2015 Locus Award Shortlist

The finalists for the 2015 Locus Awards have been posted at Locus Online.

What are the results of this wide-open online vote of sf readers, free of charge for anyone to participate, (although the votes of Locus subscribers count double)?

Not a single work or person on either the Sad Puppies 3 or Rabid Puppies slate is listed among the finalists. Zero.

There also is not a single work published by Baen, or any Baen editor, although that is consistent with the Locus Recommended Reading List published earlier this year.

Less predictably, it is almost impossible to find a finalist in the Magazine category that also is credited as the publisher of even one of the short fiction finalists. Asimov’s alone enjoys that distinction. A strange dichotomy.

Lastly, because File 770 has discussed both works, let it be noted that the Nonfiction finalists include Ray Bradbury Unbound, Jonathan Eller (University of Illinois Press) and Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, Volume 2: The Man Who Learned Better: 1948-1988, William H. Patterson, Jr. (Tor).

The winners will be announced during the Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle WA, June 26-28, 2015.

82 thoughts on “2015 Locus Award Shortlist

  1. Fandom is just where nerds share what they love and fight with people who are better informed on the ridiculous subject more than the average person.

    Yeah, because entire slates of No Award! are just such an annual tradition…

    I’m glad you are enjoying the fight. I really haven’t had this much fun in ages. $40 rarely purchases this much ongoing entertainment, and what’s great is it lasts into next year, too!

  2. You should be a Sci-Fi writer, your imagination is fascinating.

    Seriously, when you set down the boulder you’re carrying and want to talk about books please join the party.

    (and as a side book geek note, your metaphor doesn’t really describe the sequence of event in Carrie well, if you haven’t read it it’s one of the very first books that got me heavily into reading when I was a teenager, I highly recommend it)

  3. xdpaul: You’ve been incredibly helpful! When I offered to walk with Lou Antonelli to the Hugo reception, I never realized he might decline because he didn’t want to be in the line of fire for all the cream pies coming my way.

  4. Oh, I’m joining the party, Matt Y, have no worries about that. And this boulder? I’m plenty strong. It is no bother at all.

  5. Locus does have its biases. Some authors, some quite popular seem to be routinely slighted by the main forthcoming books list. What did S. M. Stirling do to piss off their editors? Other than having written Alt history, an entire category that gets erased from contention each year in the awards. And the comment Wright made here a few weeks ago on the disconnect between his story’s glowing review and its longlist absence is pretty much the most/only valid puppy complaint I’ve seen so far.

  6. ‘Oh, I’m joining the party, Matt Y, have no worries about that. And this boulder? I’m plenty strong. It is no bother at all.’

    Whatever you say, welcome to the party.

    What are you hoping will win the Hugo anyway? Any books you’d rather see on there than what’s on the nomination lists? Personally I wasn’t a fan of Ancillary Justice and haven’t read/not interested in Sword. I probably will if it’s in the packet but the last one wasn’t for me. Kevin J Anderson’s book I’m not a fan of either, he’s like Drew Karpyshyn to me, I dig their licensed books but don’t connect with their original works. City of Stairs on the other hand kicked ass and dealt with some really interesting issues. The Martian was great but I think(?) that was indie published previously and disqualified for eligibility. Cibola Burn I’d have loved to see right up there, it wasn’t the best book of the Expanse series though.

    What was your favorite and as you obviously feel marginalized what would you like to have seen get a nomination?

  7. Jeff R- Yeah it seems like Alt or fictional history does have a hard time finding it’s place in these things. Like Robert McCammon’s Matthew Corbet series, or Simmon’s Drood. Genre bending ones also seem to be hard to nail down come award time.

  8. You clearly haven’t got the first clue what I feel, Matt Y, but I don’t expect that from someone who has hated us for so long that you screamed bloody murder the moment we had the audacity to participate in good faith. I don’t feel marginalized in the slightest, so…guess again.

  9. xdpaul:

    Have you even tried to talk about the books you like here? It would be nice to hear from you on what your favourites were and why they should have been on the Locus list.

  10. ‘You clearly haven’t got the first clue what I feel, Matt Y, but I don’t expect that from someone who has hated us for so long that you screamed bloody murder the moment we had the audacity to participate in good faith. I don’t feel marginalized in the slightest, so…guess again.’

    Well Sad Puppies stated intention was that the Worldcon community had marginalized a group of fans which is where I got that assumption, that you were unhappy with what was winning the award, I apologize if that doesn’t represent your feelings in this.

    It was my attempt at just talking shop, and genuine curiosity about what you wanted to see nominated/win this year. You’re part of the party now, this is pretty much what we do, talk about what books we liked and what we wanted to see nominated and what we hope will win. Is there something good I might’ve missed you’d recommend?

  11. Jeff R.: “Some authors, some quite popular seem to be routinely slighted by the main forthcoming books list. What did S. M. Stirling do to piss off their editors?”

