2020 Locus Recommended Reading List

Welcome to the annual Locus Recommended Reading List!

Published in Locus magazine’s February 2021 issue, the list is a consensus by the Locus editors, columnists, outside reviewers, and other professionals and critics of genre fiction and non-fiction — editor-in-chief Liza Groen Trombi; reviews editor Jonathan Strahan; Locus reviewers Liz Bourke, Alex Brown, Karen Burnham, Katharine Coldiron, Paul Di Filippo, Amy Goldschlager, Paula Guran, Rich Horton, Maya James, John Langan, Russell ...Read More

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Atwood Gibson Prize

The Writers’ Trust of Canada has renamed its literary prize in honor of Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson, who helped found the organization in 1976. The Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, for “the best Canadian novel or short story collection of the year,” comes with a C$60,000 prize, an increase of C$10,000 over the previous years. Finalists each receive C$5,000. This year’s winner will be announced November 3, 2021, ...Read More

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Naver Acquires Wattpad

Canadian multi-platform entertainment company Wattpad announced on January 21, 2021 acquisition of Wattpad and WEBTOON™ by South Korean company Naver for “an estimated USD $600 million.” According to the announcement:

The acquisition will allow Wattpad to continue to accelerate its international growth and success. The company will remain headquartered in Canada under the continued leadership of founders Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen.

Wattpad and WEBTOON™ collectively have an audience of ...Read More

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Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction

The Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction (HDSF), “a comprehensive free online historical dictionary of science fiction terms,” has been announced. Edited by Jesse Sheidlower, the HDSF is an outgrowth of the Science Fiction Citations Project, crowdsourced by the Oxford English Dictionary.

As a historical dictionary, the HDSF includes not only a definition of each term, but also quotations from works of science fiction which illustrate how each term is used, ...Read More

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People & Publishing Roundup, January 2021


ALAN WHITE won the 2020 Rotsler Award for “long-time won­der-working with graphic art in amateur publications of the science fiction community.” The award is sponsored by the Southern Califor­nia Institute for Fan Interests, and includes a $300 honorarium.

Editor and author PATRICE CALDWELL and author and artist MOLLY KNOX OSTERTAG are on the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the Media category.

GILLIAN CHANDLER won the 2020 A. ...Read More

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Solaris Satellites to Launch

Rebellion Publishing has announced a new novella imprint, Solaris Satellites, edited by David Thomas Moore. The first publications will be Pollen From A Future Harvest by Derek Künsken, These Lifeless Things by Premee Mohamed, and The Difficult Loves of Maria Makiling by Wayne Santos, releasing later this year.

Moore says, “Novellas are where the genre is at right now: a neat little package, with more room to breathe than a ...Read More

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Crich­tonSun Partners with Range Media

The late Michael Crichton’s production company, publisher, and archive, Crich­tonSun, has announced a partnership with Range Media Partners to develop new TV series and an adaptation of an unpublished work. CrichtonSun president Sherri Crichton says, “We’re thrilled to have found true creative partners at Range. They share our passion of preserving the Crichton legacy and we look forward to tapping into their imagina­tive minds and exciting pool of talent to ...Read More

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Le Guin Stamp

Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018) is the subject of the 33rd stamp in the Literary Arts series from the United States Postal Service.

The stamp features a portrait of Le Guin and a background scene from The Left Hand of Darkness (1969) with art by Donato Giancola, and will be available later this year. “The words ‘three ounce’ on this stamp indicate its usage value. Like a Forever stamp, this ...Read More

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The Best Horror of the Year Call for Submissions

Ellen Datlow is accepting submissions for her 14th The Best Horror of the Year anthology, to be published by Night Shade Books and covering material appearing in 2021.

I am looking for stories and poetry from all branches of horror: supernatural, uncanny, sf horror, psychological, dark crime, terror tales, or anything else that might qualify. This is an all reprint anthology, so I’ll only consider material published in 2021. Deadline ...Read More

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AAR Becomes AALA

The Association of Au­thors’ Representatives (the professional organiza­tion for literary agents) has changed its name to the Association of American Literary Agents. They say the new name “better reflects the membership and aligns the organization with its core mission of empowering and educating literary agents.” They’re updating their website to reflect the new branding and to “offer deeper resources for members and writ­ers.” They’ve added a non-profit division, Literary Agents ...Read More

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2021 Endeavour Award Suspended

The Endeavour Award committee has announced the suspension of the 2021 award for books published in 2020. In a statement, they said,

Several reasons have led to the suspension. The Covid 19 situation has made it more difficult to run our preliminary judging. In addition to problems stemming from the pandemic, additional problems have contributed to the need to suspend the Award.

