If you'll permit anecdotal evidence, as an avid sf and fantasy reader since I was
six years old, I paid special attention to the science fiction and fantasy sections
in my twenty three years working for Lauriats and then Borders bookstores. Of those
authors you mention, I've read Jemisin, Rothfuss, and Lynch who've all received good
reviews and enjoyed them. They were among titles I'd recommend to customers.
One of my coworkers raved about Sanderson's series but I could never get into the
first book. I did like the first book in his new series set in a different universe than the
older series, and of course Sanderson's chief claim to fame at the moment is that he's
finishing off Jordan's Wheel of Time series.
The coworker who liked Sanderson also raved about Abercrombie and Bakker but
again I wasn't particularly impressed. I suspect it might be a generational thing.
I'm 63 and he's in his mid-twenties. House of Leaves
was definitely a cult favorite
with several staff members who were not sf or fantasy readers who brought it up
as the only book of the genre they liked.
As for the rest, I'm familiar with most of them from helping customers find or order
them. I've read nearly all the books on the "Top 100" list but must admit there are
some on it that made me scratch my head.
It's been two months since my Borders in Braintree Ma closed and I miss the
conversations with customers and staff about books. Sigh.,
On Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 7:45 AM, <WendellWag@...> wrote:
I think that there's something strange about the list. It's not the
fact that I don't like some of the books or that some of my favorite books
aren't there. After all, who cares, even me? In any list compiled by
polling many people, any one person's personal tastes won't be satisfied.
For years I have been collected lists of favorite films. The interesting
thing about the lists, especially when they are one person's favorites and not
the results of voting among a large group of people, is that there will be a few
movies on them that aren't on anyone else's list of favorites. My problem
is also not whether I disagree with their definition of science fiction or
fantasy. Again, who cares? Every book about science fiction that I
read has a slightly different definition of the genre. Something that's
noticeable is that the list is skewed toward recent books. This
really isn't that surprising, I suppose. This always happens with lists
compiled by voting when the voters include lots of people who only recently got
into appreciating the subject. A radio station will solicit votes by phone
for the greatest rock and roll of all time and then find that the resulting
list contains an awful lot of music from the past five years.
My problem is that there is stuff on the list that I never heard of by
authors I never heard of. I think I've read and, more important, heard of
an enormous amount of science fiction and fantasy over the years. When I
see a list like this that's compiled by voting among a lot of people (as opposed
to a list of a single person's favorites) which contains a lot of things that
I'm pretty sure are neither critical, popular, nor cult favorites, my
assumption is that the ballot box was stuffed. I suspect that there were
some campaigns to put certain books on the lists either by a publisher or an
author persuading a lot of people to vote who had no interest in the field in
general but were fans of a single author or else just by figuring out some way
to vote multiple times. Consider the following books:
The Acts Of Caine Series, by Matthew Woodring
Armor, by John Steakley
The Black Jewels Series, by Anne Bishop
Omnibus, by Dan Abnett
The First Law Trilogy, by Joe
The Gone-Away World, by Nick Harkaway
Series, by Kim Harrison
House Of Leaves, by Mark
The Inheritance Trilogy, by N.K. Jemisin
The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
The Lies Of
Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch
The Mistborn Series, by Brandon
The Newsflesh Triology, by Mira Grant
Passage, by Justin Cronin
The Prince Of Nothing Trilogy, by R.
The Saga Of Recluce, by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
I was actually fairly conservative in compiling the list above. I
didn't include some books and authors who I had heard of but who I suspected
weren't actually that popular. The list of books above make me want to
say, "What are these books? Who are these authors?" Are these books
really critical, popular, or cult favorites, or does this look like ballot