2013 Locus Awards
June 30, 2013 11:00 AM   Subscribe

The 2013 Locus Awards for Science Fiction and Fantasy have been announced by Locus Magazine, and (at least) two MeFi writers have won in the novel categories.

John Scalzi (jscalzi) takes home the Best Science Fiction Novel Award for "Redshirts: A Novel and Three Codas," set among the apparently expendable crewmen of a starship on a mission of exploration. Charlie Stross (cstross) bags the Best Fantasy Novel Award for "The Apocalyse Codex," the third of the "Laundry" novels, about a government agency that protects the UK from the eldritch horrors that threaten Earth.

Congratulations to the Mefite winners, all the other winners too, and all the readers for getting yet another great crop of SF & F works. If these awards do nothing else, they make for good reading lists for those who can't spare a lot of pleasure-reading time.

And to get a head start towards earning next year's awards, apparently, Charlie Stross is releasing a new novel next week (June 2), "Neptune's Brood," which appears to be outside any of the half-dozen universes he's already created. Tor.com hosts an excerpt here.
posted by Sunburnt (46 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
 
congratulations jscalzi & cstross!! I dream of joining your ranks some day :)
posted by supermedusa at 11:06 AM on June 30, 2013


Neptune's Brood is actually a sequel to Stross's excellent Saturn's Children. Good stuff.

And grats to the both of yas!
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:11 AM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm disappointed that my favorite SF book of last year (2312) didn't win, but congrats to jscalzi all the same! I suppose I really should read Redshirts.
posted by Sokka shot first at 11:14 AM on June 30, 2013


Scalzi's acceptance speech is very gracious, too. After the usual thanks (and an explanation for why he suddenly appears to be a stunning brunette):
However, I have one confession to make: I was hoping for a different outcome for this award. I was pulling for Iain M. Banks to win, not only for The Hydrogen Sonata, which is amply deserving of the award, but for the entire body of his science fiction work, and his for universe of The Culture, which is, simply, one of the great imaginative achievements in our genre.

I did not know Iain Banks personally, but I was a fan. I was honored to be a finalist with him, and would have been honored to lose this award to him. Since I did not accomplish that I will instead ask your indulgence as I dedicate this award to him and his work. He is missed; his work remains. Thank you.
I read and loved Redshirts, and am really looking forward to getting into the highly recommended Laundry series from cstross.
posted by maudlin at 11:18 AM on June 30, 2013 [16 favorites]


Pope Guilty: Ah, I should've guessed that from the teaser about humanity being extinct for the fourth time. Well, I enjoyed Saturn's Children, so I look forward to this one. (I didn't even pick up on the very similar names.)
posted by Sunburnt at 11:27 AM on June 30, 2013


Redshirts is a lot of fun. It's probably at the exact opposite point on the SF spectrum than 2312, though. Doesn't mean you can't like both, it's just odd to try to compare them.

I have no idea how I have managed to not yet read The Apocalypse Codex. (Actually, I suspect it hasn't spend very much time idle on the library's shelves since they got it.) But on the list it goes! I really like the series, and maybe I'll reread it properly before this one.

I have to say, though, I am grumpy once again that The Drowning Girl didn't win. It should win ALL THE THINGS. The Killing Moon was stellar as well, and I am fond of Glamour in Glass (by Mefi's Own maryrobinette!) - it's a great slate overall. (Haven't read Tim Powers at all.)

And I have strong feelings about The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland as well, although Railsea was fine. It's even better than The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland, and has some fucking delightful and long-needed bits about agency and the shittiness of the First Kiss mythos and hey, some poly-positive bits! While being a great, lush adventure through a very neat underworld. And Valente's writing is just dreamy.
posted by restless_nomad at 11:28 AM on June 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


I have to say, though, I am grumpy once again that The Drowning Girl didn't win. It should win ALL THE THINGS.

