2020 Locus Recommended Reading List

At the start of each year, Locus publishes a consensus list from several editors, columnists etc (like Strahan, Horton, Clarke,…) a list of recommended readings of the last year. My post for 2019 is here. Now, the new one for 2020 has just been published.

2020 Locus Recommended Reading List

I don’t copy the whole list, but pick out the sections I’m most interested in (e.g. no YA, Horror, Art). I’ll add review links over time, and links to online available works where applicable. Consider this a work in progress 🙂


  • ★★★★☆ • Attack Surface • 2020 • Near Future SF novel by Cory Doctorow • review
  • ★★★★☆ • Agency • 2020 • Cyberpunk/Zeitreise-Roman von William Gibson • review
  • ★★★★☆ • The Ministry for the Future • 2020 • CliFi novel by Kim Stanley Robinson • review
  • Providence, Max Barry (Putnam; Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Chosen Spirits, Samit Basu (Simon & Schuster India)
  • Tender Is the Flesh, Agustina Bazterrica (Pushkin; Scribner)
  • Machine, Elizabeth Bear (Saga; Gollancz)
  • Ghost Species, James Bradley (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Failed State, Christopher Brown (Harper Voyager US)
  • The Book of Koli, M.R. Carey (Orbit US & UK)
  • Bridge 108, Anne Charnock (47North)
  • City Under the Stars, Gardner Dozois & Michael Swanwick (Tordotcom)
  • Unconquerable Sun, Kate Elliott (Tor)
  • Anthropocene Rag, Alex Irvine (Tordotcom)
  • The Relentless Moon, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor; Solaris)
  • The Eleventh Gate, Nancy Kress (Baen)
  • The Arrest, Jonathan Lethem (Ecco; Atlantic UK)
  • War of the Maps, Paul McAuley (Gollancz)
  • Pacific Storm, Linda Nagata (Mythic Island)
  • Driving the Deep, Suzanne Palmer (DAW)
  • The Evidence, Christopher Priest (Gollancz)
  • Bone Silence, Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz; Orbit US)
  • The Last Emperox, John Scalzi (Tor; Tor UK)
  • Network Effect, Martha Wells (Tordotcom)
  • Fleet Elements, Walter Jon Williams (Harper Voyager US)
  • Interlibrary Loan, Gene Wolfe (Tor)


  • ★★★★★ • The Once and Future Witches • 2020 • Fantasy novel by Alix E. Harrow • review
  • ★★★★★ • Black Sun • 2020 • High Fantasy novel by Rebecca Roanhorse • review
  • ★★★★☆ • Phoenix Extravagant • 2020 • Steampunk Fantasy by Yoon Ha Lee • review
  • ★★★★☆ • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue • 2020 • Fantasy novel by V.E. Schwab • review
  • ★★★+☆☆ • How To Rule An Empire and Get Away With It • 2020 • Fantasy novel by K.J. Parker • review
  • ★★★☆☆ • Piranesi • 2020 • Speculative fiction novel by Susanna Clarke • review
  • The Trouble with Peace, Joe Abercrombie (Orbit US; Gollancz)
  • The Angel of the Crows, Katherine Addison (Tor; Solaris)
  • The Book of Lamps and Banners, Elizabeth Hand (Mulholland)
  • The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again, M. John Harrison (Gollancz)
  • The Harpy, Megan Hunter (Grove; Picador)
  • The City We Became, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US & UK)
  • Trouble the Saints, Alaya Dawn Johnson (Tor)
  • The Blade Between, Sam J. Miller (Ecco)
  • A Children’s Bible, Lydia Millet (Norton)
  • Utopia Avenue, David Mitchell (Random House; Sceptre)
  • Harrow the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir (Tordotcom)
  • The Left-Handed Booksellers of London, Garth Nix (Tegen Books; Allen & Unwin; Gollancz)
  • Mordew, Alex Pheby (Galley Beggar; Tor 2021)
  • Stormsong, C.L. Polk (Tordotcom)
  • The Midnight Bargain, C.L. Polk (Erewhon)
  • Creatures of Charm and Hunger, Molly Tanzer (John Joseph Adams)
  • By Force Alone, Lavie Tidhar (Head of Zeus; Tor)
  • Or What You Will, Jo Walton (Tor)
  • Comet Weather, Liz Williams (NewCon)
  • Interior Chinatown, Charles Yu (Pantheon)


  • ★★★★★ • Ring Shout • 2020 • Historical horror novella by P. Djèlí Clark • review
  • ★★★★★ • The Four Profound Weaves • 2020 • Fantasy novella by R.B. Lemberg • review
  • ★★★★☆ • Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders • 2020 • Urban Fantasy novella by Aliette de Bodard • review 
  • ★★★+☆☆ • Riot Baby • 2020 • Superhero novella by Tochi Onyebuchi • review
  • ☆ • Finna • 2020 Horror SF novella by Nino Cipri • no review (horror)
  • The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water, Zen Cho (Tordotcom)
  • Seven of Infinities, Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean)
  • Ife-Iyoku, the Tale of Imadeyunuagbon, Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald (Dominion)
  • Dispersion, Greg Egan (Subterranean)
  • Out of Body, Jeffrey Ford (Tordotcom)
  • Upright Women Wanted, Sarah Gailey (Tordotcom)
  • Flyaway, Kathleen Jennings (Tordotcom)
  • Night of the Mannequins, Stephen Graham Jones (Tordotcom)
  • Sea Change, Nancy Kress (Tachyon)
  • Come Tumbling Down, Seanan McGuire (Tordotcom)
  • Prosper’s Demon, K.J. Parker (Tordotcom)
  • Yellow Jessamine, Caitlin Starling (Neon Hemlock)
  • Drowned Country, Emily Tesh (Tordotcom)
  • The Empress of Salt and Fortune, Nghi Vo (Tordotcom)