    A quick look shows Stirling titles in the June, September, and December 2014 and March 2015 “Complete Books by Publisher” lists. He does not appear on the shorter “Selected Books by Author” lists in those months. I don’t have a hand in compiling either list, so I don’t know what criteria might govern “selected” status, beyond that stated in the magazine, that selected titles are all first appearances, while the complete list includes reprints.

    About the openness of the Locus Poll and Survey, I have to say that the situation is not unlike that of the Hugos, minus the cost of joining Worldcon. It is true that Locus readership (print and website and pass-on and drive-by) represents only a small segment of total Anglophone SF readersip, just as con-going fandom has always represented a very small fraction of total SF/F enthusiasts. But any poll or popularity contest is going to be similiarly constrained, short of requiring participation as a condition of buying books. As Yogi Berra is said to have said, “If people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, how are you going to stop them?”

    And yes, I review for Locus, and no, I am not directed what to review. I keep telling people that I just follow my nose and write about what I enjoy and find interesting. It’s a conversation about books and a genre, not a campaign or a program, let alone a conspiracy or a movement. Want to know what I think about SF? Read my columns. I don’t know myself until I hit “save” for the last time.

  12. xdpaul: Like I said in my earlier reply to yoou, now that you’ve joined Sasquan, and I know you’ll be reading the nominees, I sincerely am hoping that you’ll share your view of the non-slate works.

    In part this is because having read all but one of the nominees, I’m very interested to know if someone else, particulalrly someone with a considerably different perspective, notices any difference, and if so, what they are.

    Another part is of course, in the great tradition of nerd-dom, to infect someone else with stuff I like :p .

  13. Just to clarify, my previous post was on the Best Novel nominees, since that’s the most “mixed” major award category.

  14. I notice that a lot of the works I nominated for the Hugos are showing up on the Locus Award shortlists, and many others I heard good things about but hadn’t gotten to are present also. Congratulations to the authors!

    I loved _City of Stairs_, for example, and can’t wait for the sequel (yeah, okay, some of the things set up with one of the characters make it pretty plain that there will be a sequel.) I thought _Lock In_ was a fun romp. _Mirror Empire_ was interesting, but overall too grim for me, and I had a hard time liking the main characters, which is a component of enjoyment I know some people find optional but which is very important to me.

  15. I find liking the main character typically to be important as well, which is kind of funny because 3BP the main character feels like more of a cipher and I love that one, but yeah I had the roughest time with Mirror Empire. Didn’t connect with the characters, didn’t care for the infodumping.

  16. I was halfway through Mirror Empire when it failed the Eight Deadly Words Test. It’s a really interesting and different world though, so I may revisit it when the entire series (I assume it’s a series) is finished.

    I must say that I’m really glad that James L. Cambias got shortlisted for First Novel. Darkling Sea was a fun and different work.

  17. If this battle amongst the Locus Award nominee commenters stayed heated up, may I suggest Sad Kittens for the name of this one?

  18. ‘If this battle amongst the Locus Award nominee commenters stayed heated up, may I suggest Sad Kittens for the name of this one?’

    Wouldn’t work well. Kittens aren’t pack animals, can’t be herded and don’t give a damn what the opinions of other kittens are.

  19. ‘what the heck does that make you?’

    The witches you are hunting, apparently. Because we ‘don’t like’ you and that hurt your feelings.

  20. @Matt Y, et al.: I like this. Start ignoring the trolling and just ask about books, fiction, etc. 🙂

    I look forward to checking out the Locus list. And I look forward to the puppies attacking Locus…heh, Locus will just change their rules from one day to the next and BOOM, no more puppy influence…. They have no two-year-rule-change-cycle stuff. 😉

  21. ‘but that is of course betrayed by the fact that Sad Puppies have in fact been despised up until this point.’

    It’s so weird that you pretend you didn’t game the nomination process and earn everyone’s ire that way, and that said gaming came out of hostility and aggression on the puppies’ part towards so-called social justice witches, whom you feel compelled to hunt because you hate. Lies of omission are lies, too.

  22. ‘And this boulder? I’m plenty strong. It is no bother at all.’


  23. @MatY

    I’m having the same problem with characterization in 3BP. F’rex the main character is behaving in ways that upset his wife–screaming in the middle of the night, getting drunk and sleeping in a car two days running without bothering to call and let her know he’s alive, stuff like that. But he doesn’t seem to worry about her peace of mind in the slightest. There’s no suggestion that there is any kind of problem in the marriage that would make that behavior, if rotten, at least understandable. It’s just there.

    Add to that the whole “physics doesn’t work anymore, or at least maybe it doesn’t work anymore” aspect and I keep getting irritated and quitting. Then I think, well it did reach the ballot honestly, maybe there’s more to it if I just keep going.

    At this point it’s a tossup whether I’m going to manage to finish. Which would be a shame because it was, by my lights, rather an expensive book.

  24. @Cat:

    I’m working my way through 3BP too and I’m in agreement on a lot of points. The chief protag reminds me of one of those generic manga guys who wanders through an incredible landscape of far more interesting people doing weird things while going “Ohh” and having little beads of sweat on his forehead. There’s not much to him. And yes, his treatment of his family is jarring.

