Westeros.org Book List – Index

Being an index to a series of posts presenting a genre book list derived from the votes at the Westeros.org forums:

I. – What the idea is

II. – How the list is made

III. – What’s wrong with the list

IV. – Why the list is made like that

V. – The List(s).

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Westeros.org Book List – V.

 

 

The Actual List.

Italics mark series; underlines mark single novels (although there is considerable subjectivity in this distinction in some cases). Bold marks the eleven books that are comprised by the Greats List.

The Affirmation – Christopher Priest

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – Michael Chabon

The Anubis Gates – Tim Powers

The Autumn of the Patriarch – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The Black Company – Glen Cooke

Blindness – Jose Saramago

The Book of the New Sun – Gene Wolfe

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

A Canticle for Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller, Jr. (further thoughts HERE)

Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut

Childhood’s End – Arthur C. Clarke

China Mountain Zhang – Maureen McHugh

The Chronicles of Amber – Roger Zelazny

The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, and The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant) Stephen Donaldson

A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess

The H.P. Lovecraft Omnibus – H.P. Lovecraft

The Dark Tower – Stephen King

Discworld – Terry Pratchett* [See Note]

The Dispossessed – Ursula K. Le Guin

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick

Doomsday Book – Connie Willis

Downbelow Station – C.J. Cherryh

Dracula – Bram Stoker

Dune – Frank Herbert

The Dying Earth – Jack Vance

The Dying of the Light – George R.R. Martin

The Earthsea Trilogy – Ursula K. Le Guin

The Empire Trilogy – Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts

Ender’s Quartet – Orson Scott Card

The Farseer Trilogy – Robin Hobb

The Fencer Trilogy – K.J. Parker

Fevre Dream – George R.R. Martin

Fictions – Jorge Luis Borges (reviewed in two parts: HERE and HERE)

The Forever War – Joe Haldeman

The Foundation Trilogy – Isaac Asimov

The Gap Series – Stephen Donaldson

Good Omens – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

The Gormenghast Trilogy – Mervyn Peake

A Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

The Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling

Hellblazer – Garth Ennis

His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Five Parts – Douglas Adams

The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

Hyperion – Dan Simmons

I Am Legend – Richard Matheson

The Illiad – Homer

Invisible Cities – Italo Calvino

The Iron Dragon’s Daughter – Michael Swanwick

The Last Unicorn – Peter S. Beagle

The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin

The Lions of Al-Rassan – Guy Gavriel Kay

Little, Big – John Crowley

The Liveship Traders – Robin Hobb

Lord of Light – Roger Zelazny

The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien

Lucifer’s Hammer – David Niven and Jerry Pournelle

The Lyonesse Trilogy– Jack Vance

The Glass Bead Game – Hermann Hesse

The Gospel According to Jesus Christ – Jose Saramago

The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick

The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov

Memory, Sorrow and Thorn – Tad Williams

Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress – Robert A. Heinlein

Le Morte D’Arthur – Thomas Mallory

Mythago Wood – Robert Holdstock

Neuromancer – William Gibson

The Night’s Dawn Trilogy – Peter F. Hamilton

Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell

Odyssey – Homer

One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Only Forward – Michael Marshall Smith

Otherland – Tad Williams

Permutation City – Greg Egan

Planet of Adventure – Jack Vance

The Prestige – Christopher Priest

Replay – Ken Grimwood

The Riddle-Master Trilogy – Patricia A. McKillip

Sandman – Neil Gaiman

The Sarantine Mosaic – Guy Gavriel Kay

Shardik – Richard Adams

The Silmarillion – J.R.R. Tolkien

Slaughterhouse 5 – Kurt Vonnegut

Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson

Solaris – Stanislaw Lem

The Soldier Trilogy (Soldier of the Mist, Soldier of Arete, and Soldier of Sidon)– Gene Wolfe

A Song of Ice and Fire – George R.R. Martin

The Stand – Stephen King

The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester

Starship Troopers – Robert A. Heinlein

Tigana – Guy Gavriel Kay

The Tooth Fairy – Graham Joyce

Transmetropolitan – Warren Ellis

Use of Weapons – Iain M. Banks

The Warlord Trilogy – Bernard Cornwell

Watchmen – Alan Moore

Watership Down – Richard Adams

We – Yevgeny Zamyatin

The Wheel of Time – Robert Jordan

Honourable Mentions: Salem’s Lot (Stephen King), Till We Have Faces (C.S. Lewis),  The Once and Future King (T.H. White), The Elric Series (Michael Moorcock), A Fire Upon The Deep (Vernor Vinge), Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury), The Vorkosigan Saga (Lois McMaster Bujold), The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry), Gravity’s Rainbow (Thomas Pynchon), and The Divine Comedy (Dante Alighieri).

