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2003 Recommended
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29 January 2004




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2003 Recommended Reading List  

This recommended reading list, published in Locus Magazine's February 2004 issue, is a consensus by Locus editors and reviewers -- Charles N. Brown, Gary K. Wolfe, Jonathan Strahan, Faren Miller, Russell Letson, Nick Gevers, Carolyn Cushman, Tim Pratt, Karen Haber, and Rich Horton -- and other professionals, including Gardner Dozois, David G. Hartwell, Michael Swanwick, Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link & Gavin Grant, and others. It takes at least two positive mentions to make the final list. Essays by many of these contributors are published in the February issue.

For links to descriptions, reviews, and Amazon pages for many of these books, see 2003 Book Directory pages and scan for "Best of 2003: Locus Recommended Reading" in the right column.

Science Fiction Novels

  • The Line of Polity, Neal Asher (Tor UK)
  • Coalescent, Stephen Baxter (Gollancz; Del Rey)
  • Darwinís Children, Greg Bear (Del Rey)
  • Pattern Recognition, William Gibson (Putnam)
  • Felaheen: The Third Arabesk, Jon Courtenay Grimwood (Earthlight)
  • The Lost Steersman, Rosemary Kirstein (Del Rey)
  • Nothing Human, Nancy Kress (Golden Gryphon)
  • Omega, Jack McDevitt (Ace)
  • Speed of Dark, Elizabeth Moon (Orbit 2002; Ballantine)
  • Memory, Linda Nagata (Tor)
  • Sister Alice, Robert Reed (Orbit; Tor)
  • Absolution Gap, Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz; Ace 2004)
  • Natural History, Justina Robson (Macmillan)
  • Ilium, Dan Simmons (Subterranean; Eos)
  • Quicksilver, Neal Stephenson (Morrow)
  • Singularity Sky, Charles Stross (Ace)
  • Maul, Tricia Sullivan (Orbit)
  • Succession: The Risen Empire; The Killing of Worlds, Scott Westerfeld (Tor - two volumes; SFBC)
  • The Poison Master, Liz Williams (Bantam Spectra)
  • Blind Lake, Robert Charles Wilson (Tor)
  • The Golden Age: The Phoenix Exultant; The Golden Transcendence, John C. Wright (Tor - two volumes)

Fantasy Novels
  • The Anvil of the World, Kage Baker (Tor)
  • Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold (Eos)
  • The Crystal City, Orson Scott Card (Tor)
  • 1610: A Sundial in a Grave, Mary Gentle (Gollancz)
  • Foolís Fate, Robin Hobb (Voyager; Bantam Spectra 2004)
  • The Salt Roads, Nalo Hopkinson (Warner)
  • Midnight Lamp, Gwyneth Jones (Gollancz)
  • The Briar King, Greg Keyes (Del Rey)
  • The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla, Stephen King (Grant/Scribner)
  • Mortal Suns, Tanith Lee (Overlook)
  • The Light Ages, Ian R. MacLeod (Ace)
  • In the Forests of Serre, Patricia A. McKillip (Ace)
  • Sunshine, Robin McKinley (Berkley)
  • The Skrayling Tree, Michael Moorcock (Warner Aspect)
  • The Night Country, Stewart OíNan (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Monstrous Regiment, Terry Pratchett (Doubleday UK; HarperColllins)
  • lost boy lost girl, Peter Straub (Random House)
  • The War of the Flowers, Tad Williams (DAW)

