20 Nov Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
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The Locus Awards are an annual set of literary awards by the science fiction and fantasy magazine Locus. The award winners are selected by polling magazine readers.
The Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel was first presented in 1980, along with the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel.
Ancillary Mercy – Ann Leckie
For a moment, things seemed to be under control for Breq, the soldier who used to be a warship. Then a search of Athoek Station’s slums turns up someone who shouldn’t exist and a messenger from the mysterious Presger empire arrives, as does Breq’s old enemy, the divided, heavily armed, and possibly insane Anaander Mianaai – ruler of an empire at war with itself. Breq could flee with her ship and crew, but that would leave the people of Athoek in terrible danger. Breq has a desperate plan. The odds aren’t good, but that’s never stopped her before.
Ancillary Sword – Ann Leckie
Breq is a soldier who used to be a warship. Once a weapon of conquest controlling thousands of minds, now she only has a single body and serves the emperor she swore to destroy. Given a new ship and a troublesome crew, Breq is ordered to the only place in the galaxy she will agree to go: to Athoek station, to protect the family of a lieutenant she once knew – a lieutenant she murdered in cold blood.
Abaddon’s Gate – James S. A. Corey
For generations, the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt – was humanity’s great frontier. Until now. The alien artefact working through its program under the clouds of Venus has emerged to build a massive structure outside the orbit of Uranus: a gate that leads into a starless dark. Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are part of a vast flotilla of scientific and military ships going out to examine the artefact. But behind the scenes, a complex plot is unfolding, with the destruction of Holden at its core. As the emissaries of the human race try to find whether the gate is an opportunity or a threat, the greatest danger is the one they brought with them.
Redshirts – John Scalzi
Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is even more delighted when he’s assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory. Life couldn’t be better …although there are a few strange things going on: (1) every Away Mission involves a lethal confrontation with alien forces (2) the ship’s captain, the chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these encounters (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed. Suddenly it’s less surprising how much energy is expended below decks on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned an Away Mission. Andrew’s fate may have been sealed …until he stumbles on a piece of information that changes everything …and offers him and his fellow redshirts a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives …
Embassytown – China Mieville
Embassytown: a city of contradictions on the outskirts of the universe. Avice is an immerser, a traveller on the immer, the sea of space and time below the everyday, now returned to her birth planet. Here on Arieka, humans are not the only intelligent life, and Avice has a rare bond with the natives, the enigmatic Hosts – who cannot lie. Only a tiny cadre of unique human Ambassadors can speak Language, and connect the two communities. But an unimaginable new arrival has come to Embassytown. And when this Ambassador speaks, everything changes. Catastrophe looms. Avice knows the only hope is for her to speak directly to the alien Hosts. And that is impossible.
Blackout – Connie Willis
The narrative opens in Oxford, England in 2060, where a trio of time traveling scholars prepares to depart for various corners of the Second World War. Their mission: to observe, from a safe vantage point, the day-to-day nature of life during this critical historical moment. As the action ranges from the evacuation of Dunkirk to the manor houses of rural England to the quotidian horrors of London during the Blitz, the objective nature of their roles gradually changes. Cut off from the safety net of the future and caught up in the chaotic events that make up history, they are forced to participate, in unexpected ways, in the defining events of the era.
All Clear – Connie Willis
Traveling back in time, from Oxford circa 2060 into the thick of World War II, was a routine excursion for three British historians eager to study firsthand the heroism and horrors of the Dunkirk evacuation and the London Blitz. But getting marooned in war-torn 1940 England has turned Michael Davies, Merope Ward, and Polly Churchill from temporal tourists into besieged citizens struggling to survive Hitler’s devastating onslaught. And now there’s more to worry about than just getting back home: The impossibility of altering past events has always been a core belief of time-travel theory – but it may be tragically wrong. When discrepancies in the historical record begin cropping up, it suggests that one or all of the future visitors have somehow changed the past – and, ultimately, the outcome of the war.