*Nota Bene: The Discworld series is extremely long, and variable in style and quality, with litte connexion between many of the novels, and so would probably have better been considered as separate novels. However, the voting was overwhelmingly for it as a series. Furthermore, the most popular individual Discworld book, Night Watch, is generally considered one of the least independent books, and one of the least appropriate for beginners. The second-most mentioned book, Small Gods, is a standalone novel with few connexions to any other novels in the series, and is therefore probably a better starting point for newcomers; however, I didn’t feel it would be legitimate to promote it over Night Watch in this vote (it is not my place to make these decisions), and so rather than list the less accessible book, I acquiesced to the popular voting pattern and listed the entire series, with the addition of this explanatory note.

——————————-

The Twenty-First Century List

Acts of Caine – Matthew Stover

Black Man – Richard Morgan

The First Law Trilogy – Joe Abercrombie

The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch

The Long Price Quartet – Daniel Abraham

The Malazan Book of the Fallen – Steven Erikson

The Orphan’s Tales – Cathrynne M. Valente

Prince of Nothing – R. Scott Bakker

The Scar – China Mièville

Stories of Your Life and Others – Ted Chiang

Honourable Mentions: The Road (Cormac McCarthy), American Gods (Neil Gaiman), City of Saints and Madmen (Jeff Vandermeer), Cloud Atlas (David Mitchell), Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (Susanna Clarke), The Wizard Knight (Gene Wolfe), Chasm City (Alastair Reynolds), Anathem (Neal Stephenson), and The Separation (Christopher Priest).

Westeros.org Book List – IV.

Why this List was created in the way it was: Possibly Asked Questions.

It is quite reasonable that people may query the rationale behind certain decisions in making this poll, either because they seem bad decisions, or simply out of curiosity. So, I’d like to pre-emptively answer some questions.

1. Why only twenty works per ballot?

If the ballot had been smaller, there would have been less variety in votes, and fewer works nominated overall. Why, then, not make it larger? There are four main reasons. Firstly, workload: there were approximately 2,000 different nominations to tally in this poll, and a larger ballot would have made this even harder. An ideal ballot would have been 100 works – but this would be five times as much work.  Secondly, inclusiveness: this was a popular poll, and even with an explicit allowance that incomplete ballots could be submitted, a request for a longer ballot would have put more people off voting. Thirdly, ignorance: only a portion of the electorate actually know enough to nominate 100 good books, and although some would simply have left their ballots incomplete, others would have packed them with inferior works in great numbers; at least with only twenty books per ballot, the books are likely to be genuinely admired, and not merely put in to make up the numbers.  And, fourthly, mechanics: how would points have been allocated in such a system? A large ballot with a sharp distribution of points (ie top votes receive many more votes than those lower down) would have rendered low votes essentially irrelevant anyway (if the top book gets 50 points to the bottom book’s 1, for instance, there’s no point voting for a bottom book at all, in a poll where only 100 people vote overall). A flat distribution (all votes get the same points, or top votes get only slightly more votes than low votes), combined with a large ballot, would have turned it from a popularity contest into a contest of who had even heard of the book in question, as well as making the labour of ranking a 100-strong ballot futile. A twenty-work ballot is big enough to produce interesting results, while small enough to be viable; a larger ballot would have produced only slightly more interesting data, with a considerable amount of extra work and difficulty.

2. Why not ranked?

I don’t believe it’s possible to rank books so finely. If it’s really obvious to you that your fourteenth book is FAR better than the fifteenth book, and that they shouldn’t receive the same number of points, then I think that maybe you’ve only read fourteen really good books. Many voters commented as it was that their 20 could be different on another day – what gain in accuracy would there actually be, then, from the greater precision of an exact ranking?

