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I'm Number Two...

... for the whole twentieth century!

LOCUS says so, so it must be true. They did their once-every-decade-or-so megapoll for the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of All Time, and A GAME OF THRONES finished in the second place for the Best Fantasy Novel of the twentieth century, behind this guy named Tolkien. Tolkien was third as well, followed by Le Guin and Zelazny. You don't get into more rarified company than that.

(A STORM OF SWORDS and A CLASH OF KINGS showed up on the 20th century poll as well, further down).

I even made the Best Fantasy Novel of the Twenty-FIRST century top five, with A FEAST FOR CROWS in fifth.

((Actually, I tend to think that at least some of the people who voted for A GAME OF THRONES were voting for the entire series. Makes more sense that way. You will note that Tolkien's first place winner was LORD OF THE RINGS... they did not divide his novel into its three component volumes, but mine did get sliced into five separate entries, maybe because its unfinished as of yet.

Anyway... you have to take these kind of polls with a whole shaker of salt, but still, it's cool. Thanks to everyone who voted for me.

You can peruse the full results here:


(FWIW, Frank Herbert's DUNE finished first in SF and ENDER'S GAME was second, but my own top three would have been LORD OF LIGHT (Zelazny), THE STARS MY DESTINATION (Bester), and THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS (Le Guin).


Dec. 24th, 2012 05:39 am (UTC)
Shrewd to split your series across a century so you could nab two awards! Maybe there was some method to your release schedule after all.

p.s. Don't forget to refer to your career as "millennium-spanning".
Dec. 24th, 2012 05:46 am (UTC)
For what it's worth, I happen to think that Westeros is far more complex and interesting than Middle Earth, and that your series is infinitely superior to Tolkien's. I get why Tolkien is #1, and that he's the father of modern fantasy, yadda yadda yadda, but I'm never going to go back and reread those books probably (unless I have kids someday and read them with them), whereas I continue to go back to your books time and again.

I also think that you're right on the voting for AGoT as a means of voting for the entire series. I will say that A Storm of Swords is quite possibly my favorite book that I have ever read. Ever. In my life. It is absolutely perfect from start to finish, in my opinion.*

*Even though I threw the book across the room at one point the first time I read it. ;)
Dec. 24th, 2012 05:55 am (UTC)
Waitamunute... "Best 20th Century Fanatsy Novels" it says.
joseph ravlic
Dec. 24th, 2012 07:21 am (UTC)
yeah well, you're the #1 story teller of all time and if anyone disagrees i will just have to slap them wth a glove.
Dec. 24th, 2012 08:05 am (UTC)
Old Man's War
I don't get the love for Scalzi's Old Man's War. It was unoriginal, boring, and trite.

That said, you're up there with Tolkien and Zelazny. How cool is that!
Dec. 24th, 2012 08:30 am (UTC)
"You will note that Tolkien's first place winner was LORD OF THE RINGS... they did not divide his novel into its three component volumes"

Possibly because it was written as a single book, not as a series? It was the editor who decided to split it into three, given that in post-war Britain the price of paper would have made a single volume way too expensive.

Max Sagan
Dec. 24th, 2012 10:59 am (UTC)
You're going to give me OCD with all those unclosed parentheses.
Dec. 24th, 2012 11:37 am (UTC)
He's making a list...
Nice:Tyrion, boots with concealed lifts;Stannis,stress-buster squeeze ball;Arya,the ruby slippers; Hodor,teddy-bear;Sandor,shovel; Lord Manderly, weight-watchers membership;Jaime, 100 lines,"I must not lie to Tyrion'(good hand co-ordination); Asha, shell to hear the sea-tides; Mully, shampoo for greasy hair; Dany, 3 hoses & 3 fire-buckets; Rickon, dog brush; Bran, quick-grow tree compost; Jorah, full-body wax spa treat; Samwell, book - "Coping with An Over-Demanding Parent";Lord of Dorne, 2 pneumatic wheels; Coldhands, mittens; Brienne, sapphires of course; Jon, kibble. Naughty: Tywin Lannister, bottle of 'Syrup of Figs'; Cersei, 'Mein Kampf',Melisandre, Optrex Blood-Shot Eyes Drops/night vision glasses. And for Night Watch's Castle Black, which has not had its troubles to seek, an 'Extreme Makeover - Home Edition' with Ty, (a missing Lannister?), Dolorous Edd, Mully, Bowen Marsh etc. chanting, "Move that cart, move that cart!' Joking aside, thanks for all the stolen hours Ser Knight. May you & yours have a very happy Christmas & peaceful New Year.

