This list reflects only my personal reading experience, not necessarily corresponding with the impact on fantasy field in general, critical acceptance, etc. Plus my reading time is limited for long novels, so many of good (or new) writers would be absent.
ALSO SEE "BEST FANTASY SERIES"
FIRST PLACE Best Fantasy Novel
J. R. R. Tolkien "Lord of the Rings''
SECOND PLACE Best Fantasy Novel
China Mieville "Perdido Street Station"
Tim Powers "The Anubis Gates"
William Hope Hodgson "The House On The Borderland"
THIRD PLACE Best Fantasy Novel
James Blaylock "The Elfin Ship"
Ray Bradbury "Dandelion Wine"; "The Halloween Tree"
"Something Wicked This Way Comes"
Richard Ford "Quest For The Faradawn"
Henry Kuttner "The Dark World"
Joe R. Lansdale "Zeppelins West"
George R. R. Martin "Fevre Dream"
George McDonald "Phantastes"
J. R. R. Tolkien "The Hobbit"
Jack Vance "Lyonesse"
Roger Zelazny "Amber novels"
FOURTH PLACE Best Fantasy Novel
Peter S. Beagle "A Fine And Private Place"
Mary Brown "The Unlikely Ones"
Terry Bisson "Talking Man"
Hannes Bok "Beyond the Golden Stairs"
Charles DeLint "Greenmantle"
Stephen Donaldson "The Wounded Land"
Michael Ende "The Neverending Story"
John Farris "Wildwood"
Raymond E. Feist "Faerie Tale"
Stephen Gallagher "Rain"
Paul Hazel "Undersea"
James Herbert "Lair"; "The Rats"
Shirley Jackson "We Have Always Lived In The Castle"
Stephen King "The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger"
"The Dark Tower: The Wastelands"
Henry Kuttner "The Portal in the Picture"
Ursula Le Guin "The Beginning Place"; "The Farthest Shore"
Fritz Leiber "Conjure Wife"
C. S. Lewis "Till We Have Faces"
Robert McCammon "The Wolf's Hour"
H. Warner Munn "Merlin's Ring"
Jack O'Connell "The Resurrectionist"
Anne Rice "The Witching Hour"
Michael Shea "Nifft The Lean"
Peter Straub "Shadowland"
A. &. B. Strugatskie "Skazka O Troike"
"Monday Begins on Saturday"
Thomas Tryon "Harvest Home"
Jack Williamson "Darker Than You Think"; "Golden Blood"
Also see: (full navigation tree)
BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL:
Best SF Novel (General Themes)
Best Space SF Novel
Best Time SF Novel
Best Apocalyptic SF Novel
BEST SCIENCE FICTION COLLECTIONS
BEST SCIENCE FICTION SERIES:
Best SF Series (general themes)
Best Space SF Series
BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVELLA:
Best SF Novella 1920-1960 (general themes)
Best SF Novella 1961-now (general themes)
Best Space SF Novella 1920-1960
Best Space SF Novella 1961-now
Best Time SF Novella
Best Apocalyptic SF Novella
BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORY:
Best SF Story 1920-1960 (general themes)
Best SF Story 1961-now (general themes)
Best Space SF Story 1920-1960
Best Space SF Story 1961-now
Best Time SF Story
Best Apocalyptic SF Story
BEST FANTASY NOVEL
BEST FANTASY COLLECTION
BEST FANTASY SERIES
BEST FANTASY NOVELLA
BEST FANTASY STORY:
Best Fantasy Story 1920-1960
Best Fantasy Story 1961-now
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Exceptional British Scifi Artwork from the 1950s
Space Pulp Art by Ron Turner and other British artists
Pulp Pleasures: Eando Binder
Great space adventure fiction from the 1930s
"Where Eternity Ends" and other rare gems
Epic Fantasy: the Start of the Journey
Part 2 of our "Best Classic Fantasy" series
incl. works by Henry Kuttner, Tolkien, etc.
