2016 Best SF/F

Update 6/18/20: Added anthologist πŸ“™Allan Kaster (click link to highlight).
Update 1/25/20: Added reviewer πŸ‘A.C. Wise (click link to highlight).

Every month, on the 1st, we add the most recommendedπŸ‘ stories from the previous month's ratings to our Year-To-Date (YTD) list, grouped by story length and current score (must be 2 or more). This is our annual library.

After year's end, during the three-month award nomination season, the YTD list becomes the SF/F Ballots list and story scores are updated as “year’s best” anthologiesπŸ“™ and award finalistsπŸ† are announced. For some awards and the Locus Recommended Reading List, we’ll create an annotated list of the finalists sorted by latest score to help people choose stories to read.

After most nominations close in March, the SF/F Ballots list becomes the Best SF/F list and story scores continue to be updated until November when the last award winners (World Fantasy) are announced. During this time, we’ll produce themed selections of outstanding storiesπŸš€✨πŸŒˆπŸ“š with final scores from the annual library.

1. Year-To-Date

2. Hugo Awards

Update 4/4/17: Added Hugo recommendations, which are +2 to a story's score.
Update 3/11/17: Added story links for Analog's Readers' Awards Finalists (5 novellas, 5 novelettes, 6 short stories).
Update 3/6/17: Added Nebula & Readers (magazine polls) recommendations, which are +2 to a story's score.
Update 3/3/17: Added Saturn Award Nominees link to Dramatic Presentation categories.
Update 3/2/17: Added story links for Asimov's Readers' Awards Finalists (5 novellas, 5 novelettes, 5 short stories).
Update 2/20/17: Added Annotated 2016 Nebula Award Nominees link.
Update 2/5/17: Updated RHorton's Novella & Novelette recommendations which were too long to fit into his year's best SF/F anthology.
Update 2/1/17: Added Annotated 2016 Locus Reading List link.
Update 1/28/17: Added 2017 Editors (Short Form) link.
Update 1/16/17: Added 2017 Professional Artists link.

To make it easier to nominate in Hugo Award categories other than Best Novel, we have collected key information from all the stories in 11 magazines and 11 major anthologies published in 2016. Taken together, this makes it a lot easier to pick things to read and nominate in six categories. (Last year's Hugo Awards page has been archived here.)

Help Making Short-Fiction Nominations

If you're still looking for things to read

You can find information on this page for:
The stories in each of these lists are grouped by a "recommendation score" from six prolific short-fiction reviewers, and each entry includes links to reviews. We also provide extensive information on how to buy or borrow digital copies of back issues of the print magazines. If you just want to read without regard to story length, see the Year-To-Date by Rating, Score, and Magazine pages.

There are also the RSR-compilation of the "year's best" SF/F anthologies (96 stories), RSR-annotated versions of the 2016 Locus Recommended Reading List (12 novellas, 36 novelettes, 76 short stories) and 2016 Nebula Award Nominees (6 novellas, 6 novelettes, 7 short stories).

If you've already finished your reading

It's easy to remember which novels you read last year, but it's hard to remember all the short fiction. Even a list of titles and authors doesn't always help because that's often not enough to remind you what the story was about--much less whether it was a novella, novelette, or short story.

Here are links to lists of stories in every magazine and anthology reviewed by RSR in 2016. The stories are sorted by title and contain a brief description and category (novella, novelette, short story).

If you're trying to find new writers who're eligible for the Campbell Award

The Campbell Award goes to the best new writer based on the last two years of work. The challenge here is knowing who's eligible. Our Campbell Award-Eligible Writers page contains the same information per-story as the list above, but filters out all but the new writers.

Help Making Best-Artist Nominations

Best Professional Artist

To pick candidates for Best Professional Artist, you need to be able to look through a lot of full-sized images quickly, separating out the ones worth more study. Our 2017 Professional Artists post uses a "lightbox" display to let you scroll through the cover art from the major magazines and novels of 2016, and it includes links to the original publications and the artists' online galleries (where possible). With this system, you can riffle through about 200 pieces of cool art in just a few minutes.

Best Fan Artist

We are no longer doing a Fan Artists page due to the enormous size of the field. Fan art can be found by browsing eFanzines.com, looking at the art section of semi-prozines like Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Strange Horizons, and the sky's the limit at DeviantArt.com which gets over 140,000 submissions per day.

Help Making Best Editor (Short Form) Nominations

Finally, to help people make nominations for the Best Editor (Short Form) category, we collected together all the statistics we could think of on our 2017 Editors (Short Form) page and we offer some suggestions on how to combine them to pick candidates.

Everyone has a handle on Best Novel, but we think this makes nominating for the other categories a whole lot easier, and we hope you will too. (Rocket Stack Rank is a free service and is not monetized in any way, shape, or form.)

Help For Other Categories

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)

Best Graphic Story


2017 Hugo Awards nominations have begun and continue through March 31. To nominate, you must have either been registered for MidAmeriCon II in 2016 or been registered for Worldcon 75 (or Worldcon 76) before January 31, 2017.

Worldcon 75 will be held in Helsinki, Finland from August 9-13, 2017. Worldcon 76 will be in San Jose, California in 2018.

3. Best SF/F

RSR's tables are now dynamic, meaning you can change the way the stories are ordered, and also highlight different types of stories. For example, click this link πŸŒ€Publication & Score to regroup stories from categories to magazines. Click these links to highlight stories that are πŸ“–free online, by ✍new writers (Campbell Award-eligible), and 🌐translations.

You can also flag and rate stories to track your reading progress over weeks and months and end up with a shortlist of candidates in the ⚑★My Ratings page at the end of the year to nominate for the Hugo, Locus, Nebula, and various magazine-specific awards.

When you're ready to try the new features, expand the Dynamic Table Features help box below for further details, and expand the gray Command Box pinned to the bottom of the window to access all the new functionality.

Eric Wong
Updated Friday June 21, 2019

3 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Another online reprint of "On the Fringes of the Fractal" by Greg van Eekhout is at Lightspeed 128 (Jan 2021).

    1. https://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/on-the-fringes-of-the-fractal/

  2. "Carnivores" by Rich Larson has been reprinted online at Lightspeed 132 (May 2021)