Young-Adult Books
  • Midwinter Nightingale, Joan Aiken (Delacorte)
  • White Midnight, Dia Calhoun (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Swan Sister, Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling, eds. (Simon & Schuster)
  • The Tears of the Salamander, Peter Dickinson (Macmillan; Lamb)
  • Inkheart, Cornelia Funke (The Chicken House)
  • New Skies, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, ed. (Tor)
  • Stravaganza: City of Stars, Mary Hoffman (Bloomsbury)
  • A Stir of Bones, Nina Kiriki Hoffman (Viking)
  • The Merlin Conspiracy, Diana Wynne Jones (Greenwillow)
  • Abhorsen, Garth Nix (Eos)
  • Firebirds, Sharyn November, ed. (Firebird)
  • Tricksterís Choice, Tamora Pierce (Random)
  • The Wee Free Men, Terry Pratchett (HarperCollins)
  • A Sterkarm Kiss, Susan Price (Scholastic Press UK)
  • Predatorís Gold, Philip Reeve (Scholastic Press UK)
  • The Amulet of Samarkand, Jonathan Stroud (Miramax)
  • First Novels
    • The Darkness That Comes Before, R. Scott Bakker (Penguin Canada)
    • The Etched City, K.J. Bishop (Prime)
    • Star Dragon, Mike Brotherton (Tor)
    • Clade, Mark Budz (Bantam)
    • Paper Mage, Leah R. Cutter (Roc)
    • Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Cory Doctorow (Tor)
    • Magicís Silken Snare, ElizaBeth Gilligan (DAW)
    • The Buzzing, Jim Knipfel (Vintage)
    • Spin State, Chris Moriarty (Bantam Spectra)
    • The Time Travelerís Wife, Audrey Niffenegger (MacAdam/Cage)
    • A Telling of Stars, Caitlin Sweet (Penguin Canada)
    • Veniss Underground, Jeff VanderMeer (Prime)
  • Collections
    • The Resurrection Manís Legacy and Other Stories, Dale Bailey (Golden Gryphon)
    • Brighten to Incandescence, Michael Bishop (Golden Gryphon)
    • In for a Penny, James P. Blaylock (Subterranean)
    • Bradbury Stories: 100 of His Finest Tales, Ray Bradbury (Morrow)
    • Ghosts of Yesterday, Jack Cady (Night Shade)
    • A New Dawn, John W. Campbell, Jr. (NESFA)
    • °Limekiller!, Avram Davidson (Old Earth)
    • Aye, and Gomorrah and Other Stories, Samuel R. Delany (Vintage)
    • A Place So Foreign and 8 More, Cory Doctorow (Four Walls Eight Windows)
    • Budayeen Nights, George Alec Effinger (Golden Gryphon)
    • Kalpa Imperial, Angťlica Gorodischer (Small Beer Press)
    • Bibliomancy, Elizabeth Hand (PS Publishing)
    • Things That Never Happen, M. John Harrison (Night Shade)
    • The Two Sams, Glen Hirshberg (Carroll & Graf)
    • Unintended Consequences, Alex Irvine (Subterranean)
    • Changing Planes, Ursula K. Le Guin (Harcourt)
    • Greetings from Lake Wu, Jay Lake (Wheatland Press)
    • GRRM: A RRetrospective, George R.R. Martin (Subterranean)
    • The Selected Stories of Chad Oliver Volume 1: A Star Above It & Volume 2: Far From This Earth, Chad Oliver (NESFA)
    • Little Gods, Tim Pratt (Prime)
    • The Amount to Carry, Carter Scholz (Picador USA)
    • Roma Eterna, Robert Silverberg (Eos)
    • More Tomorrow and Other Stories, Michael Marshall Smith (Earthling)
    • And Now the News...: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, Volume IX, Theodore Sturgeon (North Atlantic Books)
    • Monterraís Deliciosa & Other Tales &, Anna Tambour (Prime)
    • Transfinite: The Essential A.E. van Vogt, A.E. van Vogt (NESFA)
    • Custerís Last Jump and Other Collaborations, Howard Waldrop et al. (Golden Gryphon)

    • Live without a Net, Lou Anders, ed. (Roc)
    • Cosmos Latinos: An Anthology of Science Fiction from Latin America and Spain, Andrea L. Bell & Yolanda Molina-GavilŠn, eds. (Wesleyan)
    • infinity plus two, Keith Brooke & Nick Gevers, eds. (PS Publishing)
    • McSweeneyís Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales, Michael Chabon, ed. (Vintage)
    • Cities, Peter Crowther, ed. (Gollancz)
    • Gathering the Bones, Jack Dann, Dennis Etchison, & Ramsey Campbell, eds. (HarperCollins Australia; Tor)
    • The Dark: New Ghost Stories, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Tor)
    • The Yearís Best Fantasy and Horror: Sixteenth Annual Collection, Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling, eds. (St. Martinís)
    • The Yearís Best Science Fiction: Twentieth Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois, ed. (St. Martinís)
    • Yearís Best Fantasy 3, David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer, eds. (Eos)
    • Yearís Best SF 8, David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer, eds. (Eos)
    • 13 Horrors, Brian A. Hopkins, ed. (KaCSFFS)
    • Mojo: Conjure Stories, Nalo Hopkinson, ed. (Warner Aspect)
    • Stars, Janis Ian & Mike Resnick, eds. (DAW)
    • The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror: Volume Fourteen, Stephen Jones, ed. (Robinson; Carroll & Graf)
    • The Dragon Quintet, Marvin Kaye, ed. (SFBC)
    • Nebula Awards Showcase 2003, Nancy Kress, ed. (Roc)
    • Polyphony 2, Deborah Layne & Jay Lake, eds. (Wheatland)
    • Trampoline, Kelly Link, ed. (Small Beer Press)
    • New Voices in Science Fiction, Mike Resnick, ed. (DAW)
    • Legends II, Robert Silverberg, ed. (Voyager; Del Rey)
    • Fantasy: The Best of 2002, Robert Silverberg & Karen Haber, eds. (ibooks)
    • Science Fiction: The Best of 2002, Robert Silverberg & Karen Haber, eds. (ibooks)
    • The Silver Gryphon, Gary Turner & Marty Halpern, eds. (Golden Gryphon)
    • Album Zutique #1, Jeff VanderMeer, ed. (Ministry of Whimsy)
    • One Lamp, Gordon Van Gelder, ed. (Four Walls Eight Windows)

