royalty-free-writing-clipart-illustration-1146779Greg Hullender and Eric Wong read and rate SF&F stories and publish the results on their site, Rocket Stack Rank. This year they’ve filled a niche for those looking for ways to locate stories suitable for nomination for the Hugo Awards, for one thing. The rankings might also be useful for other award nominations, or just for folks who want to read good fiction.

Hullender has also published some statistics based on this year’s rankings, including the breakdown of hard SF versus less hard. RSR’s criteria for rating hard SF is as follows:
• The science must be accurate enough that an educated layman does not have to suspend disbelief.
• Some aspect of science or technology is key to the plot. It cannot merely supply the setting.

Reading the stories from Analog, Asimov’s, Clarkesworld, F&SF, Lightspeed and Tor.com, they rated 12 % of the stories as hard SF. Based on this result, Hullender pronounces hard SF in better health than I’ve been thinking.

Other results of interest: Asimov’s rated better on hard SF than Analog, providing 7 stories to Analog’s 4 of highly rated hard SF stories this year. Also, Tor.com didn’t provide any stories that made the grade as both hard SF and highly rated.

Upcoming: Reviews of some of the stories.

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