SF in a Plague Year by Rich Horton

As I write, distribution of two separate COVID-19 vaccines is in progress in the United States. A new Presi­dent has been elected and will soon be inaugurated. And on a personal note, I have welcomed my first grandchild into the world. A time of optimism, right?

At the same time, COVID cases are at or near their highest rate of incidence in the US (and indeed, in many countries). The ...Read More

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The Year in Review 2020 by Ian Mond

Several things kept me sane over the last 12 months. My family, the privilege of having a job while in lockdown, the Backlisted and Coode Street podcasts (particularly Coode Street‘s “10 minutes with” series), and the books I read. Yes, there were times in 2020 where I struggled to read more than a handful of pages, but the novels, novel­las, and collections I did complete (47 of which I ...Read More

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Horrific Year, Superb Horror by Gabino Iglesias

We all know 2020 was a horrific year, but it was also a superb year for horror. As the world struggled through the pandemic, readers stuck at home turned to horror narratives as much – if not more so – than they regularly do because fictional horrors offer us an escape from real ones. As always, the genre delivered.

The greatness started early with Andy Davidson’s The Boatman’s Daughter, ...Read More

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Brandon Sanderson: Ever More Epic

BRANDON SANDERSON was born December 19, 1975 and grew up in Lincoln NE. He attended Brigham Young University, where he studied biochemistry before switching to English literature. He paused his studies from 1995-97 to do missionary work for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in South Korea, but returned and graduated in 2000. He earned his MA in English with a creative writing concentration in 2004.

Sanderson’s debut ...Read More

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Year End Review by Colleen Mondor

While reading for Locus this year, I kept an unof­ficial list of notes about things I wanted to mention in my end-of-the-year es­say. The biggest word on the list is “WITCHES,” which cropped up in more than one memorable title to cross my desk. From the field hockey team that takes a solemn oath within an Emilio Este­vez notebook in Quan Bar­ry’s We Ride Upon Sticks to the mill workers ...Read More

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Ten for 2020 by Tim Pratt

I was on not one but two award juries in 2020. I told myself it was reasonable because there was a lot of overlap in the potential nom­inee pools, so it wouldn’t be that much extra reading. I didn’t count on 2020 being a year of unusual strain and psychic deterioration, which increased the difficulty of reading, thinking, making critical judgments, and re­ally doing anything that required executive function. Still, ...Read More

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2020 Year in Review by Graham Sleight

Publishing lead-times being what they are, the extraordinary events of 2020 largely weren’t reflected in the books that came out in the year – or at least, not intentionally. I managed to read a good deal of thought-provoking SF and fantasy this year, but some books seemed even more relevant than expected because of the pandemic-shuttered world they emerged into. How posterity will view them – let alone how it’ll ...Read More

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Year-in-Review: 2020 Magazine Summary

For the summary, the genre magazines are pri­marily sorted by Hugo Eligibility: Professional, Semiprozine, etc., and then loosely by pay rate, SFWA qualifying market, and the amount of fiction published. We covered 81 magazines, 18 audio sites, and 11 critical magazines.

It’s no surprise that many magazines shut down this year, several went into hiatus or shifted to digital only, but we still added a few new markets to our ...Read More

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2020 by Alex Brown

2020 has been a hellish year for so many reasons, but one of the few bright spots has been the mass of absolutely incredible fiction that managed to get published. Usually I’m able to read a good chunk of new books, particularly young-adult speculative fiction, but what with – waves hands dramatically – everything, my reading this year took a sharp left into romance fiction. It’s become my main reading ...Read More

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Tumultuous Pleasure: 2020 in Review by Arley Sorg

As rough as the year has been for the country, it’s been a great time for reading. As if in response to the year itself, a slew of powerful books came out, expanding the scope of genre and engaging in conversations long overdue.

Tochi Onyebuchi’s Riot Baby kicked things off in January, on the heels of his excellent late-2019 release War Girls. The story follows Ella as her powers ...Read More

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Chris McKitterick Guest Post–“Goodbye Dad”

Around 11 a.m. on December 23, 2020, James Edwin Gunn died. He’s survived by his son, Kevin, and his cat, Annie—and by the many for whom he was ‘‘Science Fiction’s Dad.’’

Deepest condolences to all who cared about Jim, whose lives he touched and careers he influenced. This amounts to almost everyone in our field today, whether or not they’re aware of his intellectual parentage.