    • Hitchhiker: A Biography of Douglas Adams, M.J. Simpson (Hodder & Stoughton; Justin Charles & Co.)
    • Robert Aickman: An Introduction, Gary William Crawford (Gothic Press)
    • Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life, Terry Brooks (Del Rey)
    • Reference Guide to Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror: Second Edition, Michael Burgess & Lisa R. Bartle, eds. (Libraries Unlimited)
    • Scores: Reviews 1993 - 2003, John Clute (Beccon)
    • Snakeís-Hands: The Fiction of John Crowley, Alice K. Turner & Michael Andre-Driussi, eds. (Cosmos)
    • Dreamer of Dune, Brian Herbert (Tor)
    • The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction, Edward James & Farah Mendlesohn, eds. (Cambridge University Press)
    • Stephen Kingís The Dark Tower: A Concordance: Volume I, Robin Furth (Scribner)
    • Up Through an Empty House of Stars: Reviews and Essays 1980-2002, David Langford (Cosmos)
    • The Thomas Ligotti Reader, Darrell Schweitzer, ed. (Wildside)
    • The True Knowledge of Ken MacLeod, Andrew M. Butler & Farah Mendlesohn, eds. (SF Foundation)
    • The Novels of Kurt Vonnegut: Imagining Being an American, Donald E. Morse (Praeger)

    • The Art of John Berkey, Jane Frank (Paper Tiger)
    • Spectrum 10: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, Cathy Fenner & Arnie Fenner, eds. (Underwood Books)
    • Great Fantasy Art Themes from the Frank Collection, Jane & Howard Frank (Paper Tiger)
    • The Sandman: Endless Nights, Neil Gaiman, et al. (Vertigo)
    • The Wolves in the Walls, Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean (HarperCollins)
    • The Chesley Awards for Science Fiction and Fantasy Art: A Retrospective, John Grant, Elizabeth Humphrey, & Pamela D. Scoville, eds. (Artistís and Photographerís Press)
    • More Fantasy Art Masters, Dick Jude (as Fantasy Art Masters, Collins 2002; Watson-Guptill)
    • Flawless Imperfection, Sergey Poyarkov (The National istorical Museum of Ukraine)

    • "The Empress of Mars", Kage Baker (Asimovís 7/03)
    • "Welcome to Olympus, Mr. Hearst", Kage Baker (Asimovís 10-11/03)
    • "Off on a Starship", William Barton (Asimovís 9/03)
    • Dear Abbey, Terry Bisson (PS Publishing)
    • "Greetings", Terry Bisson (Sci Fiction 9/03)
    • "The Bone Witch", R. Garcia y. Robertson (F&SF 2/03)
    • "A Crowd of Bone", Greer Gilman (Trampoline)
    • "The Sworn Sword", George R. R. Martin (Legends II)
    • "The Albertine Notes", Rick Moody (McSweeneyís Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales)
    • "The Ice", Steven Popkes (Asimovís 1/03)
    • "Ariel", Lucius Shepard (Asimovís 10-11/03)
    • "Jailwise", Lucius Shepard (Sci Fiction 6/4/03)
    • "Liarís House", Lucius Shepard (Sci Fiction 12/3/03)
    • "Curator", Charles Stross (Asimovís 12/03)
    • "The Cookie Monster", Vernor Vinge (Analog 10/03)
    • In Springdale Town, Robert Freeman Wexler (PS Publishing)
    • "The Green Leopard Plague", Walter Jon Williams (Asimovís 10-11/03)
    • "Just Like the Ones We Used to Know", Connie Willis (Asimovís 12/03)
    • "Awake in the Night", John C. Wright (The Night Lands 1/19/03)