We expect to begin collecting books published during ...Read More

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The Atlantic‘s Best Books of 2020

Several titles of genre interest made The Atlantic‘s list of the 15 best books of 2020: Beowulf: A New Translation by Maria Dahvana Headley (Farrar, Straus, Giroux), Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo, translated by Jamie Chang (Liveright), and Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu (Pantheon).

For the full list, see The Atlantic‘s website.

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

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EW‘s 10 Best Books of 2020

Entertainment Weekly has released their list of the 10 best books of 2020, compiled by Leah Greenblatt and David Canfield. Titles of genre interest include The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel (Knopf) in the top spot, Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam (Ecco) at number four, and Memorial by Bryan Washington (Riverhead) at number five.

For the full list, see EW‘s website.

While you are here, please ...Read More

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HuffPost‘s Best Books of 2020

HuffPost has announced its list of the best books of 2020, compiled by Claire Fallon, including several titles of genre interest:

  • Leave the World Behind, Rumaan Alam (Ecco)
  • Parakeet, Marie-Helene Bertino (Farrar, Straus, Giroux)
  • Red Pill, Hari Kunzru (Knopf)
  • Temporary, Hilary Leichter (Coffee House)
  • The Glass Hotel, Emily St. John Mandel (Knopf)
  • Death in Her Hands, Ottessa Moshfegh (Penguin)

For the complete list, see

...Read More Read more

NPR’s Best Books of 2020

NPR’s Book Concierge has an extensive list of Best Books in an assortment of categories heavy with genre content, including The Dark Side and Young Adult, “nearly 2,500 recommendations from NPR staff and trusted critics.” The Sci Fi, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction category offers 64 recommendations covering a range of themes and topics, such as Bestiary by K-Ming Chang (One World), Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko (Amulet), Riot Baby by Tochi ...Read More

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2021 SFWA Givers Fund Grants

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) announced the recipients of the 2021 Givers Fund Grants for organizations which further SFWA’s mission: “To promote, advance, and support science fiction and fantasy writing in the United States and elsewhere, by educating and informing the general public and supporting and empowering science fiction and fantasy writers.” Grant recipients are “Any 501(c)(3) or similar organization… with a program related to the ...Read More

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The Boston Globe‘s Best Books of 2020

The Boston Globe has released its list of the Best Books of 2020, including several authors and titles of genre interest:


  • The Death of Vivek Oji, Akwaeke Emezi (Riverhead)
  • The Awkward Black Man, Walter Mosley (Grove)
  • Sharks in the Time of Saviors, Kawai Strong Washburn (MCD)
  • Memorial, Bryan Washington (Riverhead)


  • A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, Roseanne A. Brown (Balzer + Bray)
  • King
...Read More Read more

Wired‘s Best Fantasy Books of 2020

Wired announced its list of best fantasy books of 2020, selected by Jason Kehe:

  • A Luminous Republic, Andrés Barba, translated by Lisa Dillman (Mariner)
  • Tender Is the Flesh, Agustina Bazterrica, translated by Sarah Moses (Scribner)
  • Piranesi, Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury)
  • Surrender, Ray Loriga, translated by Caroline de Robertis (Mariner)
  • Riot Baby, Tochi Onyebuchi (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Network Effect, Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)

The article includes discussions

...Read More Read more

ISFiC Writers Contest Results

Results of the 2020 Illinois Science Fiction in Chicago (ISFiC) short fiction contest for unpublished writers of science fiction and fantasy have been announced. No winner was selected, but the judges did choose “The Adventures of Nel” by S.Y. Kaplan as an honorable mention. Kaplan receives a one ounce silver coin.

The contest was “open to any resident of Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, or Wisconsin or ...Read More

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Editorial Changes at Amazing Stories

Amazing Stories publisher Steve Davidson announced on December 17, 2020 that editor-in-chief Ira Nayman is resigning from his position. Davidson added:

Mr. Nayman will remain and complete the current issue in progress and additionally offered to perform a subset of his previous duties until they are transitioned to a new Editor.

Authors whose stories have been accepted, authors whose work is currently in the submission queue, all will all be ...Read More

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Barack Obama’s Favorite Books Of 2020

President Barack Obama announced his list of Favorite Books of 2020 via Twitter, including several of genre interest:

  • The Glass Hotel, Emily St. John Mandel (Knopf)
  • The Ministry for the Future, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)
  • Sharks in the Time of Saviors, Kawai Strong Washburn (Farrar, Straus, Giroux)
  • How Much of These Hills Is Gold, C Pam Zhang (Riverhead)

For more information, see Barack Obama’s Tweet.

