2015 Locus Recommended Reading Lists Posted

The 2015 Locus Recommended Reading Lists have been posted over on the Locus website.

Locus is one of the most influential SF and Fantasy review magazines/websites. This list, put together by their reviewers, is extremely long (28 SF novels, 21 F novels, plus long lists of YA novels, anthologies, first novels, etc.). It operates as more of a 10,000 foot view of the field than a sharp predictor of who will win the year’s SFF awards. They also have recommendations in many of the other Hugo and Nebula categories such as Novella and Short Story.

From Chaos Horizon’s point of view, it’s probably more noteworthy as to what misses the lists than what makes it. All the expected heavy hitters are here: Uprooted, The Fifth Season, Seveneves, Aurora, The Water Knife, Ancillary Mercy, The Dark Forest.

A couple snubs I noticed: No recommendation for Updraft by Fran Wilde, and no recommendation for Barsk: The Elephant’s Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen. Both are doing very well on the SFWA Recommended Reading list. Schoen came out very late in the year (December 29th), but I don’t know why the Wilde missed both the Fantasy and the YA list. Locus tends to isolate first novels in its “First Novel” category rather than including them in the main category, so that’s why Ken Liu, Zen Cho, and Seth Dickinson show up this there rather than on the main Fantasy list.

If you don’t feel like clicking over, here’s the SF and F lists:

NOVELS – SCIENCE FICTION

The Water Knife, Paolo Bacigalupi (Borzoi; Orbit UK)
Clade, James Bradley (Penguin Australia)
The Darkside War, Zachary Brown (Saga)
Corsair, James L. Cambias (Tor)
Tracker, C.J. Cherryh (DAW)
Nemesis Games, James S.A. Corey (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Dark Orbit, Carolyn Ives Gilman (Tor)
Weighing Shadows, Lisa Goldstein (Night Shade)
Europe at Midnight, Dave Hutchinson (Solaris)
Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Dark Forest, Cixin Liu (Tor)
Luna: New Moon, Ian McDonald (Tor; Gollancz)
Galapagos Regained, James Morrow (St. Martin’s)
Going Dark, Linda Nagata (Saga)
Planetfall, Emma Newman (Roc)
The Book of Phoenix, Nnedi Okorafor (DAW; Hodder & Stoughton)
Where, Kit Reed (Tor)
Poseidon’s Wake, Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz; Ace 2016)
The Thing Itself, Adam Roberts (Gollancz)
Aurora, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Glorious Angels, Justina Robson (Gollancz)
Regeneration, Stephanie Saulter (Quercus; Jo Fletcher 2016)
The End of All Things, John Scalzi (Tor)
Seveneves, Neal Stephenson (Morrow)
Chasing the Phoenix, Michael Swanwick (Tor)
Radiance, Catherynne M. Valente (Tor)
Persona, Genevieve Valentine (Saga)
A Borrowed Man, Gene Wolfe (Tor)

NOVELS – FANTASY
Foxglove Summer, Ben Aaronovitch (Gollancz 2014; DAW)
A God in Ruins, Kate Atkinson (Little, Brown; Doubleday UK)
Karen Memory, Elizabeth Bear (Tor)
Steles of the Sky, Elizabeth Bear (Tor)
Nightwise, R.S. Belcher (Tor)
Beneath London, James P. Blaylock (Titan)
The House of Shattered Wings, Aliette de Bodard (Roc; Gollancz)
Prodigies, Angelica Gorodischer (Small Beer)
Wylding Hall, Elizabeth Hand (PS; Open Road)
Empire Ascendant, Kameron Hurley (Angry Robot US; Angry Robot UK)
The Buried Giant, Kazuo Ishiguro (Knopf)
The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Killing Pretty, Richard Kadrey (Harper Voyager US; Harper Voyager UK)
Finders Keepers, Stephen King (Scribner)
Archivist Wasp, Nicole Kornher-Stace (Big Mouth House)
Slade House, David Mitchell (Random House; Sceptre UK)
Uprooted, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
Savages, K.J. Parker (Subterranean)
The Annihilation Score, Charles Stross (Ace)
Pacific Fire, Greg Van Eekhout (Tor)
The Philosopher Kings, Jo Walton (Tor)

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8 responses to “2015 Locus Recommended Reading Lists Posted”

  1. Thomas Monaghan says :

    BS list. Not one Baen novel and the only anthology was put together by John Joseph Adams, ed. who isn’t a regular Baen editor and the anthology was mediocre.

