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Annual SF Site Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2011

Vote For Your Favourite Books of the Past Year

by Neil Walsh

The Dervish House
The Dervish House
The City & The City
The City & The City
The Name of the Wind
The Name of the Wind

The Lies of Locke Lamora
Anansi Boys
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
House of Chains
Perdido Street Station
We Need to Hear from You

Here we are again, offering you your annual chance to let the world know what you thought was the best of all the speculative reading material you encountered from the past year. If you've been a regular visitor to the SF Site for more than a couple of years, you are quite probably already familiar with this annual event. If you're new to us, all you need to know is that we want to hear what you believe was the very best of what you read from the past year.

I don't know about you, but I always hate when someone asks me "what's your favourite book" or movie, or band, or whatever. It's so difficult to choose a single favourite. At the SF Site, we understand that. And that's why we encourage you to tell us what you would put on your personal top 10 favourites. Ok, I know, even a top 10 list can be challenging, but it's certainly easier than choosing the single best.

We also recognize that you may not yet have read all the books from 2011 that you meant to, so we're going to give you a chance to do that -- until March 9, 2012. Once you've finished any Christmas-gift reading or any other books from last year that you expect to really enjoy (or when the March 9 deadline rolls around -- whichever happens first) send us the list of your top 10 favourites from 2011. We'll compile the responses from all our readers, weighted according to your personal rankings, and present an overall list of the top 10 books from 2011 as chosen by the SF Site readers.

Finally, we can't make this happen without your input, so please let us know what you most enjoyed reading.

What's Eligible for Your Vote

Any book is eligible if it

  • meets our definition of a "book",1
  • is in some way related to "speculative fiction",2 and
  • was released in the 2011 calendar year.3
1.   For this purpose, we define a "book" as any collection of printed words that requires reading as a primary means of conveying the message, including but not limited to novels, novellas, collections, anthologies, chapbooks, essays, biographies, comic books, graphic novels, magazines, e-books, e-zines, blogs, etc.

2.   Related to "speculative fiction" means anything that could reasonably be said to be associated in some way with fiction of a speculative nature (including, but not limited to science fiction, fantasy, horror, historical fiction, alternate history, and probably even a fair selection of what is generally considered mainstream fiction). By "related to" speculative fiction, we mean to include such non-fiction items as biographies, essays, speculative science writing, etc., as well as any sub-genre fiction or associated non-fiction.

3.   "Released in the 2011 calendar year" means that your chosen book must have been released in English during the 2011 calendar year, either for the first time, or as a new edition, or a new translation to English, or even a "new" reprint.

If you think a book might be or should be eligible, go ahead and vote for it. Voting is wide open -- there's no list of nominations to choose from. If it was so good that you think it's one of the 10 best things you read all year, we definitely want to hear about it.

How You Vote
  • In the body of an e-mail, list 4 to 10 of your favourite books of 2011, in your order of preference, with your top choice clearly indicated as #1, second choice listed second, etc.  Please do not submit your list as an attachment; e-mails with attachments are filtered out and will not be read.
  • Remember to clearly indicate your #1 choice, second choice, etc. as the votes are weighted according to your own personal ranking. If you didn't read 10 books worthy of inclusion, you are welcome to choose fewer than 10, but surely you read at least 4 good ones. Any choices beyond the first 10 you list will not be counted, so please just pick your 10 most favourite.
  • Remember to list the title and author for each of your choices, or the specific issue(s) of a periodical such as a magazine or comic book. If you know the publisher, you may include that information as well, although it is not strictly required.
  • E-mail your list to vote@sfsite.com with "VOTE" in the subject line.
       Please remember to put "VOTE" in the subject line, or your e-mail may be mistaken for spam and automatically deleted without anyone ever reading your wonderfully insightful choices.
  • Each voter may vote one time only for up to 10 books. If you share an e-mail address with someone else, only one of you should submit your list (perhaps you could agree on one list between you). If you personally have more than one e-mail address, you still only get to submit one list -- not one list per e-mail address.
       You get 10 votes, so there's really no need to try and cheat. Ballot stuffers are remarkably easy to spot and will have all of their votes disqualified.
  • Deadline for voting is Friday, 9 March 2012 at midnight, Eastern Standard Time.

Past & Future Results

While you're thinking about your own personal favourite books from the past year, the SF Site editors and contributors will also be working on our own version of the SF Site Best Read of 2011. We'll post the outcome of both the Readers' Choice Top 10 and the Editors' Choice Top 10 once all the results are in, so you can see how your choices compare with ours.

Have a look if you want to see which books made it to the top 10 lists in the past...

Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2010
Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2009
Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2008
Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2007
Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2006
Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2005
Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2004
Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2003
Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2002
Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2001
Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2000
Readers' Choice: Best Read of 1999
Readers' Choice: Best Read of 1998
Best Read of the Year: 2010
Best Read of the Year: 2009
Best Read of the Year: 2008
Best Read of the Year: 2007
Best Read of the Year: 2006
Best Read of the Year: 2005
Best Read of the Year: 2004
Best Read of the Year: 2003
Best Read of the Year: 2002
Best Read of the Year: 2001
Best Read of the Year: 2000
Best Read of the Year: 1999
Best Read of the Year: 1998
Best Read of the Year: 1997

There's no list of nominees, and there's no comprehensive list of eligible works to choose from, but you may want to have a look through our New Arrivals archive, linked below, to get a few suggestions or to refresh your memory. Check out the pages listed under 2011, but note there will be some overlap because some eligible books will appear in our 2010 or 2012 pages. Also, as mentioned, these pages are not a complete list of books from 2011; they merely provide a starting point to help you think about the books you might want to consider.

Some of the books of the past year

Thanks in advance for your participation. We hope you enjoy voting for your favourite books, and we're look forward to hearing from you.

Copyright © 2012 by Neil Walsh

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