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As you may have seen, Locus are running a poll to find the best sf of the 20th and 21st centuries; it ends today. I've seen various other people (Nina Allan [pdf], Martin Lewis, Cheryl Morgan, Ian Sales) post their picks, so I thought I'd do the same. It's an exhausting process! And, of course, far from definitive. Some of my selections, no doubt, are there on fond memories. Some I've revisited and can be more confident. Some names crop up a lot, because they have a body of work I've spent a lot of time with, so they come to mind. Some names, I'm sure, are missing. All that can really be said is that this is a selection of the sf that seems important and good to me right now. So:

20th century science fiction novel

1. Pacific Edge, Kim Stanley Robinson

2. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

3. The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell

4. China Mountain Zhang, Maureen F McHugh

5. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner

6. We Who Are About To ..., Joanna Russ

7. Fairyland, Paul McAuley

8. Golden Witchbreed, Mary Gentle

9. Voyage, Stephen Baxter

10. The Chrysalids, John Wyndham

20th century fantasy novel

1. Ash, Mary Gentle

2. The Course of the Heart, M John Harrison

3. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K Le Guin

4. Lanark, Alasdair Grey

(I really have not read enough canonical fantasy.)

20th century novella

1. Story of Your Life, Ted Chiang

2. Great Work of Time, John Crowley

3. Houston, Houston, Do You Read?, James Tiptree Jr

4. Green Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson

5. 1/72nd Scale, Ian R MacLeod

6. R&R, Lucius Shepard

7. True Names, Vernor Vinge

20th century novelette

1. Reasons to Be Cheerful, Greg Egan

2. Tower of Babylon, Ted Chiang

3. Fondly Fahrenheit, Alfred Bester

4. The Women Men Don't See, James Tiptree Jr

5. The Lucky Strike, Kim Stanley Robinson

6. Sexual Dimorphism, Kim Stanley Robinson

7. The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule, Lucius Shepard

8. Starship Day, Ian R MacLeod

9. Surface Tension, James Blish

10. Blood Music, Greg Bear

20th century short story

1. When it Changed, Joanna Russ

2. Learning to be Me, Greg Egan

3. And I Awoke And Found Me Here on the Cold Hill's Side, James Tiptree Jr

4. Congenital Agenesis of Gender Ideation by K.N. Sirsi and Sandra Botkin, Raphael Carter

5. The Screwfly Solution, Racoona Sheldon

6. Aye, and Gomorrah, Samuel R Delany

7. Moon-Calf, Stephen Baxter

8. Speech Sounds, Octavia Butler

9. Light of Other Days, Bob Shaw

10. Sheena 5, Stephen Baxter (the canonical squids-in-space story)

21st century science fiction novel

1. Evolution, Stephen Baxter

2. The Summer Isles, Ian R MacLeod

3. The Dervish House, Ian McDonald

4. Hav, Jan Morris

5. Life, Gwyneth Jones

21st century fantasy novel

1. In Great Waters, Kit Whitfield

2. The Year of Our War, Steph Swainston

3. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke

4. Lavinia, Ursula K Le Guin

5. Acacia, David Anthony Durham

21st century novella

1. New Light on the Drake Equation, Ian R MacLeod

2. Magic for Beginners, Kelly Link

3. Over Yonder, Lucius Shepard

4. Mayflower II, Stephen Baxter

5. The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen's Window, Rachel Swirsky

21st century novelette

1. Hell is the Absence of God, Ted Chiang

2. The People of Sand and Slag, Paolo Bacigalupi

3. Only Partly Here, Lucius Shepard

4. Isabel of the Fall, Ian R MacLeod

5. Eros, Philia, Agape, Rachel Swirsky

21st century short story

1. Exhalation, Ted Chiang

2. Singing My Sister Down, Margo Lanagan

3. Dead Horse Point, Daryl Gregory

4. Summer Ice, Holly Phillips

5, The House Beyond Your Sky, Benjamin Rosenbaum

Niall Harrison is a reader and fan.
2 comments on “Locus Poll Picks”
Rich Horton

