Publishers Weekly Best Books 2020

Publishers Weekly has announced its list of the best books of 2020, divided into 13 categories, including “50 excellent titles for children and teens.” Their overall Top 10 includes Sisters by Daisy Johnson (Riverhead) and Wayétu Moore’s memoir, The Dragons, the Giant, the Women (Graywolf).

The best books in the SF/Fantasy/Horror category are:

  • Everyone on the Moon Is Essential Personnel, Julian K. Jarboe (Lethe)
  • The City We Became,
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2020 SFPA Grand Master Nominees

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) announced (via Twitter) their four nominees for the Grand Master award: Linda Addison, F.G. Bergmann, John Grey, and Geoffrey A. Landis.

The title is given “to an individual living at the time of selection whose body of work reflects the highest artistic goals of the SFPA, who has been actively publishing within the target genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy for a ...Read More

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Leitich Smith Wins NSK Neustadt Prize

Cynthia Leitich Smith is the winner of the 2021 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature, announced by the University of Oklahoma’s World Literature Today magazine. Awarded in alternating years with the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the NSK Prize includes $35,000, a silver medallion, and a certificate of recognition. The prize jury consisted of Jonathan Auxier, Monica Brown, Tanita S. Davis, Adib Khorram, Sonia Patel, Randy Ribay, Cynthia Weill, Tanaya ...Read More

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2020 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize Shortlist

This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone (Saga) and The Deep by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson & Jonathan Snipes (Saga) are on the six-title shortlist for the 2020 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize. The finalists were selected from 110 works nominated by Brooklyn librarians. Linda E. Johnson, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Public Library, says,

From speculative fiction to reportage, ...Read More

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Sturgeon Award Winner

Results for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for the best short science fiction of 2019 have been announced by the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction. The award is normally presented during the annual Campbell Conference Awards, but was instead announced online.

  • WINNER: “Waterlines“, Suzanne Palmer (Asimov’s 7-8/19)
  • Second place: This Is How You Lose the Time War, Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone (Saga)
  • Third place: “The
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2020 BSFS Amateur Writing Contest Winners

Winners of the 2020 Baltimore Science Fiction Society (BSFS) Amateur Writing Contest were announced during Capclave, held online October 17-18, 2020.

  • 1st Place: “The Dragon Who Refused to Fly”, Mary Harrigan
  • 2nd Place: “Starling”, Alexander Dzwonchyk
  • 3rd Place: “A Tale from the Harmonium”, Miguel O. Mitchell

The contest is open to non-professional writers residing or attending school in Maryland. The first place winner receives $250, second place receives $100, and

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Harlan and Susan Ellison Trust

J. Michael Straczynski announced that he was appointed executor of the Harlan and Susan Ellison Trust. He says,

Looking after all this, and seeing to Harlan and Susan’s wishes, is something I will likely be doing for the rest of my life.

Everything that Harlan ever owned, did or wrote will be fiercely protected. Steps are being taken to certify Ellison Wonderland as a cultural landmark, ensuring that it will ...Read More

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2020 Neukom Award Event

The Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth College will host an online event on October 21, 2020 at 2 p.m. Eastern time, celebrating the winners of the 2020 Neukom Literary Awards.

The event is free and open to the public, and will include a panel discussion with winners Ted Chiang and Cadwell Turnbull, 2020 judge Sam J. Miller, and awards director Dan Rockmore. An author Q&A will follow.

For ...Read More

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Spectrum 28 Submissions Delayed

Submissions for Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art #28 have been delayed until 2021, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cathy & Arnie Fenner, who recently replaced John Fleskes as directors of the Spectrum Fantastic Art competi­tion and editors of the annual art book, said,

We believe the responsible thing for us to do is to delay opening Spectrum 28 for submissions until after the first of the ...Read More

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Honigman Wins 2020 WSFA Small Press Award

“The Partisan and the Witch” by Charlotte Honigman (Skull and Pestle: New Tales of Baba Yaga) is the winner of the 2020 Washington Science Fiction Association (WSFA) Small Press Award for Short Fiction. Other finalists were:

  • “The Blighted Godling of Company Town H”, Beth Cato (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 1/3/19)
  • “The Weight of Mountains”, L. Deni Colter (DreamForge 6/19)
  • “The Sound of Distant Stars”, Judi Fleming (Footprints in
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Ignyte Awards Winners

The winners of the inaugural Ignyte Awards, which “seek to celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of the current and future landscapes of science fiction, fantasy, and horror by recognizing incredible feats in storytelling and outstanding efforts toward inclusivity of the genre,” were announced during FIYAHCON on October 17, 2020.

