Have you seen this? NPR asked their audience last month to nominate titles for a list they are compiling of the top 100 SF and Fantasy books ever written. They got a lot of responses–nearly 5000 on the website, and thousands more on their facebook page. A panel of three SF writers and critics (John Clute, Farah Mendlesohn, Gary K. Wolfe) narrowed down the list to 237 books with 167 distinct authors and now it is time to vote!
There are a lot of books on this list, so I copied the list over to a spreadsheet for some statistical anaylsis before I get to the hard business of choosing my ten favorites. (Did you think I was kidding in my profile when I said I am a fan of Excel? No, I really am geeky enough to love spreadsheets!) Here are some of the things I found:
- There are 237 books
- 6 of the books have 2 authors
- There are 167 distinct authors; 30 male authors have more than one nomination, and 10 female authors are nominated multiple times
- Robert Heinlein has the most nominations, at 6
- There are 39 distinct female authors, and 54 books written by women
- There are 128 distinct male authors, and 183 books written by men
- Those don’t quite add up because I counted co-authors separately, so there are more authors than there are books
Fun, eh? I could wish for a few more female authors, but at 18% female authors and 23% of the nominated books written by women, at least it is a lot better than the 4% of nominations in the similar Guardian poll back in May. Of course, I am counting the nominations in the expert moderated list, so things might be different if I had the time or energy to go through the thousands of posts with the original suggestions.
So, down the details of the voting: everyone gets 10 votes. They did not give a definite end date, but they posted on August 2, and they say they will be back in about 10 days with results, so get over there before August 12th to ensure you can vote. But how to pick from so many wonderful titles? I am glad to see that two of my favorite books are on the list, The Gate to Women’s Country, by Sheri S. Tepper, and The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. Le Guin, but beyond that, I have no idea how I will narrow down the list. What will you be voting for?