It’s nearly the end of the year and that means that it’s time for all of the “best” or “worst of 2012” articles to be posted. Locus Online took it a bit further however and released lists for the best science fiction novels of the 20th and 21th centuries and the best fantasy novels for the same periods. The results were based on 625 user-submitted ballots.
I recommend checking out the full results, but here’s a brief glimpse:
Best 20th Century Science Fiction Novels
- Dune, Frank Herbert (1965)
- Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card (1985)
- The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov (1953)
- Hyperion, Dan Simmons (1989)
- The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin (1969)
I’ve only read Dune, Ender’s Game, and Hyperion from the top five results of this poll, but I would definitely consider them all among the finest science fiction novels I’ve read. I’m also a big fan of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which finished 6th.
Best 20th Century Fantasy Novels
- The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien (1955)
- A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin (1996)
- The Hobbit, Tolkien, J. R. R. Tolkien (1937)
- A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin, (1968)
- Nine Princes in Amber, Roger Zelazny (1970)
I have actually read all of the top five from this poll. We’re definitely looking at some classics here, all very good novels. I would highly recommend them to any new (or old) fantasy reader.
Best 21st Century Science Fiction Novels
- Old Man’s War, John Scalzi, (2005)
- Anathem, Neal Stephenson (2008)
- The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi (2009)
- Spin, Robert CharlesWilson (2005)
- Blindsight Peter Watts (2006)
I’m sadly a bit behind on recent science fiction. I’ve actually only read Old Man’s War, but it was really fantastic. I highly enjoyed it and have recently even starting reading John Scalzi’s blog.
Best 21st Century Fantasy Fiction Novels
- American Gods, Neil Gaiman (2001)
- Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Clarke, Susanna (2004)
- The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss (2007)
- The Scar, China Mieville (2002)
- A Feast for Crows, George R. R. Martin (2005)
This is of course another excellent list, although I haven’t read Jonathan Strange or The Scar. The other three novels were excellent, especially American Gods. Interestingly, I also highly enjoy Patrick Rothfuss’ blog.
After looking at the full list, I can see that there are a ton of novels that I still haven’t read yet. Guess my reading list just got even longer.