    • "The Fluted Girl", Paolo Bacigalupi (F&SF 6/03)
    • "The Census Taker", Dale Bailey (F&SF 10-11/03)
    • "Old Virginia", Laird Barron (F&SF 2/03)
    • "Breeding Ground", Stephen Baxter (Asimovís 2/03)
    • "The Chop Line", Stephen Baxter (Asimovís 12/03)
    • "Anomalous Structures of My Dreams", M. Shayne Bell (F&SF 1/03)
    • "The Hydrogen Wall", Gregory Benford (Asimovís 10-11/03)
    • "The Door Gunner", Michael Bishop (The Silver Gryphon)
    • "Almost Home", Terry Bisson (F&SF 10-11/03)
    • "The Devils in the Details", James P. Blaylock (The Devils in the Details)
    • "Amnesty", Octavia E. Butler (Sci Fiction 1/22/03)
    • "A Stone Woman ", A.S. Byatt (The New Yorker 10/13/03)
    • "Clouds and Cold Fires", Paul Di Filippo (Live Without a Net)
    • "Liberation Spectrum", Cory Doctorow (Salon 1/16/03)
    • "The Empire of Ice Cream", Jeffrey Ford (Sci Fiction 2/26/03)
    • "Bitter Grounds", Neil Gaiman (Mojo: Conjure Stories)
    • "The Monarch of the Glen", Neil Gaiman (Legends II)
    • "A Study in Emerald", Neil Gaiman (Shadows Over Baker Street)
    • "From the Corner of My Eye", Alexander Glass (Asimovís 8/03)
    • "Angels and You Dogs", Kathleen Ann Goonan (Sci Fiction 7/2/03)
    • "The Rule of Terror", Dominic Green (Interzone 5-6/03)
    • "The Perfect Pilgrim", Jim Grimsley (Asimovís 2/03)
    • "Dancing Men", Glen Hirshberg (The Dark)
    • "Pictures from an Expedition", Alex Irvine (F&SF 9/03)
    • "Vandoise and the Bone Monster", Alex Irvine (F&SF 1/03)
    • "Bernardoís House", James Patrick Kelly (Asimovís 6/03)
    • "Itís All True", John Kessel (Sci Fiction 11/5/03)
    • "Basement Magic", Ellen Klages (F&SF 5/03)
    • "Tutorial", John Langan (F&SF 8/03)
    • "Amends", H. Courreges LeBlanc (Imaginings)
    • "The Ghost of the Clock", Tanith Lee (The Dark)
    • "Love in a Time of Dragons", Tanith Lee (The Dragon Quintet)
    • "Catskin", Kelly Link (McSweeneyís Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales)
    • "The Hortlak", Kelly Link (The Dark)
    • "Child of the Stones", Paul McAuley, (Sci Fiction 11/12/03)
    • "Entangled Eyes Are Smiling", John Meaney (Interzone 7-8/03)
    • "The Swastika Bomb", John Meaney (Live Without a Net)
    • "Theoís Girl", David Moles (Polyphony 2)
    • "Dragonís Gate", Pat Murphy (F&SF 8/03)
    • "Captain Fantasy and the Secret Masters", Tim Pratt (Realms of Fantasy 4/03)
    • "Fable from a Cage", Tim Pratt (Realms of Fantasy 2/03)
    • "Big House on the Prairie", David Prill (Sci Fiction 7/9/03)
    • "The Path of the Transgressor", Tom Purdom (Asimovís 6/03)
    • "Hexagons", Robert Reed (Asimovís 7/03)
    • "Like Minds", Robert Reed (F&SF 10-11/03)
    • "The Chambered Fruit", M. Rickert (F&SF 8/03)
    • "Junk DNA", Rudy Rucker & Bruce Sterling (Asimovís 1/03)
    • "Jon", George Saunders (The New Yorker 1/27/03)
    • "Only Partly Here", Lucius Shepard (Asimovís 4/03)
    • "Nightfall", Charles Stross, (Asimovís 4/03)
    • "King Dragon", Michael Swanwick (The Dragon Quintet)
    • "Legions in Time", Michael Swanwick (Asimovís 4/03)
    • "Valley of the Sugars of Salt", Anna Tambour (Monterraís Deliciosa & Other Stories &)
    • "Scabbing", Mark W. Tiedemann (F&SF 4/03)
    • "The Bellman", John Varley (Asimovís 6/03)
    • "Count to One", Chris Willrich (Asimovís 5/03)
  • Short Stories
    • "The Hibernators", Brian W. Aldiss (Asimovís 10-11/03)
    • "The Apocalypse According to Olaf", Barth Anderson (Asimovís 5/03)
