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Annual SF Site Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2004

Vote For Your Favourite Books of the Year

by Neil Walsh

In December 2003, the Canadian Prime Minister retired and Canadians got stuck with a new Prime Minister we didn't necessarily want; he was confirmed in office (albeit with a minority government) in the federal election of 2004. After the U.S. elections of November 2000, Americans got stuck with a President they didn't necessarily want, and it looks like he's been reelected in 2004.

Do recent events make you feel more than a little uneasy about the whole process of voting? Well now it's time to cast a ballot that should actually make you feel good about voting. Here's your chance to make your votes (all 10 of them) count, by voting for what you consider to be the best SF & Fantasy books of 2004.

Here at the SF Site, we've made voting easy, painless and fair. Read on for complete rules.

What's Eligible for Your Vote

Any book is eligible for your vote, as long as

  • it meets our definition of a "book",1
  • it can be reasonably considered to be in any way related to "speculative fiction",2 and
  • it appeared in 2004, either for the first time or in a new edition or reprint.3
1.   We here define a "book" as any medium that involves 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, e-books, magazines, 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 chunk 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.   By "appeared in 2004" we mean that your chosen book must have been released in English during the 2004 calendar year, either for the first time, or as a new edition, or a new translation to English, or even a new reprint.

How You Vote

  • In an e-mail, list up to 10 of your favourite books of 2004, in your order of preference, with your top choice as #1, etc.
  • Remember to clearly indicate your #1 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. Please try to include at least 4 (surely you must have read at least 4 good books this year!).
  • Remember to list the title and author for each of your choices, or the specific issue(s) (if applicable) when listing periodicals such as magazines or comic books.
  • E-mail your list to vote2004@sfsite.com with "VOTE" in the subject line.
    Please don't forget to put "VOTE" in the subject line, or your e-mail may be mistaken for spam and be deleted unread.
  • Each voter may vote one time only for up to 10 books. Ballot stuffers will simply have all of their votes disqualified.
  • Deadline for voting is 11 February 2005 at midnight, Eastern Standard Time.

Past & Future Results

In the SF Site's Mid-February issue we'll provide you with the results of the SF Site Best Read of 2004 Top 10 list, as chosen by the SF Site editors and contributors. In the March issue, we'll post the results of the Readers' Choice Top 10 for 2004 so you can see how your choices measure up against the picks from our staff.

Have a look at the results from past years to see how the two lists compare.

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: 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

If you think it should be eligible, go ahead and vote for it. Voting is wide open -- there's no list of nominations to choose from. So in case you'd like some reminder of books that appeared in the past year, you may want to peruse the New Arrivals archive, linked below. Check out the pages listed under the 2004 column. These pages will most definitely not provide you with a complete list of books from 2004, but it's a starting point to refresh your memory.

Some of the Books of 2004

I look forward to seeing your choices for the Best of 2004. Thanks in advance for voting.

Copyright © 2004 by Neil Walsh

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