Good idea. I'll post mine, caveating as ever that if I chose them the next day, some things would change. (In fact, this list is slightly different than the first one I submitted.) Order in particular would change (it's not far from random).
20th Century SF Novel:
1: The Book of the new Sun, Gene Wolfe
2: Nova, Samuel R. Delanny
3: The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
4: The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
5: A Deepness in the Sky, Vernor Vinge
6: Engine Summer, John Crowley
7: Sarah Canary, Karen Joy Fowler
8: Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
9: Use of Weapons, Iain M. Banks
10: Pavane, Keith Roberts
20th Century Fantasy Novel:
1: The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
2: One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
3: The Anubis Gates, Tim Powers
4: The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien
5: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon
6: The Lost Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle
7: The Princess Bride, William Goldman
8: Winter Rose, Patricia McKillip
9: Peace, Gene Wolfe
10: Lud-in-the-Mist, Hope Mirrlees
20th Century Novella:
1: "Story of Your Life", Ted Chiang
2: "Great Work of Time", John Crowley
3: "Green Mars", Kim Stanley Robinson
4: "The Blabber", Vernor Vinge
5: "Seven American Nights", Gene Wolfe
6: "The Star Pit", Samuel R. Delany
7: "The Last of the Winnebagos", Connie Willis
8: "E for Effort", T. L. Sherred
9: "The Originist", Orson Scott Card
10: "The Gold at the Starbow's End", Frederik Pohl
20th Century Novelette:
1: "Wang's Carpets", Greg Egan
2: "Fondly Fahrenheit", Alfred Bester
3: "The Second Inquisition", Joanna Russ
4: "The Sources of the Nile", Avram Davidson
5: "A Rose for Ecclesiastes", Roger Zelazny
6: "Starfog", Poul Anderson
7: "An Infinite Summer", Christopher Priest
8: "Nine Lives", Ursula K. Le Guin
9: "The Stars Below", Ursula K. Le Guin
10: "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius", Jorge Luis Borges
20th Century Short Story:
1: "Out of All Them Bright Stars", Nancy Kress
2: "The Man Who Lost the Sea", Theodore Sturgeon
3: "The Milk of Paradise", James Tiptree, Jr.
4: "Nobody's Home", Joanna Russ
5: "Light of Other Days", Bob Shaw
6: "Day Million", Frederik Pohl
7: "New Rose Hotel", William Gibson
8: "The Last Flight of Dr. Ain", James Tiptree, Jr.
9: "The Man Who Came Early", Poul Anderson
10: "Schwartz Between the Galaxies", Robert Silverberg
21st Century SF Novel:
1: Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
2: The Yiddish Policemen's Union, Michael Chabon
3: The Sky So Big and Black, John Barnes
4: Spin, Robert Charles Wilson
5: Ares Express, Ian McDonald
21st Century Fantasy Novel:
1: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Susannah Clarke
2: Lavinia, Ursula K. Le Guin
3: The Light Ages, Ian R. MacLeod
4: The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss
5: The City and the City, China Mieville
21st Century Novella:
1: "New Light on the Drake Equation", Ian R. MacLeod
2: "Magic for Beginners", Kelly Link
3: "A Billion Eves", Robert Reed
4: "The Engines of Desire", William Barton
5: "The Tear", Ian McDonald
21st Century Novelette:
1: "The Voluntary State", Christopher Rowe
2: "The People of Sand and Slag", Paolo Bacigalupi
3: "Lull", Kelly Link
4: "The Path of the Transgressor", by Tom Purdom
5: "Finisterra", by David Moles
21st Century Short Story:
1: "The House Beyond Your Sky", Benjamin Rosenbaum
2: "Three Days of Rain", Holly Phillips
3: "Pip and the Fairies", Theodora Goss
4: "More Adventures on Other Planets", Michael Cassutt
5: "Exhalation", Ted Chiang

Rich Horton

Interesting, I meant to note, that our 1-2 votes for Novella both times were identical.
Glad you reminded me of a couple I really should have had on my lists -- "Starship Day" for one (a story I sometimes thought I was the only person who loved), and "Eros, Philia, Agape".

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