James Nicoll's 100 SF/F Books

On December 27, 2018, Tor.com published an article by James Nicoll entitled 100 SF/F Books You Should Consider Reading in the New Year. Via his personal site, James is my primary source for high-quality (and entertaining) SF/F reviews. He's been a professional reviewer for many years, reads very widely, and recommends books outside of the established set of authors. This list is therefore a bit different than the typical lists from major publications and may feature more books one hasn't already heard of. Note that it's limited to one work per author.

The original article includes a short description of each work explaining why James picked it. Those are very much worth reading.

The list preserves the order of the original, which is in alphabetical order by author last name (but with The Interior Life under Dorothy Heydt rather than the original publication author name of Katherine Blake). It omits The ArchAndroid by Janelle Monáe since it's a musical work rather than a book. "St. Ailbe's Hall" by Naomi Kritzer is short fiction (a novella, I believe).

Katherine Addison The Goblin Emperor 8 out of 10
Joan Aiken The Stolen Lake
Hiromu Arakawa Fullmetal Alchemist
Hitoshi Ashinano Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō
Margaret Atwood The Handmaid's Tale
Donna Barr Stinz: Charger: The War Stories
Elizabeth Boyer The Sword and the Satchel
Rosel George Brown Galactic Sibyl Sue Blue
Lois McMaster Bujold The Mountains of Mourning 6 out of 10
Emma Bull War for the Oaks
Octavia E. Butler Wild Seed
Jacqueline Carey Naamah's Curse 9 out of 10
Raphael Carter The Fortunate Fall 9 out of 10
Becky Chambers The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet 9 out of 10
Joy Chant Red Moon and Black Mountain
Suzy McKee Charnas The Vampire Tapestry
C.J. Cherryh Gate of Ivrel 5 out of 10
Zen Cho Sorcerer to the Crown
Jo Clayton Diadem from the Stars
Susan Cooper The Dark is Rising 8 out of 10
Kara Dalkey Genpei
Aliette de Bodard Servant of the Underworld
Pamela Dean The Secret Country 6 out of 10
Samuel R. Delany Dhalgren
Diane Duane The Door into Fire
Corinne Duyvis On the Edge of Gone
Kate Elliott Spirit Gate
Sylvia Louise Engdahl Enchantress from the Stars
Mary Gentle Golden Witchbreed
Molly Gloss The Dazzle of Day
Lisa Goldstein A Mask for the General
Nicola Griffith Slow River 9 out of 10
Barbara Hambly Those Who Hunt the Night
Elizabeth Hand Winterlong
Zenna Henderson Ingathering 7 out of 10
Katherine Blake The Interior Life
P.C. Hodgell God Stalk
Nalo Hopkinson Brown Girl in the Ring
S.L. Huang Zero Sum Game 7 out of 10
Tanya Huff Blood Price
Monica Hughes The Keeper of the Isis Light
Kameron Hurley God's War
Emmi Itäranta Memory of Water
N.K. Jemisin The Fifth Season 8 out of 10
Diane Wynn Jones Cart and Cwidder
Heather Rose Jones Daughter of Mystery
Janet Kagan Hellspark
Lee Killough A Voice Out of Ramah
Naomi Kritzer St. Ailbe's Hall
Katherine Kurtz Deryni Rising
Ellen Kushner Swordspoint 9 out of 10
Madeleine L'Engle A Wrinkle in Time 6 out of 10
Justine Larbalestier Magic or Madness
Ursula K. Le Guin The Dispossessed 8 out of 10
Ann Leckie Ancillary Justice 10 out of 10
Tanith Lee Don't Bite the Sun
Yoon Ha Lee Ninefox Gambit 7 out of 10
Megan Lindholm Wizard of the Pigeons
Malinda Lo Adaptation
Elizabeth A. Lynn Watchtower 6 out of 10
R.A. MacAvoy Tea with the Black Dragon
Julian May The Many-Colored Land 7 out of 10
Sandra McDonald The Outback Stars
Maureen F. McHugh China Mountain Zhang 8 out of 10
Vonda N. McIntyre Dreamsnake 7 out of 10
Patricia A. McKillip The Riddle-Master of Hed 6 out of 10
Hope Mirrlees Lud-in-the-Mist 7 out of 10
Judith Moffett Pennterra
C.L. Moore Jirel of Joiry
Silvia Moreno-Garcia Certain Dark Things
Pat Murphy The City, Not Long After
Linda Nagata Vast
Andre Norton Galactic Derelict
Naomi Novik His Majesty's Dragon 7 out of 10
Noriko Ogiwara Dragon Sword and Wind Child
Rebecca Ore Outlaw School
Nnedi Okorafor Lagoon
Tamora Pierce Alanna: The First Adventure
Marge Piercy Woman on the Edge of Time
Rachel Pollack Godmother Night
Christina Rossetti Goblin Market
Diana Rowland My Life as a White Trash Zombie
Joanna Russ The Female Man 6 out of 10
Erika L. Satifka Stay Crazy
Elizabeth Ann Scarborough The Healer's War 8 out of 10
Melissa Scott Five-Twelfths of Heaven 8 out of 10
Nisi Shawl Everfair
Mary Shelley Frankenstein
Joan Slonczewski A Door into Ocean
Mary Stewart The Crystal Cave
James Tiptree, Jr. Up the Walls of the World
Megan Whalen Turner The Thief
Joan D. Vinge The Snow Queen 6 out of 10
Martha Wells All Systems Red 8 out of 10
Elizabeth Willey The Well-Favored Man
Liz Williams Banner of Souls
G. Willow Wilson Alif the Unseen
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro Ariosto
Fumi Yoshinaga Ōoku: The Inner Chambers

Some entries in this list are manga. In those cases, I have a single entry for the series as a whole, but may separate that entry into multiple lines if I read the manga and review individual volumes.

Last modified and spun 2019-01-06