While ...Read More

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People & Publishing Roundup, December 2020


SCOTT WESTERFELD con­tracted COVID-19 six months ago, and underwent surgery in October 2020 to recover damage the virus did to his heart. He is recovering well. “I feel like the people who think Covid is a hoax aren’t giving us hoaxers enough credit for our COMMITMENT.”

Locus Online Editor MARK R. KELLY had a heart attack on October 25, 2020. His partner drove him to the emergency room, and ...Read More

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“Read the Room” Virtual Event Series

Tom Doherty Associates, in partnership with 12 independent bookstores, is launching “Read the Room”, a virtual event reading series “meant to bring authors, booksellers, and readers together into the same virtual ‘room.'” Events will be hosted the fourth Wednesday of every month on Crowdcast and will feature authors from Tor, Tor Teen, Forge, Nightfire, and Tordotcom Publishing.

The first event, co-hosted by Loyalty Bookstores, is scheduled for January 27, 2021 ...Read More

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SFPA Election Results

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) has announced its new executive committee, as voted on by members of the organization:


  • Bryan Thao Warra


  • Colleen Anderson


  • Brian U. Garrison

A bylaw amendment was also approved.

While 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 ...Read More

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SFPA Seeking Editor for Star*Line

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) announced via Twitter that it is “looking for a new editor for our Star*Line publication!” Founded in 1978, Star*Line is “a literary magazine for poets of the genre persuasion.” The editor role is a volunteer position.

For more information or to apply contact interim editor F.J. Bergmann at sfpa-exec@googlegroups.com.

While you are here, please take a moment to support Locus with a ...Read More

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Addison Named SFPA Grand Master

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) has named Linda Addison as their newest Grand Master.

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 period of no fewer than 20 years, and whose poetry has been ...Read More

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Project Northmoor Campaign for Tolkien’s House

Author Julia Golding has started Project Northmoor, a fundraising campaign with the goal of buying J.R.R. Tolkien’s Oxford house and turning it into a literary center. The house on 20 Northmoor Road was Tolkien’s home from 1930-1947 while he was professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University and where he wrote The Hobbit and the first two volumes of The Lord of the Rings.

The campaign seeks to raise £4.5 ...Read More

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Hopkinson Named SFWA Grand Master

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has named Nalo Hopkinson the 37th recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award.

SFWA president Mary Robinette Kowal said,

I have loved Nalo Hopkinson’s work since 1999 when I discovered her through the short story “Precious” in a Datlow/Windling anthology Silver Birch, Blood Moon. Each new piece continues to delight me and stretch me as a reader and ...Read More

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Sexy Fantastic Magazine to Launch in 2021

Dream Tower Media has announced it will publish the first issue of new monthly magazine Sexy Fantastic on January 1, 2021, with Robert Zoltan as editor-in-chief. Zoltan said,

Sexy Fantastic is a sex positive magazine that will publish thought-provoking creative works that amuse, inspire, move, spark imagination, challenge, and entertain. We will deal with adult sexuality in an unashamed, mature and playful manner. The content focuses more on the erotic ...Read More

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BookExpo and BookCon “Retired”

According to event organizer ReedPOP, BookExpo America and BookCon are being “retired” and will not be held in 2021. Both live events were canceled in 2020 and instead offered free virtual programming. ReedPOP event director Jenny Martin said,

The pandemic arrived at a time in the life cycle of BookExpo and BookCon where we were already examining the restructure of our events to best meet our community’s needs. This has ...Read More

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The Washington Post‘s Best SF/F/H of 2020

The Washington Post has released its list of the best science fiction, fantasy and horror books of 2020, as chosen by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Lavie Tidhar.

  • Tender Is the Flesh, Agustina Bazterrica, translated by Sarah Moses (Scribner)
  • The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water, Zen Cho (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Only Good Indians, Stephen Graham Jones (Saga)
  • War of the Maps, Paul McAuley (Gollancz)
  • The
...Read More Read more

Editorial Changes at Fireside

Brian J. White is now the interim editorial director at Fireside Fiction Company. White founded Fireside in 2012 and was editor and publisher until mid-2017. In an announcement, he said,

Effective immediately, Pablo Defendini is resigning from all editorial functions at Fireside Fiction Company (comprising Fireside Magazine and Fireside Books), and I will be taking the role of interim editorial director. This comes directly as a result of Pablo’s publication ...Read More

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