NPR 50 best SF/F books of the last decade.

Parson

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NPR just (this summer) made a list of the 50 "best" SF/F books of the last 10 years. Here's the link NPR Cookie Consent and Choices I found that I'd only read 3 of them Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky, The Martian by Andy Wier, and All Systems Red by Martha Wells. A couple of others I thought sounded interesting, But almost all of them would be a hard no at the book store. --- Of course there were a lot of Fantasy Titles, and they don't usually pull my string.

They were developed from a list of books voted on by the public and then the judges picked from the semi-finalists. It looks like the more complicated and non-linear the book was, the more likely it was to make the list.
 

soulsinging

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NPR just (this summer) made a list of the 50 "best" SF/F books of the last 10 years. Here's the link NPR Cookie Consent and Choices I found that I'd only read 3 of them Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky, The Martian by Andy Wier, and All Systems Red by Martha Wells. A couple of others I thought sounded interesting, But almost all of them would be a hard no at the book store. --- Of course there were a lot of Fantasy Titles, and they don't usually pull my string.

They were developed from a list of books voted on by the public and then the judges picked from the semi-finalists. It looks like the more complicated and non-linear the book was, the more likely it was to make the list.
Oh come on! I JUST swore to clear my shelf a little before another bender...

I've been eyeing several of these for a while already. And they're spot on with Jemisin. The first book of that series is stunning, but so devastating I'm not sure I'll ever be able to open book 2.
 

The Judge

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I've read seven, which is more than I expected as I'm not one for trends and popular stuff:
  • Ancillary Justice
  • A Darker Shade of Magic
  • Spinning Silver
  • Exhalation
  • The Fifth Season
  • Station Eleven
  • The Goblin Emperor
I also started Children of Time, but arachnophobia won out, and I've got The City of Brass and it'll likely be my first read of the new year. There are also a handful of other authors whose work I've read but just not that particular book/series. I have to say, though, that there are very few other books on the list which appeal, and where I have read the first book of a trilogy, with the exception of the Leckie where I read the second (and regretted it), wild horses couldn't get me to read more.
 

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I've only read the The Interdependency (series) and just the first of the Expanse (series).

So, the question is, is this a good list for my future reading?

It seems quite diverse, though (despite what Parson said) possibly has more SF than F, which seems odd (because it is a reader lead poll, but I believe that most genre books sold are fantasy rather than science fiction)?
 

Mon0Zer0

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"Siri, show me 50 more NPR books of the last decade."

with the exception of the Leckie where I read the second (and regretted it), wild horses couldn't get me to read more.

Ancilliary Justice is on my pile, should I give it a miss? A darker shade of magic sounds like a fantasy The city & the city.

I like the look of Master of Djinn and Master if Empire, too.
 

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Ancilliary Justice is on my pile, should I give it a miss? A darker shade of magic sounds like a fantasy The city & the city.
I found Ancillary Justice interesting enough to justify getting the second book of the trilogy, though I found some of her writing decisions needlessly frustrating and the plot depended on two huge coincidences, but Ancillary Sword was a complete mess as far as I'm concerned, so I gave up at that point.

No, A Darker Shade of Magic is nothing like The City & the City -- the three Londons exist separately, in different realms/planes as it were, and only certain individuals can travel between them. And there's certainly no comparison in any way as to feel, theme, depth and plain writing ability -- I'm no great fan of Mieville, but Schwab simply isn't in the same league. It's also, to my mind, a thoroughly YA book, and not only because of the age and endless self-absorption of the characters, though I'm pretty sure it's not promoted as such. To be fair I've not read the rest of the trilogy, so I don't know if it develops into something deeper and more complex, but on the evidence of book one, in my view it's most likely to be enjoyed by teenage girls.
 

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NPR just (this summer) made a list of the 50 "best" SF/F books of the last 10 years. Here's the link NPR Cookie Consent and Choices I found that I'd only read 3 of them Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky, The Martian by Andy Wier, and All Systems Red by Martha Wells. A couple of others I thought sounded interesting, But almost all of them would be a hard no at the book store. --- Of course there were a lot of Fantasy Titles, and they don't usually pull my string.

They were developed from a list of books voted on by the public and then the judges picked from the semi-finalists. It looks like the more complicated and non-linear the book was, the more likely it was to make the list.
I’ve read 7 and have several on my tbr list.
in terms of bookstores - these are far from hard nos. These are what sell. Circe, for instance, sells like mad, especially the hardback. Can’t keep it in stock
 

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Circe, for instance, sells like mad, especially the hardback. Can’t keep it in stock
Oh wow, people really like the warped half modern half half ancient fantasy that I would understand this book to be via the blurb? I have zero interest in it.

The books that do tweak my interest from that list are:

Ancillary Justice, Collapsing Empire, An Unkindness of Ghosts, and The Space Between Worlds. If I were to buy a fantasy Katherine Addison's "The Goblin Emperor" would be the one which sounds moderately interesting.

