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The BSFA Award long lists are out!

This is the third year of the three-stage process, similar to the one which was rejected (as I hoped it would be) by WSFS for the Hugos at last year’s Worldcon. It works better for the BSFA. First, because there are far fewer categories - only four, compared to 18 for last year’s Hugos (and 19 for this year’s) - which makes the demands on voters much less. Second, it is only a matter of voting positively for stuff you like rather than for or against particular candidates. I think there are still problems - a glance at the table below will demonstrate that some works can get on the ballot despite being near-invisible to the wider public - but it spices up the process considerably.

The table below shows the 48 novels on the BSFA long-list, ranked by their combined Goodreads and Librarything ownerships. I have listed the number of owners on each system, and the average rating by those who have rated them; and I have bolded the top quartile in each column (ie the top twelve, except for the last column where there are a number of null returns and it’s only the top ten).

This doesn’t have tremendous predictive power about the outcome of the BSFA voting. Last year’s long list had 34 novels; the finalists ranked 9th, 23rd, 26th, 28th and 29th on my equivalent table. In 2016 the finalists were 19th, 22nd, 27th, 41st and 44th out of 57 (my table was less complete but ranked on the same system).

Still, it’s a guide of sorts to which books have been getting buzz, and might therefore figure on other final ballots this year.

Goodreads LibraryThing
owners av rating owners av rating
Andy Weir – Artemis 167277 3.73 651 3.59
Katherine Arden – The Bear and the Nightingale 125245 4.14 763 4.16
Mohsin Hamid – Exit West 116349 3.82 792 3.95
Omar El Akkad – American War 56496 3.87 460 3.87
John Scalzi – The Collapsing Empire 39852 4.1 438 3.89
Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland – The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. 32443 3.93 414 3.66
Mark Lawrence – Red Sister 54808 4.31 162 4.14
Kim Stanley Robinson – New York 2140 18919 3.61 306 3.72
Ann Leckie – Provenance 17527 3.9 223 3.97
Mur Lafferty – Six Wakes 16578 3.86 221 3.96
Daryl Gregory – Spoonbenders 20641 4 144 3.93
Kameron Hurley – The Stars Are Legion 15591 3.72 162 3.52
Peter V Brett – The Core 24240 4.23 88 4
Nicholas Eames – Kings of the Wyld 17792 4.4 97 3.83
Jaroslav Kalfař – Spaceman of Bohemia 7824 3.89 97 4.15
Ada Palmer – Seven Surrenders 6067 4.2 117 4.14
Yoon Ha Lee – Raven Stratagem 5709 4.23 120 4.2
Frances Hardinge – A Skinful of Shadows 6802 4.17 74 4.23
Lisa Carey – The Stolen Child 3910 3.62 124 3.94
Benjamin Percy – The Dark Net 4282 3.29 69 3.31
C Robert Cargill – Sea of Rust 4063 4.12 65 4.37
Jeff Noon – A Man of Shadows 3274 3.52 49 3.64
Nick Harkaway – Gnomon 2967 3.96 43 4.4
Paul Cornell – Chalk 1834 3.69 36 3.96
Ada Palmer – The Will to Battle 2121 4.48 31 3
Jonathan L Howard – After the End of the World 2131 4.14 24 3.92
Nina Allan – The Rift 1455 3.38 24 2.9
Jen Williams – The Ninth Rain 1963 4.31 17 4
Nicola Barker – H(A)PPY 802 3.5 32 2.5
Chris Brookmyre – Places in the Darkness 1339 3.85 19 3
Paul McAuley – Austral 840 3.57 23 4
Ian McDonald – Luna: Wolf Moon 264 3.99 67 3.63
Adam Roberts – The Real-Town Murders 757 3.73 17 3.38
Adam Christopher – Killing is My Business 806 3.73 15 5
Anne Charnock – Dreams Before the Start of Time 747 3.55 14 3.75
Adrian Tchaikovsky – Dogs of War 491 4.33 8 4.5
Peter McLean – Damnation 440 4.13 8 3.25
Tricia Sullivan – Sweet Dreams 391 3.89 7 -
Chris Beckett – America City 200 3.92 8 3.5
Gavin Smith – The Bastard Legion [The Hangman’s Daughter] 317 3.62 5 5
Ian R Macleod – Red Snow 658 4.4 2 -
Philip Miller – All the Galaxies 211 3.33 6 2
Justina Robson – The Switch 214 3.67 5 -
Andrew Bannister – Iron Gods 52 3.65 1 -
Anthony Laken – One Cog Turning 60 4.4 0 -
Karen Traviss – Black Run 23 3.7 0 -
Allen Stroud – The Forever Man 7 5 0 -
Kenneth Steven – 2020 4 4 0 -


As usual I have read none of these yet. I note that Red Sister, by Mark Lawrence, is the only book to finish in the top quartile of all four columns. (Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale only just missed doing the same.)

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