I agree! But Kiernan's work tends not to be for the casual reader. She makes you work for her stories; they're convoluted, amazing, and incredibly strange. But because she does not rely on linear storytelling, reading the reviews of her stuff on Amazon is HI-larious.
posted by Kitteh at 11:51 AM on June 30, 2013


Err.

Apocalypse Codex is the 4th Laundry novel, not the 3rd.
posted by jefflowrey at 11:58 AM on June 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I agree! But Kiernan's work tends not to be for the casual reader.

Yeah, I will sullenly admit you are right. But still. ALL. THE. THINGS.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:05 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow, that list is like everything wrong with the Hugo Awards multiplied by ten. At least they don't use the word "best" in the award names like some people I could mention.
posted by Justinian at 12:29 PM on June 30, 2013


Hey, I've been reading her work since 1994! (She was the first author I ever wrote a fan email to.) It did win the Bram Stoker Award, though! (And the Tiptree!)
posted by Kitteh at 12:31 PM on June 30, 2013


Kiernan is one of the authors who has flamed me in public which is pretty cool. Well, not flamed, but it wasn't pretty.
posted by Justinian at 12:33 PM on June 30, 2013


I haven't read Redshirts (yet), have been meaning to, but curious, with all goodwill and deference to Scalzi, is it really better than Hydrogen Sonata? Cause that was -really- good.
posted by edgeways at 12:37 PM on June 30, 2013


Wow, that list is like everything wrong with the Hugo Awards multiplied by ten.

Well, it's a popular, internet-voting award. They suggest a reasonably long list of stuff for each award, people can write in nominations, and voting is open to non-subscribers as well.

Kiernan is one of the authors who has flamed me in public which is pretty cool. Well, not flamed, but it wasn't pretty.

She is astonishingly cranky in public. Which I find surprisingly honest and charming. She reminds me of no one so much as my old guild leader, a touchy, neurotic, and often frankly horrible woman whose company I nevertheless enjoyed.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:42 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Congrats to jscalzi and cstross. Great writers and really nice guys.
posted by djrock3k at 12:49 PM on June 30, 2013


Congrats Scalzi and Stross.

Here is the short story winner (audio link available).
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:18 PM on June 30, 2013


Redshirts is great fun indeed, and the Laundry books are in my stack of things to read.

Thank god my stack is mostly digital these days. At least I won't have to reinforce the floors of our flat.
posted by rtha at 1:23 PM on June 30, 2013


astonishingly cranky in public. Which I find surprisingly honest and charming.

Hey, it works for Harlan. (And a few others I won't mention because their frequency is lower.)
posted by Twang at 1:26 PM on June 30, 2013


Kiernan is one of the authors who has flamed me in public which is pretty cool. Well, not flamed, but it wasn't pretty.

For what?
posted by eugenen at 1:51 PM on June 30, 2013


Minor correction: while Neptune's Brood is set in the same universe as Saturn's Children, it's located 40 light years away and 5000 years in the first novel's future, and none of the original characters re-appear.

Reasons:

a) I had a perfectly good much-slower-than-light space opera universe and saw no reason to invent an entire new one just for a new novel,

b) It's always easier for an editor to pitch a novel at Marketing if they can pigeon-hole it as a sequel or set-in-the-same-universe-as, rather than having to describe it from scratch.

So: Not a sequel, and no sex robots. (There are space pirates, however.)

Finally, next July's novel will be "The Rhesus Chart", Laundry Files book 5. (Already written, accepted, and in edit.)
posted by cstross at 2:03 PM on June 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


Bit miffed that Banks didn't get it but that's yanks for you.

Edge of Infinity, BTW, is about as solid a modern SF anthology as you can get and highly recommended. Girl Thing Goes Out For Sushi, which headlines it and also picked up an award is a highlight but there's some other gems in there - Solaris do good work.
posted by Artw at 2:22 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


For what?