3. Why tiered?

Although I don’t believe in fine ranking, I think a tiering is useful and meaningful. There may not be a difference between fourteenth and fifteenth, but it’s reasonable that there may be a big difference between first and fourteenth.  In addition, this allows a sharp points allocation, as described in answer to Question Six. However, the exact nature of the tiering is arbitrary, beyond the fact that I wanted the highest tier to be smaller than those below.

4. Why the Greats List?

I’m not entirely sure; it’s certainly not necessary. However, I think there is something valuable in asking for people’s opinions of things truly superior, and by making it an optional extra I tried to prevent people from thinking that they should automatically vote in it, so that those not well-read did not simply give Greatness votes to their favourite books. It could have been worked out through the main list (by making the Greats votes just add more points to the tally for that book), but I felt it worthwile to distinguish these books from those who scored highly due to large numbers of low votes. It is worth noting, however, that all books on the Greats List would have made it onto the Main List on their own merit, even without this system. There were only two possible votes per voter for the GL as a form of defense against over-enthusiastic voters giving GL votes to too many of their personal favourites – with only two votes allowed, the damage any single voter could do was limited. However, in the event there were fewer GL ballots than I expected, so additional GL votes per ballot would probably have been a good idea in hindsight.

5.Why are so many terms left undefined?

“Great”, “series” and “genre” were all left to the individual, because I did not feel I had the authority to impose terms. Greatness is a hard concept to define rigidly; as it happens, I think people did a pretty good job with that. There was surprisingly little disagreement about what constituted a single series; in any case, I could do little about it, since I do not know every author on the list (there were more than 300), and because I did not know in advance what would be nominated, and could not make definitive statements in advance (and did not wish to make rulings during the voting, as that would be unfair to those who voted before the ruling). I did not define “genre” because I know no definition; but, more importantly, because I didn’t feel it was my place. Genre is, to me, whatever genre fans are fans of. If I had run this poll only to find out that the top “Science Fiction and Fantasy” authors were Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers and Ruth Rendell, that would just have meant that the fandom was mislabelled – and insisting that Christie fans vote between Wolfe and Mieville fans would have been pointless. Needless to say, many voters may ALSO be fans of Agatha Christie, but I assume that there is a division between the two types of literature within their minds – part of the point of a “genre”, after all, is things are read because they are within the genre. For similar reasons, I tried to stay clear of “Science Fiction and Fantasy”, or even “Speculative Fiction”, prefering the simple term “genre”, so as not to seem to be imposing external criteria on people’s decisions. In the event, there were only a small number of works voted for where this was an issue. For those (in particular the magic realist novels), I think the fact that genre fans consider them to be within their genre is more than enough to merit them being on this poll, which is, after all, for the benefit of genre fans, not literary critics. It is therefore the definitions of genre fans which should be paramount.

6. Why the 1-2-8 ranking?

Clearly, the precise point allocation system is arbitrary. Two extreme cases are balanced: the flat allocation system of 1 point per vote, regardless of position, and the extremely sharp allocation system (eg 20 points for #s1-4, 1 point for #s13-20). I opted, I think, for a middle ground, but leaning toward the sharp, because I wanted the list to represent a collection of books the hypothetical guided reader might potentially love, rather than of books they are likely to quite like; as such, I wanted to give particular weight to people’s favourite works. This also helps to create an eclectic list – a perfectly flat allocation would result in the 100 most mentioned books, which would entirely exclude books not widely read, and the sharper the allocation the more these unusual books get moved up the list. These books are likely to either be obscure personal favourites (which might become a favourite of a new reader) or else books votes for by very widely-read readers (in which case they are probably very good); either way, they are probably deserving of a wider audience. That said, I did not wish to go too far toward steepness – a too-steep allocation would be effectively making the ballot only four books long (because lower-ranked books would get ‘shouted out’ by the steep allocation), which would give too small a sample, and one too easily held hostage by individual votes, getting rid of the whole point of a large popular survey.

7. Why aggregate the votes by author?

I aggregated votes per author because otherwise some authors would do particularly badly as a result of fans splitting votes between different books. A good example of this was the British Big Read competition earlier this decade, where Pratchett fans split their votes between half a dozen books in the top 100. As a sample result, for instance, voting by book instead of by author would have excluded Christopher Priest from the Main List entirely. On the other hand, voting by book could have allowed some authors to get too many books onto the list.

