Roundtable on All-Centuries Novel Polling

Per popular request, I asked our Locus Roundtable panel of experts to cast votes in the same categories as the recent Locus All-Centuries Poll for Novels. I told them that I would weigh their responses by rank, but I lied. Instead I compiled all the votes equally and have now produced results based on any works which were mentioned by more than one person. Don’t worry–below you will be able to see each individual’s votes and comments. I’ve also included a separate list by author instead of individual work. Philip K. Dick, for instance, had votes split between too many stories to show up on the Novel list. We also ended up creating a separate category of Horror and Dark fantasy. This only shows up in the 20th century because in the 21st century list every entry had only one vote.

We can see some genre confusion continuing here, with Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun getting two votes as SF and three as Fantasy, and Shirley Jackson’s Haunting of Hill House (remind me that I really need to read that soon) evenly split with two votes each in Fantasy and Horror/Dark Fantasy.

Note: I am sure that I’ve made errors in the tabulation, dates (mostly snurched from isfdb), titles, and author’s names. Please let me know of any (objective) mistakes I’ve made, and I’ll do my best to correct them.

20th C SF

Left Hand of Darkness (1969) Ursula K. LeGuin  5
Stars My Destination (1956) Alfred Bester 3
The Martian Chronicles (1950) Ray Bradbury 3
Neuromancer (1984) William Gibson 3
Brave New World (1932) Aldous Huxley 3
Fahrenheit 451 (1953) Ray Bradbury 2
Dhalgren (1975) Samuel R. Delany 2
Nova (1968) Samuel R. Delany 2
Dune (1965) Frank Herbert 2
A Canticle for Leibowitz (1959) Walter M Miller Jr. 2
1984 (1949) George Orwell 2
Pavane (1984) Keith Roberts 2
The Sparrow (1998) Mary Doria Russell 2
Last and First Men (1930) Olaf Stapledon 2
Book of the New Sun (1980) Gene Wolfe 2

20th C Fantasy

Lord of the Rings (1954) J. R. R. Tolkien 11
Little, Big (1981) John Crowley 4
Wizard of Earthsea series (1968) Ursula K. Le Guin 4
Once and Future King (1958) T. H. White 4
Swords of Lankmar (1968) Fritz Leiber 3
Lud-in-the-Mist (1926) Hope Mirrlees 3
Gormenghast (1946) Mervyn Peake 3
Book of the New Sun (1980) Gene Wolfe 3
Watership Down (1972) Richard Adams 2
One Hundred Years of Solitude (1970) Gabriel Garcia Marquez 2
The Princess Bride (1973) William Goldman 2
The Wind in the Willows (1908) Kenneth Grahame 2
Haunting of Hill House (1959) Shirley Jackson 2
Dying Earth (1950) Jack Vance 2

20th C Dark Fantasy/Horror

The Wasp Factory (1984) Iain M. Banks 2
The Haunting of Hill House (1959) Shirley Jackson 2

21st C SF

Perdido Street Station (2000) China Mieville 3
Brasyl (2007) Ian McDonald 2
Speed of Dark (2002) Elizabeth Moon 2

21st C Fantasy

American Gods (2000) Neil Gaiman 4
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (2004) Susanna Clarke 3
Harry Potter (1997) J. K. Rowling 3
City of Saints and Madmen (2001) Jeff VanderMeer 3

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9 thoughts on “Roundtable on All-Centuries Novel Polling

  • January 11, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Ellen – sorry, but you don’t get to cite “Alice”, published in 1865, as a 20th century book. (Otherwise I would have put it top of my list as well!) In fact, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz barely qualifies, published in 1900, but the Oz series extended well into the 20th century so that should be allowed.

    But you panelists are bending the rules like Gumby so I guess you can cite whatever books you want! Certainly the “Alice”‘ books could be considered as the most widely known and influential fantasy in English literature.

  • January 11, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Dan -going over my list (before seeing your comment) I suddenly realized-oh sh-t! wrong century. It was me being bad.

  • January 13, 2013 at 1:28 am

    A Horror/Dark Fantasy category? Where are those lists of novels and stories?

  • January 13, 2013 at 3:16 am

    Space27–Ellen Datlow and Jeff Ford sort of created that category on their own. The overlap (two votes) between the two of them are:

    The Wasp Factory (1984) Iain M. Banks 2
    The Haunting of Hill House (1959) Shirley Jackson 2

    It’s nestled between 20th C Fantasy and 21st C SF.

  • January 13, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Oh, that list. Just two items? I’m a little bit disappointed. But I did vote for The Wasp Factory.

  • January 13, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Speaking of the wrong century, I know two novels from the 1800’s that I could have put in the 20th Cent. vote and got away with it:

    Star, C.I. Defontenay (1854, in french)
    Two Planets, Kurd Lasswitz (1897, in german)

    They were first published in english in the 1970’s.

  • January 15, 2013 at 3:21 am

    Great lists and remarks from everyone, but the focus on the almighty novel slights so many superb writers, from Cyril Kornbluth to Willam Tenn. to Fredric Brown to Harlan Ellison. One of my top ten SF books of all time is Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree Jr/Alice Sheldon. I can’t think of a single SF novel, however fine, that I would be willing to give it up for. It’s as essential as Dune or Neuromancer or any other that I can think of. So Tiptree wasn’t comfortable with the novel form – so what?

  • January 18, 2013 at 3:52 am

    Thomas – I think Karen felt it would be hard enough herding the cats on the panel to make their picks for novels, without trying for all the short fiction categories. You make a good point that there are short form masters like Ellison and Tiptree, and some of those masters are reflected in the short fiction lists: Ellison with 6 entries, Tiptree with 5. Both of them ranked as high as #3 in a category for the whole 20th century – not too shabby. (Harlan had both #3 and #4 in the 20th Century Short Story category.)

    My favorite example of a short form master is, of course, Ted Chiang, who seems to have no interest in publishing a novel but knocked down the top spot in three different short fiction categories. Nobody would consider him slighted because he can’t show up on the novel list.

  • February 5, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    How can you not put REH on the list if not at the top? Best story teller ever. No Michael Morcook? YOU PEOPLE ARE INSANE.


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