Visions of Paradise

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Book of the Year

A reviewer is only as useful as the rapport he or she establishes with his readership. If a reader does not understand what makes a reviewer tick, then somebody raving about the splendors of The Starflame Trilogy is useless, since the reader cannot be sure if he appreciates the same aspects of science fiction as the reviewer does.

So with the goal of helping my readers familiarize themselves more with my personal taste, here is my annual list of Book of the Year. One book per year, a novel whenever possible, selected in the year I read the book, not the year of publication. Until recently, all the selections were science fiction or fantasy, but in the past decade I began intermixing historical fiction with genre fiction, so the choices are more varied.

Year Book/Author
1966 The Dream Master /Roger Zelazny
1967 Lord of Light / Roger Zelazny
1968 Nova / Samuel R. Delany
1969 Nightwings / Robert Silverberg
1970 Downward to the Earth / Robert Silverberg
1971 To Your Scattered Bodies Go / Philip Jose Farmer
1972 Dying Inside / Robert Silverberg
1973 Malevil / Robert Merle
1974 The Dispossessed / Ursula K Le Guin
1975 Ragtime / E.L. Doctorow
1976 Brothers of Earth / C.J. Cherryh
1977 Gateway / Frederik Pohl
1978 Dreamsnake / Vonda N. McIntyre
1979 The Road to Corlay / Richard Cowper
1980 The Snow Queen / Joan Vinge
1981 Downbelow Station / C.J. Cherryh
1982 No Enemy But Time / Michael Bishop
1983 The Armageddon Rag / George R.R. Martin
1984 The Wild Shore Kim / Stanley Robinson
1985 Ender’s Game / Orson Scott Card
1986 Speaker for the Dead / Orson Scott Card
1987 The Shore of Women /Pamela Sargent
1988 An Alien Light / Nancy Kress
1989 Grass / Sherri S. Tepper
1990 The Fall of Hyperion / Dan Simmons
1991 Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede / Bradley Denton
1992 Red Mars / Kim Stanley Robinson
1993 Green Mars / Kim Stanley Robinson
1994 Brittle Innings / Michael Bishop
1995 Wild Swans / Jung Chang
1996 Beloved / Toni Morrison
1997 Dream of the Red Chamber / Cao Xueqin and Gao E
1998 Ship Fever / Andrea Barrett
1999 Stones From the River / Ursula Hegi
2000 The Moon and the Sun / Vonda N. McIntyre
2001 Perdido Street Station / China Miéville
2002 An Instance of the Fingerpost / Iain Pears
2003 A Dream of Scipio / Iain Pears
2004 The Last Light of the Sun / Guy Gavriel Kay

Multiple Selections by Author:
3 Kim Stanley Robinson / Robert Silverberg
2 Michael Bishop / Orson Scott Card / C.J. Cherryh / Vonda N. McIntyre / Iain Pears / Roger Zelazny


  • Hi, I have been interested to read some of your reviews; have you read Mary Gentle's recent books 'Ash: a secret history' or '1610: sundial in a grave' which I felt were two of the best sf/fantasy books of recent years? Also, I didn't see any Neal Stephenson listed - what do you think about his books?

    By Blogger Howard, At 1:31 PM  

  • I have not read either of Gentle's books yet, although 1610 will be published in trade pb in America later this year, so it is on my list of books to buy (another list I might post sometime).

    I reviewed Cryptonomicom on 11/3/04, so you might want to check the review out. Briefly, I liked it enough to want to read his Baroque Cycle when they are all published in pb.

    Thanks for visiting VoP.

    By Blogger adamosf, At 2:56 PM  

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