8. Why use LV for the Greats List?

I didn’t think there was any point having a more sophisticated system, given the electoral landscape: the vote-splitting concern only applied to Tolkien, and he had more than enough votes to split.

9. Why the stepped allocation of slots?

I could have simply given one slot to each author, but to me that seemed unfair. A recommendations list should take notice of relative popularity, and an author like Wolfe deserves to have more books on the list than an author like Pullman, given that Wolfe got more than ten times as many points as Pullman did. Also, although the system deals with vote-splitting problems, there is still a tendency for voters to spread their votes between authors, meaning that secondary works by top authors often don’t get the votes they deserve, because they are overshadowed by a more famous work. It is true that a more sophisticated proportional representation system could have replicated this allocation, but that seemed a pointless amount of work, since it would have had to have been fine-tuned through trial and error.

10. Why a separate 21st Century List?

Reading polls are always biased heavily toward recent works – they are more widely read, and often more widely remembered. Because we are living now in 2010, this recency bias can be dealt with simply and with some justification by dividing the list into two: a list for the 20th Century, and a list for the first decade of the 21st Century. As it happens, the first part has been a little diluted by the inclusion of a handful of pre-20th century works (not enough to merit their own list, as was my original plan), but I think the concept remains coherent. The decision to count 2000 as part of the 20th century was made only partly on the basis of pedantry, and more on the basis of personal bias – too many books seemed to have come out in 2000 for me to shunt them off into their own list (although one of my own favourites from that year, Mary Gentle’s “Ash”, failed miserably to gain votes in the poll anyway).

11. Why re-allocate pool slots to top authors?

I could have given all pool slots to authors at the bottom of the list. However, the re-allocation system enables authors with broad support to get multiple books on the list – had more of the slots gone to the bottom of the list, they would actually have gone to books with less support than some of the additional books higher up the list.

12. Why impose quotas on pool slots and on second/third allocations?

I didn’t want top authors to get books in with only the slightest support. The quota system ensures that all books on the list are either a top-4 book for somebody, a 5-12 book for two people, or a 13-20 book for at least four people (as well as the author of the book having broader support for their overall body of work).

13. Why not simple LV for the 21st Century List?

Authorial fiat. The list departs from LV in giving slots to Greats automatically; although these books weren’t put on the Greats list, I felt that they deserved to be somewhere. It also includes only post-200o votes; I felt it not entirely fair to eliminate contemporary authors in favour of the less-regarded late works of older authors who are already included in the Main List. For the sake of transparency: not safeguarding slots for Greats would have taken the Chiang and Stover off the list and replaced them with the Gaiman and the McCarthy; including pre-2000 votes would have taken off the Valente and the Lynch and replaced them with the Wolfe and the Gaiman; making both changes would take off the Chiang, the Stover and the Valente, and replace them with the Gaiman, the Wolfe, and the Priest.

14. Why is this only a genre list?

Because the voters were genre fans, and thus not the people to ask for a general list. Such a list would have been a “non-genre books that genre fans might like” – that’s perfectly valid and interesting in its own right, but as there are plenty of non-genre lists out there, I thought it more interesting to make use of the relative expertise of the voters and compile a “genre books for genre fans” list instead.

15. Why is this a popular vote?

Some might suggest that a better list would be compiled by only asking “experts”. This has some merit, and an interesting project for the future would be to compile the lists of different reviewers. However, not all potential readers are experts with expert tastes, and I felt it fair to include the views of ordinary readers as well; in any case, I don’t know the voters well enough to feel confident picking out “experts” in advance (and doing it retrospectively on the basis of how they voted would be clearly biased).

