2014 Locus Recommended Reading List

Locus Magazine has put up their very comprehensive (and, at least in the past, very predictive) Recommended Reading List for 2014.

There’s a wealth of information there, including recommendations for categories that I don’t have the time to follow, like YA Novel, Novella, Novelette, and Short Story. In the past, most of the future Hugo and Nebula nominees have shown up on these lists. Part of that is because the lists are so long (20-30 suggestions each), but also because Locus pretty closely mirrors the sentiments of the SFWA and the Nebula.

Here’s there SF and Fantasy lists:

Novels – Science Fiction

•Ultima, Stephen Baxter (Gollancz; Roc 2015)
•War Dogs, Greg Bear (Orbit US; Gollancz)
•Shipstar, Gregory Benford & Larry Niven (Tor; Titan 2015)
•Chimpanzee, Darin Bradley (Underland)
•Cibola Burn, James S.A. Corey (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
•The Book of Strange New Things, Michel Faber (Hogarth; Canongate)
•The Peripheral, William Gibson (Putnam; Viking UK)
•Afterparty, Daryl Gregory (Tor; Titan)
•Work Done for Hire, Joe Haldeman (Ace)
•Tigerman, Nick Harkaway (Knopf; Heinemann 2015)
•Europe in Autumn, Dave Hutchinson (Solaris US; Solaris UK)
•Wolves, Simon Ings (Gollancz)
•Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
•Artemis Awakening, Jane Lindskold (Tor)
•The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu (Tor)
•The Causal Angel, Hannu Rajaniemi (Tor; Gollancz)
•The Memory of Sky, Robert Reed (Prime)
•Bête, Adam Roberts (Gollancz)
•Lock In, John Scalzi (Tor; Gollancz)
•The Blood of Angels, Johanna Sinisalo (Peter Owens)
•The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell (Random House; Sceptre)
•Lagoon, Nnedi Okorafor (Hodder; Saga 2015)
•All Those Vanished Engines, Paul Park (Tor)
•Annihilation/Authority/Acceptance, Jeff VanderMeer (FSG Originals; Fourth Estate; HarperCollins Canada)
•Dark Lightning, John Varley (Ace)
•My Real Children, Jo Walton (Tor; Corsair)
•Echopraxia, Peter Watts (Tor; Head of Zeus 2015)
•World of Trouble, Ben H. Winters (Quirk)

Novels – Fantasy

•The Widow’s House, Daniel Abraham (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
•The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Tor)
•Steles of the Sky, Elizabeth Bear (Tor)
•City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett (Broadway; Jo Fletcher)
•Hawk, Steven Brust (Tor)
•The Boy Who Drew Monsters, Keith Donohue (Picador USA)
•Bathing the Lion, Jonathan Carroll (St. Martin’s)
•Full Fathom Five, Max Gladstone (Tor)
•The Winter Boy, Sally Wiener Grotta (Pixel Hall)
•The Magician’s Land, Lev Grossman (Viking; Arrow 2015)
•Truth and Fear, Peter Higgins (Orbit; Gollancz)
•The Mirror Empire, Kameron Hurley (Angry Robot US)
•Resurrections, Roz Kaveney (Plus One)
•Revival, Stephen King (Scribner; Hodder & Stoughton)
•The Dark Defiles, Richard K. Morgan (Del Rey; Gollancz)
•The Bees, Laline Paull (Ecco; Fourth Estate 2015)
•The Godless, Ben Peek (Thomas Dunne; Tor UK)
•Heirs of Grace, Tim Pratt (47North)
•Beautiful Blood, Lucius Shepard (Subterranean)
•A Man Lies Dreaming, Lavie Tidhar (Hodder & Stoughton)
•The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, Genevieve Valentine (Atria)
•California Bones, Greg van Eekhout (Tor)

Like I said, pretty comprehensive. Most of the major candidates are there, ranging from VanderMeer to Leckie to Addison to Bennett. Here are the snubs I noticed:

The Martian, Andy Weir: That’s a good indication that the “industry” doesn’t consider this a 2014 book.
Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel: A surprise. Maybe it caught fire too late in the year to make the list?
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, Clair North
Most mainstream fantasy novels: no Words of Radiance, no The Broken Eye, no Fool’s Assassin, no Prince of Fools, no The Emperor’s Blade’s, no The Slow Regard of Silent Things. It says something when you put together a list of 22 fantasy novels and leave out most of the fantasy best-sellers. Is Locus arguing that excellence can’t be achieved in mainstream epic fantasy? Or are they reflecting their audience’s lack of interest in epic series? Sure, there are a few fantasy series on the list—Robert Morgan, Elizabeth Bear, Lev Grossman, Kameron Hurley—but each of those is set up, on some level, as a challenge to more conventional epic fantasy.

There are several books that haven’t gotten an official US publication yet (or least they aren’t available on Amazon): Lagoon, A Man Lies Dreaming, Bete, and Wolves. You’d think publication would be truly international in 2014, but that’s not yet the case. Lagoon, in particular, would have had a Nebula and Hugo shot if had gotten a US publication. Without one, it’s probably not eligible for the Nebula, and thus can’t build momentum towards a Hugo.

Lastly, is The Bone Clocks really science fiction? I guess part of the novel takes place in the future, so that’s probably why they placed it in that category. It felt more like a horror/weird fiction/fantasy hybrid to me, but I guess classification doesn’t matter that much in the end.

I’ve been waiting for this list; now that we have it, I’ll update and finalize the Critics Meta-List.

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