Career highlights: In 2007, SFWA ...Read More

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2020 by Karen Burnham

I’m sure I won’t be the only person in these pages remark­ing that 2020 was an unusual year, to say the least. The global pandemic caused mas­sive overnight disruptions but has also lasted long enough to yield something that’s like a new (horrible) “normal.” Given the relatively quick turnaround times for short fiction, it’s not surprising that the crisis that started early in 2020 started showing up in short fiction ...Read More

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2020: As I Liked It; or, Like, Whatever by Russell Letson

For pretty much the reasons anyone can figure, I didn’t get through as many titles as I would usually review in a year. Some anticipated books were held back, but mostly it was lack of appetite on my part – a mild case of what my mother used to call “the blahs” – that condition when energies flag, the palate dulls, and this goodly frame, the Earth, while not quite ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: How to Survive a Decade in Publishing

This January marked the tenth anniversary of my first published novel, God’s War, back in the halcyon days of 2011.

It was a long road to publication.

I finished the book in early 2007, shopped it in late 2007, had it picked up, then cancelled in early 2009 after the crash of 2008. Another publisher eventu­ally bought it for the second time, then that publisher was sold, and the ...Read More

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Notes from a Year Spent Indoors…. by Jonathan Strahan

I started the year with good intentions. I intended to read every piece of short fiction that I could lay my hands on, every major novel, every exciting debut or anthology or short story collection and more. I would read all the things. This is the story of how I did not read all the things. I did not even read most of the things.

Way back in January, everything ...Read More

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SF in Brazil, 2020 by Roberto Causo

Under a denialist president, Brazil has suffered dearly with the COVID-19 pandemics. As I write this, the official death-toll is just over 200,000, and there’s no town or city in the country free of cases. Most economy sectors have been impacted – yet, surprisingly, translated science fiction novels became a sure-footed presence in the bestselling lists. These works are mostly dystopian novels such as The Handmaid’s Tale & The Testaments ...Read More

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The Year in Review: 2020 by Paula Guran

I often shy away from these annual summations. Even in late December, I haven’t seen everything, so it is never truly complete. Plus, I always fear I will forget something important. Nevertheless, I’m giving it a shot this year. After all, despite 2020 being a horrific year in the real world, there was a lot of great horror and other dark fiction.

My favorite debut of the year is most ...Read More

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Jaroslav Veis Guest Post–“Robot, the Most Famous Czech, Celebrates 100 Years”

About a hundred years ago, in the village of Petrovichi near the Russian-Belarusian border, a baby was born in the Jewish family of Azimovs. The parents named their son Isaac. The exact date of his birth is unknown; it was sometime between October 1919 and early 1920. Nevertheless, the family, which arrived on RMS Baltic from the newborn Soviet Russia to New York on February 3, 1923, gave as the ...Read More

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The Year of the Jackpot by Gary K. Wolfe

It should have been a good year for reading. Many of the usual distractions seemed to go on hold in the spring, and most of them never came back. What had previously been the most boring soft­ware to emerge from the corporate app world, Zoom, suddenly became a lifeline for many, especially those without pants, while a simple trip to pick up groceries be­gan to feel like going out on ...Read More

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Mike Chen Guest Post–“Like A Friend”

“They’re friends.”

In so many of our modern stories, saying the above phrase almost feels like an insult. It’s often a dour statement, juxtaposed against how characters will do anything to make romantic relationships work, or how the power of blood family can make evil people return to a path of righteousness.

But friendship? It’s often presented as a lower-tier relationship, something given to a secondary character to help the ...Read More

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Alix E. Harrow: Questions of Power

Alix E. Harrow was born November 9, 1989 in Idaho and grew up in Colorado and Kentucky. She went to Berea College at age 16, graduating in 2009 with a degree in history. She worked various jobs, including as a research assistant, cashier, housekeeper, instructional designer, and migrant farmworker, before earning a master’s in history at the University of Vermont. She taught history at Eastern Kentucky Univer­sity before becoming a ...Read More

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Spotlight on: Apex

Jason Sizemore is the founder of Apex Pub­lications, which publishes books and also produced Hugo Award finalist Apex Maga­zine (formerly Apex Digest) from 2005-2019, when the journal went on hiatus. The magazine has now been reborn, and Sizemore talked to us a bit about the history and future of the project.