Boneshaker – Cherie Priest
Ezekiel Blue’s father committed a crime, unleashing a deadly menace into steampowered Seattle. And his bereaved family has paid the price. Now, Ezekiel is determined to clear his father’s name, risking death and the undead in the attempt. Sixteen years ago, as the American Civil War dawned, gold brought hordes to the frozen Klondike. Fanatical in their greed, Russian prospectors commissioned Dr Leviticus Blue to create a great machine, to mine through Alaska’s ice. Thus the Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine was born. But the Boneshaker went awry, destroying downtown Seattle and unearthing a subterranean vein of blight gas. Anyone who breathed its fumes turning into the living dead. The devastated city is now walled in to contain the blight. But unknown to Briar, his widowed mother, Ezekiel is going in. His quest will take him into a city teeming with ravenous undead, air pirates, criminal overlords, and heavily armed refugees. And only Briar can bring him out alive.
The Yiddish Policemen’s Union – Michael Chabon
What if, as Franklin Roosevelt once proposed, Alaska – and not Israel – had become the homeland for the Jews after the Second World War? In Michael Chabon’s Yiddish-speaking ‘Alyeska’, Orthodox gangs in side-curls and knee breeches roam the streets of Sitka, where Detective Meyer Landsman discovers the corpse of a heroin-addled chess prodigy in the flophouse Meyer calls home. Marionette strings stretch back to the hands of charismatic Rebbe Gold, leader of a sect that seems to have drawn its mission statement from the Cosa Nostra. Meyer is determined to unsnarl the meaning behind the murder. Even if that means surrendering his badge and his dignity to the chief of Sitka’s homicide unit – his fearsome ex-wife Bina.
Rainbows End – Vernor Vinge
San Diego, California, 2025. Robert Gu is a recovering Alzheimer’s patient. The world that he remembers was much as we know it today. Now, as he regains his faculties through a cure developed during the years of his near-fatal decline, he discovers that the world has changed and so has his place in it. He was a world-renowned poet. Now he is seventy-five years old, though by a medical miracle he looks much younger, and he’s starting over, for the first time unsure of his poetic gifts. Living with his son’s family, he has no choice but to learn how to cope with a new information age in which the virtual and the real are a seamless continuum, layers of reality built on digital views seen by a single person or millions, depending on your choice. But the consensus reality of the digital world is available only if, like his thirteen-year-old granddaughter Miri, you know how to wear your wireless access – through nodes designed into ‘smart’ clothes -and to see the digital context – through ‘smart’ contact lenses. With knowledge comes risk.When Robert begins to re-train at Fairmont High, learning with other older people what is second nature to Miri and other teens at school, he unwittingly becomes part of a wide-ranging conspiracy to use technology as a tool for world domination. In a world where every computer chip has Homeland Security built-in, this conspiracy is something that baffles even the most sophisticated security analysts, including Robert’s son and daughter-in law, two top people in the U.S. military. And even Miri, in her attempts to protect her grandfather, may be entangled in the plot. As Robert becomes more deeply involved in conspiracy, he is shocked to learn of a radical change planned for the UCSD Geisel Library; all the books there, and worldwide, would cease to physically exist. He and his fellow re-trainees feel compelled to join protests against the change. With forces around the world converging on San Diego, both the conspiracy and the protest climax in a spectacular moment as unique and satisfying as it is unexpected.
Accelerando – Charles Stross
The Singularity. It is the era of the posthuman. Artificial intelligences have surpassed the limits of human intellect. Biotechnological beings have rendered people all but extinct. Molecular nanotechnology runs rampant, replicating and reprogramming at will. Contact with extraterrestrial life grows more imminent with each new day.Struggling to survive and thrive in this accelerated world are three generations of the Macx clan: Manfred, an entrepreneur dealing in intelligence amplification technology whose mind is divided between his physical environment and the Internet; his daughter, Amber, on the run from her domineering mother, seeking her fortune in the outer system as an indentured astronaut; and Sirhan, Amber’s son, who finds his destiny linked to the fate of all of humanity. For something is systematically dismantling the nine planets of the solar system. Something beyond human comprehension. Something that has no use for biological life in any form…
Quicksilver – Neal Stephenson
Quicksilver is the story of Daniel Waterhouse, fearless thinker and conflicted Puritan, pursuing knowledge in the company of the greatest minds of Baroque-era Europe, in a chaotic world where reason wars with the bloody ambitions of the mighty, and where catastrophe, natural or otherwise, can alter the political landscape overnight. It is a chronicle of the breathtaking exploits of “Half-Cocked Jack” Shaftoe – London street urchin turned swashbuckling adventurer and legendary King of the Vagabonds – risking life and limb for fortune and love while slowly maddening from the pox. And it is the tale of Eliza, rescued by Jack from a Turkish harem to become spy, confidante, and pawn of royals in order to reinvent Europe through the newborn power of finance. A gloriously rich, entertaining, and endlessly inventive novel that brings a remarkable age and its momentous events to vivid life, Quicksilver is an extraordinary achievement from one of the most original and important literary talents of our time. And it’s just the beginning…
The Confusion – Neal Stephenson
It is the late 1600s on the high seas. A group of Barbary galley slaves plot as they ply the oars of a pirate ship, hatching a daring scheme to find an enormous cache of Spanish gold. Amazingly, they succeed – leaving some very unhappy men behind who vow to hunt down the vagabonds and bring them to justice, no matter the cost. Meanwhile, back in France, the beautiful Eliza – toast of Versailles and spy extraordinaire – attempts to return to London with her baby, a child whose paternity is shrouded in mystery. Making her way home, her ship is stopped by a French privateer and she is returned to the Sun King’s court. Thrown back into a web of international intrigue, Eliza must contend with all manner of characters, including buccaneers, poisoners, Jesuits, financial manipulators, and even a stray cryptographer or two…
The System of the World – Neal Stephenson
The year is 1714. Daniel Waterhouse has returned to England, where he joins forces with his friend Isaac Newton to hunt down a shadowy group attempting to blow up Natural Philosophers with ‘Infernal Devices’ – time bombs. As Daniel and Newton conspire, an increasingly vicious struggle is waged for England’s Crown: who will take control when the ailing queen dies? Tories and Whigs clash as one faction jockeys to replace Queen Anne with ‘The Pretender’ James Stuart, and the other promotes the Hanoverian dynasty of Princess Caroline. Meanwhile, a long-simmering dispute between Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz comes to a head, with potentially cataclysmic consequences.
Ilium – Dan Simmons
The Trojan War rages at the foot of Olympos Mons on Mars — observed and influenced from on high by Zeus and his immortal family — and twenty-first-century professor Thomas Hockenberry is there to play a role in the insidious private wars of vengeful gods and goddesses. On Earth, a small band of the few remaining humans pursues a lost past and devastating truth — as four sentient machines depart from Jovian space to investigate, perhaps terminate, the potentially catastrophic emissions emanating from a mountaintop miles above the terraformed surface of the Red Planet.
The Years of Rice and Salt – Kim Stanley Robinson
It is the fourteenth century and one of the most apocalyptic events in human history is set to occur the coming of the Black Death. History teaches us that a third of Europe s population was destroyed. But what if? What if the plague killed 99 percent of the population instead? How would the world have changed? This is a look at the history that could have been a history that stretches across centuries, a history that sees dynasties and nations rise and crumble, a history that spans horrible famine and magnificent innovation. These are the years of rice and salt. This is a universe where the first ship to reach the New World travels across the Pacific Ocean from China and colonization spreads from west to east. This is a universe where the Industrial Revolution is triggered by the world s greatest scientific minds in India. This is a universe where Buddhism and Islam are the most influential and practiced religions and Christianity is merely a historical footnote. Through the eyes of soldiers and kings, explorers and philosophers, slaves and scholars, Robinson renders an immensely rich tapestry. Rewriting history and probing the most profound questions as only he can, Robinson shines his extraordinary light on the place of religion, culture, power, and even love on such an Earth. From the steppes of Asia to the shores of the Western Hemisphere, from the age of Akbar to the present and beyond, here is the stunning story of the creation of a new world.
