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We Picked Our Favorite Sci-Fi And Fantasy Books 10 Years Ago. Here Are Some We Missed

Foreigner, Parable of the Sower, The Sparrow, Magic's Pawn, Grass, We, Dhalgren
NPR

Way back in the dawn of time — by which I mean 2011 — we ran our original science fiction and fantasy poll and came up with a list of 100 favorite science fiction and fantasy books. The process was broadly similar to the way we do it today: Readers voted, and a panel of judges argued about which books did and didn't meet the critera they'd laid out.

There are a lot of hard-to-argue-with classics on that list: Tolkien, Gaiman, Orwell, Bradbury, Adams, Atwood, Le Guin and many more. But there are just as many now-shocking omissions. No Octavia Butler? No writers of color at all? Only a handful of women?

You can see the brand-sparkly-new poll, celebrating all the supernova-amazing changes in SF/F since 2011, here — but we also thought it would be worth pulling together a few of the books that, with our 2021 hindsight, seem like they should have been on that original list.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Petra Mayer
Petra Mayer (she/her) is an editor (and the resident nerd) at NPR Books, focusing on fiction, and particularly genre fiction. She brings to the job passion, speed-reading skills, and a truly impressive collection of Doctor Who doodads. You can also hear her on the air and on the occasional episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour.