Popular SF/F/H Books of 2016

When SFSignal stopped publishing this year, I stopped systematically keeping track of new releases in SF/F, though I’m aware of sources like Kirkus, LocusTorThe Verge, and so on. I just relied on the book blogs I read to keep me informed of what people were reading.

But when I noticed that Locus’s lists of new and/or reviewed books would be easy to cut and paste into a tool I already have for looking up Goodreads scores, I thought that would be a nice, simple way to get a list of popular SF/F books for the year and sort them by the usual metric (the log of the number of ratings at Goodreads times the square of the rating expressed as a percentage).

After cleaning up the data a little and adding in a few more books, I had a sorted list of ~200 books published in 2016. Getting reviewed in Locus is already to some extent an indicator of likely popularity, but I still deleted anything that didn’t have at least a 3.64 on Goodreads to eliminate ~20%.

I’ve broken the books up by category (SF/F, Horror, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, and Non-Fiction) somewhat arbitrarily. The results are not as comprehensive as my past efforts, but this list covers most of what I’ve seen pass by on book blogs this year.

Science Fiction and Fantasy

Cixin Liu, Death’s End
Blake Crouch, Dark Matter
N.K. Jemisin, The Obelisk Gate
Brandon Sanderson, Arcanum Unbounded
Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad
Dennis E. Taylor, We Are Legion (We Are Bob)
Becky Chambers, A Closed and Common Orbit
Robert Jackson Bennett, City of Blades
Ken Liu, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
James S.A. Corey, Babylon’s Ashes
Juliet Marillier, Den of Wolves
Charles Stross, The Nightmare Stacks
Joe Abercrombie, Sharp Ends
Marie Brennan, In the Labyrinth of Drakes
Michelle Sagara, Cast in Flight
Lois McMaster Bujold, Penric and the Shaman
Guy Gavriel Kay, Children of Earth and Sky
Anthony Ryan, The Waking Fire
C.J. Cherryh, Visitor
Sylvain Neuvel, Sleeping Giants
Daniel Abraham, The Spider’s War
Seanan McGuire, Every Heart A Doorway
Ben Winters, Underground Airlines
Michael Chabon, Moonglow
Naomi Novik, League of Dragons
T. Kingfisher [Ursula Vernon], The Raven and the Reindeer
Matt Ruff, Lovecraft Country
Margaret Atwood, Hag-Seed
Neal Asher, War Factory
Ken Liu, The Wall of Storms
Yoon Ha Lee, Ninefox Gambit
Lois McMaster Bujold, Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen
S.K. Dunstall, Alliance
Ada Palmer, Too Like the Lightning
Todd Lockwood, The Summer Dragon
Thomas Olde Heuveldt, Hex
Mercedes Lackey, Closer to the Chest
Alastair Reynolds, Revenger
S.K. Dunstall, Confluence
R. Scott Bakker, The Great Ordeal
Mary Robinette Kowal, Ghost Talkers
Ian Tregillis, The Liberation
Brom, Lost Gods
Emma Newman, After Atlas
Yoshiki Tanaka, Dawn (Legend of the Galactic Heroes v. 1)
Sharon Shinn, Unquiet Land
Kij Johnson, The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe
Mercedes Lackey, A Study in Sable
Bob Proehl, A Hundred Thousand Worlds
K.B. Wagers, Behind the Throne
Alexander Weinstein, Children of the New World
Kai Ashante Wilson, A Taste of Honey
Connie Willis, Crosstalk
Jo Walton, Necessity
Carlos Hernandez, The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria
Paul Cornell, The Lost Child of Lychford
Wesley Chu, The Rise of Io
Ann VanderMeer, The Big Book of Science Fiction
Alan Moore, Jerusalem
K.J. Parker, The Devil You Know
Paul McAuley, Into Everywhere
Ali Shaw, The Trees
Madeline Ashby, Company Town
Allen Steele, Arkwright
Robert J. Sawyer, Quantum Night
Sofia Samatar, The Winged Histories
China Miéville, The Last Days of New Paris
Indra Das, The Devourers
J. Kathleen Cheney, Dreaming Death
Daniel Polansky, A City Dreaming
Chuck Wendig, Invasive
Patricia A. McKillip, Dreams of Distant Shores
Lian Hearn, Emperor of the Eight Islands
Marshall Ryan Maresca, The Alchemy of Chaos
Patricia A. McKillip, Kingfisher
David D. Levine, Arabella of Mars
Kerryn Offord, 1636: The Chronicles of Dr. Gribbleflotz
Dominik Parisien, The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales
Foz Meadows, An Accident of Stars
Robert Kroese, The Big Sheep
Michael Swanwick, Not So Much, Said the Cat
Walter Jon Williams, Impersonations
Joan Aiken, The People in the Castle
Laurie Penny, Everything Belongs to the Future
Robert Charles Wilson, Last Year
Ellen Kushner, Tremontaine: Season 1
Will McIntosh, Faller
Beth Cato, Breath of Earth
Haris A. Durrani, Technologies of the Self
Christopher Priest, The Gradual
K.J. Parker, Downfall of the Gods
Blake Charlton, Spellbreaker
Eleanor Arnason, Hwarhath Stories: Transgressive Tales by Aliens
Alyc Helms, The Conclave of Shadow
Julie E. Czerneda, The Gate to Futures Past
Miyuki Miyabe, The Gate of Sorrows
Jonathan Strahan, Bridging Infinity
Michael A. Armstrong, Truck Stop Earth
Jonathan Strahan, Drowned Worlds
Sonia Orin Lyris, The Seer
Greg Egan, The Four Thousand, the Eight Hundred
Leanna Renee Hieber, Eterna and Omega
Mike Allen, Clockwork Phoenix 5
Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Galactic Games
Andrea Hairston, Will Do Magic for Small Change
Jesse Bullington, Swords v. Cthulhu
Zachary Brown, Titan’s Fall
Kelly Barnhill, The Unlicensed Magician
Nava Semel, Isra Isle
Nick Wood, Azanian Bridges
Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Decision Points
Lisa Yaszek, Sisters of Tomorrow: The First Women of Science Fiction
Sarah Tolmie, Two Travelers
Jeffrey E. Barlough, Where the Time Goes
Jack Cady, Fathoms


