Even More Best of 2014 Lists: Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek

Entertainment Weekly, another high profile mainstream outlet read by huge numbers, has posted their “10 Best Fiction Books of 2014.” Three speculative novels make the cut:

1. Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel
6. The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell
10. Southern Reach trilogy, Jeff VanderMeer

Interesting to see Mandel “win” the Best Book of 2014. I still have no sense of how much Station Eleven is crossing over with the SFF audience, but it sure is popular with the literary mainstream.

Newsweek also provides a “Favorite Books of 2014” list. No speculative fiction makes the cut. While that’s a pretty typical response from a mainstream outlet to SFF, it’s surprising this year, given the large number of strong literary SFF novels out there.

This should remind us that, in a “standard” year, these mainstream lists might only promote one or two speculative works total. This year, we’ve had at least 5-6 speculative works pushed by the mainstream, which is unusual. Does this signal a new trend and acceptance of speculative fiction, or is this a one year exception?

The Wall Street Journal has also put up their own version of a compiled meta-list, using many of the same sources Chaos Horizon uses (although they’re less comprehensive). Their list includes literary fiction and speculative fiction, so we can see how the year’s best literary SFF novels stack up against more mainstream fiction. The Bone Clocks and Station Eleven place on this list, indicating that they’re more than just contenders for the Hugo and Nebula: they’ll make some noise when literary awards season rolls around. Station Eleven might have an outside shot at something like the Pulitzer. I don’t know the British awards scene very well, but I imagine Mitchell would be competitive.

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2 responses to “Even More Best of 2014 Lists: Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek”

  1. Niall says :

    The UK literary awards calendar is weird — the Booker, for example, runs from October to October, so Bone Clocks has already had its shot there (made longlist but not shortlist). Ditto, I think, the new Goldsmiths prize (no Mitchell there) and I’m not sure what the period for the Costa is, but no Mitchell the either. The literary speculative novel that seems to be making the running here is Ali Smith’s How To Be Both, which has fantastical elements — Booker shortlist, Goldsmiths winner, Costa shortlist, and I imagine a shoo-in for the Bailey’s Prize (women only, eligibility year runs April to April). But I don’t know if that even has a U.S. edition yet.

    Are there any YA books in with an SF awards shot, do you think? Little Brother and Zoe’s Tale made the Hugo list in the past after all (admittedly both by SF authors, but published as YA).

    • chaoshorizon says :

      Thanks for the info on British awards—that’s very helpful. How To Be Both just came out over here on December 2nd, and I’ll have to keep an eye on it.

      As for YA: several people have been asking lately. I’ll be launching a Report on this shortly.

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