I was talking about The Red Tree and said that I sometimes had difficulty with books of that type (massively unreliable narration) when they were written by authors with whom I was unfamiliar. With someone like Gene Wolfe I have enough trust in the author that I know everything is deliberate; apparent mistakes are not mistakes but an intended part of the narration. With Kiernan, given I had not read much of her work yet, I could not always tell if something in The Red Tree which appeared to be contradictory to something earlier in the novel was intended unreliable narration or an actual mistake on the part of the author. Because I had not yet built up trust in the author's narratives over decades as I had with Gene Wolfe.

She took me to task because reading the book shouldn't be able look for clues and there is no "true story" blah blah blah blah blah. I've read a lot more of her work now and so would have a better appreciation of her craftsmanship. But apparently it was wrong of me not to trust a new author's ability as much as Gene Wolfe, perhaps the greatest writer of SF of all time. Or something.
posted by Justinian at 3:12 PM on June 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, that's one of the subjects she's notably impatient about. It's been really good for me as a writer to listen to her go off about how narration is inherently unreliable, and reading her newer stuff - both the novels and short stories - has given me a ton of ideas of ways to deepen my own work by thinking more explicitly about how people color their own perception of events.

...Also The Red Tree is her seventh novel. She wasn't a "new author" when it came out, although it seems like that was the first book to get widespread exposure.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:25 PM on June 30, 2013


I get Cait's frustration about being pegged as a "new" author every time one of her novels have come out post 2005. She's been doing this for a very very long time; she more or less disowns all her novels pre-2005 as well, but they are still well worth reading.

One day I will be able to afford the weekly subscription to her monthly literary digest and I won't feel as horrible for missing all these amazing stories I will probably never get to read.

MeFites who are Kiernan fans are my people.
posted by Kitteh at 4:13 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


And Valente's writing is just dreamy.

She's scarily good. She's turning out a huge volume of really powerful stuff, and she's still really young. My favorite is Deathless: it's not an easy or a pleasant read, but it's one of the best fantasies I've ever read. You start off by thinking it's a fairytale-enters-the-real-world story, and just when you're swinging happily through the air it drops you on the floor. Also, it's playing off Russian fairytales, which are familiar enough to be recognisable but are still exotic enough to be thrilling.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:23 PM on June 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh, man, Deathless is the first thing of hers I read and it just killed me. Killed me! And then I read the Fairyland books, and they were great, and then the Orphan's Tales, which oh my fucking god, and then the Prester John books, which were like my childhood library mythology texts come back to have dinner with me, and now I'm just a tremendous squealing fan.
posted by restless_nomad at 4:25 PM on June 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


I feel so bad that I do not care for Valente's Prester John books but dig everything else.
posted by Kitteh at 4:30 PM on June 30, 2013


So pleased to hear there's more Laundry and that it's getting recognition in the field. (Also it was really nice to see the SFF folks on my twitter stream tweeting about something positive and happymaking for a change.)
posted by immlass at 5:14 PM on June 30, 2013


I was talking about The Red Tree and said that I sometimes had difficulty with books of that type (massively unreliable narration) when they were written by authors with whom I was unfamiliar. With someone like Gene Wolfe I have enough trust in the author that I know everything is deliberate; apparent mistakes are not mistakes but an intended part of the narration. With Kiernan, given I had not read much of her work yet, I could not always tell if something in The Red Tree which appeared to be contradictory to something earlier in the novel was intended unreliable narration or an actual mistake on the part of the author. Because I had not yet built up trust in the author's narratives over decades as I had with Gene Wolfe.