    On the other hand, the events are intriguing so far.

    The translation seems pretty good, with touches of poetry, but it has that odd cadence of a really foreign language to me.

    I’ll keep going because I’m curious to see what sort of sci-fi is so very popular in China.

    Looking forward to more reading.

  25. Cat – Yeah, that bugged me too. The wife and son only appear for long enough to be useful for the camera experiment and occasional exchanges but one they’re ‘off-screen’ they might as well not exist. I thought the same thing about him sleeping in his car, I was waiting for his wife to be super pissed.

    The book kind of steps away from the physics-don’t-work stuff before getting back to it at the end, but the explanation is a doozy.

    I don’t want to spoil anything but I guess to me my favorite parts are all the crazy ideas the writer throws out there and some of the imagery of the game within the book is great on multiple levels. Specifically there’s a back and forth towards the middle/end that blew my mind. But the book does go off on what initially appear to be tangents on math or philosophy that I enjoyed, but I can certainly see that not everyone would like that.

    It’s one of those books I’m excited to talk with people about, but most of what I like talking about is the ideas in it and not really the story itself.

  26. Right, I was referring to the “Selected works by Author” list as the main one in this case; I’ve been perplexed by his absence there for more than a decade; I’ve never been able to suss out any reason for it that makes more sense than some kind of hidden personal animus.

    (While I’m complaining about Locus/Locus Award stuff, I’ve never been on board with the longlisting policies that pretty much ensure that first novels are unable to compete (and are certainly deeply disadvantaged having to rely on write-ins) for the two main category awards.)

  27. ” to participate in good faith”

    Those words don’t mean what you’re using them to mean.

  28. Really pleased to see ‘Rogues’ on the list; the editors deliberately set it up to break genre conventions and it worked splendidly well. I suspect that it wouldn’t go down too well with the canine conspirators because they seem to be into purity tests, but the rest of the world seems increasingly interested by stories which don’t fit in neat little compartments…

  29. There is a Locus Award category just for first novels–it’s part of the ballot and is also a category on the Recommended Reading list–just as there are separate categories for SF, fantasy, and YA novels, along with original and reprint anthologies and single-author collections on the short-form side. Google up “Locus recommended reading” to see the size and extent of the lists and the pool of people who contribute to them. (And just a side note: About the only times I’ve received editorial nudges to consider a book for review, it’s been for first novels: “Try this one, we’ve heard good things about it.” And if it doesn’t work for me–which means I don’t care to finish it–I don’t review it, and nobody gives me any guff.)

    Back to the Selected listings: One can *imagine* all kinds of reasons for a writer’s work to not wind up there, but I’ve been with the magazine for 26 years now and never gotten a whiff of “personal animus” in editorial operations. Specifically, Stirling has attended the Locus Awards ceremony at least once (as an acceptor), showed up in the People & Publishing pages, and had a featured interview. Of course, the interview and awards presentation were about a decade back, so I suppose one is free to speculate that sometime in the interim he (to borrow a phrase from Stig O’ Tracey) transgressed the unwritten law and wound up on the double-secret shitlist.

    I’m not a spokesman for Locus here–just somebody with 30 years of experience as a reviewer, feature writer, and product evaluator for a range of newsstand and limited-circulation publications who gets a bit weary of countering speculations about the internal operations of the magazines I’ve written for. In my experience it’s always been a case of “’twere to consider too curiously, to consider so.”

  30. Rogues had a ridiculously good line up of authors. I’d love to see more anthologies have a common theme but span multiple genres like that, I think it helps the stories stand apart more instead of blending together.

  31. I’ve been lurking here for the past month, so I thought I’d finally comment.

    Trivia: The last time a Baen book won a Locus was Barry Malzberg’s Breakfast in the Ruins in 2008 for Best Nonfiction Book. Then again, when you look at Baen’s lineup last year, it’s not hard to figure out why. Their authors are mostly, to use Eric Flint’s phrase, “terrific story-tellers but journeyman writers” – guys (well, mostly guys) like Ringo, Weber, Lackey, Drake, and Flint himself.

    “I don’t expect that from someone who has hated us for so long that you screamed bloody murder the moment we had the audacity to participate in good faith.”

    I’d never heard of the Sad Puppies until early in April, when I stumbled across this whole mess. I’d read one of John C. Wright’s books (Count to a Trillion – good, but not five Hugo nominations good), and I’d heard the names Larry Correia and Sarah Hoyt, but didn’t know much about them. I was neutral, in other words.

    If the Puppies had actually participated “in good faith”, it probably would have stayed that way, and nobody would be “screaming bloody murder.” Then again, I might not be mulling over going to Readercon right now, or have read Ancillary Justice. Thanks, Puppies!

  32. My point is that First Novels go onto that First Novel Longlist only and never on the Best Science Fiction or Best Fantasy Longlists as well and thus can only compete for those other awards as write-ins, and there absolutely have been lots of first novels that should have been contenders for the best book in their Genre for the year. (Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, to name one.)

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