Passage – Connie Willis
A tunnel, a light, a door. And beyond it … the unimaginable. Dr. Joanna Lander is a psychologist specializing in near-death experiences. She is about to get help from a new doctor with the power to give her the chance to get as close to death as anyone can. A brilliant young neurologist, Dr. Richard Wright has come up with a way to manufacture the near-death experience using a psychoactive drug. Joanna’s first NDE is as fascinating as she imagined — so astounding that she knows she must go back, if only to find out why that place is so hauntingly familiar. But each time Joanna goes under, her sense of dread begins to grow, because part of her already knows why the experience is so familiar, and why she has every reason to be afraid. Yet just when Joanna thinks she understands, she’s in for the biggest surprise of all — ashattering scenario that will keep you feverishly reading until the final climactic page.
The Telling – Ursula K Le Guin
Once a culturally rich world, the planet Aka has been utterly transformed by technology. Records of the past have been destroyed, and citizens are strictly monitored. But an official observer from Earth named Sutty has learned of a group of outcasts who live in the wilderness. They still believe in the ancient ways and still practice its lost religion–the Telling. Intrigued by their beliefs, Sutty joins them on a sacred pilgrimage into the mountains…and into the dangerous terrain of her own heart, mind, and soul.
Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson
In 1942, Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse–mathematical genius and young Captain in the U.S. Navy–is assigned to detachment 2702. It is an outfit so secret that only a handful of people know it exists, and some of those people have names like Churchill and Roosevelt. The mission of Waterhouse and Detachment 2702–commanded by Marine Raider Bobby Shaftoe-is to keep the Nazis ignorant of the fact that Allied Intelligence has cracked the enemy’s fabled Enigma code. It is a game, a cryptographic chess match between Waterhouse and his German counterpart, translated into action by the gung-ho Shaftoe and his forces. Fast-forward to the present, where Waterhouse’s crypto-hacker grandson, Randy, is attempting to create a -data haven- in Southeast Asia–a place where encrypted data can be stored and exchanged free of repression and scrutiny. As governments and multinationals attack the endeavor, Randy joins forces with Shaftoe’s tough-as-nails granddaughter, Amy, to secretly salvage a sunken Nazi submarine that holds the key to keeping the dream of a data haven afloat. But soon their scheme brings to light a massive conspiracy with its roots in Detachment 2702 linked to an unbreakable Nazi code called Arethusa. And it will represent the path to unimaginable riches and a future of personal and digital liberty…or to universal totalitarianism reborn.
The Rise of Endymion – Dan Simmons
The time of reckoning has arrived. As a final genocidal Crusade threatens to enslave humanity forever, a new messiah has come of age. She is Aenea and she has undergone a strange apprenticeship to those known as the Others. Now her protector, Raul Endymion, one-time shepherd and convicted murderer, must help her deliver her startling message to her growing army of disciples. But first they must embark on a final spectacular mission to discover the underlying meaning of the universe itself. They have been followed on their journey by the mysterious Shrike – monster, angel, killing machine – who is about to reveal the long-held secret of its origin and purpose. And on the planet of Hyperion, where the story first began, the final revelation will be delivered – an apocalyptic message that unlocks the secrets of existence and the fate of humankind in the galaxy.
Blue Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson
Mars has grown up It is fully terraformed – genetically engineered plants and animals live by newly built canals and young but stormy seas. It is politically independent. A brave and buzzing new world. Most of the First Hundred have died. Those that remain are like walking myths to Martian youth. Earth has grown too much Chronic overpopulation, bitter nationalism, scarce resources. For too many Terrans, Mars is a mocking utopia. A dream to live for, fight for…perhaps even die for.
The Diamond Age – Neal Stephenson
The future is small. The future is nano …And who could be smaller or more insignificant than poor Little Nell – an orphan girl alone and adrift in a world of Confucian Law, Neo-Victorian values and warring nano-technology? Well, not quite alone. Because Nell has a friend, of sorts. A guide, a teacher, an armed and unarmed combat instructor, a book and a computer: the Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer is all these and much much more. It is illicit, magical, dangerous. And it isn’t Nell’s. It was stolen. And now some very powerful people want to get their hands on this highly desirable object. Nell is about to discover that the world can feel very small indeed …
Mirror Dance – Lois McMaster Bujold
The exciting follow-up to Brothers in Arms. Miles Vorkosigan is in trouble. His brother, a cloned stranger formed from tissue stolen from Miles when he was a child, wants to murder and replace him. Unfortunately, Mark has learned that without Miles, he is… nothing.
Green Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson
Nearly a generation has passed since the first pioneers landed, but the transformation of Mars to an Earth-like planet has just begun. In Green Mars the colonists will attempt to turn the red planet into a lush garden for humanity. They will bombard the atmosphere with ice meteorites to add moisture. They will seed the red deserts with genetically engineered plants. Then they will tap the boiling planetary core to warm the planet’s frozen surface. But their heroic efforts don’t go unchallenged. For their plan to transform Mars is opposed by those determined to preserve the hostile and barren beauty of Mars. Led by rebels like Peter Clayborne, these young people are the first generation of children born on Mars, and they will be joined in their violent struggle by original settlers Maya Toitovna, Simon Frasier, and Sax Russell. Against this cosmic backdrop, passions, rivalries, and friendships will explode in a story as big as the planet itself.
Doomsday Book – Connie Willis
or Kivrin Engle, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity’s history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the fourteenth century and inventing an alibi for a woman traveling alone. For her instructors in the twenty-first century, it meant painstaking calculations and careful monitoring of the rendezvous location where Kivrin would be received. But a crisis strangely linking past and future strands Kivrin in a bygone age as her fellows try desperately to rescue her. In a time of superstition and fear, Kivrin – barely of age herself – finds she has become an unlikely angel of hope during one of history’s darkest hours.
Barrayar – Lois McMaster Bujold
Sick of combat and betrayal, Cordelia Vorkosigan is ready to settle down to a quiet life. But when the Emperor dies, her husband Aral becomes guardian of the infant heir to the imperial throne of Barrayar and the target of high-tech assassins in a dynastic civil war. But neither Aral nor Cordelia can guess the part that their cell-damaged unborn will play in Barrayar’s bloody legacy.
The Fall of Hyperion – Dan Simmons
The mysterious Time Tombs are opening and the Shrike that has risen from them may well control the fate of all mankind. The Ousters are laying seige to the Hegemony of Man and the AIs we created have turned against us to build the Ultimate Intelligence; God. The God of Machines. His genesis could mean annihilation for man. Something is drawing the hegemony, the Ousters, the AIs, the entire universe to the Shrike.
Hyperion – Dan Simmons
It is the 29th century and the universe of the Human Hegemony is under threat. Invasion by the warlike Ousters looms, and the mysterious schemes of the secessionist AI TechnoCore bring chaos ever closer. On the eve of disaster, with the entire galaxy at war, seven pilgrims set fourth on a final voyage to the legendary Time Tombs on Hyperion, home to the Shrike, a lethal creature, part god and part killing machine, whose powers transcend the limits of time and space. The pilgrims have resolved to die before discovering anything less than the secrets of the universe itself.
The Uplift War – David Brin
As galactic armadas clash in quest of the ancient fleet of the Progenitors, a brutal alien race seizes the dying planet of Garth. The various uplifted inhabitants of Garth must battle their overlords or face ultimate extinction. At stake is the existence of Terran society and Earth, and the fate of the entire Five Galaxies.
Speaker for the Dead – Orson Scott Card
Ender Wiggin was once considered a great military leader, a saviour for mankind. But now history judges his destruction of an alien race as monstrous rather than heroic. In the aftermath of the war, Ender disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: The Speaker for the Dead, who told the true story behind the battle with the aliens. Now, years later, a second alien race has been discovered. But again they are strange and frightening – and again, humans are dying. It is only the Speaker for the Dead, secretly Ender Wiggin, who has the courage to confront the mystery …and the truth.