Best Novel — Adult

  • WINNER: Gods of Jade and Shadow, Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Del Rey)
  • Kingdom of Copper, S.A. Chakraborty
...Read More Read more Flash Fiction Contest Winners has announced the winners of their annual flash fiction contest, with 300-word stories inspired by a one-word theme (2020’s theme was “Innovation”). The top three winners are Devon Widmer (first place), E.M. Hamill (second), and K.A. Masters (third), and the top 120 stories were published in the Innovation anthology. For more: <>.

While you are here, please take a moment to support Locus with a one-time or recurring donation. ...Read More

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New PS Imprint: Absinthe Books

UK small press PS Publishing has launched a new imprint, Absinthe Books, with author/editor Marie O’Regan serving as managing editor. The imprint’s “remit is to publish a wide range of authors and material, predominantly but not exclusively new to PS Publishing.”

The first titles are novellas Mr. Sandman by S.J.I. Holliday, Broken Things: A Tale of Durstan by George Mann, and On the Shoulders of Otava by Laura Mauro, launching ...Read More

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Barnes & Noble Cyberattack

Barnes & Noble warned customers via email to be “on high alert” following an October 10 data breach.

While we do not know if any personal information was exposed as a result of the attack, we do retain in the impacted systems your billing and shipping addresses, your email address and your telephone number if you have supplied these… It is possible that your email address was exposed and, as ...Read More

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The Outer Dark Report

The Outer Dark Symposium on the Greater Weird was held online August 14-16, 2020 for 232 registered attendees, organized by Anya Martin, co-producer of The Outer Dark podcast hosted by This Is Horror.

Scheduled programming featured 12 reading sessions with Mike Allen, Gregory Norman Bossert, Gabriela Damián Miravete, and others. Panels included “From Yellow Wallpaper to Spectral Hues: Color in Weird Fiction” with Daniel Braum, Craig Laurance Gidney, Brian ...Read More

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Time‘s 100 Best Fantasy Books

Time magazine has released a list of the “100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time“, curated by Time editors and a panel of authors consisting of Tomi Adeyemi, Cassandra Clare, Diana Gabaldon, Neil Gaiman, N.K. Jemisin, Marlon James, George R.R. Martin, and Sabaa Tahir.

The list is presented in chronological order, starting with 9th-century The Arabian Nights and ending with Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez (Page Street), released January ...Read More

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Goldsmiths Prize 2020 Shortlist

The six-title shortlist for the 2020 Goldsmiths Prize has been announced, including the following titles of genre interest:

  • The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again, M. John Harrison (Gollancz)
  • Meanwhile in Dopamine City, DBC Pierre (Faber)
  • The Mermaid of Black Conch, Monique Roffey (Peepal Tree)

The £10,000 is given for a book by a British or Irish author that “breaks the mould or extends the possibilities of

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People & Publishing Roundup, October 2020


HOWARD V. HENDRIX‘s home near Shaver Lake CA was destroyed in the Creek Fire in September 2020, shortly after the area received an evacuation order. He and his wife are “displaced persons staying in a motel in Fresno.” He wrote about the experience for the San Francisco Chronicle: <>.

FRAN WILDE is the Fall 2020 Pearl S. Buck Writer in (remote) Residence at Randolph College, beginning in October. ...Read More

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Random House Launches New Children’s/YA Imprint

Random House Children’s Books has announced a new middle grade and YA imprint, Labyrinth Road, with a focus on contemporary fantasy and realistic literary novels. Liesa Abrams will serve as vice president and editor-in-chief of the imprint, effective November 9, 2020. Abrams was most recently vice-president, editor-at-large at Simon & Schuster. In a statement, she says,

Labyrinth Road is a home for books about epic journeys—both fantastical and emotional—that give ...Read More

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WFC Addresses Programming and Discrimination Issues

The World Fantasy Convention 2020 committee has revised its program descriptions after facing public criticism and attendee withdrawals from members of the industry. According to a press release,

WFC Chair Ginny Smith engaged the help of three well-respected members of the fantasy community, two people of color and a well-regarded writer and sensitivity advisor, to review the offensive and insensitive programming language. They have completed their review and the revised ...Read More

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2020 Brave New Words and Hero Awards Winners

New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color, edited by Nisi Shawl (Rebellion) won the Brave New Words Award, announced by Starburst magazine during Octocon 2020, the National Irish Science Fiction Convention, held online October 9-11, 2020. Other finalists were:

  • Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers, Sady Doyle (Melville House)
  • This Is How You Lose the Time War, Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone (Saga; Quercus)
  • The Imaginary
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2020 Geffen Awards Winners

Winners for the 2020 Geffen Awards for best science fiction and fantasy published in Hebrew were announced by the Israeli Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy during Icon 2020, held online October 6-8, 2020.

