The OF Blog: Amazon UK SF/F Best of 2008 List

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Amazon UK SF/F Best of 2008 List

Interesting to compare the Amazon US list (compiled by Jeff VanderMeer) with the Amazon UK one, with an uncertain number of people contributing to that list. I have read/own almost all of the US ones, but only four on the UK one. Thoughts on this list given in full below?

1. Peter F. Hamilton, The Temporal Void - I have the first volume in this trilogy (still unread, at the moment), but not this one.

2. Terry Pratchett, Nation - Outside of a little bit read in an anthology years ago, I have read no Pratchett and I just haven't had the interest. Still don't.

3. Neal Stephenson, Anathem - I believe this is the only book on the list that also appears on the US one. Still need to order this in the next few weeks.

4. Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book - Will buy sometime in the near future.

5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Children of Húrin - Read this back in this form. Thought it was a lovely book back then. Odd that it's making a 2008 list drawn up by Amazon's editors, though.

6. Alan Campbell, Iron Angel - Read it, thought it was an improvement over the first book.

7. Peter V. Brett, The Painted Man - I have the US ARC (to be published here as The Warded Man), but it'll be a few months before I get around to reading it.

8. Liz Williams, Winterstrike - Haven't read this particular book, but a previous book of hers, Nine Layers of Sky, was well-done.

9. Nick Harkaway, The Gone Away World - I started this book just before the school year and I got so wrapped up with preparations that I abandoned the book until I had some extended time to devote to it. What I read was intriguing, so I hope to finish it one of the two remaining holiday breaks this year.

10. Adrian Tchaikovsky, Empire in Black and Gold - Haven't bought this yet, but have considered it every now and then...

My thoughts on this list? It's not bad, but not as appealing to me as the US list was, but I suspect for many, this will be a list more similar to their likes and dislikes.


Liviu said...

To me this list reflects much better what print sff is about.

The Amazon US could be named "the best books of 08 nobody has heard of" - outside of three or at most four books if we add the Winterson one, though it has the merit of bringing obscure books to a general audience's attention.

As it happens I read 6 books and avoided 4 from this UK list. I read 1,3,7,8,9,10, avoided 2,4,5,6

On the US list I read 5,6,7,9, avoided 8 and 10, and have no current interest in the other 4 - 1,2,3,4 -

But the books read from the UK list are all top level for me, while from the US list only Anathem is a top level book, with Black Ships and Matter almost but not quite first level and Last Dragon marginal to ok

Larry Nolen said...

For me, the inverse is true, as most of the books on the UK list I've read, I thought were decent but nothing special, while a few on the US one will very likely make my year-end list.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Larry-the Us list is much more appealing.
Ford,Lanagan and Slattery are very good -the Uk list has Gaiman and Pratchett,the former a favourite the latter I generally enjoy (but certainly not to the point of buying a Discworld novel every six months)-I've read something read in the past from some of the others and found them competent but not spectacular - Hamilton in particular should learn that less is more...

Charles said...

For me it looks like the UK list is more reflective of what actually sold well. The US list is more reflective of the tastes of the editor(s) (in this case Jeff).

The only book I read in the UK List is Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. I think it's definitely one of his best novels to date (the only other contender is American Gods).

As for the rest, I haven't read them and while I expect Pratchett and Tolkien to be relatively good books, I'm skeptical that they're one of the bests for the year. Again, the list is probably more indicative of what sold well (or perhaps the editors's tastes are leaning more towards the mass market fare, which isn't a bad thing mind you).

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