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Hooray! The first of the sf award shortlists of this year are out, the pleasingly eclectic Kitschies, which celebrate "progressive, intelligent and entertaining books that contain elements of the speculative or fantastic". This also means I can do my first number-crunching of the year by looking up how many people list the shortlisted works on the two major library sites, Goodreads and LibraryThing, and what average rating the books have been given. (I'll note that while Goodreads has extended its lead over LibraryThing in terms of numbers of users, my sense is that both sites continue to expand.)

The Kitschies come in three categories. First the Red Tentacle, equivalent of Best Novel:

GoodreadsLibrarything
numberaveragenumberaverage
A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki 9962 4.18 677 4.19
More Than This, Patrick Ness 3033 4.02 199 3.95
Bleeding Edge, Thomas Pynchon 2405 3.57 349 3.71
Red Doc>, Anne Carson 378 4.12 90 4.3
The Machine, James Smythe 55 4.07 12 3

A Tale for the Time Being has clearly caught the public mood, with more copies owned by both GR and LT users than the other five nominees put together. But I am intrigued by the high user ratings given to Red Doc> - and by the comparatively low ratings for Bleeding Edge.

Then we have the Golden Tentacle, awarded for best debut novel - must be the writer's first novel in any genre.

GoodreadsLibrarything
numberaveragenumberaverage
Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan 40300 3.78 2289 3.92
Nexus, Ramez Naam 1721 4.14 155 3.77
Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie 1603 4.03 234 4.17
A Calculated Life, Anne Charnock 72 3.72 12 4
Stray, Monica Hesse 45 4.36 2 -

The intriguingly titled Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is far ahead of all of the other books in either category combined, in terms of popularity. On the other hand Stray almost falls off the LT charts; neither LT user who has logged it has yet rated it. In the mid-section, Ancillary Justice's numbers look good.

The third category, the Inky Tentacle for cover art, is not really susceptible to the same sort of analysis. (I must say that, of the shortlisted works, I do like the cover of Stray.)

As I said in my roundup post from last year's awards, this is a good way of identifying books that have built up a wide audience, but may not actually prove a reliable predictor of the winners.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
coalescent
Jan. 23rd, 2014 06:47 pm (UTC)
A Tale for the Time Being has clearly caught the public mood,

Being shortlisted for the Booker will do that for you!
coalescent
Jan. 23rd, 2014 06:49 pm (UTC)
Also, it's the second shortlist (first UK list, I guess) -- the Dick published its nominees last week.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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