  2. chaoshorizon says :

    Some people have pointed out that Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear came out in 2014—which it did. It also made the 2014 Locus Recommended Reading List! Seems like a strange error not to catch.

  3. airboy says :

    The Locus list confirms everything I hate about literary SF.

    Jim Butcher’s The Cinder Spires: the Aeronaut’s Windlass which has 940 Amazon reviews, a 4.5+ star rating, excellent reviews from the general book review press – is not among the huge Locus list of recommended reading.

    Locus sees fit to nominate 28 Novels but not Butchers?

    Butcher’s book was one of the very few published in 2015 that I almost could not put down – despite its greater than 600 page length. I know that this is my opinion, but the opinions of the Amazon readers and the more general book review press concurs with my opinion.

    • Joe Sherry says :

      While I’m with you on your frustration that one of your favorite books from last year is not on the list (personally, I think Robin Hobb’s Fool’s Quest should be on the Fantasy list) – I disagree that the Locus list is necessarily “Literary SF”.

      Some might be, but Linda Nagata’s Going Dark is mil-SF, N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season is straight up epic fantasy, Naomi Novik’s Uprooted is a fairy tale, Genevieve Valentine’s Persona is a nearish future thriller, Nemesis Game is space opera, Scalzi has never been accused of writing literary SF…

      But even though the list is subjective to the tastes of the editors involved in selecting it, Robin Hobb’s book should totally be on that list. 🙂

      • chaoshorizon says :

        It’s an intriguing argument. Locus tends not to cover series epic fantasy in much depth in their magazine, and thus there’s not a lot of that specific sub-genre on their lists. They do grab a few things from time to time, but (as a reference) you tend not to see the kinds of books that show up on the Gemmell award on the Locus List. If you index those two lists against each other, you’ll find that of the 5 Gemmell Nominees in 2015, only 1 showed up on the Locus Recommended Reading list:
        Half a King by Joe Abercrombie (HarperCollins) (on 2014 Locus Recommended Reading list under Young Adult)
        Valour by John Gwynne (Pan Macmillan/Tor UK) (not on)
        Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence (HarperCollins) (not on)
        Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson (Gollancz) (not on)
        The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks (Orbit) (not on)
        Same thing happened in 2014, with only 1 of the 5 Gemmell nominated works showing up:
        The Daylight War—Peter V Brett (Harper Collins UK) (not on)
        Emperor of Thorns—Mark Lawrence (Harper Collins UK) (not on)
        The Republic of Thieves—Scott Lynch (Gollancz) (on the Fantasy list)
        A Memory of Light—Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan (Tor/Forge) (not on)
        War Master’s Gate—Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tor UK) (not on)

        The Locus Recommended List has largely been ignoring mainstream series epic fantasy in recent years, which is notable given how much that same sub-genre drives fantasy sales and discussions. The conclusion: if you’re predicting the Gemmell award, don’t use the Locus List!

  4. MadProfessah says :

    You forgot to mention that The Providence of Fire, the sequel to the Gemmell award-winning The Emperor’s Blades did not make the 2015 Locus short list for Fantasy novels (which is pretty cray-cray in my opinion). It’s a MUST to appear in my Hugo nomination recommendation list.

    I agree with @Joe Sherry: There’s a lot to complain about the omissions (and straight up errors) in the Locus lists but tarring the books on their list with the term “literary SF” is not really fair.

    Happy to see Poseidon’s Wake made the list even though the book was not released in 2016 in the USA (and about 6 months earlier in the UK.) Does that mean it is eligible for the 2017 Hugo or the 2016 Hugo? [I literally finished reading it this week.]

    • chaoshorizon says :

      I just finished reading The Emperor’s Blades this week. I thought it was a good first novel, even if it spent a little too long spinning its wheels before getting going. How are the sequels? Better/bigger stakes?

      Poseidon’s Wake should be eligible for both the 2016 and 2017 Hugos. WorldCon Rule 3.4.2 covers this:
      Works originally published outside the United States of America and first published in the United States of America in the previous calendar shall also be eligible for Hugo Awards.

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