Stephen King, End of Watch
Joe Hill, The Fireman
Michael Wehunt, Greener Pastures
Stephen Graham Jones, Mongrels
John Langan, The Fisherman
Laird Barron, Swift to Chase
Paul Tremblay, Disappearance at Devil’s Rock
Christopher Buehlman, The Suicide Motor Club
Matthew M. Bartlett, Creeping Waves
Livia Llewellyn, Furnace
Cherie Priest, The Family Plot
Sarah L. Johnson, Suicide Stitch
Lynne Jamneck, Dreams from the Witch House: Female Voices of Lovecraftian Horror
Damien Angelica Walters, Paper Tigers
Glen Hirshberg, Good Girls
Pedro Cabiya, Wicked Weeds: A Zombie Novel
Richard Gavin, Sylvan Dread: Tales of Pastoral Darkness
Ross E. Lockhart, Eternal Frankenstein
Sunny Moraine, Singing with All My Skin and Bone
Michael Cisco, The Wretch of the Sun

Young Adult

Leigh Bardugo, Crooked Kingdom
Victoria Schwab, This Savage Song
Neal Shusterman, Scythe
Holly Black, The Bronze Key
Kelly Barnhill, The Girl Who Drank the Moon
Gail Carriger, Imprudence
Garth Nix, Goldenhand
Melissa Landers, Starflight
William Ritter, Ghostly Echoes
Rae Carson, Like a River Glorious
Erika Johansen, The Fate of the Tearling
Rachel Caine, Paper and Fire
Mercedes Lackey, Elite
Kate Elliott, Poisoned Blade
Gwenda Bond, Lois Lane: Double Down
Sarah Beth Durst, The Queen of Blood
Jessica Cluess, A Shadow Bright and Burning
Cat Winters, The Steep & Thorny Way
Jennifer A. Nielsen, The Scourge
Kat Howard, Roses and Rot
Jennifer Mason-Black, Devil and the Bluebird
Destiny Soria, Iron Cast
Delia Sherman, The Evil Wizard Smallbone
Sandra Evans, This Is Not a Werewolf Story
Jonathan Stroud, Lockwood & Co: The Creeping Shadow
Laurence Yep, A Dragon’s Guide to Making Your Human Smarter
Fran Wilde, Cloudbound
Sarah Prineas, Rose & Thorn
Zetta Elliott, The Door at the Crossroads

