Locus Award Finalists 2022

The 2022 Locus Award finalists have just been announced, and I want to quickly go over them and make some comparisons with the Hugo and Nebula Awards. Just quickly here. There are ten finalists in each category, and the full list can be found at the Locus Magazine website here.

In the novel categories, there is plenty of overlap between the three awards, though only P. Djèlí Clark’s Master of Djinn and Arkady Martine’s A Desolation Called Peace appear on all three ballots. With five novel categories with ten nominees each, the Locus Ballot does cover most of the best books of 2021. However, the Hugo and Nebula’s each picked out one novel that the Locus Awards missed, being Andy Weir’s Project Hail Mary in the Hugos, and Jason Sanford’s Plague Birds in the Nebulas.

I think it’s always interesting when there are novels capable of taking out the legendary ‘triple crown’ of awards. (There’s also the possibility of a ‘quadrella’ that also includes the World Fantasy Award, but I don’t believe any book has ever done that. Plus being a pure fantasy award, a lot of books are incapable of winning this quaddie.) If I’m counting right, 21 books have won the triple, with the most recent being Martha Wells’s Network Effect last year. Both Master of Djinn or A Desolation Called Peace could still win the triple.

The Nebula Awards for 2022 will be announced later this month, on the 21st. Will be interesting to see if one of these two keeps our hope for a triple alive.

Looking to the Novellas, we see the same trend we saw with the Hugo and Nebula awards; Tor.com dominating. Eight out of ten finalists in the novella category are Tor.com novellas. This is super impressive and reflects my own preferences from last year. However, it also reminds me that I do need to branch out a bit when reading shorter fiction. Tor is amazing, but there are other places that publish novellas.

I’m currently going through the novelettes for the Hugo Awards, and there are some familiar titles on the Locus ballot. Fran Wilde’s Unseelie Brothers, Ltd, Suzanne Palmer’s Bots of the Lost Arc, and Catherynne M. Valente’s L’Esprit de L’Escalier are all Hugo and Locus award nominees. The excellent That Story Isn’t The Story by John Wiswell has been nominated for all three awards. I love pretty much everything by John Wiswell I’ve read, and That Story Isn’t The Story deserves all the nominations it has gotten.

Last year, I read and reviewed every short story nominated for all three of these big awards. The timing hasn’t worked out for me to do that this year. I imagine that by the time I get through all the Locus Award finalists, the Nebula Awards will be announced. Well, I could still do it anyway, and it’ll be fun to do. I just feel I’ll lose motivation once some winners are announced. I’m still interested in seeing the overlap.

There are three stories that have been nominated for all three awards; Mr. Death by Alix E. Harrow, Proof By Induction by José Pablo Iriarte, and Where Oaken Hearts Do Gather, by Sarah Pinsker. Reviews for all three can be found on my post about the Hugo Award Short Stories, as can my thoughts on The Sin of America by Catherynne M. Valente, which is a finalist for both the Hugo and the Locus. Finally, Sam J. Miller’s Let All The Children Boogie, is a finalist for both the Locus and the Nebula award.

Unlike in the Best Novella category, the Novelette and Short Story categories come from a variety of publishers. Uncanny Magazine is a bit dominating, having provided us with 7/20 of the finalists, but Tor.com, Asimov’s, Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Clarkesworld, Apex, Diabolical Plots and two different anthologies are also represented. This demonstrates one reason why I like the Locus Awards, even though I don’t have the commitment to read everything that gets nominated; they provide the best overview of the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror genres overall.

The Locus Award winners will be announced on June 25, during the Locus Awards Weekend.

~ Lauren

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