Edited at 2012-12-24 11:48 am (UTC)
Dec. 24th, 2012 01:23 pm (UTC)
Congrats on the poll win, George. Number Two! Number Two!

You know that I'm totally with you on your SF top three -- especially the Zelazny and LeGuin. (Bester is brilliant, but sometimes very difficult to read due to a certain book character being a gigantic shitheel.) Not sure what I'd put in its place -- probably A Canticle For Leibowitz.

Edited at 2012-12-24 01:23 pm (UTC)
James Heeney
Dec. 24th, 2012 01:30 pm (UTC)
Congratulations and Thank You
I've wanted to write to you for years to express my gratitude for the many pleasures your books have given me. I can't wait until you finish the Song. After watching the recent Hobbit film, I couldn't help but think that much as I love Tolkien, his works have lost much of their relevance for me and in these times ASOIAF appears as a much clearer and sharper reflection of the human condition, especially from the perspective of an adult. So, I'd put you at number one for fantasy. For Sci-Fi, I love your picks, but would have to put Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun above all the rest. A final note - I highly recommend "The Autumn of the Middle Ages" by Huizinga. You'd find Huizinga's analysis of the psychology of the medieval mind fascinating. Thank you, George and Happy Holidays.
Dec. 24th, 2012 01:45 pm (UTC)
FWIW, These are the 10 I voted for in each category for the 20th Century:


1. Dune
2. Stranger in a Strange Land
3. The Mote in God's Eye
4. Ringworld
5. Lord of Light
6. Startide Rising
7. Ender's Game
8. The Foundation Trilogy
10. 1984


2. The Broken Sword (Poul Anderson)
3. A Game of Thrones
4. Nine Princes in Amber
5. Glory Road (Robert A. Heinlein)
6. The Dying Earth
7. The Dragon and the George (Gordon R. Dickson)
8. The Once and Future King (T.H. White)
9. The Princess Bride
10. The Last Unicorn

I supplied authors for those books I don't see discussed much anymore. The rules required that you vote for no more than 10 and it was very difficult to stop there. I hated leaving off Neuromancer, The Man in High Castle, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, The Forever War, The Martian Chronicles, Three Hearts and Three Lions, The Swords of Lankhmar, The Incomplete Enchanter, The Crystal Cave, The Narnia series, A Wrinkle in Time, and on and on and on. I only participated in the 20th Century categories as my reading became much more lmited in the 21st Century due to the demands of adulthood.

Anyway, it's my list. Your mileage may vary.
Dec. 24th, 2012 01:52 pm (UTC)
Congratulations Mr. Martin!

I do love A Feast for Crows, and I'm happy to see it in the top five as well.
Dec. 24th, 2012 02:58 pm (UTC)
A well deserved accolade. Congratulations George!
Dec. 24th, 2012 02:58 pm (UTC)
Glitter Text Maker

Makes up just a wee bit for how bad the Jets and Giants sucked yesterday.
Nick Berry
Dec. 24th, 2012 03:29 pm (UTC)
Congratulations George, the company is certainly illustrious at the top. A very well deserved finish.
Dec. 24th, 2012 03:44 pm (UTC)
Congrats George, what a wonderful Christmas present!

Just a small question in regards to writing: what do you consider "a lot of writing"? Yesterday I worked on a chapter for my book, and when I was finished (first, rough draft etc) it came in at about 1600 words. I don't usually worry about word counts but run them every so often.
Joseph Maher
Dec. 24th, 2012 04:22 pm (UTC)
my humble opinion
For what it's worth(little), I'd put you at #1. When I tell my friends as much, they look at me like I'm sacrilegious... until they read your books. It's kind of like saying Led Zeppelin is better than the Beatles(also true)... one followed the other, and obviously you have the benefit of Tolkien as an inspiration just like I have the benefit of your work.

Tolkien was the original encyclopedic type fantasy, which often reads like a history text. Taking nothing away from LOTR, I think it is still a dry read for the average reader. While I've enjoyed the same detailed historical presentation in Ice & Fire, I think there is another element that sets your work apart. The light fantasy & correlation to real historical periods, like the war of the roses, brings the reader into a more familiar and comfortable setting... giving the extraordinary events all the more impact. Furthermore, the point of view chapters are very realistic and relatable. You even understand and empathizes with characters you don't like (I try so hard not to feel for Theon).

