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retrospective look at sf&f year-by-year
The Ultimate Guide to New SF&F Writers (from 1990 till now)

Best "Space SF" Story (1961 to now)

FIRST PLACE Best "Space SF" Story (1961 to now)

Michael Swanwick "Slow Life"

SECOND PLACE Best "Space SF" Story (1961 to now)

Greg Bear "A Martian Ricorso"
Larry Niven "Known Space" stories:
"At the Core"; "The Coldest Place"; "The Ethics of Madness"
"Flatlander"; "Neutron Star"; "A Relic of Empire"
Alastair Reynolds "Galactic North"

THIRD PLACE Best "Space SF" Story (1961 to now)

J. G. Ballard "The Message From Mars"
Stephen Baxter "Gossamer"
Barrington J. Bayley "The Cabinet of Oliver Naylor"
Gregory Benford "A Worm in the Well"
Tony Daniel "Life On The Moon"
Dmitry DeSpiller "Udivitelnaya Igvi"
Samuel R. Delany "Cage of Brass"
Paul Di Filippo "A Martian Theodicy"
Geoffrey A. Landis "Approaching Perimelasma"
Judith Ann Lawrence "This Is My Beloved"
"Twinkle, Twinkle Little Bat"
Stanislaw Lem "On Patrol"; "Terminus"; "The Test"
Kelly Link "Two Houses"
George R. R. Martin "Fast-Friend"; The Plague Star"
Alastair Reynolds"A Spy in Europa", "Weather"
Ted Reynolds "Can These Bones Live?"; "Trial Sample"
"What Mad Diversion?"
Cordwainer Smith "On the Gem Planet"; "On the Sand Planet"
"On the Storm Planet"
Bruce Sterling "Spider Rose"; "Sunken Gardens"
A. & B. Strugatskie "Strashnaya Bolshaya Planeta"
Michael Swanwick "The Very Pulse of the Machine"
James Tiptree, Jr. "And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill's Side"
John Varley "Lollipop and the Tar Lady"; "The Pusher"
John C. Wright "Guest Law"
Askold Yakubowski "Na Dalekoi Planete"
Roger Zelazny "A Rose for Ecclesiastes"

FOURTH PLACE Best "Space SF" Story (1961 to now)