  • ★★★★+☆ • The Vanished Birds • 2020 • SF novel by Simon Jimenez • review
  • ★★★★☆ • The Bone Shard Daughter • 2020 • Fantasy novel by Andrea Stewart • review
  • The Wall, Gautam Bhatia (HarperCollins India)
  • Every Bone a Prayer, Ashley Blooms (Sourcebooks Landmark)
  • The Twice-Drowned Saint, C.S.E. Cooney (A Sinister Quartet)
  • The Year of the Witching, Alexis Henderson (Ace; Bantam Press UK)
  • Vagabonds, Hao Jingfang (Saga; Head of Zeus)
  • The Space Between Worlds, Micaiah Johnson (Del Rey; Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Stonefish, Scott R. Jones (Word Horde)
  • The Unspoken Name, A.K. Larkwood (Tor; Tor UK)
  • Elatsoe, Darcie Little Badger (Levine Querido)
  • Beneath the Rising, Premee Mohamed (Solaris)
  • Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982, Cho Nam-Joo (Scribner UK; Liveright)
  • Architects of Memory, Karen Osborne (Tor)
  • Eartheater, Dolores Reyes (HarperVia)
  • Little Eyes, Samanta Schweblin (Oneworld; Riverhead)
  • Star Daughter, Shveta Thakrar (HarperTeen)
  • Cemetery Boys, Aiden Thomas (Swoon Reads)
  • The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea, Maggie Tokuda-Hall (Candlewick; Walker UK)
  • Hench, Natalie Zina Walschots (Morrow)
  • Love and Other Thought Experiments, Sophie Ward (Corsair)


  • ★★★★★ • The Hidden Girl and Other Stories • 2020 • Collection by Ken Liu • review
  • The Road to Woop Woop, Eugen Bacon (Meerkat)
  • Aftermath of an Industrial Accident: Stories, Mike Allen (Mythic Delirium)
  • The Best of Elizabeth Bear, Elizabeth Bear (Subterranean)
  • Thin Places, Kay Chronister (Undertow)
  • Big Girl, Meg Elison (PM)
  • The Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper, AJ Fitzwater (Queen of Swords)
  • The Best of Jeffrey Ford, Jeffrey Ford (PS)
  • Songs for Dark Seasons, Lisa L Hannett (Ticonderoga)
  • Settling the World: Selected Stories 1970-2020, M. John Harrison (Comma)
  • Everyone on the Moon Is Essential Personnel, Julian K. Jarboe (Lethe)
  • If It Bleeds, Stephen King (Scribner; Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Velocities, Kathe Koja (Meerkat)
  • Analog/Virtual: And Other Simulations of Your Future, Lavanya Lakshminarayan (Hachette India)
  • Children of the Fang and Other Genealogies, John Langan (Word Horde)
  • We All Hear Stories in the Dark, Robert Shearman (PS)
  • The Heart is a Mirror for Sinners & Other Stories, Angela Slatter (PS)
  • The Best of Michael Marshall Smith, Michael Marshall Smith (Subterranean)
  • The Postutopian Adventures of Darger and Surplus, Michael Swanwick (Subterranean)
  • Nine Bar Blues, Sheree Renée Thomas (Third Man)
  • The Grand Tour, E. Catherine Tobler (Apex)
  • Disease, Sarah Tolmie (Aqueduct)
  • The Midnight Circus, Jane Yolen (Tachyon)


