2021 Locus Recommended Reading List

Locus 2021 Recommended Reading List

Welcome to the annual Locus Recommended Reading List!

Published in Locus magazine’s February 2022 issue, this list is assembled by Locus editors, columnists, outside reviewers, and other professionals and well-known critics of genre fiction and non-fiction. This year we considered over 900 titles between short fiction and long fiction. The final recommendations, combined and trimmed to a somewhat reasonable-length list, are our best recommendations for your consideration. We know there will be titles you loved that do not appear here; it happens every year. Any one of our recommending group would have put forward a different exact list, but this is the combined sum of opinions, assessed with great affection and care for the field.

The Locus recommending group this year included editor-in-chief Liza Groen Trombi; reviews editor Jonathan Strahan; Locus reviewers Liz Bourke, Alex Brown, Karen Burnham, Carolyn Cushman, Paul Di Filippo, Amy Goldschlager, Paula Guran, Rich Horton, Gabino Iglesias, Maya James, Russell Letson, Adrienne Martini, Ian Mond, Colleen Mondor, Tim Pratt, Arley Sorg, Gary K. Wolfe, and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro; assistant editor Bob Blough; and UK critics Cheryl Morgan and Graham Sleight. The YA group brought in past Locus YA reviewer and writer Gwenda Bond and librarian and writer Angie Manfredi. Input for the non-fiction section also came in from Niall Harrison and Farah Mendlesohn. The art books section had help from Arnie Fenner, Karen Haber, and Locus senior editor Francesca Myman. Short fiction recommendations came from editors and reviewers John Joseph Adams, Rachel Cordasco, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, Vanessa Fogg, Maria Haskins, Charles Payseur, Nisi Shawl, T.G. Shenoy, Sheree Renée Thomas, and A.C. Wise, plus our own reviewers. Some of the reviewers also wrote year-end wrap-ups, which will include their thoughts, plus some books that didn’t make the final list — look for those in the coming weeks or in the February issue of the magazine, available in print and digital editions. Locus thanks all involved for their time and their expertise. 

You can let us know what your favorites were by voting in the 2021 Poll & Survey. The Poll decides the winners of the Locus Awards, presented in June 2022, and is open to all to vote on. The Survey helps us be a better magazine. Thank you for participating!


Bhatia The Horizon Harper India




FIRST NOVELSThe Unbroken CL Clark








This list appears in the February 2022 issue of Locus. Thank you for reporting any typos or broken links to locus@locusmag.com. Vote now for your favorites at the Locus Poll & Survey!

[Edited to move Under the Whispering Door, TJ Klune (Tor; Tor UK) from Young Adult to Fantasy. 2/7/22]



Locus Magazine, Science Fiction FantasyWhile you are here, please take a moment to support Locus with a one-time or recurring donation. We rely on reader donations to keep the magazine and site going, and would like to keep the site paywall free, but WE NEED YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT to continue quality coverage of the science fiction and fantasy field.

9 thoughts on “2021 Locus Recommended Reading List

  • February 1, 2022 at 4:32 pm

    Any reason why you are not recommend ing Project Hail Mary, which was in best selling list for many weeks and won 2021 Dragon Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, Goodreads Choice Awards for 2021 Best Science Fiction. It’s great reading experience for me and many reader around as far as I know.

    • February 2, 2022 at 11:04 am

      Only that our reviewers did not pick it among their top titles. Glad it has gotten lots of attention in other places — there is value in different venues having different opinions.

  • February 2, 2022 at 2:33 am

    No categories for thriller, crime, romance, religion, humour ???

    • February 2, 2022 at 11:02 am

      We only have categories for the genres we cover in the magazine, and you will find all of those elements in various books listed above. There are a lot of other awards that cover those specific categories if you are interested.

  • February 2, 2022 at 7:06 pm

    Just a quick note that you have Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune listed under Young Adult. While Klune has written YA titles, that particular one is for adults!

  • February 4, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    I wonder why Billy Summers by Stephen King is listed under Horror…

  • February 4, 2022 at 1:17 pm

    Thank you—I’m over the moon that ‘Campaigns & Companions’ made it onto your list. Totally unexpected!

  • February 25, 2022 at 8:52 am

    For some reason, when trying to access the 2020 recommended list, I am redirected here instead. Google also doesn’t seem to see the 2020 list in its search…

    • March 1, 2022 at 10:00 am

      That should be fixed now!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *