Best First Novel 1 The Wild Shore Kim Stanley Robinson This is part one of the trilogy in which Robinson examines three dissimilar futures for America. In this one, some unnamed agency explodes atom-bombs at the center of about five thousand communities in the US, notably hampering its economic development. The Soviets are the dominant power and I believe the US has been embargoed for some reason. To the young protagonist, the way the world is is natural and the stories the geezers tell about the old days are just folk tales. I liked this book and bear it great ill-will for leading me to read the Mars series. Robinson is still a successful writer. This was published as part of Terry Carr's Ace Science Fiction Specials series of the 1980s (The third such series but only the second under Carr). 2 Neuromancer William Gibson This is for many people the First Cyberpunk Novel. I remember liking it at the time but all I remember about it now is the Rastafarian space navy. Gibson is still a successful writer but his fiction is arguably no longer SF. This was also an Ace Science Fiction Special. 3 Emergence David R. Palmer This tells the story of a young superhuman girl and what she did after the end of the world. If I was writing this a year ago, I'd say that Palmer had this book and a second, notably inferior book and then nothing. The sequel to EMERGENCE is being published in ANALOG so he is not a two-book wonder. 4 Green Eyes Lucius Shepard I don't recall anything about this except I think there were zombies. Shepard is still a successful writer. This was an Ace Science Fiction Special. 5 Them Bones Howard Waldrop This is a rather melancholy book about an attempt alter to histor and prevent WWIII. I remember it as well written but not entirely success Waldrop is still writing (although I believe he was recently hospitalized) but at shorter lengths. This book and the extremely atypical for Waldrop THE TEXAS/ISRAELI WAR are to my knowledge his only novels to date. This was an Ace Science Fiction Special. 6 Valentina: Soul in Sapphire Joseph H. Delaney and Marc Stiegler I believe this involved an AI of some sort but I don't remember much about it. Delaney didn't publish many novels (and all of them in the 1980s) but his short story career continued until he died. Stiegler's career continued until at least the late 1990s but I am unaware of any fiction by him after 1999. 7 The Riddle of the Wren Charles de Lint If I read this, I then forget it. Charles de Lint is a successful fantasy author. 8 The Ceremonies T. E. D. Klein I did not read this. I believe that he was writing short fiction at least until the late 1990s but this was his only novel and the only other book- length work that I am aware of was a collection. 9 Frontera Lewis Shiner I know I read this but I am blanking on it. Shiner is still a successful authors, although I think he might be classified as "magical realism" these days. 10 Procurator Kirk Mitchell I think this is an alternate history in which Rome never fell but I am not even sure that I read it. Mitchell is still getting published but I am not sure what genres he works in. 11 Palimpsests Carter Scholz and Glenn Harcourt This is another book that I know I read whose details are lost to me just now. Scholz had another novel published in the early 21st and has written a lot of short stories, the most recent as recently as 2004. This is the only thing that I can find from Harcourt. This was an Ace Science Fiction Special. 12 The Alchemists Geary Gravel I don't know anything about this book. Gravel seems to have been seduced by the seedy world of media tie-in novels but I don't see anything by him after the late 1990s. 13 The Game Beyond Melissa Scott I missed this. I really missed it: I thought her Silence Leigh books were her first books. Scott was reasonably prolific in the 1980s and 1990s but I am unaware of anything later than 2001. 14 Divine Endurance Gwyneth Jones I did not see this. I am pretty sure that she was getting published in the 1970s in the UK so this poll must only be for US publication. Jones remains a successful author. 15 Elleander Morning Jerry Yulsman This is an alternate history in which Hitler is murdered long before his political career begins and as a result there is no WWII. I have never heard of this or the author before now. He wrote at least two novels under his own name and a number of adult novels under pen named but he seems to be best known as a photographer. 16 Winter's Daughter Charles Whitmore I am drawing a blank. 17 Demon-4 David Mace I did not see this. As I recall, Mace has more than half a dozen SF novel but his SF career hit a snag in the early 1990s (A snag that resembles parts of A Likely Story but without the mistresses ). He's still around, still being published in various media (Includng scripting LIFE ON MARS) and has a novel in the works. 1: I guess if you are a writer and you have to recapitulate a Westlake novel, better A Likely Story than The Hook.
- Old Tea Leaf Reviews 5: 1985 Locus Poll Best First Novel
- Cut for length