Strange Shadows: Best Classic Fantasy
Fantasy "glitches in the matrix",
...lovely baroque magical lands, and more
Classic Cyberpunk SF Novels: Reviews
Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, K. W. Jeter, et al
10 Possible Sources of "Avatar" in Classic Science Fiction
Going beyond the obvious "Dances with Smurfs"...
(many stories worth reading)
"Steampunk" Anthology: Full Review
some truly crazed stories in there...
(plus artwork by John Coulthart)
"Dune", Plus Often-Neglected
Other Novels by Frank Herbert
"Dune", plus some overlooked gems:
"The Santaroga Barrier" and "The Green Brain"
Universe at Play:
Two Must-Read Novels of the Fantastic
"The Yiddish Policemen's Union" by Michael Chabon...
and David Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas"
Two of the Most Entertaining SF Novels from the 1980s
"Vacuum Flowers" by Michael Swanwick...
and Tim Power's "The Anubis Gates", of course!
"The Body Snatchers" and Other Alien Pods
Fiction by Jack Finney, Vance, Simak and Bloch
mind impostors and emotion imitators
Exploring the Noir and the Grotesque
Jack O'Connell "The Resurrectionist"
and other newest examples of the bizarre
Overpopulation, Sex and Sensibility
Robert Silverberg's "The World Inside"
and other classic sf blasts
H. P. Lovecraft "At the Mountains of Madness"
and other masterpieces of terror
including original illustrations
"Constellations", edited by Peter Crowther
original anthology, 2005
full review: mind-bending stories
The Ultimate Guide to New Writers of SF&F
more than 2,000 writers, 1990-2009
Ratings, awards, web links
The Surreal Office
"The Situation", "The Cookie Monster"
Weird fiction by Jeff VanderMeer and Vernor Vinge
Mind-shattering Novels of Philip K. Dick
"UBIK", "Now Wait for Last Year", etc.
Theodore Sturgeon's "More Than Human"
There’s a problem with this new gestalt being:
...it needs a conscience.
Jack Williamson's "Legion of Space" Series
Classic Space Opera
The ultimate weapon, controlled by a gorgeous woman
Astounding Stories, August 1934
Jack Williamson, Nat Schachner, "Doc" Smith
Epic space opera gems and horror surprises
Rare Pulp SF&F, Issue 3
Leigh Brackett, Fritz Leiber, Vic Phillips
Rediscovered gems of wonder & adventure
William Gibson's Novels
"Pattern Recognition", "Neuromancer"
A Fractured Delight...
Alfred Bester "The Computer Connection"
"Bester was the mountain, all the rest of us..."
Pyrokinetic writing in one neat package
Two Novels by Samuel R. Delany
"Nova" and "Babel-17"
New Wave Milestones, and then some.
Theodore Sturgeon's "The Cosmic Rape"
(and more reviews of his fiction)
Classic SF at its best and most humane
Travel Distant Worlds!
Vintage Space Travel Posters, and more.
Part 3 of Pulp Sf art series...
Alastair Reynolds' Epic Novels
"Chasm City" and "Revelation Space"
And it's only the beginning...
Rare Fantasy Gems by C. L. Moore and Henry Kuttner
Hidden Gems of Pulp Fiction
When two star writers become husband and wife
Grand Old Times... in the Future
Overview of Pulp Art
A Loudly Lurid Universe of Sci-Fi Illustration
Exclusive: Interview with Nancy Kress
From High Fantasy to Hard Science Fiction
A Spectrum of Wonder
"To Live Forever"
and other Vance extravaganzas
Cosmological "noir" chase across space
Mind-bending Cold War world-building
Hidden Gems of Pulp SF, Part 2
Rare stories from the "Age of Wonder"
incl. David Keller, Horace Gold etc.