Oh, that's funny. I had kinda a similar reaction to Redshirts, where I wasn't entirely sold on the fact that the satiric parts were really satire (and okay, I thought he was lampooning some aspects of Trek maybe unfairly, because I am a Trekkie with a phaser up my butt or something) and then the last section sent my perception of his work into a tailspin because it was clearly really skilled, though for me, it came a bit too late because I'd read most of the book thinking it was just a bad book. Interviews I've read since has made me view the novel more charitably. I wonder what is it about some authors that keeps them from winning your trust first time over.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:24 PM on June 30, 2013


To be fair to me, I never said she was a new author, only that I hadn't read much of her work yet. Someone could have written twenty novels but if I've only read 1 of them I won't have much of an idea of his or her range.
posted by Justinian at 5:30 PM on June 30, 2013


(ok I said "new author" above, but I meant new to me not new to writing. Sorry to be unclear.)
posted by Justinian at 5:32 PM on June 30, 2013


I've read all the nominees for the SF novel except Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, which I'm literally about to begin reading in a few minutes (I had put-off reading Cryoburn, but then finally got around to reading it last night). As much as I like and respect Scalzi and his books, having known him here, and quite enjoying Redshirts, I think that's arguably the weakest book on the list, relatively speaking. "Weak" as in it was very entertaining, in itself and as genre commentary, but ultimately pretty fluffy. Excepting the last coda, which was brilliant and almost, but not quite, transforms all the previous novel into something much greater.

At the opposite end of the spectrum from Redshirts is 2312, which was quite good but KSR has a weakness for being ponderous and his characters often seem to me to all be overly intellectualized and bloodless.

Daniel Abraham, who is part of the pair of writers that make up "James S.A. Corey", is one of my favorite writers these days (he also writes the Black Sun's Daughter urban fantasy series under the name "M.L.N. Hanover", and I think it's among the very best UF out there). And I very much enjoy space opera and am sad that there's so little of it written these days. So I'm really enjoying the Expanse series. Ultimately, though, it's pretty fluffy.

Not having yet read LMB's book, I can only guess. But I've read all the previous Vorkosigan books and they're very mixed. I'm ambivalent about them and their quality. The novella Mountains of Mourning is very, very good, deserved its win of both the Hugo and Nebula, and demonstrates that when she's good, she's great. Barrayar is the best Vorkosigan novel and deserves its awards, but I can't really expect Vorpatril to reach that level.

Which leaves Iain M. Banks The Hydrogen Sonata. Banks's Culture books have weaknesses, I don't disagree. But I think, all in all, he was the best science fiction writer of the last two decades. I'd rank The Hydrogen Sonata as middling-high among his Culture books, but that still makes it exceptional. I think it's the best novel of this bunch, by a good margin.

On the fantasy side, well...

I'm going to read The Stress of Her Regard after the LMB book and, if I enjoy it, will read Hide Me Among the Graves immediately after. I'm a bit wary, I have mixed feelings about Tim Powers. Anubis Gates is a favorite book of mine, but other Powers books have left me cold. I often feel like they're schematic exercises and, although the characters are moderately textured, they still often feel lifeless to me. A bit of what I don't like in Kim Stanley Robinson I mentioned. So, I don't know.

Stross's Codex books are pretty much the only Stross books I haven't read — for me, Stross's writing is right on the edge of being too clever and pleased with itself that, yes, isn't this very clever? and so I really enjoy his books when that quality is muted but find it incredibly annoying and smug when it's not. I started The Atrocity Archives and put it down for this reason. I'd sure love another Family Trade book, though.

I took a look at Shades of Milk and Honey last night, before I decided on Cryoburn. I read a lot of urban fantasy and paranormal romance so that aspect of Kowal's Glamourist Histories is fine with me. But I think for some reason I am not so interested in historical fantasy — which is weird, because I read a fair bit of historical mystery.

But I absolutely love N.K. Jemisin and wish that she'd win All the Things. Her Inheritance Trilogy was one of the best things to happen to fantasy in a long time; and these two Dreamblood books have been great.

"Oh, man, Deathless is the first thing of hers I read and it just killed me."

I've been meaning to read that book for a while, now. It brings to mind The Secret History of Moscow, which I absolutely love.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:08 PM on June 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Congratulations fellow mefis! Adding these to my to-read list for sure.
posted by meta87 at 6:12 PM on June 30, 2013


Not having yet read LMB's book, I can only guess.

Vorpatril is a light farce/romantic comedy. It's funny, and it does what it does very well, but it's more in line with A Civil Campaign than with Barrayar.

