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The 2015 Locus Recommended Reading List

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Empire Ascendant-smallLet’s assume that you’re a busy guy or gal, and don’t have time to read every new book on the shelves, regardless of how damn tantalizing the cover is. Heck, you don’t even have time to read the reviews. And let’s also assume that you still want to stay on top of the best new books. How on earth are you supposed to manage that?

As usual, Locus magazine makes it easy — by compiling a massive recommended reading list drawn from the consensus vote of Locus editors, reviewers, and outside professionals. All told, they poll some three dozen industry pros to compile the mother of all reading lists, capturing the most acclaimed fantasy novels, SF novels, YA novels, collections, anthologies, Art books, nonfiction, and short fiction of the year. It’s an invaluable resource, especially if you’re trying to get up to speed in advance of Award season.

Here, for example, is the complete Locus Recommended Reading List of 2015 Fantasy Novels:

Foxglove Summer, Ben Aaronovitch (Gollancz 2014; DAW)
A God in Ruins, Kate Atkinson (Little, Brown; Doubleday UK)
Karen Memory, Elizabeth Bear (Tor)
Nightwise, R.S. Belcher (Tor)
Beneath London, James P. Blaylock (Titan)
The House of Shattered Wings, Aliette de Bodard (Roc; Gollancz)
Prodigies, Angelica Gorodischer (Small Beer)
Wylding Hall, Elizabeth Hand (PS; Open Road)

Empire Ascendant, Kameron Hurley (Angry Robot)
The Buried Giant, Kazuo Ishiguro (Knopf)
The Liminal War, Ayize Jama-Everett (Small Beer)
The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
Killing Pretty, Richard Kadrey (Harper Voyager)
Finders Keepers, Stephen King (Scribner)
Archivist Wasp, Nicole Kornher-Stace (Big Mouth House)
Slade House, David Mitchell (Random House; Sceptre UK)
Uprooted, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
Savages, K.J. Parker (Subterranean)
The Annihilation Score, Charles Stross (Ace)
Pacific Fire, Greg Van Eekhout (Tor)
The Philosopher Kings, Jo Walton (Tor)

See the complete list here.

We last covered Locus magazine with the December 2015 issue.

10 Comments »

  1. Sad to note that there isn’t a single Pyr title and only the one Baen (Operation Arcana, John Joseph Adams, ed.), and not a mention of Ragnarok’s Blackguards http://www.ragnarokpub.com/#!blackguards/z36py

    Comment by Jason M 'RBE' Waltz - February 3, 2016 3:23 am

  2. I guess I don’t stay as informed as I thought i did. Because I don’t recognize any of these…maybe I would if I saw the cover.

    Comment by Glenn - February 3, 2016 7:34 am

  3. How exciting!

    Comment by Zeta Moore - February 3, 2016 10:38 am

  4. I read only two of them, and my tastes apparently don’t align, I couldn’t recommend either of them (and thus I’m not naming them). Such is the way with lists like this.

    Comment by R.K. Robinson - February 3, 2016 11:55 am

  5. Shame on me — I forgot to give a shout out for some of the BG writers who made the list, including C.S.E. Cooney (3 times!), Rich Horton, Jeffrey Ford, and Amal El-Mohtar.

    Comment by John ONeill - February 3, 2016 12:40 pm

  6. > Sad to note that there isn’t a single Pyr title and only the one Baen (Operation
    > Arcana, John Joseph Adams, ed.), and not a mention of Ragnarok’s Blackguards

    Jason,

    Very true. This is something I learned the hard way while publishing the print version of Black Gate — it’s not enough to publish great fiction. You also have to promote the hell out of it, and get it into as many hands as the big publishers do (or more, ideally). And that’s a full time job in itself.

    Comment by John ONeill - February 3, 2016 12:50 pm

  7. And I recognize almost all of them, have read three or four, and liked what I read. Different strokes, etc.

    Comment by Joe H. - February 3, 2016 4:04 pm

  8. I concur with Jason. I’ve read four Ragnarok books this year and each one of them is top shelf. If you haven’t picked up a copy of Grim Dark Magazine then you are missing out. I’ve yet to read a mediocre print.

    Baen remains a brand that houses writers that I frequently buy from. From the above list I have read Aliette de Bodard’s Blood and Obsidian and R.S.Belcher’s Tarot Arcana series and of course Steven King.

    I can tell you that R.S. Belcher writes decent weird westerns. The only two down checks that I have are that he spread himself thin on the number of characters that piqued my interest but then left them out of the story. I suspect that he planned for a huge series but then ran out of steam to write more in the Golgotha setting. I will say that he holds predictable scorn for the the predictable people. If you can get past that then you will have a good read.

    Aliette de Bodard’s Blood and Obsidian was fantastic. I would consider reading her novels and I will probably put that in the reading que.

    Steven King, hey, he is the King. Of late most of his novels have fallen short of the 80s and 90s blockbusters that he wrote IMO. I think he is running out of ideas or ways to scare people. He has been a bit preachy lately which gets worn and old. Still, he’ll sell millions. I plan to wait and see. His new books that stand the test of time are always worthwhile.

    There are a few on the list that I wouldn’t read even if they were for free. As a list I’m sure that my tastes don’t align either.

    Kudos to the Black Gate writers. I’m glad that they are scaling the ladder of greatness.

    Comment by Wild Ape - February 3, 2016 11:36 pm

  9. From the list I’ll particularly recommend Elizabeth Hand’s Wylding Hall to anyone who (like me) has a deep and abiding love for late 60s British folk rock.

    Comment by Joe H. - February 4, 2016 9:14 am

  10. > I’ve read four Ragnarok books this year and each one of them is top shelf. If you haven’t picked up a copy of
    > Grim Dark Magazine then you are missing out. I’ve yet to read a mediocre print.

    Ape,

    Sounds like my survey of Ragnarok books is long overdue. Thanks for the rec!

    Comment by John ONeill - February 4, 2016 1:00 pm


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