After going on hiatus in 2019, Apex is coming back. Tell us about why you shut down, and why ...Read More

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Andrea Hairston: Conjure the World

Andrea Hairston was born July 9, 1952, in Pittsburgh PA, and lived there until she moved to Massachu­setts to attend Smith College at 18, where she studied physics and math before switching to theater. She did graduate work at Brown, and has taught theater in the US and Germany. She is currently the Louise Wolff Kahn 1931 Professor of Theatre and Africana Studies at Smith College, and the Artistic Director ...Read More

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SF in Germany

German SF looks back upon a his­tory found in many other European countries: 17th and 18th-century proto-SF (such as Somnium [The Dream] by astron­omer Johannes Ke­pler), a first novel meeting modern SF criteria published at the beginning of the 19th century (Ini. Ein Roman aus dem ein und zwanzigsten Jahrhundert [Ini. A Novel from the Twenty-First Century] by Julius von Voss in 1810 – eight years before Shel­ley’s Frankenstein ...Read More

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Speculative Fiction in Translation: Novels, Collections, and Short Stories 2020

This list of 2020 speculative titles in translation was compiled by Rachel Cordasco, who founded and runs site sfintranslation.com as well as the SF in Translation Award. Corrections may be sent to locus@locusmag.com.

SF IN TRANSLATION 2020

NOVELS

  • Ashery, Asaf. Simantov, translated from the Hebrew by Marganit Weinberger-Rotman (Angry Robot, April). [Israel]
  • Barba, Andrés. A Luminous Republic, translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman (HMH, April). [Spain]
  • Barbery,
...Read More Read more

Cory Doctorow: Neofeudalism and the Digital Manor

As I write this in mid-November 2020, there’s quite a stir over the new version of Apple’s Mac OS, the operating system that runs on its laptops. For more than a year, Apple has engaged in a covert, global surveillance of its users through its operating system, which automatically sent information about which apps you were running to Apple, and which gave Apple a remote veto over whether that program ...Read More

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Sheree Renée Thomas: A Kind of Wonder

Sheree Renée Thomas was born September 30, 1972, in Memphis TN. Her father joined the Air Force, and her family traveled extensively. After spending 20 years in New York, she has now settled back in her hometown.

Thomas is best known for her work as an editor, including Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fic­tion from the African Diaspora (2000) and Dark Matter: Reading the Bones (2004) – both won ...Read More

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FIYAHCON Report

The inaugural FIYAHCON took place online October 17-18, 2020, held via Zoom and Dacast, and hosted by FIYAH magazine. Guests of honor were Yasser Bahjatt, Cassie Hart, and Rebecca Roanhorse. Accord­ing to convention director L.D. Lewis, the event was conceived mid-year, in the midst of protests, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the trend of conventions switching to virtual events; it was “for­mally launched” July 7, 2020, and the Ignyte awards were ...Read More

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Kim Stanley Robinson: Forward the Future

Kim Stanley Robinson was born March 23, 1952 in Waukegan IL, and grew up in Orange County CA. He earned a BA in literature from UC San Diego in 1974, a master’s in English from Boston University in 1975, and a Ph.D in literature from UC San Diego in 1982. He went to Clarion in 1975. His doctoral thesis was revised and published as The Novels of Philip K. Dick ...Read More

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2020 Sirens Conference Report

The 2020 Sirens Conference, “Sirens at Home”, an “intersectional, in­terdisciplinary conference on gender, fantasy lit, and other speculative spaces,” was held October 22-25, 2020, online in lieu of the usual Denver CO event. Amy Tenbrink and Hallie Tibbetts are the Sirens co-founders. Tenbrink was con chair and Tibbetts served as programming director. Tenbrink said, “In a year in which we all feel such isolation, we need each other more than ...Read More

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SF in India by Shweta Taneja

Gatekeepers of the publishing industry look for oriental tropes in SF narratives from the East, missing out on innovative and urgent tales of lived experiences.

A few years ago, as a naïve young writer, I enthusiastically knocked on an ancient door in a busy street of London. I was there to meet a reputed literary agent – a meeting which had been set up by a Booker long-listed author and ...Read More

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Kameron Hurley: It’s Easy Being the Bad Guy

I grew up on a steady diet of feel-good fantasy novels: noble tales about good folks who could be counted on to do the right thing, and bad guys that could be counted on to do the worst thing. I knew who would prevail, and who would fall.

As a kid I found this predictability boring and formulaic after the first three or four novels. It would be decades before ...Read More

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