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The Locus Awards
edited by Charles N. Brown and Jonathan Strahan
HarperCollins Eos, 514 pages

The Locus Awards
Charles N. Brown and Jonathan Strahan
Charles N Brown founded Locus in 1968 and as editor has won 24 Hugo awards. He lives in Oakland, California.

Jonathan Strahan was born in Belfast and moved to perth in 1968. He is the co-founder of Eidolon: The Journal of Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy and is currently the reviews editor of Locus: The Magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Field. He lives in Perth, Western Australia, with his family.

ISFDB Bibliography: Charles N. Brown
ISFDB Bibliography: Jonathan Strahan

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Greg L. Johnson

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The science fiction community certainly hands out its fair share of awards, starting with the Hugos and multiplying into all the different categories and their various best-ofs that we know today. The Locus awards, covering the last thirty years in SF and fantasy, stand about half-way between the Hugos and the Nebulas, the Locus awards are voted on by readers from a list of recommendations put together by the critics and reviewers of Locus magazine and a few others. The combination of a knowledgeable readership and expert recommendations yields a predictable result; the stories in The Locus Awards form a handy one-volume collection of some of the very best that science fiction has to offer.

The stories are arranged by decade, starting with the 70s. Many of them, from Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Day Before the Revolution" to Terry Bisson's "Bears Discover Fire" will be familiar to anyone who regularly reads short SF. There are always stories you haven't read, though, and the surprise for me was John Crowley's "Gone," a low-key but effective offering of hope in a crazy world. If there is one name here that is new to other readers it is probably Ted Chiang, whose "Hell is the Absence of God" fits neatly into the last section of the book, in-between Greg Egan's "Border Guards" and Neil Gaiman's "October in the Chair." The transition from Egan's hard SF to Chiang's allegory to Gaiman's take on classic fantasy is no let-down from The Locus Awards opening salvo of Gene Wolfe, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Harlan Ellison.

For long time readers, whether they wish to purchase The Locus Awards may depend on how many of these stories they already own. New readers may find this a handy introduction to some of the best stories and writers of the last thirty year, though not necessarily a complete one. (If your only guide to SF and fantasy of the last thirty years was the Locus awards, you'd hardly be aware of the movement known as cyberpunk, for example). Either way, there is no denying the high quality of writing and story-telling on display here. The Locus Awards is testimony to the status of SF as literature, and to the existence of an audience that appreciates it.

Copyright © 2004 by Greg L. Johnson

Reviewer Greg L Johnson enjoys being part of a crowd that knows a good SF story when it reads one. His reviews also appear in the The New York Review of Science Fiction.


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