Poul Anderson "Kyrie"; "Sunjammer"
A. Balazh "Vstrecha"
Iain M. Banks "Odd Attachment"
Sydney J. Bounds "The Animators"
J. G. Ballard "Report on an Unidentified Space Station"
Stephen Baxter "The Gravity Mine"; "Planck Zero"
"Sheena 5"
Barrington J. Bayley "The Ship That Sailed the Ocean of Space"
Gregory Benford "In Alien Flesh"
Dmitry Bilenkin "Nebo V Almazah"; "Nichego Krome Lda"
"Ten Sovershenstva"; "Ukhodyaschikh - Prosti!"
"Proverka Na Razumnost"
Eric Brown "Myths Of The Martian Future"
Robert L. Davis "Teratohippus"
Jack Dann, Michael Swanwick and Gardner Dozois "Gods Of Mars"
Dmitry DeSpiller "Kosmoplan Kotory Nigde"
"Obmanchivaya Vneshnost"; "Planeta Kaleidoskopov"
"Poyuschie Skaly"; "Raundy Planety Ksenos"
Andrei Dmitruk "Skolzyaschi Po Moryu Kosmosa"
M. Emtzev & E. Parnov "Zheltye Ochi"
Dennis Etchinson "Damechild"
Yury Glazkov "Polyot "Svytogo Patrulya"
Phillip C. Jennings "Teddy Bug and the Hot Purple Snowball"
Victor Komarov "Perevorot Otkladyvaetsya"
Vladislav Ksionzhek "Polyubi Menya"
Geoffrey A. Landis "At Dorado"; "Impact Parameter"
"The Long Chase"; "Outsider's Chance"; "Sundancer Falling"
Boris Lapin "Pervy Shag"; "Pod Schastlivoy Zvezdoi"
Fritz Leiber "Moon Duel"
Stanislaw Lem "The Accident"; "The Albatross"
"The Conditioned Reflex"
C. C. MacApp "For Every Action"
K. Malinovski "Tretia Planeta Prociona"
Robert E. Margroff "Caterpillar Express"
Vyacheslav Morochko "Tam, Gde Vechno Dremlet Taina"
George R. R. Martin "A Beast for Norn"; "Guardians"
"Loaves and Fishes"; "Nor The Many-Colored Fires of a Star Ring"
"Second Helpings"; "Starlady"; "The Way of Cross and Dragon"
Vladimir Mikhailov "Chernye Zhuravli"; "Odisseya Valgusa"
"Ruchei Na Yapete"; "Svistok, Kotorogo Ne Slyshish"
Vladimir Mikhanovski "Put Karavelly"; "Strela I Koloss"
Larry Niven "At the Bottom of a Hole"; "Becalmed in Hell"
"The Hole Man"
Sergei Pavlov "Ploskogorie Ognennykh Zmei"
Mikhail Puhov "Kartinnaya Galereya"; "Spasenie Zhizni"
Marta Randall "The Captain And The Kid"
"The State Of The Art On Alyssum"
Robert Reed "Night Of Time"
Victor Savchenko "Roza Vetrov"
Svyatoslav Slavchev "Golos, Kotory Tebya Zovyot"
Fred Saberhagen "Berserker' Prey" ("Pressure"); "The Face of the Deep"
"Fortress Ship" ("Without A Thought"); "The Lifehater" ("The Peacemaker")
"Period Of Totality"; "Sign Of The Wolf"
Bob Shaw "Appointment on Prila"; "Retroactive"
Allen Steele "The Return of Weird Frank"; "Zwarte Piet's Tale"
V. Tzyganov "Marsianskie Rasskazy"
Yury Tupitzyn "Khodovye Ispytaniya"
Richard Wadholm "The Ice Forest"
Vladlen Yufryakov "Tikhaya Planeta"
Askold Yakubowski "Iskatel"; "Schastie"
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro "Fugitive Colors"; "The Meaning Of The Word"
Sarah Zettel "Kinds Of Strangers"
Timothy Zahn "Pawn's Gambit"
Roger Zelazny "The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth"

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Also see: (full navigation tree)

Best SF Novel (General Themes)
Best Space SF Novel
Best Time SF Novel
Best Apocalyptic SF Novel


Best SF Series (general themes)
Best Space SF Series

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 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 Story 1920-1960
Best Fantasy Story 1961-now




Click to go to "Dark Roasted Blend" site



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Avi,

I added this link to one of my posts here. I hope you don't mind. Have a good one!

8:12 AM  
Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Thanks for the link... As for recommendations (I can not post a comment on your blog, your scripts do not run properly in my Safari) - J. G. Ballard and Philip K. Dick would be my picks in SF. As for fantasy - I'd recommend Jeff Vandermeer's recent "City of Saints and Madmen"... Judging by the fact that you like Lovecraft, this is one skewed crazy and brilliant mind candy to suck on. They sell it as a novel, but it is really a collection of short fiction, some won World Fantasy award etc. I've read only half so far, but got hooked on the whole thing...

10:57 PM  

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Collecting Pulp Magazines

Ephemera Interview with Avi Abrams

Enchanting Victorian Fairy Tale Art

"Then world behind and home ahead..."

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
(awesome must-reads)

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: 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

Jack Vance

"To Live Forever"
and other Vance extravaganzas

Alastair Reynolds

"Pushing Ice"
Cosmological "noir" chase across space

Charles Stross

"Missile Gap"
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

"Apocalyptic Blockbusters"
"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

"Galactic North"
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

"Neutron Star"
"better get GP alien ship hull"

Poul Anderson Review

"Ensign Flandry"
"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"
" caused a tooth ache, and put my brain on freeze..."

Frank Herbert Review

"Destination: Void"
"...a layered cake of ideas and a scientific extrapolation on a genius level..."

Harlan Ellison Review

"The Abnormals"
"...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

"Burning Chrome"
"...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:
Author's Pen Names - Most Complete List Ever
The Wonder Timeline: SF&F Restrospective
Space Adventure Article



"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 :
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--/ cool : (equal to fifth place)

These awards are given in the following categories:
- novel :
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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
altogether wild

--/ 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.