Huh. Will you look at that.
Turns out Locus did a reader’s survey of the best SF and Fantasy novels of the 20th and 21st Centuries (discussion ongoing over at Tor.com). Let us gloss over the fact that the 21st Century isn’t quite done yet, which kind of weakens the relative weight of that list’s winners; let us dwell instead on the happy fact that Blindsight squeaked into the Top Five (actually tying in raw votes with Altered Carbon by my friend and fellow Crytek-survivor Richard Morgan, although the weighting algorithm put me a little bit ahead in the final score).
What I find personally interesting about this poll is that the 21st-Century part of it echoes another one Tor put out last year (although Tor, more modestly, described their people’s choices as the best SFF of the decade) — a poll in which Blindsight got the #4 spot. Of course, that poll combined fantasy and SF into a single list; and I note that two of the fantasy novels that beat me on the Tor poll (American Gods and The Name of the Wind) also got more raw votes than I did in the Locus poll (and the third fantasy that outvoted Blindsight in the Locus poll — Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell — came in only three spots below Blindsight on the Tor list).
The top SF novel in both polls, of course, was Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, which I think is contractually obligated to come in at the top of any such list until its copyright expires.
Of course, such direct comparisons are pretty weightless. Folks eyeing separate SF and Fantasy lists are likely to allocate their votes differently than when smushing both genres into the same tally, and neither poll would pass peer-review in the Journal of Statistical Analysis anyway. Still, I seem to remember that I sent out a clarion call on Blindsight’s behalf back in 2011, whereas I didn’t know this Locus poll even existed until after it was over. And yet I ended up at pretty much the same spot on both lists (even the raw vote count was similar: 251 vs. 221). Which means at least one of two things:
- Blindsight has enough of a profile to make the finals even absent a campaign on its behalf; and/or
- Nobody listens to me when I explicitly ask for their votes.
Both results are gifts, of a sort. One makes me feel good about my book; the other keeps me humble.
Everyone have a terrific Christmas. See you on the other side.