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‘Tis the Season for SF&F Listicles: 2020 Pandemic Edition

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message 1: by Mark (new)

Mark (markmtz) | 2528 comments Time magazine has kickstarted the pandemic listicle season with the 100 best fantasy books of all time, presented chronologically from the 9th century...

https://time.com/collection/100-best-...

Titles were chosen by a panel with N.K. Jemisin, Neil Gaiman, Sabaa Tahir, Tomi Adeyemi, Diana Gabaldon, George R.R. Martin, Cassandra Clare and Marlon James.

Someone was cribbing from the S&L bookshelf!

When Veronica goes on maternity leave, Tom can use this list to make selections.


message 2: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8768 comments Veronica can still pick books. It’s not like she’s going to prison. Or Kentucky.


message 3: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8768 comments ...annnd I just perused the list. “Of All Time”? Okay, I appreciate the pun, Time magazine, but they’re kidding, right?

Lists like this are usually dumb, but this one is especially suspect.

Tomi Adeyemi makes the list but Octavia Butler doesn’t? JK Rowling gets two random slots but nothing for Ray Bradbury? RF Kuang gets two but Jin Yong only gets one? (Jin Yong is the Tolkien of China.)

Weird how each author on the panel makes the list and a couple get multiple entries, too. Hmm.


message 4: by Mark (new)

Mark (markmtz) | 2528 comments I agree that there are too many authors with multiple entries.

There also seems to be a sharp divide that excludes urban fantasy. That's disappointing for me.


message 5: by Mark (new)

Mark (markmtz) | 2528 comments Trike wrote: "Veronica can still pick books. It’s not like she’s going to prison. Or Kentucky."

Disclaimer: I've never been pregnant, to prison, or to Kentucky, so I guess someone else will have to weigh in here.


message 6: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8768 comments Mark wrote: "I agree that there are too many authors with multiple entries.

There also seems to be a sharp divide that excludes urban fantasy. That's disappointing for me."


Yeah, any “best of” that doesn’t include a couple UF is missing a major portion of the genre. No Charles DeLint? No War for the Oaks? No Interview with the Vampire? No DRACULA, fer cry?

Love him or hate him any list like this should have Stephen King on it.

Adeyemi’s derivative stuff shouldn’t be anywhere near this list if you’re going to leave off all those others.


message 7: by Rick (last edited Oct 17, 2020 11:22AM) (new)

Rick | 2878 comments Hmm For the 'classic' stuff, it seems fine. The recent works are over represented and, as you all noted, not well done. Of course, recent works are hard to do on 'all time' lists. for example, I liked Shadowshaper, but I don't know if it really reaches the heights of LotR or some of the other classic works. Six of Crows? I mean... really?

I'd split this into champs and contenders. The classic period stuff that has lasted the test of time... champs. Recent things, mostly, contenders.

Some recent works, I think, are champs - Fifth Season by Jemisin would go there IMO as would the Gaiman. I think the problem, for me, is tossing works like the Bardugo in there. It kind of feels like some recent buzzy fantasy was added because it was recent and buzzy.


message 8: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 4150 comments *shrug* Decent selection of classics. More recent stuff, meh. As a note, Anne McCaffrey said Pern was SF, not Fantasy.

Anyhoo, I want to say that Fantasy isn't so much my bag, but I read pretty much all of the "classic" fantasy there. So maybe I just don't like modern fantasy. Gaiman is the only author there whose recent work I've read much of. Martin was good 40 years ago. (Just go read Armageddon Rag and Fevre Dream. Go. Go now!)

I suppose as lists go it's fine for its purpose. And its underlying purpose is to sell books, both for the authors choosing and those chosen. Well, and to sell magazines for Time. It's fine for a sales document. It is by no means an actual list of the 100 best Fantasy books of all time.


message 9: by terpkristin (last edited Oct 16, 2020 05:55AM) (new)

terpkristin | 4204 comments John (Taloni) wrote: "And its underlying purpose is to sell books, both for the authors choosing and those chosen."

Its underlying purpose is to get clicks so they get eyes on ads.


message 10: by Silvana (last edited Oct 17, 2020 09:08AM) (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 1662 comments Don't care about this list at all but it gives me the idea of making my own list that I could update anytime.


message 11: by Rick (last edited Oct 17, 2020 11:44AM) (new)

Rick | 2878 comments Edited the above comment for some grammar/typos and another thought came to me - the problem with this list is the 'all time' claim. If this was "100 fantasy works you should check out" there'd be disagreement but you couldn't really complain loudly. For example, the Bardugo is a laughable entry on an All Time list but it's perfectly appropriate as something a person interested in modern fantasy might want to check out.

Any list will have books that we don't agree with and if each of us came up with a list, we wouldn't agree perfectly either. As suggestions to read? This list is ok. As an all time best list? it's laughable.


message 12: by Tina (new)

Tina (javabird) | 717 comments Rick wrote: "... the problem with this list is the 'all time' claim. If this was "100 fantasy works you should check out" there'd be ..."

Yes. For a Best of All Time fantasy list, it sadly ignores:
A Christmas Carol
Peter Pan
Grimm's Fairy Tales
Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales.


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