Thanks for that inspiration, and for all the entertainment, discussion, and daydreams your work has given us. Thanks also for the Gift chapter last year; it was a very unexpected and gratifying bit of holiday cheer. Congrats on a well deserved honor, and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

P.S. Sorry about the Giants, but I did warn you. The flames don't lie.
Dec. 24th, 2012 04:29 pm (UTC)
Merry Xmas, Mr. Martin, and to all a good Night, readers and fellow fans! I have wondered if there is a similar yearly event in Westeros, albeit this would be tricky trying to land on a winter solstice! Wasn't something of the sort mentioned in book 3, in the backstory of the tourney of Harenhall in the year of the false spring, or am I thinking of something else entirely?
Dec. 24th, 2012 04:37 pm (UTC)
Awesome news George! What a great Christmas present. The only problem is that they made a huge mistake ~ it should have been #1. Have a wonderful holidaze!
Dec. 24th, 2012 04:55 pm (UTC)
I like Lathe of Heaven, myself.
Dec. 24th, 2012 05:01 pm (UTC)
I'd say the polls sound about right to me. Tolkien will always be my sentimental first, but you, good sir, definitely deserve to be kept in that great company for all-time.

Merry Christmas!
Dec. 24th, 2012 05:55 pm (UTC)
Congratulations Mr. Martin, you certainly deserve every and all recognition for your fantastic work.
Dec. 24th, 2012 06:45 pm (UTC)
That is fantastic news sir, I cannot think of another author more deserving of these accolades. You continue to amaze and impress, thank you so much for sharing your imagination with the rest of the world. You make reading all the more enjoyable. Hope you and Parris have a merry Christmas!

P.S. I know every year about this time you get relentlessly hounded by fans, but if I were a betting man what would the odds be on a new exerpt from WoW on your website...either for a Christmas or New Years gift
Dec. 24th, 2012 07:10 pm (UTC)
21 Century
I think once Jan 8 comes around the Fantasy list for the 21st Century will have to change since the late and great Robert Jordan's A Memory of Light will be released on that day.

It is funny, I might not have decided to buy A Game of Thrones all those years ago had it not been for that brief comment on the back written by none other than Robert Jordan. Either way, I have been blessed to have met both you and him (for some reason I will never understand, his last two book tours started in Warwick, Rhode Island- no ever cares about Rhode Island) and I was the first person in line for both of those. I intended to be the first in line for your Dance tour, but that was an hour and a half drive as opposed to a ten minute drive so I ended up as sixth.
Ray Feighery
Dec. 27th, 2012 03:21 pm (UTC)
Re: 21 Century
Now Now...I grew up in Pawtucket (Which WAS the 2nd largest City until Warwick took over that spot ;)So I certainly care about RI.

When I was in college ('81-84) for some odd reason Steven King had several of his Movie adaptations premiere in of all places the Seekonk Mall Theater. No one could ever explain why but apparently he liked it as a cross section of viewers.
Peter Shor
Dec. 24th, 2012 10:22 pm (UTC)
Complete series ...
It was a write-in vote, and Locus has a set of totals you can look at that is closer to the raw votes. For what it's worth, "Fellowship of the Ring" would have been 94th in the list of 20th Century Fantasy novels if Locus hadn't removed it, and "Song of Ice and Fire" came in 107th for 21st (and 206th for 20th) Century Fantasy novels.

So it was your readers who decided not to vote for the series as a whole.

Edited at 2012-12-24 10:26 pm (UTC)
Dec. 24th, 2012 11:47 pm (UTC)
YAAAAAY!!! *dances with delight*
Dec. 25th, 2012 12:51 am (UTC)
My $0.02
I am not a big science fiction reader (I am more into science fact) but I am big into fantasy writing so my top 5 list of books:

1. A Storm of Swords - GRRM
2. The Fellowship of the Ring - JRRT
3. A Game of Thrones - GRRM
4. A Dance With Dragons - GRRM
5. The Stand - S. King

I am a simple man.
Dec. 25th, 2012 02:57 am (UTC)
you rock George! Keep up the good work.

We're all eagerly awaiting The Winds of Winter :)

PS - Merry Christmas!
Shai Kuritzky
Dec. 25th, 2012 12:43 pm (UTC)
GM deserves it and most are great picks but where is Gene Wolfe?
I guess Gene Wolfe never gained the fame other authors did, but for me his short/long sun series as well as the wizard knight are some of the best SF/Fantasy ever written.

I still prefer SOIAF because of the richness and details of the world as well as the amazing plot lines, but his beautiful narrative (and by the way, also Scott Bakker's) is a journey in and of itself.

Cheers Mr. Martin, I am so very glad the world has discovered your talent, I've been an avid reader since the beginning, and I thank you for all the wonderful hours I've spent in the world you spun for us. Merry Christmas.