The Postman – David Brin
He was a survivor–a wanderer who traded tales for food and shelter in the dark and savage aftermath of a devastating war. Fate touches him one chill winter’s day when he borrows the jacket of a long-dead postal worker to protect himself from the cold. The old, worn uniform still has power as a symbol of hope, and with it he begins to weave his greatest tale, of a nation on the road to recovery.
The Integral Trees – Larry Niven
When leaving Earth, the crew of the spaceship Discipline was prepared for a routine assignment. Dispatched by the all-powerful State on a mission of interstellar exploration and colonization, Discipline was aided (and secretly spied upon) by Sharls Davis Kendy, an emotionless computer intelligence programmed to monitor the loyalty and obedience of the crew. But what they weren t prepared for was the smoke ring an immense gaseous envelope that had formed around a neutron star directly in their path. The Smoke Ring was home to a variety of plant and animal life-forms evolved to thrive in conditions of continual free-fall. When Discipline encountered it, something went wrong. The crew abandoned ship and fled to the unlikely space oasis. Five hundred years later, the descendants of the Discipline crew living on the Smoke Ring no longer remember their origins. Earth is more myth than memory, and no recollection of the State remains. But Kendy remembers. And just outside the Smoke Ring, Discipline waits patiently to make contact with its wayward children.
Startide Rising – David Brin
The Terran exploration vessel Streaker has crashed in the uncharted water world of Kithrup, bearing one of the most important discoveries in galactic history. Below, a handful of her human and dolphin crew battles armed rebellion and a hostile planet to safeguard her secret–the fate of the Progenitors, the fabled First Race who seeded wisdom throughout the stars.
Foundation’s Edge – Isaac Asimov
It is 498 years since the two Foundations came into existence – half-way through the Interregnum planned by Hari Seldon. The Second Foundation has once more successfully concealed its existence so that the laws of psychohistory can operate to usher in a new Empire ruled by the mental sciences. The Second Foundation is thought to be extinct…except by Councilman Golan Trevize. Trevize fears that the mysterious Second Foundation will bid for power once a new Galactic Empire is established. To prevent Trevize spreading alarm’ the Mayor of Terminus exiles him to the abandoned ruins of Trantor. Accompanying Trevize is Janov Pelorat’ Professor of Ancient History at the University of Terminus. Pelorat hopes to find on Trantor a clue to the location of the planet that gave birth to the human race. His belief in the existence of Earth is considered as far-fetched as Trevize’s belief that the Second Foundation endures. But the truths discovered by both of them on Trantor are far stranger than they could have guessed.
The Many-Coloured Land – Julian May
In the 22nd Century, a group of misfits and mavericks are preparing to leave behind everything they have known. Advanced technology has created a one-way time portal to Earth’s Pliocene Era – six million years ago. Those seeking a better life are drawn to the promise of a simple utopia, far from the civilised Galactic Mileu. But no one could have predicted the dangers on the other side. For the group will enter the battleground of two warring alien races, exiled from a distant planet. And these races not only have potent mind powers, but seek to exploit and enslave humans for their own needs. The travellers are about to discover that their unspoilt paradise is far from Eden.
The Snow Queen – Joan D Vinge
The imperious Winter colonists have ruled the planet Tiamat for 150 years, deriving wealth from the slaughter of the sea mers. But soon the galactic stargate will close, isolating Tiamat, and the 150-year reign of the Summer primitives will begin. Their only chance at surviving the change is if Arienrhod, the ageless, corrupt Snow Queen, can destroy destiny with an act of genocide. Arienrhod is not without competition as Moon, a young Summer-tribe sibyl, and the nemesis of the Snow Queen, battles to break a conspiracy that spans space.
Titan – John Varley
Titan begins with humankind’s exploration of a massive satellite orbiting Saturn. It culminates in a shocking discovery: the satellite is a giant alien being. Her name is Gaea. Her awesome interior is mind-boggling because it is a mind. A mind that calls out to explorers… and transforms all who enter.