2021 Locus Award Winners: Novels, Novellas, Novelettes, Short Stories

The 2021 Locus Awards Winners have been announced!

I wanted to review at least the short works, but didn’t make it through. Sorry about that, but cat business got in the way. 

Here are all the winners and finalists from short to long story. Links in the title lead to freely available online publications and my review respectively:

Best Short Story

Winner: ★★★☆☆ • Little Free Library • 2020 • Magical Realism short story by Naomi Kritzer • review

I had no clear favorite 5 star story in this category. Kritzer’s winning story was fine but not Award material in my opinion. My bets lied on John Wiswell’s story Open House on Haunted Hill which also won the Nebula Award. This and Rae Carson’s story are the intersecting ones with the Nebula Awards. I enjoyed all the stories, there wasn’t any bummer among them. But with the great author lineup – Alix E. Harrow, Yoon Ha Lee, Naomi Kritzer, Ken Liu, and Aliette de Bodard – I’d have expected a better average and I’m a little bit disappointed.

Best Novelette

Winner: ★★★★☆ • The Pill • 2020 • Dystopian novelette by Meg Elison • review

I read all the stories here but couldn’t provide reviews for the last few stories. I‘m fine with the Meg Ellison’s winning story, which is excellent and exhausting to read at the same time.

Best Novella

Winner: ★★★★★ • Ring Shout • 2020 • Historical horror novella by P. Djèlí Clark • review

A perfect choice! I was totally hyped by this novella, although it’s Cthulhu horror. 
I‘m still planning to read some of the remaining novellas, like Bodard‘s Xuya story and Cho‘s novella.

  • ★★★★★ • 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
  • ★★★+☆☆ • 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)
  • Upright Women Wanted, Sarah Gailey (Tordotcom)
  • Come Tumbling Down, Seanan McGuire (Tordotcom)
  • The Empress of Salt and Fortune, Nghi Vo (Tordotcom)

Best SF Novel

Winner:Network Effect, Martha Wells

Can’t say much about this one, because I‘ve read only the first Murderbot novella and it didn’t draw me in. I’m not convinced that it is the best choice here.

  • ★★★★☆ • Attack Surface • 2020 • Near Future SF novel by Cory Doctorow • review
  • ★★★★☆ • Agency • 2020 • Cyberpunk/Time travel novel by William Gibson • review (sorry, German review only)
  • ★★★★☆ • The Ministry for the Future • 2020 • CliFi novel by Kim Stanley Robinson • review
  • Machine, Elizabeth Bear (Saga; Gollancz)
  • Unconquerable Sun, Kate Elliott (Tor)
  • The Relentless Moon, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor; Solaris)
  • War of the Maps, Paul McAuley (Gollancz)
  • The Last Emperox, John Scalzi (Tor; Tor UK)
  • Network Effect, Martha Wells (Tordotcom)
  • Interlibrary Loan, Gene Wolfe (Tor)

Best Fantasy Novel

WinnerThe City We Became, N.K. Jemisin

I haven‘t read this one, yet, but noticed several critical reviews. There was strong competition, and I absolutely loved Roanhorse‘s and Harrow‘s novels.

  • ★★★★★ • Black Sun • 2020 • High Fantasy novel by Rebecca Roanhorse • review
  • ★★★★★ • The Once and Future Witches • 2020 • Fantasy novel by Alix E. Harrow • review
  • ★★★★☆ • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue • 2020 • Fantasy novel by V.E. Schwab • review
  • ★★★☆☆ • Piranesi • 2020 • Speculative fiction novel bySusanna Clarke • review
  • The Trouble with Peace, Joe Abercrombie (Orbit US; Gollancz)
  • The Angel of the Crows, Katherine Addison (Tor; Solaris)
  • The City We Became, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US & UK)
  • Harrow the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir (Tordotcom)
  • The Left-Handed Booksellers of London, Garth Nix (Tegen Books; Allen & Unwin; Gollancz)
  • The Midnight Bargain, C.L. Polk (Erewhon)

First Novel

WinnerElatsoe, Darcie Little Badger

Never heard of it and didn’t notice a review. I guess  I‘ll have to look it up. But that’s what this category is for anyway, right? Jimenez‘s and Steward‘s novels were fabulous!

  • ★★★★+☆ • The Vanished Birds• 2020 • SF novel by Simon Jimenez • review
  • ★★★★☆ • The Bone Shard Daughter• 2020 • Fantasy novel by Andrea Stewart • review
  • The Space Between Worlds, Micaiah Johnson (Del Rey; Hodder & Stoughton)
  • The Unspoken Name, A.K. Larkwood (Tor; Tor UK)
  • Elatsoe, Darcie Little Badger (Levine Querido)
  • Beneath the Rising, Premee Mohamed (Solaris)
  • Architects of Memory, Karen Osborne (Tor)
  • Cemetery Boys, Aiden Thomas (Swoon Reads)
  • The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea, Maggie Tokuda-Hall (Candlewick; Walker UK)
  • Hench, Natalie Zina Walschots (Morrow)


  • WINNER: ★★★★+☆ • The Book of Dragons, Jonathan Strahan, ed.  review


  • WINNER: ★★★★★ • The Hidden Girl and Other Stories, Ken Liu  review 

Both, anthology and collection winners were my favorite choice! There are really great stories in both. Check out my reviews for further insights, please!


WINNER: ★★★★☆ • The Art of NASA: The Illustrations that Sold the Missions, Piers Bizony review

This entry was posted in Anthology, Fantasy, Science Fiction and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 2021 Locus Award Winners: Novels, Novellas, Novelettes, Short Stories

  1. Dina says:

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who didn’t like Finna!
    Micaiah Johnson’s debut was fantastic. Elatsoe was only okay for me but most people seemed to love it. I’m curious to see what you think.

    Liked by 1 person

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