16. What sort of electoral system is this, anyway?

The electoral system is of my own divising, to meet the particular needs of the poll – unusually, this system is designed to be comprehensive, rather than consensual, with diversity respected through the election of representatives from different factions, rather than through the election of broadly acceptible candidates. In a political election, this system would probably produce an unworkable assembly of extremists, but I felt that this was suitable for this type of list. For the curious, I would call this a Double Simultaneous Limited Positional Vote, with a Qualified Banded Apportionment List Vote and an Individual Block Vote as the two elements. Double Simultaneous Votes (DSV) are most famous for their use in Uruguay, where they are used in single-member constituencies, but they also occur, without the name, in several Proportional Representation systems – essentially, it means that a single vote is a vote for both a party and a candidate (or in this case both an author and a book). Positional Voting is a name for any system where candidate are given points for their position on a ballot, and is contrasted with conventional Preferential Voting (generally, although strictly speaking positional systems ARE preferential; there’s no word known to me for non-positional preferential systems, although I would call them ‘Subordinate Voting’) – in politics, this is best known in the form of the Borda Count, and the hypothetical Quota Borda System (in both of which all the candidates must be ranked, while this is ‘Limited’ because only some candidates are positioned), but it is also commonly seen in the award of prizes by juries. “Banded Apportionment” is my word for the system of allocating ‘seats’ in rough chunks based on position in the results, rather than based on actual voting scores – I don’t think it’s used in politics anywhere, although the Chilean binomial system could be described as banded apportionment with an exception for parties with more than a certain number of votes. It is “Qualified” because the apportionment only gives provisional ‘seats’, which are only taken if certain criteria are met. The Block Vote is simply the system where the voters can vote for multiple candidates, and the candidates with the most votes win.

Westeros.org Book List – III.

Caveats – What’s Wrong with this List?

All selection systems are flawed. A number of things must be noted regarding this one:

  1. The treatment of novel series is to a degree arbitrary; whether books are counted individually or as a single series depends firstly upon voting patterns (whether multiple books from the same series are voted for repeatedly) and secondly upon subjective conceptions of how united the series is, and the extent to which earlier books must be read before later – as I have not  read most of the series nominated, this judgement may be questionable.
  2. Because of this lumping of works into series, and because voters could not vote for multiple books from the same series, those authors who write multiple standalones will have an advantage over those who wrote only a single long series. However, if readers had been free to vote for multiple books from the same series, there would likely have been an even greater bias towards writers of successful series.
  3. It is possible for single voters to pack their ballots with votes for a single author. In some ways this is fair (by doing so, they forego the chance to vote for other authors), but it is worth noting that in a small handful of cases authors have made the list as a result of vote-packing by individuals, not by broad support. Future polls might include a vote-shrinking system whereby multiple votes for one author were allowed, but with diminishing points allocated to each additional vote. In any case, this feature has not overly distorted the results.
  4. A major structural tension arises from the problem of giving attention to great but obscure works. The large number of points given to top-tier votes goes some way to remedying this, but the poll remains structurally biased against those authors who are too obscure for ‘populist’ readers to have read, yet not quite good enough to make it onto the top twenty of the ‘expert’ reader. As we might expect the top twenty of a well-read voter to be of better quality than that of a narrowly-read voter, this means that many works have gone un-nominated, or been given only a handful of votes, despite being of higher quality than some listed works. This problem cannot be addressed without a far longer ballot, which would have brought its own problems.
  5. There are errors in the tabulation. If you think about it, that shouldn’t be too surprising – it’s a grea big table 100 columns wide and over 600 rows long! I have endeavoured to minimise errors (I have, for instance, checked the total points for each voter, so that the correct number of votes has been registered for each), but without triple-checking, by hand, every one of the 6000 cells against the 2000 nominations, I can’t guarentee that some votes haven’t been put into the row above or below the one they should have gone into. In fact, I know that this has happened, since one work has ended up with 0 points, when it should actually have had 1 point. No doubt there are a handful of other minor errors that I haven’t noticed. However, I don’t believe that any of these errors are likely to have had any effect on the results.
  6. This poll was the product of voters at a single internet forum, dedicated to the series “A Song of Ice and Fire”, by George R.R. Martin. Although it represents a good cross-section of tastes, selection bias is inevitable.

Westeros.org Book List – II.

How this list was created

1. The ballot

Each voter was asked for a list of up to twenty of their favourite works. These works were not ranked individually, but were placed into three tiers – of, respectively, 4, 8 and 8 works. Additionally, voters were optionally allowed to select up to two of the works to be nominated as “great” – of a quality above a mere good or favourite book. The precise meaning of ‘great’ was left to the voter, as was the definition of ‘genre’. Voters were not allowed to vote for two different books in the same integral series, although the definition of ‘series’ was left to the voter.