Shai (Israel)
Dec. 25th, 2012 11:17 pm (UTC)
Re: GM deserves it and most are great picks but where is Gene Wolfe?
Gene Wolfe is an amazing writer, I agree.

A good guy, too. He and I were in a writer's workshop once, back when I lived in Chicago in the 70s. Terrific workshopper, too. Taught me a lot.
Shai Kuritzky
Dec. 26th, 2012 05:25 am (UTC)
Re: GM deserves it and most are great picks but where is Gene Wolfe?
That is great to hear, both that you agree and about the writer's workshop, I didn't know you knew each other. What a workshop it must have been :)

Thank you so very much for replying, and I hope you're having a great holiday.



Edited at 2012-12-26 05:28 am (UTC)
Dec. 26th, 2012 06:13 am (UTC)
Re: GM deserves it and most are great picks but where is Gene Wolfe?
It was an amazing workshop. Algis Budrys, another of the great titans of our field, was also a member. And we had occasional guests workshoppers drop in, including Tom Reamy and Joe Haldeman, two more giants.
Shai Kuritzky
Dec. 27th, 2012 07:46 am (UTC)
Re: GM deserves it and most are great picks but where is Gene Wolfe?
wow, how interesting, fun and useful it must have been. I wonder how common these workshops were then, and if you recognized each other's different yet powerful styles.
Dec. 26th, 2012 05:31 pm (UTC)
Re: GM deserves it and most are great picks but where is Gene Wolfe?
good call on the Gene Wolfe. Amazing writer.
Shai Kuritzky
Dec. 27th, 2012 07:45 am (UTC)
Re: GM deserves it and most are great picks but where is Gene Wolfe?
Thanks I'm glad others also think so :)
Dec. 25th, 2012 02:16 pm (UTC)
All Is Good!
Well congratulations to you ser! Well deserved! Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Sharon McQueary
Dec. 25th, 2012 09:23 pm (UTC)
Well, he was my first read in the genre and he didn't kill all my favorite characters, otherwise it's you.
Dec. 25th, 2012 10:52 pm (UTC)
Congrats George! Funny, I went into a bookstore the other day, just to pick up a Christmas card, and walked out with a new set of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, and also Dreamsongs Vol. I... Coincidence? Now I'm not so sure :p
Carey Wilson
Dec. 26th, 2012 03:52 am (UTC)
Merry Christmas Mr. Martin. And I want to add that I am very thankful that there is also equal Shakespeare and Poe (literature); as well as, Tolkien (fantasy) in your writing!

Best wishes to your family!

Edited at 2012-12-26 03:56 am (UTC)
Ray Feighery
Dec. 26th, 2012 07:07 pm (UTC)
I'm afraid I would have to agree with the Best SF. DUNE, IMO Is quite simply the best SF book I've ever read. Easily the equivalent of LoTR on the SF side.
That's nothing against your choices which surely need to be on there. Chronicles of Amber is long overdue for a re-read.
I've re-read the LoTR numerous times and expect to re-read SoIaF as many if not more. You can always discover something new in a well written book.
Sad to see Dragonflight drop all the way to 41 behind what I would consider far lesser works.
Dec. 28th, 2012 03:54 am (UTC)
fire and ice
When will the series continue? My wife and I were left wondering what happens next with Varys and the other characters. This series by far is the best one I have read and actually finished. I was not a "avid" reader and did not finish many novels until this series. Your books have made me a reader again. I love the medieval types of books and these fit right in. I would like to finish it, and find another series if you have written one.

Patiently waiting.....
Dec. 28th, 2012 04:56 pm (UTC)
Fantastic! Congratulations.

For me the Foundation series is far and away the best of Science Fiction. Dune is extremely entertaining, but I'd even put Silverberg's Majipoor/Lord Valentine series ahead of it.

For Fantasy I'd have to agree with your #2 spot. However if your series and Tolkien's were released at the same time I'd rate Ice and Fire #1.

PJ Walther
Dec. 29th, 2012 05:33 am (UTC)
Although I have only been recently introduced to your books (thanks to my wife's suggestion) last year just before the first season of the HBO series I agree whole-heartedly with list. While reading AGoT, I was drawn into the story in such a way I had a had time putting the book down. I am about to finish AFfC and I have to say that ASoS is by far my favorite. I can understand why you are called the 'American Tolkien' and I see how that is a complement to your work, however, you should (and will eventually) stand with Tolkien as the giants in high fantasy. I am looking forward to reading ADwD and the remaining books in the series.

You deserve the honor! Congatulations!


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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