2016 Locus Recommended Reading List Published

The 2016 Locus Recommended Reading List from the magazine’s February issue has been posted at Locus Online.

The list is a consensus by Locus editors and reviewers, and others: Liza Groen Trombi, Gary K. Wolfe, Jonathan Strahan, Faren Miller, Russell Letson, Graham Sleight, Adrienne Martini, Carolyn Cushman, Tim Pratt, Karen Burnham, Gardner Dozois, Rich Horton, Cheryl Morgan, Paul Kincaid, Ysabeau Wilce, Liz Bourke, Colleen Mondor, and James Bradley.

Short fiction selections are assembled from material from Laird Barron, K. Tempest Bradford, Karen Burnham, Neil Clarke, Ellen Datlow, Gardner Dozois, Paula Guran, Rich Horton, Brit Mandelo, Faren Miller, Nisi Shawl, Jonathan Strahan, Lois Tilton, and Gary K. Wolfe.

On the list are —

  • 28 SF novels, 22 fantasy novels, 19 YA books, 13 first novels;
  • 27 collections, 12 original anthologies, 11 reprint anthologies;
  • 7 nonfiction books, 18 art books;
  • 18 novellas
  • 32 novelettes
  • 66 short stories

Three self-published works made the list: two art books, and Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold.

Baen Books broke into the Locus Recommended list this year with John Joseph Adams’ original anthology Operation Arcana, ending a drought going back years (the publisher had no books on Locus’ 2014 or 2013 lists.)

Those sifting the omens to learn whether Bujold’s Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen will be Hugo-eligible in the year determined by its available-for-purchase 2015 e-ARC or its February 2016 publication date can ponder what it means that the book does not appear on the Locus list.

71 thoughts on “2016 Locus Recommended Reading List Published

  1. Soon Lee, I’m not an Analog reader at all, and I didn’t mean to give the impression that I was. It’s just that Analog is the oldest of the “big three” print magazines, and because I’m a traditionalist, I would like to see it survive and do well.

    I do subscribe to both Asimov’s and F&SF, and both of those do quite well enough. In fact, nobody beat Asimov’s number of recommendations this year (14). Last year, Tor.com was first with 15.

    In the latest round of Year’s Best anthologies, Gardner Dozois, Neil Clarke and Rich Horton each chose two stories from Analog, so it’s surprising that, given the expansive length of the Locus List, nothing from Analog was found worthy.

  2. Lois Tilton said:

    I’d consider the periodical rule a precedent for other classes.

    Even though it’s phrased as an exception to the general rule?

    (To save people digging through the thread, here it is again: “Publication date, or cover date in the case of a dated periodical, takes precedence over copyright date.” I.e., we have this method for most cases, but we have a different method for periodicals only.)

  3. Further to Petréa Mitchell, and dusting off my (very) old professional bookseller’s hat, I’d observe that it used, at least, to be quite common for a book published in year X to contain a copyright date of year X-1.

    For one thing, books used to be shipped out to (UK) bookshops anything up to 8 weeks before the official publication date, as a simple matter of logistics for all concerned. At one time, most UK booksellers scrupulously observed the embargoed publication date (and sometimes monitored their rivals and reported pre-emptors to the publishers and the Booksellers Association). I imagine that world has long disappeared.

    Another consideration (swapping to almost-as-old desk editor’s hat) is that the process from turning in the MS to placing the books in the shops can typically be up to a year (although accelerated progress is possible), and marketing schedules often get altered in order to even out a publisher’s offerings per month. Thus a book intended for publication later in one year can easily be delayed until the following one.

    The modern complication of offering e-ARCs for sale to the public (rather than as a courtesy to reviewers) is one that fills me with unease.

    Excuse me, I must just go and check my lawn for trespassers.

  4. Terry Hunt: The modern complication of offering e-ARCs for sale to the public (rather than as a courtesy to reviewers) is one that fills me with unease.

    These aren’t really reviewer e-ARCs.

    My perception is that it’s a marketing gimmick cooked up by Baen: “We’ll tell readers it’s an e-ARC and make it available a few months ahead of the “official” publication date, so that they can feel like they’re part of the exclusive little reviewer club which gets advance copies — but we’ll charge them double for the privilege of reading an uncorrected copy!”

    And from all appearances based on what I’ve seen Baen readers say, it’s been a genius strategy. The readers feel special, Baen makes more than double their money — and BONUS! the readers can’t complain about Baen’s usual cornucopia of errors in spelling and grammar, because they knew they were getting an advance “proof”.

  5. I don’t see it so much as an exception to the general rule but an acknowledgement that different circumstances require different rules. One size doesn’t fit all.

    The real question is where does this particular case fit, under which set of rules, or perhaps under a new set.

  6. @JJ

    I wouldn’t really call it a gimmick, except perhaps in the most general of terms. Basically I’m paying for early access, much like how I would do when buying a hardback book. Of course there’s a premium charged for that, but hey, that’s how pretty standard for books.

    Doing it to Sesame Street though….that’s just *wrong*.

  7. Hold on. I just realised something regarding the whole GJ&RQ thingy – wouldn’t one solution be to just extend eligibility? As I said, my major concern is that if it’s the case that the eARC makes it ineligible, or that it at least throws a question mark on it, so wouldn’t extending eligibility at the Business Meeting resolve that? Or are there other criteria that needs to be met?

