2022 Locus Awards Online Report
The Locus Awards took place online on June 22-25, 2022, in its third year as a virtual-only event. Connie Willis emceed the awards ceremony, with editor-in-chief of Locus Liza Trombi co-hosting. There were over 150 registrations, and full members received a Locus Awards t-shirt or gift book, and the awards program. There was also a sliding scale, attendance-only membership rate.
A mini-convention, the online events had eight reading sessions, scheduled on Wednesday to Friday evenings, with José Pablo Iriarte and Nnedi Okorafor, Nalo Hopkinson and Catherynne M. Valente, Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Fran Wilde, Kelly Link and Michael Swanwick, Suzanne Palmer and Wole Talabi, Jeffrey Ford and Angela Slatter, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki and Cat Rambo, and John Wiswell and Connie Willis. Friday’s events concluded with an online hangout with Connie Willis and Locus folks. Saturday programming started at 10:00 a.m. with well-attended panels leading up to a salon, all held via Zoom: ‘‘Hauntings & Histories’’ with Akemi Dawn Bowman, TJ Klune, Darcie Little Badger, and Sam J. Miller; ‘‘Power Dynamics in New Worlds’’ with Daniel Abraham, C.L. Clark, Fonda Lee, and Sarah Pinsker; ‘‘Writing Rules and How to Break Them’’ with Charlie Jane Anders, Charles Payseur, Sheree Renée Thomas, and A.C. Wise; and the Donut Salon (BYOD) with Kelly Link, Willis, and Gary K. Wolfe ‘‘In Conversation.’’
The awards started online at 3:00 p.m., with Liza Groen Trombi opening the video ceremony and introducing Willis. Willis regaled attendees with her distinctive commentary on recent events and headlines, weighing the evidence of whether or not we are indeed living in an alternate timeline. She lamented the persistence of pandemic disruptions and evolving Covid variants, predicting an inevitable ‘‘pi variant’’; she noted the January 6 hearings (and its connection to Watergate); considered the M&M’s controversy and the failure of even chocolate to bring solace in these times, and what it signals about the state of society.
Then the stage was handed off to Locus non-fiction reviewer and Roundtable editor Alvaro Zinos-Amaro to present the first award. The Best Non-Fiction Award went to Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950–1985 by Andrew Nette & Iain McIntyre, eds. Nette & McIntyre thanked the PM Press team, the volume’s contributors, and everyone who aided their research. McIntyre thanked Grant Stone of Faster Than Light Radio Show and libraries for their formative influence.
The Locus Award for Best Illustrated and Art Book, presented by Locus senior editor Francesca Myman, went to The Art of Neil Gaiman & Charles Vess’s Stardust by Charles Vess, who thanked collaborator Gaiman, editor Steve Saffel, and the production team at Titan.
Charles Vess also won the award for Best Artist. He noted the flattery of being recognized among the many fantastic artists in the field, saying, ‘‘what’s most important is that we do our best trying to be just a little bit better of an artist than the day before.’’
Ellen Datlow won the award for Best Editor, and accepted the award in a prerecorded clip she provided in advance, as she was away celebrating her mother’s 95th birthday during the weekend of the ceremony. Datlow described the interactive nature of editing that brings her joy and thanked all those that voted.
Best Publisher went to Tor and Best Magazine to Tor. com. Tor president and publisher Devi Pillai accepted for Tor, expressing gratitude to fans and the authors and agents of Tor.
The award for Best Magazine was accepted by Irene Gallo for Tor.com. Gallo thanked the readers and the creative team behind the site for upholding the community of ‘‘thoughtfulness and creativity’’ that has defined Tor.com for the last near 15 years.
The Locus Award for Best Collection went to Even Greater Mistakes by Charlie Jane Anders. In a spirited acceptance Anders expressed gratitude for Locus’s upholding and coverage of short fiction, saying ‘‘this honor in particular means so much to me coming from Locus.’’ She went on to thank her agent Russ Galen, editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden, everybody at Tor that worked on the book, and her partner Annalee Newitz.
Best Anthology went to We’re Here: The Best Queer Speculative Fiction 2020, edited by C.L. Clark & Charles Payseur. Clark thanked the voters and organizers of the Locus Awards, dave ring of Neon Hemlock, co-editor Charles Payseur, and the authors. Payseur thanked his husband Matt, his co-editor Clark, and echoed her thanks to ring at Neon Hemlock, editors past who highlighted queer speculative fiction, and all authors telling queer stories, including and beyond those represented in the collection.
The 2021 Locus Special Award, presented by Locus senior editor Arley Sorg, went to the Codex Writers’ Group, for community building and career development. Codex admin lead Erin Cashier and Codex founder Quinn Reid accepted the award. Cashier described the uniquely collaborative and supportive environment of Codex, stating the community ‘‘is awesome and helpful because its members are awesome and helpful.’’ Reid reiterated that ‘‘its Codexians themselves who are the sun that gives the Codexian system light and life.’’
‘‘Where Oaken Hearts Do Gather’’ by Sarah Pinsker won Best Short Story. Pinsker shared a story about finding back issues of Locus at the Toronto Public Library as a teenager, saying, ‘‘I never really considered there were people behind the books I read, and the stories I read in the magazines, and suddenly there they were in pictures; and that was sort of my introduction to the writing world, and I’m really glad that Locus exists.’’
Best Novelette went to ‘‘That Story Isn’t the Story’’ by John Wiswell. In a heartfelt acceptance Wiswell spoke of the themes of trauma, survival, and the power of storytelling, saying of their inspiration in his writing, ‘‘today I’m alive in no small part because of stories, and I’m trying to pay back that debt.’’
Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells won the Best Novella category. Wells thanked literary agents Jennifer Jackson and Michael Curry, everyone at Tordotcom including editor Lee Harris and VP Irene Gallo, everyone at Recorded Books including narrator Kevin R. Free, cover artist Jaime Jones, and designer Christine Foltzer.
A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark took Best First Novel. Clark thanked all the readers, voters, Locus team, Tor team, agent Seth Fisman, editor Diana M. Pho, and his wife Danielle and daughters.
Best YA Book went to Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders. In her second acceptance speech of the evening Anders talked about the power of escapist fiction, stating, ‘‘I believe that these stories aren’t about running away from our problems; they’re about finding ourselves, and finding courage and strength, and fighting back, and, you know, finding community and chosen family, and doing what’s right and becoming our best selves.’’
Best Horror Novel Award went to My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones. Jones expressed gratitude and a playful skepticism at his winning, considering the exceptionally high quality of the other nominated works.
MC Connie Willis came back on to present the final awards: Best Fantasy Novel went to Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee. Lee thanked her husband and children, Sarah Guan, agent Jim McCarthy, and the Orbit team including editor Nivea Evans, and publicist Angela Man. She shared her hope of returning to the rituals that accompany in-person Locus Awards events.
Arkady Martine’s A Desolation Called Peace won the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. Martine expressed surprise, delight, and overwhelm at the unlikely win of a sequel in a series. In a stirring speech she acknowledged many people, concluding with a poignant tribute to her late father, who introduced her to SF.
Our thanks to voters and members, to Courtney Willis for technical assistance, to all of our presenters and production team Ian Deak and Loser.Ace, and our continued and endless gratitude to MC Connie Willis for her generosity in time, and humor, and patience.
The one-hour-and-ten-minute ceremony can be viewed here.
Photos by Francesca Myman and Sarah Weeks
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