If it’s a massive popularity contest you aim for, then the Goodreads Choice Awards is ideal. I dunno, I think in general I am most interested in the results of awards like the World Fantasy Award, which has a panel of judges; or the Nebula, which requires nominations to come from professional writers. In other words, not wide-open popularity contests. On the other hand, there’s a place for pure popularity too, obviously, and it was really quite interesting seeing what got nominated in all the Goodreads categories.
Of course I read mainly books that have been recommended by bloggers I follow and Goodreads reviewers I follow and so on, so these awards don’t much matter to me — no awards matter to me in that sense — but still, interesting to see what’s shuffled up to the top of the heap for 2015.
I don’t know that much about many of the categories, but here are the SFF winners and runners-up, conveniently provided by File 770.
Best Science Fiction
Winner: Golden Son, Pierce Brown, 32,225 votes
Seveneves, Neal Stephenson, 15,710 votes
The Heart Goes Last, Margaret Atwood, 14,147 votes
The winner of this category obviously smashed the competition, getting about twice as many votes as the second-place novel. I hadn’t read any of these three, in fact. I voted for Ancillary Mercy, which I loved and which got about 1/4 as many votes as the winner. I see that the range of votes was from 32,000 all the way down to less than 1000 for KSR’s Aurora. Interesting.
Winner: Trigger Warning, Neil Gaiman, 33,681 votes
A Darker Shade of Magic, V. E. Schwab, 30,530 votes
Shadows of Self, Brandon Sanderson, 18,171 votes
Obviously the voting was much closer between the top two choices here, then again a very sharp dropoff. Again, I haven’t read any of these. I voted for The Fifth Kingdom by NK Jemisin, which I admit I haven’t read. I voted for it on the strength of her earlier titles.
Winner: Saint Odd, Dean Koontz, 17,644 votes
Alice, Christina Henry, 11,845 votes
The Last American Vampire, Seth Grahame-Smith, 10,336 votes
We can sure see that Horror doesn’t have as extensive a fan base as SF or Fantasy, can’t we, since the winner here picked up only about half as many votes as the winners of the above categories. I haven’t read any of these either, but I voted for Saint Odd because I definitely have liked other books in this series, which imo represents some of Koontz’s best work. I need to read the Odd Thomas book before Saint Odd before I can finish the series. Hopefully pretty soon.
Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction
Winner: Queen of Shadows, Sarah J. Maas, 35,770 votes
Carry On, Rainbow Rowell, 29,569 votes
Winter (The Lunary Chronicles #4), Marissa Meyer, 28,418 votes
Interestingly, Novik’s Uprooted was included in this category. That’s what I voted for, of course. I can see the book as YA, but I believe it was marketed as adult, and I wonder how much that hurt it in this awards contest?
I have to admit, I am 100% not interested in Carry On. I loved Fangirl, but the part of Fangirl I was not interested in was the Simon Snow excerpts. I thought Simon seemed like a boring, unintelligent, unperceptive twit. Obviously a lot of readers were indeed interested in the spin-off title, though.
I will never understand the attraction of the Lunary Chronicles. I listened to the first one and about 3/4 of the second and honestly, no. Talk about boring, unintelligent protagonists. I just do not like this series.
I’m impressed that Sarah J Maas managed to win this category even though her votes were divided up between two different titles. I haven’t yet read anything by her, but maybe eventually. So many older titles on my TBR pile, I don’t know.
Other categories: I’m pleased to see that Gray didn’t win the Romance category. I’m a bit disturbed to see that Go Set a Watchman won the fiction category; honestly, I think there are significant doubts about whether Harper Lee truly was okay with publishing this book and it bothers me. I would have liked to see Ravensbruk win the history category, given this review by Maureen at By Singing Light. I voted for it on the basis of that review. But of course the actual winner (Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson) might be superb.
Most interesting discovery from this year’s Goodreads Choice Awards: Did you know there was a spinoff novel series featuring Veronica Mars? I didn’t. The second book, Mr Kiss and Tell, was a nominee this year. The first book, The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, was published last year, though I didn’t hear about that. It’s set after the movie, which in fact I just watched and liked quite a bit.