Here are the finalists for this year’s Locus Awards!

An excellent crop of books from 2021

Here are the finalists for this year’s Locus Awards!
Image: Andrew Liptak

We're about to enter the next couple of months of the SF/F industry's award season, with the Nebula Awards coming up later this month, and with the Hugos and others coming later this summer. To that end, Locus Magazine has released its big list of finalists for its awards.

The Locus Awards are one of the bigger genre ones out there. Handed out annually at the publication's Locus Awards Weekend (this year, to be held virtually between June 22nd and 25th), they're a consensus from the SF/F community as to what the best works of the year are. The awards were once open only to subscribers of the magazine, but have since been opened up to the general public. (Subscriber votes are weighed a bit more heavily than the votes from the general public).

I've often found these lists to be a pretty good overview of the prior year's fiction, and they're usually just different enough from the Hugo and Nebula ballots that they provide a good additional consensus for the broader genre reading community. This year's list? It's quite good! I've read a whole bunch of the science fiction, some of the fantasy and horror, and some of the first novel books, and they're all titles that I'd happily vote for.

Here's the full list of finalists:

Science Fiction novel

  • The Galaxy, and the Ground Within, by Becky Chambers
  • Leviathan Falls, by James S.A. Corey
  • The Echo Wife, by Sarah Gailey
  • Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • A Desolation Called Peace, by Arkady Martine
  • Noor, by Nnedi Okorafor
  • We Are Satellites, by Sarah Pinsker
  • You Sexy Thing, by Cat Rambo
  • Shards of Earth, by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Hummingbird Salamander, by Jeff VanderMeer

Fantasy novel

  • Light From Uncommon Stars, by Ryka Aoki
  • The Witness for the Dead, by Katherine Addison
  • Black Water Sister, by Zen Cho
  • Paladin’s Strength, by T. Kingfisher
  • Under the Whispering Door, by TJ Klune
  • Jade Legacy, by Fonda Lee
  • The Last Graduate, by Naomi Novik
  • Soulstar, by C.L. Polk
  • The Jasmine Throne, by Tasha Suri
  • No Gods, No Monsters, by Cadwell Turnbull

Horror novel

  • Revelator, by Daryl Gregory
  • The Final Girl Support Group, by Grady Hendrix
  • My Heart Is a Chainsaw, by Stephen Graham Jones
  • Billy Summers, by Stephen King
  • Later, by Stephen King
  • Moon Lake, by Joe R. Lansdale
  • A Broken Darkness, by Premee Mohamed
  • Sorrowland, by Rivers Solomon
  • The Death of Jane Lawrence, by Caitlin Starling
  • The Book of Accidents, by Chuck Wendig

Young Adult novel

  • Victories Greater Than Death, by Charlie Jane Anders
  • This Poison Heart, by Kalynn Bayron
  • The Infinity Courts, by Akemi Dawn Bowman
  • The Gilded Ones, by Namina Forna
  • A Dark and Starless Forest, by Sarah Hollowell
  • Redemptor, by Jordan Ifueko
  • Chaos on CatNet, by Naomi Kritzer
  • A Snake Falls to Earth, by Darcie Little Badger
  • Terciel & Elinor, by Garth Nix
  • Iron Widow, by Xiran Jay Zhao

First Novel

  • The Unbroken, by C.L. Clark
  • A Master of Djinn, by P. Djèlí Clark
  • Machinehood, by S.B. Divya
  • The All-Consuming World, by Cassandra Khaw
  • A Marvellous Light, by Freya Marske
  • Winter’s Orbit, by Everina Maxwell
  • She Who Became the Sun, by Shelley Parker-Chan
  • The Chosen and the Beautiful, by Nghi Vo
  • Wendy, Darling, by A.C. Wise
  • Iron Widow, by Xiran Jay Zhao


  • A Blessing of Unicorns, by Elizabeth Bear
  • A Psalm for the Wild-Built, by Becky Chambers
  • Defekt, by Nino Cipri
  • Fireheart Tiger, by Aliette de Bodard
  • A Spindle Splintered, by Alix E. Harrow
  • The Return of the Sorceress, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Remote Control, by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Comfort Me With Apples, by Catherynne M. Valente
  • The Past is Red, by Catherynne M. Valente
  • Fugitive Telemetry, by Martha Wells