Best Translated Fantasy Book

  • WINNER: Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik, translated by Yael Achmon (Tamir)
  • Fire & Blood, George R.R. Martin, translated by Zafrir Grosman (Opus)
  • The Rot / The Might, Siri Pettersen, translated
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SKRIVA Short Story Competition Winners

Results of the 2020 Fantastiknovelltävlingen, a Swedish “Fantastic Short Story Competiton” organized by writers’ email list SKRIVA, have been announced. First, second, and third place all resulted in ties.

First Place

  • “Tretton dagar i underjorden” [“Thirteen Days Underground”], Elin Frykholm
  • “Möbhell AB” [“Furniture Hell Inc”], Lukas Renklint

Second Place

  • “Rose-Majs stickning” [“Rose-Maj’s Knitting”], Frank Berger
  • “Sjöjungfrun i Fyrisån” [“The Mermaid in the Fyris Creek”], Tony Elgenstierna

Third Place

  • “Min vän
...Read More Read more

Barnes & Noble Legal News

Former Barnes & Noble CEO Demos Parneros has failed in his defamation suit against the company. Judge Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil dismissed his claim, saying “there is no genuine dispute about the truth of the statement that Parneros was terminated for violations of the company policies.” The judge denied B&N’s motion for summary judgement on the good faith and fair dealing claim, however: “Parneros raises a triable question as to ...Read More

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Publishing News

Five percent of Hough­ton Mifflin Harcourt’s employees (166 people) agreed to take part in a voluntary early retire­ment incentive program. The offer was open to all US employees age 55 or up with at least five years at the company (about 18% of employ­ees qualified). Most left effective September 4, 2020. The cost of the incentives is around $13.5 million, and should save HMH 17 or 18 million dollars per ...Read More

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World Fantasy 2020 Issues Apology

The World Fantasy Convention 2020 committee issued an apology via Twitter on October 7, and added to the thread in subsequent days:

Regarding the program that went out this week:  We are sorry that our program caused hurt and concern, thank you to those that commented. We are working with our team and panelists to amend this and will be revising it as an ongoing process.

We have removed the ...Read More

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2020 Neukom Awards Winners

Winners for the 2020 Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards for Speculative Fiction have been announced:

Open Category

  • WINNER: Exhalation, Ted Chiang (Knopf)
  • The Divers’ Game, Jesse Ball (Ecco)
  • Naamah, Sarah Blake (Riverhead)
  • And Go Like This, John Crowley (Small Beer)
  • The Archive of Alternate Endings, Lindsey Drager (Dzanc)
  • Tears of the Trufflepig, Fernando A. Flores (MCD x FSG Originals)
  • Zero Bomb, M.T. Hill
...Read More Read more

Glück Wins Nobel

American Poet Louise Glück has won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.” Glück was named US Poet Laureate in 2003 and often draws inspiration from classical mythological figures. The 2020 prize amount is 10 million Swedish kronor, equal to about 1.1 million USD. Glück will give her Nobel lecture in the United States due to coronavirus travel ...Read More

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2021 TAFF Race Postponed

The administrators of the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund (TAFF) have decided that “it’s not feasible or sensible to run a 2021 race” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The general expectation of expert epidemiologists is that the pandemic will continue to rage well into 2021. For example, the British government has announced that they expect severe restrictions, including the bans on public events, to be in place for another half year. We ...Read More

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2020 BFS Short Story Competition

Results for the British Fantasy Society’s (BFS) short story competition have been announced:

  • First place: “Thought Surgery”, Richard Webb
  • Second place: “Fairy Cattle”, Patrick Creek
  • Third place: “One Direction”, Beverley Haddon

First prize is £100 and a year’s membership in the BFS. Second prize is £50 and a year’s membership. Third prize is £20. All three stories will be published in BFS Horizons. Judges this year were Charlotte Bond, Lucy

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HMH to Discontinue JJA Books

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) will discontinue science fiction and fantasy imprint John Joseph Adams Books, launched in February 2016. Editor John Joseph Adams says,

We’ve still got several books forthcoming, and those will still be published, but nothing new beyond those, alas. Cheers to all of the authors who went on this ride with me, and to all who bought & read.

The imprint published work by Bryan Camp, Hugh ...Read More

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