2. The Base Author Ranking

    Points were assigned for every vote: 1 point for a third-tier vote, 2 points for a second-tier vote, and 8 points for a first-tier vote. The point total for each author was then aggregated, to create a ranked list of authors.

    3. The Greats mini-list

      Votes for greatness were tallied, and the ten works with the highest totals made it onto the list (that is, voting was by LV with ten seats and two votes per voter). Originally, the plan was to use Base Author Ranking as a tiebreak; however, as only eleven works received two or more votes, it seemed unnecessarily cruel and arbitrary to exclude a single work from the list, and so the list was expanded from ten to eleven works.

      4. The Main List

        The main list was populated through the concept of ‘slots’ – authors were given theoretical allowances of books, which allowances could then be passed on if the author was unable to use them. First, the top sixty-five authors in the BAR were assigned one slot each; next, one additional slot was assigned for each work on the Greats List. Then, additional slots were assigned to the top authors: two additional slots for the top five, and one additional slot for the next fifteen. In all of this process, slots were not assigned to authors who work was published entirely in the 21st century.

        For each author, individual works were then lined up to take up the assigned slots: first, any book on the Greats List, and then the remaining books in order of decreasing point tallies, with the caveat that where a book was considered part of a series, the points from any book in the series went to the series total, and where the books were considered individually, all undifferentiated votes for the series went toward the tallies for every book in the series.

        In the third phase, for each author, beginning with the top of the BAR, the rank of books by that author was assessed for eligibility for the list. To be eligible, there had to be at least one slot available, the book had to have been published in 2000 or before, and the book had to have passed a quota for that slot, which depended upon how many books the author had already got onto the list. For the first slot per author, there was no quota; for the second slot, the quota was seven points; for the third slot, the quota was ten points; slots taken up by books on the Greats list were ignored for the purposes of calculating quotas. Where an author had no books eligible to take a slot, the slot was placed into a ‘pool’.

        Once the initial population had been made, the pool slots were re-assigned to new authors. Beginning at the top of the BAR, the slots were offered to each author in turn: to take the slot, an author could not have met their limit (no author was allowed more than three filled slots without a Great, plus one for each Great), and had to have a book able to meet a quota (ten points to fill a first pool slot; theoretically, fifteen to fill a second pool slot, but this did not happen). Those pool slots that were not taken in this method were handed out free to the next authors on the BAR.

        As a concrete example: Frank Herbert reached the top five on the BAR, and hence was given three slots, but he had only one work, the Dune series, nominated; as a result, two of his slots were passed to the pool. Ursula Le Guin reached the top twenty, and hence had two slots, both of which she filled; she was then offered a pool slot, and her third-ranking book, The Left Hand of Darkness, was able to meet the quota for pool slots, and hence is on the list.

        When the list had been populated, it was seen that the end of the list was in a tie; rather than introduce some arbitrary tiebeak criterion, I chose to simply expand the list by one more book, taking it to 102 works in total.

        5. The 21st Century mini-list

          To fill this list, I allowed each author no more than one book, and gave a slot to each work, published after 2000, that received two or more Greats vote, and then to one book per author based solely on the votes for their post-2000 work.

          Westeros.org Book List – I.

          What is this list?

          This is the 2010 Westeros.org Book List! It is a list of books generated from the results of a vote on the westeros.org forums, in which voters were asked to supply a list of their twenty favourite “genre” books – the genre in question being the one based on “science fiction” and “fantasy”, although no strict limits were placed on content.

          This should not be viewed as, per se, a “greatest F&SF books of all time” list. I don’t think it’s possible to arrive at one of those through a popular vote with diverse voters (there were nearly 100 ballots submitted), as the range of books read by different voters will be so unhomogenous that real comparison is impossible.

          What CAN be created from a popular vote is a recommendations list; as a result, the intention has been to create not a “correct” list but a “diverse” or “inclusive” list – every reader from the same demographic as the voters should find books here worth reading and more than worth reading, and every book here should be worth reading for at least one prospective reader. Nobody is likely to adore every book on this list, but hopefully everybody might adore something.

          There are three lists presented here: a Greats List, a 21st Century List, and a Main List. The Main List contains 101 genre works published in or prior to 2000; the Greats List is a subset of that list (the same books reoccur in the Main List); the 21st Century List is a short list containing books published in 2001 or later.