    Gahhhh. The criteria on the WSFS rules states that 3.4.3: In the event that a potential Hugo Award nominee receives extremely limited distribution in the year of its first publication or presentation,….

    Would it still be possible to extend eligibility?

  8. The October 2015 publication doesn’t render the novel ineligible. It does make it eligible for this year’s Hugos, though. And yes, it would be ideal to have some clarification on year of eligiblity as readers could then assess the book and decide if they think it’s award-worthy (I read it last October and have made my own decision on that). It would be best if we didn’t have to wait for a business meeting for this.

    I do think it’s possible this could all benefit GJ&TRQ’s chances. The book is being promoted now, right when awards nominations are out. If people realise it could be eligible, they’ll likely have a fresh impression of the novel and it’ll be very fresh in their minds.

  9. It’s possible (not definite) that I might see one of the Hugo admins in a week and a half. If I do, I’ll try to remember to ask about Gentleman Jole. Not that I expect an answer, as Hugo admins typically don’t answer such questions before the fact, but there’s no harm in asking.

  10. Because Worldcon has a new committee each year and a new Hugo committee it is possible that the 2016 committee could rule it a 2016 publication and the 2017 committe rule it a 2015 publication. This would mean it would never be eligible!

  11. @snowcrash,

    We talked about this in an earlier discussion. The sticking point is that you could buy it from Baen’s online store. It can’t count as “extremely limited distribution”, or even “limited distribution” if anyone with an internet connection & a way to purchase items online was able to buy it. That’s global availability.

  12. Gardner Dozois, Neil Clarke and Rich Horton each chose two stories from Analog, so it’s surprising that, given the expansive length of the Locus List, nothing from Analog was found worthy.

    Not that surprising, when you consider that the readership of “Locus” is not limited to those three worthy gents. The Hugo and Nebula lists often differ greatly too. Different people like different stuff.

    About GJ&TRQ, I don’t care what cutesy name the publisher wants to give it. The fact is that a few billion people could easily have bought it. I realize the universe is a big place, but being distributed on an entire planet isn’t “limited distribution”. I suspect the few people in low Earth orbit could have purchased it too, for that matter! That makes it a 2015 publication until declared otherwise, I sez.

  13. Just to add nothing but confusion to the eARC conversation, Locus are now listing GJ&tRQ as released. They say “Nominal Publication Date: Tue 2 Feb 2016”, and they link to the PW review which says “Reviewed on: 12/21/2015, Release date: 02/02/2016”

    Obviously none of that really means anything when interpreting the specific Hugo rules, but it does emphasise that a couple of outlets are ignoring the eARC as a release and working to the Feb release.

  14. The information published online at Locus should not be considered to reflect any position on what the actual publication date is/was.

  15. @Jonathan Strahan

    Not at all, I just mention it as a data point about how it’s not a clear-cut situation, and the answer is different depending on the purpose for which you ask the question!

  16. <Not that surprising, when you consider that the readership of “Locus” is not limited to those three worthy gents. >

    I’m sticking to my guns. It IS surprising that there is nothing from Analog on the Locus RRL. Firstly, it has never happened before (data since 2000 is publicly available). Secondly, the readership of Locus isn’t what determines the Recommended List. It is a co-operative effort by Locus staffers and contributors. The three editors I mentioned are prominent among these. Thirdly, there ought to be a demonstrable link between what Locus places on the list, and what readers like, or the magazine isn’t doing its job.

    Oh, and fourthly, I’m sure that you’ll find a strong correlation between what goes onto the Year’s Bests and what appears on the Locus List. maybe I should do the numbers.

  17. Well, easy to do:

    Clarke: 2
    Dozois: 2
    Horton: 2
    Strahan: 0

    There was very little overlap, actually. Clarke took Dickinson and McMullen, Dozois took McMullen and Pitkin, and Horton took Pitkin and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro.

    As with anything in this universe, especially with consensus building, I would bet that there needed to be a majority vote to include a story on the list, and there may not have been enough. It was not one of Analog’s best years. It just doesn’t really produce the kind of fiction that appeals to voters, and hasn’t in years. This has been proven time and time again, if you study the awards systems, year’s best reprints, and more.

  18. Analog:
    2015: 0
    2014: 2
    2013: 3
    2012: 5
    2011: 2
    2010: 4
    2009: 4
    2008: 2

    There is not enough historical data to suggest anything, really. A bad year could be offset by a really good year, like 2012.

  19. If anything I’d be more concerned over the fact that Asimov’s has more digital subscriptions than Analog, and has done so for some time, which might point to a long-term trend. Sure, the latter has more paid circulation, but the gap is closing, quickly, with only a four thousand subscribers difference, now. Ten years ago it was well over ten thousand. This might point to a continued lack of interest in the type of fiction Analog publishes. (Which might be mirrored by the poor sales of similarly-themed books.) It is too early to tell, though!

  20. I agree with everything Sean Wallace says. Perhaps I shouldn’t have said “surprising”. It’s more a case of “slightly unlucky”. 🙂

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