I took a look at Shades of Milk and Honey last night, before I decided on Cryoburn.

You know, I have been ambivalent about Shades here more than once - it's good, it's just not quite aimed at me - but I finally gave in and got it on audiobook and liked it quite a bit better that way. If you have any taste for audio, it's read by the author who does that sort of thing for a living, and I found the extra information channel made it quite a bit more fun. (I still sort of wish that Beth's big secret was that she was gay and she and Jane ended up running off together. There is one brief shining moment where it's totally plausible that is the plot. It is not. I was sad.) But I have liked each sequel better than the one before, and I am positively salivating over the fourth one, so keep that in mind if you like action better than romance.

It brings to mind The Secret History of Moscow, which I absolutely love.

It kicks The Secret History in the balls and steals its lunch money. Seriously. They're both very much in the same family, but Deathless is just a much better book.
posted by restless_nomad at 6:37 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love SF discussions on Metafilter. Outside of these occasional threads, where should one go to find similarly good discussion?
posted by blahblahblah at 7:41 PM on June 30, 2013


Usenet circa 1992. That's the best I can do, sorry.
posted by Justinian at 8:05 PM on June 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Shrug. The Locus Awards are the American Music Awards of genre fiction.

That said, I like the Laundry books.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 10:42 PM on June 30, 2013


I liked Redshirts but Caliban's War really wiggled its way into my brain and set up shop there. Also it's weird that Seraphina wasn't in the YA bracket. But people should read that one if they like fun fantasy, it's wonderful and the audio is great-- there are a few songs in it and they are performed acapella beautifully.

I got into Kowal's stuff because I love her voice acting. Her Glamourist books are charmingly read.
posted by NoraReed at 11:03 PM on June 30, 2013


I'm reading that Kij Johnson collection right now and I think it's great. There are some links to some readings in podcasts off of the Small Beer Press website - the one with the monkeys is my favorite.
posted by newdaddy at 3:58 AM on July 1, 2013


Throne of the Crescent Moon -are these things named by a marketing committee or something?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 4:10 AM on July 1, 2013


Aw crap, Pat Caddigan has cancer. Operable though, hopefully.
posted by Artw at 6:53 AM on July 1, 2013


Fuck cancer. I love Pat Cadigan.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:36 AM on July 1, 2013


I've only read short work from Caitlin Kiernan, but I'm nearly done with this Colson Whitehead zombie novel and so I think I may read one of her novels next. Because I read "Pickman's Other Model" in an anthology, and it was great!

Also congrats to cstross and jscalzi, two writers I always find entertaining.
posted by Mister_A at 11:41 AM on July 1, 2013


Colson Whitehead zombie novel

WAT.

I must investigate.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:05 PM on July 3, 2013


Vorpatril is a light farce/romantic comedy. It's funny, and it does what it does very well, but it's more in line with A Civil Campaign than with Barrayar.

Thanks. I ended up reading it Monday and I enjoyed it. It is funny and I like Ivan Vorpatril as the protagonist. However, given that he's the protagonist, I felt like there was much less development of his personality than there ought to have been — we actually saw less of his deeper motivations than we did in A Civil Campaign. Bujold provides lots of hints for why Ivan is the kind of person he is, and I understand that because he's the opposite of self-aware, we're not going to learn much of this from his interiority, at least not explicitly. But this is Ivan's "becoming a real adult" novel, I think we should have seen more growing self-awareness and change than we did.

"It kicks The Secret History in the balls and steals its lunch money. Seriously. They're both very much in the same family, but Deathless is just a much better book."

I had been planning to read the Powers book next, but yours and the other endorsements of Deathless have caused me to queue it up, instead.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:31 PM on July 3, 2013


So I read Redshirts. I liked it okay, but it Was no Hydrogen Sonatra beater.

Al Ewing's The Fictional Man would certainly be worth a read if you liked it.
posted by Artw at 3:35 PM on July 3, 2013


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