Here are the winners of the 2023 Locus Awards

A good set of awards, plus some grumbling over the winners

Here are the winners of the 2023 Locus Awards
Image: Andrew Lipta

Locus Magazine held its annual conferences over the weekend, and as part of that event, it announced the winners of its reader-chosen awards.

This is one of the bigger community awards, and it's a good barometer for the state of the genre on any given year. I thought this year's list of finalists was a decently strong one, and I thought that it was a good selection that ended up taking the award home.

Of course, not everyone did: that's pretty typical of any major award. This year's grumblings come in the form of some screenshots of prose from John Scalzi's The Kaiju Preservation Society, with the commentary tracking along the lines of "we can't believe a book with this type of writing won."

Review: John Scalzi’s Kaiju Preservation Society
John Scalzi’s latest is a monster-filled blockbuster of a novel

I get where they're coming from: a lot of Scalzi's recent books feel as though they're lightly-edited first drafts, and there are times that I wish that he and Tor would take more time on them, rather than shuffling them out so quickly. But then again, they've sold pretty well, and there's an audience that Scalzi's going for: the wider mainstream nerd culture, the types of folks who'll check out Comic Con for the movie trailers, who liked books like Ready Player One and The Martian, enjoy the latest blockbusters in theaters, but who aren't necessarily the types of folks who'll subscribe to genre magazines or who'll head over to Readercon for a weekend.

It's easy to sneer at those types of fans: I've seen plenty of people do that, segments of the Extremely Online SFF fandom are showing that they're more than willing to put out the True Fans Only card because books like Scalzi's don't cater to a more critical (and smaller) audience. That's been Scalzi's MO for his entire career: he's literally said that he wrote Old Man's War because he went to a bookstore and noted that Military SF had the most titles. The best take that I've seen for why Kaiju won? It was a popcorn thriller with monsters released during a global pandemic.  

Of course, Scalzi's book wasn't the only one to win: R.F. Kuang's Babel won for Fantasy Novel, and Ray Nayler took home the prize for First Novel for The Mountain in the Sea. They're each enormously consequential and interesting books that absolutely deserve all the recognition they've gotten (and then some).

So: business as usual. Another set of awards that serve as a barometer for the intersection of fandom and publishing. We'll see what next year brings.

(Winners listed in bold)

Science Fiction Novel

  • Sweep of Stars by Maurice Broaddus
  • The Red Scholar’s Wake by Aliette de Bodard
  • The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
  • The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Goliath by Tochi Onyebuchi
  • The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi
  • Eyes of the Void by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Neom by Lavie Tidhar
  • Eversion by Alastair Reynolds

Fantasy Novel

  • The Grief of Stones by Katherine Addison
  • When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill
  • Spear by Nicola Griffith
  • The World We Make by N.K. Jemisin
  • Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
  • Babel by R.F. Kuang
  • Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
  • The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik
  • Fevered Star by Rebecca Roanhorse
  • Siren Queen by Nghi Vo

Horror Novel

  • Saturnalia by Stephanie Feldman
  • Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey
  • Road of Bones by Christopher Golden
  • The Devil Takes You Home by Gabino Iglesias
  • The Fervor by Alma Katsu
  • Gwendy’s Final Task by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar
  • What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher
  • Echo by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
  • No Gods for Drowning by Hailey Piper
  • The Pallbearers Club by Paul Tremblay
  • Sundial by Catriona Ward

Young Adult Novel

  • Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak by Charlie Jane Anders
  • The Scratch Daughters by H.A. Clarke
  • Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn
  • The Kindred by Alechia Dow
  • Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi
  • Unraveller by Frances Hardinge
  • Rust in the Root by Justina Ireland
  • Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore
  • Ballad & Dagger by Daniel José Older
  • An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. Pan

First Novel

  • Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree
  • The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas
  • The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean
  • The Bruising of Qilwa by Naseem Jamnia
  • The Ballad of Perilous Graves by Alex Jennings
  • The Unbalancing by R.B. Lemberg
  • The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller
  • How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu
  • The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler
  • The Genesis of Misery by Neon Yang


  • A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers
  • Of Charms, Ghosts and Grievances by Aliette de Bodard
  • Servant Mage by Kate Elliott
  • “Bishop’s Opening" by R.S.A Garcia (Clarkesworld 1/22)
  • A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow
  • Even Though I Knew the End by C.L. Polk
  • Tread of Angels by Rebecca Roanhorse
  • High Times in the Low Parliament by Kelly Robson
  • Ogres by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Into the Riverlands by Nghi Vo