Ultra-Rare Serials from "Fantasy Magazine"
"Cosmos" + "Challenge From Beyond"
incredible line-up of writers
Hidden Gems of Pulp SF, Part 1
Neat & Rare Stories
incl. the mad rally story "The Racer"
Astounding Stories, June 1935
Full Issue Review
incl. Gallun, Schachner, Campbell
Astounding Stories, May 1941
Full Issue Review
incl. Heinlein, Asimov, Eric Frank Russell
Horace Gold; P. Schuyler Miller
"Inflexure" and "Spawn": guilty pleasure
Interview with John C. Wright
Plus his advice to new writers
Adventures in Space & Magic
Frank Belknap Long
"The Horror from the Hills"
Great Lovecraftian Weird Novella
Interview with Jeff VanderMeer
Plus his Recommended Reading List
A Triumph of the Bizarre
Alastair Reynolds, Part 2
More "Galactic North" Stories
A Mixture of Hard Sf, James Bond & Jaws...
Alastair Reynolds Review
staring down infinity...
Most Shocking Article
"Holey Fools" by M. Christian
Warning: Gross Subject Matter
Alfred Bester Review
"The Stars My Destination"
"...nail it to the Retro Hugo voting board..."
Larry Niven Review
"better get GP alien ship hull"
Poul Anderson Review
"or how to start a sub-genre..."
Thomas M. Disch Review
"The Squirrel Cage"
"...seriously mind-bending stuff..."
Henry Kuttner Review
"Mimsy Were the Borogoves" (The Last Mimzy)
"...great storyline for a pretty average movie..."
Robert A. Heinlein Review
"The Moon is the Harsh Mistress"
"...it caused a tooth ache, and put my brain on freeze..."
Frank Herbert Review
"...a layered cake of ideas and a scientific extrapolation on a genius level..."
Harlan Ellison Review
"...editors slapped the most outrageous titles on his stories..."
James White Review
"All Judgement Fled"
"...the tension is palpable, soon to grow almost unbearable..."
Grand Adventure Strikes Again
Space Opera Article, by Avi Abrams
Based on Arthur Clarke's "Against the Fall of Night"
William Gibson Review
"...sheer pyrotechnics and exuberance of style..."
Ace Double: Murray Leinster
"The Pirates of Ersatz /The Mutant Weapon"
"...the characters might as well be cats or hamsters..."
Astounding Stories, May 1935
Pulp SF Magazine Review
with many original illustrations
Also read recent posts:
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"SF&F Reading Experience" is part of "Dark Roasted Blend / Thrilling Wonder" family of sites. We try to highlight the most entertaining and rewarding science fiction and fantasy, with emphasis on memorable reader experience, not necessarily general acceptance by the critics. Have fun, and delve into our extensive ratings and reviews!
Most reviews are written by Avi Abrams, unless otherwise noted. Reviews also appear on our unique historical retrospective page Wonder Timeline of Science Fiction. Feel free to submit your own review, if a particular story is not listed here.
All major OFFICIAL AWARDS are highlighted in BLUE
("winner" has a letter "W" by it, otherwise it is a runner-up only)
Our PERSONAL AWARDS (ratings) are highlighted in RED and PURPLE:
--/ first place :
--/ second place :
--/ third place :
--/ fourth place :
--/ cool : (equal to fifth place)
ALL "BEST OF" LISTS ARE LOCATED HERE
These awards are given in the following categories:
- novel :
- series :
- novella :
- story :
- collection :
Also, there are our personal STYLE / GENRE SPECIFIC AWARDS. These reflect the story's content and the lasting impression on the reader:
--/ wonder award
sense-of-wonder, "visual intensity" and inventiveness
--/ idea award
originality of idea / concept
--/ adventure award
exhilarating plot, excitement / action
--/ style award
outstanding literary qualities, inimitable style
--/ romance award
intense and beautiful love / relationships
--/ humour award
funny and cool
--/ emotion award
touching, lasting impression, sensitivity
--/ shock value
--/ awesome scale
mind-boggling; further enhances sense-of-wonder
--/ rare find
very hard to locate, mostly from old pulps, never reprinted, etc.
Again, please feel free to leave your own review or comment under every writer's entry; also recommend us other stories you liked.