Urban Fantasy

Ilona Andrews, Magic Binds
Patricia Briggs, Fire Touched
Anne Bishop, Marked in Flesh
Seanan McGuire, Once Broken Faith
Daniel O’Malley, Stiletto
Faith Hunter, Blood of the Earth
Ben Aaronovitch, The Hanging Tree
Faith Hunter, Blood in Her Veins
Benedict Jacka, Burned
Faith Hunter, Curse on the Land
Kevin Hearne, The Purloined Poodle
Seanan McGuire, Chaos Choreography
Richard Kadrey, The Perdition Score
Wen Spencer, Project Elfhome
Jim C. Hines, Revisionary
Victor LaValle, The Ballad of Black Tom
Elliott James, In Shining Armor
Mishell Baker, Borderline
Richard Kadrey, The Everything Box
Jim Butcher, Shadowed Souls
R.S. Belcher, The Brotherhood of the Wheel
Paul Crilley, Poison City
Melissa F. Olson, Nightshades
Angela Slatter, Vigil
Colin Gigl, The Ferryman’s Institute
Joseph Nassise, Urban Allies
Linda Grimes, All Fixed Up
E.E. Richardson, Spirit Animals


Neil Gaiman, The View from the Cheap Seats
Kameron Hurley, The Geek Feminist Revolution
Jack Womack, …Flying Saucers Are Real!
Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Making Conversation
Mike Ashley, Science Fiction Rebels: The Story of the Science-Fiction Magazines from 1981 to 1990
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg

Board game rank change report for 2016Q4

Two reports today: first, my usual quarterly report on titles that have moved up rapidly in BGG rankings, based on a comparison of rankings from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31; second, the results based on a comparison of rankings from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 to show movement over the whole year.

Oct. 1 to Dec. 31

Fast, positive movers among 'Board games':
024 (+476) Terraforming Mars
055 (+445) Mechs vs. Minions
075 (+425) A Feast for Odin
101 (+399) Great Western Trail
116 (+384) Arkham Horror: The Card Game
221 (+279) Captain Sonar
231 (+269) Codenames: Pictures
235 (+102) Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
293 (+207) Sushi Go Party!
317 (+139) Onitama
391 (+109) Dead of Winter: The Long Night

Fast, positive movers among 'Strategy games':
012 (+251) Terraforming Mars
028 (+472) Mechs vs. Minions
031 (+469) A Feast for Odin
046 (+454) Great Western Trail
202 (+298) Cry Havoc
294 (+206) Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu

Fast, positive movers among 'War games':
040 (+460) Wir sind das Volk!
211 (+289) Hands in the Sea

Fast, positive movers among 'Family games':
025 (+475) Sushi Go Party!
096 (+404) Tales & Games: The Hare & the Tortoise
126 (+374) The Pursuit of Happiness
135 (+365) World's Fair 1893
193 (+307) Kingdomino
197 (+303) Cottage Garden
233 (+267) Flamme Rouge
286 (+214) Dream Home
297 (+203) Ice Cool
300 (+200) The Great Dalmuti

Fast, positive movers among 'Collectible games':
006 (+494) Star Wars: Destiny

Fast, positive movers among 'Thematic games':
041 (+459) Captain Sonar
052 (+448) Dead of Winter: The Long Night
085 (+316) Conan
162 (+338) Adrenaline
236 (+264) SeaFall
262 (+238) Malifaux (second edition)
273 (+227) Hit Z Road
300 (+200) Moongha Invaders: Mad Scientists and Atomic Monsters Attack the Earth!
Jan. 1 to Dec. 31

Fast, positive movers among 'Board games':
002 (+300) Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization
005 (+495) Star Wars: Rebellion
006 (+494) Scythe
024 (+476) Terraforming Mars
026 (+119) T.I.M.E Stories
031 (+435) Food Chain Magnate
040 (+460) Mansions of Madness: Second Edition
048 (+452) Viticulture Essential Edition
055 (+445) Mechs vs. Minions
064 (+371) Mombasa
075 (+425) A Feast for Odin
079 (+316) The Gallerist
101 (+399) Great Western Trail
111 (+389) Zombicide: Black Plague
116 (+384) Arkham Horror: The Card Game
138 (+362) Above and Below
143 (+357) Kingdom Death: Monster
149 (+252) Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King
163 (+337) Fury of Dracula (third edition)
178 (+322) Mission: Red Planet (second edition)
179 (+321) Grand Austria Hotel
217 (+283) Trickerion: Legends of Illusion
221 (+279) Captain Sonar
223 (+277) Quadropolis
228 (+272) A Game of Thrones: The Card Game (Second Edition)
231 (+269) Codenames: Pictures
235 (+265) Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
256 (+244) Nippon
270 (+151) Tiny Epic Galaxies
272 (+228) Champions of Midgard
280 (+220) Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game
281 (+219) The Grizzled
293 (+207) Sushi Go Party!
297 (+110) San Juan (second edition)
303 (+193) Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn
317 (+183) Onitama
318 (+182) Star Realms: Colony Wars
322 (+178) Stockpile
323 (+177) Burgle Bros.
326 (+174) Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game – The Force Awakens Core Set
364 (+136) Baseball Highlights: 2045
378 (+122) Millennium Blades
384 (+116) Arboretum
391 (+109) Dead of Winter: The Long Night