Short Story


  • We’re Here: The Best Queer Speculative Fiction 2020, edited by C.L. Clark & Charles Payseur
  • The Best Horror of the Year: Volume Thirteen, edited by Ellen Datlow
  • When Things Get Dark: Stories Inspired by Shirley Jackson, edited by Ellen Datlow
  • Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction (2021), edited by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki
  • Speculative Fiction for Dreamers: A Latinx Anthology, edited by Alex Hernandez, Matthew David Goodwin, & Sarah Rafael García
  • Sword Stone Table: Old Legends, New Voices, edited by Swapna Krishna & Jenn Northington
  • Unfettered Hexes: Queer Tales of Insatiable Darkness, edited by dave ring
  • The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2021, edited by Veronica Roth & John Joseph Adams
  • The Year’s Best Science Fiction Volume 2, edited by Jonathan Strahan
  • The Best of World SF: Volume 1, edited by Lavie Tidhar


  • Even Greater Mistakes, by Charlie Jane Anders
  • Shoggoths in Traffic and Other Stories, by Tobias S. Buckell
  • Spirits Abroad, by Zen Cho
  • Big Dark Hole, by Jeffrey Ford
  • The Best of Elizabeth Hand, by Elizabeth Hand
  • Midnight Doorways: Fables from Pakistan, by Usman T. Malik
  • Belladonna Nights and Other Stories, by Alastair Reynolds
  • Alias Space and Other Stories, by Kelly Robson
  • The Ghost Sequences, by A.C. Wise
  • Never Have I Ever, by Isabel Yap


  • Analog
  • Asimov’s
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies
  • Clarkesworld
  • F&SF
  • Lightspeed
  • Strange Horizons
  • Uncanny


  • Angry Robot
  • Baen
  • DAW
  • Gollancz
  • Neon Hemlock
  • Orbit
  • Small Beer
  • Subterranean
  • Tor
  • Tordotcom


  • Neil Clarke
  • Ellen Datlow
  • Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki
  • Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Arley Sorg & Christie Yant
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas
  • Sheree Renée Thomas
  • Ann & Jeff VanderMeer
  • Sheila Williams


  • Tommy Arnold
  • Kinuko Y. Craft
  • Rovina Cai
  • Galen Dara
  • Bob Eggleton
  • Victo Ngai
  • John Picacio
  • Shaun Tan
  • Charles Vess
  • Michael Whelan


  • Yesterday’s Tomorrows, by Mike Ashley
  • After Human: A Critical History of the Human in Science Fiction from Shelley to Le Guin, by Thomas Connolly
  • Roger Zelazny, by F. Brett Cox
  • Jewish Science Fiction and Fantasy Through 1945: Immigrants in the Golden Age, by Valerie Estelle Frankel
  • Chinese Science Fiction during the Post-Mao Cultural Thaw, by Hua Li
  • Gothic: An Illustrated History, by Roger Luckhurst
  • Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950–1985, edited by Andrew Nette & Iain McIntyre
  • Diverse Futures: Science Fiction and Authors of Color, by Joy Sanchez-Taylor
  • You Are Not Your Writing & Other Sage Advice, by Angela Slatter
  • The Young H.G. Wells: Changing the World, by Claire Tomalin

Illustrated and Art Book

  • Clockwork Curandera Volume 1: The Witch Owl Parliament, by David Bowles, art by Raúl the Third
  • Monstrous Mythologies, by Michael Bukowski
  • Medusa, by Jessie Burton, art by Olivia Lomenech Gill
  • Norse Tales: Stories from Across the Rainbow Bridge, by Kevin Crossley-Holland, art by Jeffrey Alan Love
  • Spectrum Fantastic Art Quarterly Volume One, by Cathy Fenner & Arnie Fenner, eds.
  • After the Rain, by Nnedi Okorafor, adapted by John Jennings, art by David Brame
  • 1984: The Graphic Novel, by George Orwell, art by Fido Nesti
  • The Labyrinth, by Simon Stålenhag
  • Squad, by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, art by Lisa Sterle
  • The Art of Neil Gaiman & Charles Vess’s Stardust, by Charles Vess