"Siri, show me 50 more NPR books of the last decade."
Ten years ago there was a list, much debated I understand, developed by a listener survey of the 100 best SF/F books. #1 Lord of the Rings

NPR Cookie Consent and Choices


I was surprised to find that I'd read the vast majority of the SF titles. But as it was put together in 2011 it concentrates on older stuff. When it was discussed on the pod cast the judges of the 2021 list were very grumpy that almost all the writers were white males.
 
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hitmouse

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Ancillary Justice which I enjoyed very much.
The Buried Giant Terrific, poignant meditation on memory loss.
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet OK, but do not get the love for this novel.
The Three Body Problem Just brilliant.
Ninefox Gambit
The Fifth Season
The Martian
 

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A poor showing from me.

Ancillary Justice was a DNF.
Leviathan Wakes I thought was enjoyable enough, but i don't thinks it's the great series that some say it is. That said, I need to finish the series off in 2022 though.

I have Children of Time/Ruin, A Memory Called Empire on my TBR pile and I'd really like to check out the Murderbot series.

I'd like to read Andy Weir's The Martian too, but I found the film a little too typically "Hollywood" to be anything more than an entertaining movie.
 
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The Judge

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The books that do tweak my interest from that list are:

Ancillary Justice ... If I were to buy a fantasy Katherine Addison's "The Goblin Emperor" would be the one which sounds moderately interesting.
I'm pretty sure there are some reviews of AJ on Chrons, Parson, which might help you to form an opinion. As for The Goblin Emperor, that's discussed here The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

But if you're thinking of delving into fantasy, perhaps have a think about Spinning Silver, since that for me has a strong moral tone which might appeal to you. Here's my brief comment from when I read it last year:

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, a riff on Rumpelstiltskin set in a medieval analogue of somewhere like Ukraine where the daughter of a Jewish moneylender boasts too loudly she can turn silver into gold, and she's held to it by a winter king. A deeply feminist novel in which three young women move out of the roles allotted to them and act together to produce their own happy endings. Highly recommended. (Werthead reviewed it here Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik but I can't help thinking there's a whiff of male condescension in the attitude to Novik's making an epic of it instead of keeping it small scale. The only criticism I'd agree with is the issue of all the POVs being in first person, but in the event there was only one scene which caused me any confusion -- all the others were clear within a couple of sentences.)​
 

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I read the Binti series of novellas and thought them very good, offering a non-Eurocentric view of an s.f. future.

I also read Mexican Gothic, which stems from Weird Tales style fantasy and not at all from Tolkein-like fantasy. If you enjoy haunted houses merged with Lovecraftian shenanigans and an examination of the consequences of Imperialism, it's the book for you.
 

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Spinning Silver is now on my Kindle. Based on @The Judge's recommendation and the fact that it has 4000 4 and 5 star reviews. If this was my kind of genre I would be utterly convinced I would love it. Right now I'm worried. I'll post a review ..... or why I DNF later.
 

tachyon

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I posted about this list earlier in the year, I've finished at least one book from 23 of the listed books/series.

In the order NPR lists them:
  1. Leckie's Ancillary series (the first trilogy, not Provinence yet)
  2. A Dead Djinn in Cairo and The Haunting of Tram Car 015, but not A Master of Djinn (yet)
  3. City of Brass, but not the sequels
  4. Martine's Teixcalaan series (both)
  5. The Just City (not the sequels)
  6. A Darker Shade of Magic (first 2)
  7. City of Stairs - books 1 and 2, DNF 3 but am planning to revisit
  8. Rosewater - books 1 and 2 (3rd is TBR)
  9. Black Sun = DNF, may revisit
  10. Long Way + sequel, but not others
  11. Binti, first book only
  12. Children of Time & Ruin
  13. Every Heart a Doorway, just the fist book, DNF the sequel
  14. VanderMeer's Southern Reach Trilogy
  15. Gideon & Harrow the Ninth (tho Harrow was a slog)
  16. Ninefox Gambit (sequel DNF, may revisit)
  17. The Broken Earth trilogy
  18. The Poppy War, but not sequels
  19. Baru Cormorant, book 1 yes, book 2 = DNF
  20. The Goblin Emperor (there's a sequel now but I haven't gotten to it YET)
  21. All Systems Red (3 novellas so far, will finish the series)
  22. The Interdependency trilogy
  23. Sorcerer to the Crown & sequel

DNF (in addition to above)
  • Leviathan Wakes
  • The Space Between Worlds
  • Black Leopard, Red Wolf
  • This Is How You Lose the Time War

TBR (in addition to above)
  • Piranesi
  • A Stranger in Olondria
  • The Three Body Problem

I won't repeat my thoughts about it, (they're here: Another "Best Of" SFF book list, covering the past decade)
 

Parson

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@tachyon .... I'm a little embarrassed that I did not check to see that thread before. Hope you are not offended that i reposted it.
 

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