In November the Locus magazine’s website hosted a poll to find out the best novels and short stories from the 20th and 21st centuries in the genres of fantasy and science fiction. I voted, as did some of you readers. The results of the novels are now in!
I’m fairly pleased by the results. Now, as I expected, my personal choices for the best sci-fi were not well-represented, but that’s in large part because I just haven’t read much sci-fi, and so voted from a very narrow field. But I still managed to get two books on 20th Century Sci-Fi list: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and Ringworld by Larry Niven. However, it is sad to see Lewis’ Space/Ransom Trilogy nowhere on the list. It is still so barely known and appreciated. The last book on the list received only 19 votes, so Lewis’ trilogy received even less than that. I also voted for Fahrenheit 451, which makes an appearance, although I voted for it more out of obligation than from any actual admiration I had at the time I read it (back in high school, to be fair).
On the 20th Century Fantasy Novel list, I fared delightfully much better. I shan’t deny my gratification at seeing LOTR at number one. There’s hope for the world yet! Martin’s Game of Thrones snagged a second place, which I suppose I can’t complain about since I haven’t read it. The Hobbit at number three is satisfactory. It’s also nice to see Zelazny’s Nine Princes of Amber get a nod, although it’s a higher nod than I expected. I recently finished his whole Chronicles of Amber and greatly enjoyed it. And I note that A Wrinkle in Timesits comfortably on the fantasy list rather than the sci-fi one. +)
In fact, the only fantasy novels I voted for that didn’t get on the final list were Peter Pan, If on a winter’s night a traveler, and The Black Cauldron. The second one doesn’t surprise me because it’s rather obscure, the third one doesn’t surprise me because it’s the sort of YA fiction that still struggles for literary respect, but the absence of Barrie’s iconic fairy story rankles me a bit. Did people just forget it? Did they assume that because it’s a children’s story it mustn’t be important? WERE TOO MANY SNOBS VOTING? *gasp of indignant rage*
Oh well. Can’t win ’em all.
Also, please take a moment to admire my spectacular new header picture for this season, photographed this very day by yours truly. ‘-)