  • ★★★★+☆ • The Book of Dragons • 2020 • Fantasy anthology by Jonathan Strahan • review
  • ★★★+☆☆ • Entanglements – Tomorrow’s Lovers, Families, and Friends • 2020 • Twelve Tomorrows anthology by Sheila Williams • review
  • The Decameron Project, Anonymous, ed. (The New York Times)
  • A Sinister Quartet, Mike Ashley & C.S.E. Cooney & Amanda J. McGee & Jessica P. Wick, eds. (Mythic Delirium)
  • A Phoenix First Must Burn, Patrice Caldwell, ed. (Viking; Hot Key)
  • The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 5, Neil Clarke, ed. (Night Shade)
  • That We May Live: Speculative Chinese Fiction, Sarah Coolidge, ed. (Two Lines)
  • Edited By, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Subterranean)
  • Final Cuts: New Tales of Hollywood Horror and Other Spectacles, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Anchor)
  • The Best Horror of the Year: Volume Twelve, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Night Shade)
  • The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2020, Diana Gabaldon & John Joseph Adams, eds. (Mariner)
  • The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror: Volume 1, Paula Guran, ed. (Pyr)
  • The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2020, Rich Horton, ed. (Prime)
  • Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora, Zelda Knight & Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald, eds. (Aurelia Leo)
  • SLAY: Stories of the Vampire Noire, Nicole Givens Kurtz, ed. (Mocha Memoirs)
  • Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women, Lee Murray & Genevieve Flynn, eds. (Omninum Gatherum)
  • Glitter + Ashes: Queer Tales of a World that Wouldn’t Die, dave ring, ed. (Neon Hemlock)
  • Avatar अवतार: Indian Science Fiction, Tarun K. Saint & Francesco Verso, eds. (Future Science Fiction)
  • Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 3, William Schafer, ed. (Subterranean)
  • Made to Order, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Solaris)
  • The Year’s Best Science Fiction Vol. 1, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Saga)
  • Africanfuturism, Wole Talabi, ed. (Brittle Paper)
  • The Big Book of Modern Fantasy, Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, eds. (Vintage)
  • Avatars Inc, Ann VanderMeer, ed. (Xprize)
  • London Centric: Tales of Future London, Ian Whates, ed. (NewCon)


  • Plants in Science Fiction: Speculative Vegetation, Katherine E. Bishop & David Higgins & Jerry Määttä, eds. (University of Wales Press)
  • Beyond the Outposts: Essays on SF and Fantasy 1955-1996, Algis Budrys (Ansible)
  • The Magic of Terry Pratchett, Marc Burrows (White Owl)
  • Re-Enchanted: The Rise of Children’s Fantasy Literature in the Twentieth Century, Maria Sachiko Cecire (University of Minnesota Press)
  • Inventing Tomorrow: H.G. Wells and the Twentieth Century, Sarah Cole (Columbia University Press)
  • The Unidentified: Mythical Monsters, Alien Encounters, and Our Obsession with the Unexplained, Colin Dickey (Viking)
  • The Star Wars Archives: 1999–2005, Paul Duncan (Taschen)
  • Bradbury Beyond Apollo, Jonathan R. Eller (University of Illinois Press)
  • Weird Westerns: Race, Gender, Genre, Kerry Fine & Michael K. Johnson & Rebecca M. Lush & Sara L. Spurgeon, eds. (University of Nebraska Press)
  • Beaming Up and Getting Off: Life Before and Beyond Star Trek, Walter Koenig (Jacobs/Brown)
  • Literary Afrofuturism in the Twenty-First Century, Isiah Lavender III & Lisa Yaszek, eds. (Ohio State University Press)
  • Writer: Volume 4, Richard A. Lupoff (Surinam Turtle Press)
  • Science Fiction and Climate Change: A Sociological Approach, Andrew Milner & J.R. Burgmann (Liverpool University Press)
  • Horror Fiction in the 20th Century: Exploring Literature’s Most Chilling Genre, Jess Nevins (Praeger)
  • The Earliest Bradbury, David Ritter & Daniel Ritter, eds. (First Fandom Experience)
  • The Visual History of Science Fiction Fandom, Volume One: The 1930’s, David Ritter & Daniel Ritter, eds. (First Fandom Experience)
  • The Monster Theory Reader, Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, ed. (University of Minnesota Press)
This entry was posted in Anthology, Fantasy, Science Fiction and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to 2020 Locus Recommended Reading List

  1. pdtillman says:

    Goodness. Mt. TBR just grew by a few more feet! Thanks, I guess. You’re definitely ahead of me in reading these!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andreas says:

      I didn’t even start the short stories, though.
      Last year’s been full with ARC reading. I‘m surprised that I didn’t cover more.

      Liked by 1 person

      • pdtillman says:

        All that time in hospital! What *were* you doing?
        My (blessedly dim) memories of my last time in hospital, I wasn’t much up for reading 🤨
        And here’s one for your USA medical file: My freshman year in college (1963!), I wrecked my trusty Puch motorbike, by failing to see a stop=sign hidden behind an overgrown tree. When the ambulance delivered me to a very near hospital, the driver wouldn’t let me out until I paid him! I kept the blood-stained cancelled check for YEARS…. And it may still be in some forgotten bankers box somewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Andreas says:

          Curing a burnout takes longer than one might expect. A couple of single therapy sessions per week, lots of group sessions, physical therapy. Some five hours every day on average. That’s exhausting. But it really got better there and now I know my stuff to handle upcoming issues. Sadly, the chance that it will return is relatively high.
          I think it wasn’t too expensive. Two months in hospital with all the therapies under €40,000. Plus my salary.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. cathepsut says:

    Ministry of the Future was not a winner for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. cathepsut says:

    Phoenix Extravagant I did like quite a lot…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. cathepsut says:

    And City we Became was a fairly massive flop with me…


  5. Wakizashi says:

    Great post, Andreas. I always look forward to this list for the novellas, novelettes and short stories. Thanks for the links.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice list and love to watch the progress you have made. I have to wait to only look at the Hugo and Nebula finalists because I just don’t have enough time.
    x The Captain

    Liked by 1 person

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