Amazon’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2014

Even more year end lists! Today, we’ve got Amazon’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2014. The Amazon lists are the epitome of “mainstream,” with no real risks and no real surprises. Still, this gives a good sense of what the world biggest bookseller is pushing, and further solidifies a lot of this year’s top Hugo candidates.

Amazon gives 20 SFF books on its list. I don’t believe they are in particular order. Here they are:

The World of Ice and Fire, George R.R. Martin and others
Prince Lestat, Anne Rice
The Slow Regard of Silent Things, Patrick Rothfuss
Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel (named best SFF novel of 2014)
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, Diana Gabaldon
The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell
The Martian, Andy Weir
The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft
The Book of Life, Deborah Harkness
Words of Radiance, Brandon Sanderson
The Magician’s Land, Lev Grossman
Rogues, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois
The Broken Eye, Brent Weeks
Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer
Son of No One, Sherrilyn Kenyon
Lock In, John Scalzi
Fool’s Assassin, Robin Hobb
The High Druid’s Blade, Terry Brooks
Half a King, Joe Abercrombie
Red Rising, Pierce Brown

An interesting list. Enormously heavy on mainstream fantasy; that must be what’s selling. Science fiction is barely represented at all, with only Weir and Scalzi (and maybe Mandel and Brown) fitting a traditional SF genre-model. The snubs are many and serious: no Ancillary Sword, no The City of Stairs (a surprise!), no The Goblin Emperor, no Echopraxia. Amazon is fairly out-of-step with the Hugo and Nebula voters, so this list shouldn’t be taken as a good indicator of Hugo or Nebula chances.

Still, these Amazon lists are important because they sell books; as readers start to look for their Holiday reading, they’ll click on lists like this and make their purchases accordingly. Mandel is getting such a huge push from the literary SF market that she might be working her way into awards contention. Based on this mainstream reception, I need to move The Bone Clocks up on my lists. This also further enforces my sense that Annihilation is the book that is going to get award consideration, not VanderMeer’s whole Area X trilogy.

Amazon also does a ranked Top 100 Books of 2014. The speculative books on that list include:
7. Revival, Stephen King
10. Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel
14. The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell
47. Prince Lestat, Anne Rice
51. The Magician’s Land, Lev Grossman
73. The Martian, Andy Weir
84. On Such a Full Sea, Chang-Rae Lee
85. Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer
86. Boy, Snow, Bird, Helen Oyeyemi

Some speculative YA novels made it as well:
31. Hollow City, Ransom Riggs
38. Red Rising, Pierce Brown
91. The Blood of Olympus, Rick Riordan

In a few days, I’ll be creating a meta-list of these Best of 2014 posts, to get an idea who is showing up over and over again.

So, what do you think of Amazon’s lists? Where did they screw up?

2 responses to “Amazon’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2014”

  1. fromcouchtomoon says :

    I think it sounds about right. Amazon sells to millions of mainstream readers, virtually none of whom will vote or even pay attention to the Hugos. A mere 2000 people WORLDWIDE voted in the Hugo’s this year, and that was considered a success! The Hugo audience is very tiny and particular in comparison to the overall Amazon buyers. I’m not sure accurate parallels can be made.

  2. Jo Walton says :

    There are a lot of things on that list that are books without being novels — “Slow Regard of Silent Things” is a novella, _Rogues_ is an anthology, _The World of Ice and Fire_ is um, non-fiction? Eligible — and massively likely to be nominated — as Best Related, I’d guess. Just seemed worth noting.

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