  • “If You Find Yourself Speaking to God, Address God with the Informal You" by John Chu (Uncanny 7-8/22)
  • “Two Hands, Wrapped in Gold" by S.B. Divya (Uncanny 5-6/22)
  • “Incident at Bear Creek Lodge” by Tananarive Due (Other Terrors)
  • “Solidity” by Greg Egan (Asimov’s 9-10/22)
  • “The Six Deaths of the Saint” by Alix E. Harrow (Into Shadow)
  • “In Mercy, Rain“ by Seanan McGuire ( 7/18/22)
  • “Falling Off the Edge of the World” by Suzanne Palmer (Asimov’s 11-12/22)
  • “The Sadness Box" by Suzanne Palmer (Clarkesworld 7/22)
  • “A Dream of Electric Mothers” by Wole Talabi (Africa Risen)
  • “The Difference Between Love and Time” by Catherynne M. Valente (Someone in Time)

Short Story

  • “Give Me English” by Ai Jiang (F&SF 5-6/22)
  • “The Goldfish Man” by Maureen McHugh (Uncanny 3-4/22)
  • “Rabbit Test” by Samantha Mills (Uncanny 11-12/22)
  • “Dick Pig” by Ian Muneshwar (Nightmare 1/22)
  • “Master of Ceremonies" by Frances Ogamba (The Dark 5/22)
  • “Beginnings” by Kristina Ten (Fantasy 4/22)
  • “The Coward Who Stole God’s Name” by John Wiswell (Uncanny 5-6/22)
  • “D.I.Y” by John Wiswell ( 8/24/22)
  • “Inheritance" by Hannah Yang (Analog 9-10/22)
  • “A Monster in the Shape of a Boy" by Hannah Yang (Apex 5/22)


  • The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories edited by Yu Chen & Regina Kanyu Wang
  • The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 6 edited by Neil Clarke
  • Screams from the Dark edited by Ellen Datlow
  • The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2022 edited by Rebecca Roanhorse & John Joseph Adams
  • Someone in Time: Tales of Time-Crossed Romance edited by Jonathan Strahan
  • Tomorrow’s Parties: Life in the Anthropocene edited by Jonathan Strahan
  • Africa Risen: A New Era of Speculative Fiction edited by Sheree Renée Thomas & Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki & Zelda Knight
  • Trouble the Waters: Tales from the Deep Blue edited by Sheree Renée Thomas & Pan Morigan & Troy L. Wiggins
  • The Best of World SF: Volume 2 edited by Lavie Tidhar
  • The Future is Female! Volume Two: The 1970s edited by Lisa Yaszek


  • Dark Breakers by C.S.E. Cooney
  • Memory’s Legion: The Complete Expanse Story Collection by James S.A. Corey
  • Night Shift by Eileen Gunn
  • Breakable Things by Cassandra Khaw
  • Geometries of Belonging by R.B. Lemberg
  • Boys, Beasts & Men by Sam J. Miller
  • The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe et al.
  • Illuminations by Alan Moore
  • Our Fruiting Bodies by Nisi Shawl
  • The Best of Lucius Shepard: Vol. 2 by Lucius Shepard


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


  • Angry Robot
  • Gollancz
  • Harper Voyager
  • Neon Hemlock
  • Orbit
  • Small Beer
  • Subterranean
  • Tachyon
  • Tor
  • Tordotcom


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


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


  • The Rise of the Cyberzines: The Story of the Science-Fiction Magazines from 1991 to 2020 by Mike Ashley
  • Fantasy: How It Works by Brian Attebery
  • An Earnest Blackness by Eugen Bacon
  • Queering SF: Readings by Ritch Calvin
  • Bridging Worlds: Global Conversations on Creating Pan-African Speculative Literature in a Pandemic by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki
  • Charting the Afrofuturist Imaginary in African American Art: The Black Female Fantastic by Elizabeth Carmel Hamilton
  • The Visual History of Science Fiction Fandom, Volume Two: 1940 by David Ritter & Daniel Ritter
  • Keeping It Unreal: Black Queer Fantasy and Superhero Comics by Darieck Scott
  • Stephen King: A Complete Exploration of His Work, Life, and Influences by Bev Vincent
  • Terry Pratchett: A Life With Footnotes: The Official Biography by Rob Wilkins

Illustrated Art Book

  • Visions of Beauty edited by Dianne Borsini-Burr, art by Kinuko Y. Craft
  • Paintings & Drawings of Rowena by Kim DeMulder, art by Rowena
  • The Keeper by Tananarive Due & Steven Barnes, art by Marco Finnegan
  • In the Black Fantastic by Ekow Eshun
  • Spectrum Fantastic Art Quarterly Volume Two edited by Cathy & Arnie Fenner
  • Chivalry by Neil Gaiman, art by Colleen Doran
  • The Night Eaters Book 1: She Eats the Night by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda
  • Mother Christmas, Vol 1: The Muse by Valya Dudycz Lupescu, art by Vic Terra
  • Animal Farm: A Fairy Story, by George Orwell, art by Omar Rayyan
  • Creature: Paintings, Drawings, and Reflections by Shaun Tan

Special Award 2023: Developing Diversity in Genre Communities

  • Carl Brandon Society