it.
seth e.
10. seth e.
@Azuaron - Scalzi was taking advantage of his hugely popular blog, not his tor.com professional connections. Pragmatically, I'm not sure how the conflict would even work for him here.
Sam Brougher
11. Azuaron
@seth e. Ah, I was under the impression the kitten campaign was happening on the Tor site, not his blog. That's marginally better, I guess...
seth e.
12. Carlos Inigo
The best novel I read in 2011 was The Final Arbiter by Mark Rivera really good read...Carlos

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