    • "Big Ugly Mama and the Zk", Eleanor Arnason (Asimovís 9/03)
    • "A Night on the Barbary Coast", Kage Baker (The Silver Gryphon)
    • "The Brief History of the Dead", Kevin Brockmeier (The New Yorker 9/8/03)
    • "Grey Star", Albert E. Cowdrey (F&SF 1/03)
    • "And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon", Paul Di Filippo (Sci Fiction 11/19/03)
    • "Flowers from Alice", Cory Doctorow & Charles Stross (New Voices in Science Fiction)
    • "Nimby and the Dimension Hoppers", Cory Doctorow (Asimovís 6/03)
    • "One Thing About the Night", Terry Dowling (The Dark)
    • "Fairy Tale", Gardner Dozois (Sci Fiction 1/15/03)
    • "Daddy Mention and the Monday Skull", Andy Duncan (Mojo: Conjure Stories)
    • "Boys: A short story", Carol Emshwiller (Sci Fiction 1/28/03)
    • "Wild Thing", Charles Coleman Finlay (F&SF 7/03)
    • "The Beautiful Gelreesh", Jeffrey Ford (Album Zutique #1)
    • "The Trentino Kid", Jeffrey Ford (The Dark)
    • "Closing Time", Neil Gaiman (McSweeneyís Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales)
    • "The Old Incense Road", Angťlica Gorodischer (Kalpa Imperial)
    • "In the Forest of Forgetting ", Theodora Goss (Realms of Fantasy 10/03)
    • "Professor Berkowitz Stands on the Threshold", Theodora Goss (Polyphony 2)
    • "Four Short Novels", Joe Haldeman (F&SF 10-11/03)
    • "Eternal Sunset", Rhys Hughes (Album Zutique #1)
    • "The Fall at Shangai", Alex Irvine (Alchemy #1)
    • "The Uterus Garden", Alex Irvine (Polyphony 2)
    • "At the Mouth of the River of Bees", Kij Johnson (Sci Fiction 10/7/03)
    • "Mother", James Patrick Kelly (The Silver Gryphon)
    • "Of New Arrivals, Many Johns, and the Music of the Spheres", John Kessel (F&SF 6/03)
    • "EJ-ES", Nancy Kress (Stars)
    • "Start with Color", Bill Kteípi (Strange Horizons 3/24/03)
    • "Shopping at the End of the World", Douglas Lain (Strange Horizons 9/22/03)
    • "The Tale of the Golden Eagle", David D. Levine (F&SF 6/03)
    • "Purity", Thomas Ligotti (Weird Tales #331)
    • "The Raptures of the Deep", Rosaleen Love (Gathering The Bones)
    • "Ancestor Money", Maureen F. McHugh (Sci Fiction 10/1/03)
    • "Bumpship", Susan Mosser (Trampoline)
    • "555", Robert Reed (F&SF 5/03)
    • "Like, Need, Deserve", Robert Reed (Sci Fiction 8/27/03)
    • "Night of Time", Robert Reed (The Silver Gryphon)
    • "Bread and Bombs", M. Rickert (F&SF 4/03)
    • "June Sixteenth at Annaís", Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Asimovís 4/03)
    • "Tropical Nights at the Natatorium", Richard Paul Russo (The Silver Gryphon)
    • "Birth Days", Geoff Ryman (Interzone 4/03)
    • "Dead Worlds", Jack Skillingstead (Asimovís 6/03)
    • "Rogue Farm", Charles Stross (Live Without a Net)
    • "Deep in the Woods of Grammarie", Michael Swanwick (Realms of Fantasy 10/03)
    • "Smoke and Mirrors: Four Scenes from the Post-utopian Future", Michael Swanwick (Live Without a Net)
    • "Out Late in the Park", Steve Rasnic Tem (Gathering the Bones)
    • "Joe Steele", Harry Turtledove (Stars)
    • "In Fading Suns and Dying Moons", John Varley (Stars)
    • "My Swan Sister", Katherine Vaz (Swan Sister)
    • "Calling Your Name", Howard Waldrop (Stars)
    • "D=RxT", Howard Waldrop (Sci Fiction 10/22/03)
    • "Castaway", Gene Wolfe (Sci Fiction 2/5/03)
    • "Graylord Manís Last Words", Gene Wolfe (Asimovís 5/03)

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