Fast, positive movers among 'Strategy games':
005 (+495) Scythe
012 (+488) Terraforming Mars
027 (+473) Viticulture Essential Edition
028 (+472) Mechs vs. Minions
031 (+469) A Feast for Odin
046 (+454) Great Western Trail
096 (+391) Grand Austria Hotel
106 (+394) Mission: Red Planet (second edition)
110 (+360) Trickerion: Legends of Illusion
111 (+389) Battle Line
114 (+386) Letters from Whitechapel
119 (+228) Nippon
152 (+348) Pandemic: The Cure
154 (+214) Champions of Midgard
164 (+336) Star Realms: Colony Wars
173 (+272) Stockpile
202 (+298) Cry Havoc
206 (+294) 51st State: Master Set
209 (+226) Shakespeare
210 (+224) Empires: Age of Discovery
225 (+275) Steampunk Rally
231 (+269) Mare Nostrum: Empires
238 (+262) Raptor
261 (+239) Raiders of the North Sea
280 (+220) Churchill
292 (+208) Signorie
294 (+206) Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu
298 (+202) Mystic Vale

Fast, positive movers among 'War games':
002 (+498) War of the Ring (second edition)
040 (+460) Wir sind das Volk!
046 (+454) Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection
047 (+453) SPQR (Deluxe Edition)
048 (+452) Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar
075 (+425) Risk Legacy
153 (+347) Silent Victory: U.S. Submarines in the Pacific, 1941-45
162 (+338) Talon
211 (+289) Hands in the Sea
235 (+265) Stronghold (2nd edition)
282 (+218) The Greatest Day: Sword, Juno, and Gold Beaches

Fast, positive movers among 'Family games':
011 (+489) Mysterium
013 (+487) Mission: Red Planet (second edition)
020 (+480) Quadropolis
025 (+475) Sushi Go Party!
047 (+453) Raptor
050 (+450) Karuba
066 (+434) Imhotep
093 (+407) Potion Explosion
105 (+395) FUSE
112 (+388) Celestia
118 (+382) Automobiles
125 (+375) Via Nebula
126 (+374) The Pursuit of Happiness
134 (+366) Valeria: Card Kingdoms
135 (+365) World's Fair 1893
160 (+340) Archaeology: The New Expedition
165 (+335) Oh My Goods!
176 (+264) Dice City
178 (+322) Dale of Merchants
193 (+307) Kingdomino
197 (+303) Cottage Garden
206 (+294) Favor of the Pharaoh
212 (+288) Kodama: The Tree Spirits
233 (+267) Flamme Rouge
257 (+243) Nyet!
286 (+214) Dream Home
297 (+203) Ice Cool
300 (+200) The Great Dalmuti

Fast, positive movers among 'Collectible games':
001 (+499) Arkham Horror: The Card Game
004 (+496) Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game – The Force Awakens Core Set
006 (+494) Star Wars: Destiny
011 (+489) Codex: Card-Time Strategy – Deluxe Set
014 (+486) DC Comics Dice Masters: Justice League
023 (+477) Marvel Dice Masters: Age of Ultron
031 (+469) Mage Wars Academy
062 (+438) CapCom Street Fighter Deck-Building Game
063 (+437) Force of Will
089 (+411) Lords of War: Orcs versus Dwarves
111 (+389) Gruff

Fast, positive movers among 'Thematic games':
002 (+498) Star Wars: Rebellion
005 (+495) Mansions of Madness: Second Edition
041 (+459) Captain Sonar
048 (+452) Millennium Blades
052 (+448) Dead of Winter: The Long Night
057 (+443) 51st State: Master Set
085 (+328) Conan
093 (+407) Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu
109 (+391) The Others
140 (+360) Catacombs (third edition)
141 (+287) Leaving Earth
162 (+338) Adrenaline
174 (+326) Neanderthal
178 (+322) Vast: The Crystal Caverns
184 (+316) Dawn of the Zeds (Third edition)
192 (+308) Legendary Encounters: A Firefly Deck Building Game
236 (+264) SeaFall
240 (+260) Project: ELITE
247 (+253) Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower
259 (+241) Thunderstone: Starter Set
262 (+238) Malifaux (second edition)
264 (+236) The Ravens of Thri Sahashri
273 (+227) Hit Z Road
282 (+218) New Bedford