Locus Reveals Results of Its All-Century Short Fiction Poll

Locus Magazine recently conducted the herculean task of polling its readers about the best SFF novels of the 20th and 21st centuries. Called the All-Century Poll; they also asked readers to pick their favorite SFF short fiction! Below are the top 10 short stories selected for the 20th century. Is your favorite on there?

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)

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)

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)

10 Best Novelettes from the 21st Century:

  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”

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)

10 Best 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)

Check out the Locus site for the full (and massive) results in all categories, along with how the votes tallied out. The process is nearly as fascinating as the winning fiction itself!


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