Locus Ranked Short Fiction: Novellas, Novelettes, Short Stories

It is a bit difficult to find good rankings for SF&F short fiction. I found the 2012 Locus voted list and cite it here:

I haven’t read many of those and reviewed even less; if a review is available, I’ve linked it in the fiction title.

20th Century Novella

1★★★★★Chiang, TedStory of Your Life1998
2★★★★★Le Guin, Ursula K.The Word for World Is Forest1972
3★★★★Tiptree, James, Jr.Houston, Houston, Do You Read?1976
4not reviewedCampbell, John W.Who Goes There?1938
5not reviewedVarley, JohnThe Persistence of Vision1978
6★★★★★Wolfe, GeneThe Fifth Head of Cerberus1972
7not reviewedLeiber, FritzIll Met in Lankhmar1970
8not reviewedHeinlein, Robert A.The Man Who Sold the Moon1950
9★★★★★Kress, NancyBeggars in Spain1991
10not reviewedMoore, C. L. & Henry KuttnerVintage Season1946
11not reviewedBujold, Lois McMasterThe Mountains of Mourning1989
12not reviewedMartin, George R. R.A Song for Lya1974
13not reviewedLovecraft, H. P.The Shadow Over Innsmouth1942
14not reviewedHeinlein, Robert A.By His Bootstraps1941
15not reviewedSimak, Clifford D.The Big Front Yard1958
16not reviewedSturgeon, TheodoreBaby Is Three1952
17not reviewedMoorcock, MichaelBehold the Man1966
17not reviewedVarley, JohnPRESS ENTER[]1984
19not reviewedWillis, ConnieThe Last of the Winnebagos1988
20not reviewedVinge, VernorTrue Names1981
21not reviewedVance, JackThe Last Castle1966
22not reviewedCrowley, JohnGreat Work of Time1989
22not reviewedZelazny, Roger24 Views of Mt. Fuji, by Hokusai1985
24not reviewedVance, JackThe Dragon Masters1962
24not reviewedVance, JackThe Moon Moth1961
26not reviewedHeinlein, Robert A.The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag1942
27★★★★Longyear, Barry B.Enemy Mine1979
28not reviewedAsimov, IsaacThe Martian Way1952
29not reviewedFarmer, Philip JoseRiders of the Purple Wage1967
30not reviewedZelazny, RogerHe Who Shapes1965
31★★★★★Chiang, TedSeventy-two Letters2000
32not reviewedShepard, LuciusR&R1986
33not reviewedWolfe, GeneThe Death of Doctor Island1973
34not reviewedDelany, Samuel R.The Star Pit1967
35not reviewedMcCaffrey, AnneDragonrider1967
36not reviewedResnick, MikeSeven Views of Olduvai Gorge1994
37not reviewedHeinlein, Robert A.Universe1941
38not reviewedMcCaffrey, AnneWeyr Search1967
39not reviewedSilverberg, RobertNightwings1968
40not reviewedAnderson, PoulThe Queen of Air and Darkness1971
41not reviewedLovecraft, H. P.The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward1921
42not reviewedHoward, Robert E.Red Nails1936
42★★★★+☆Silverberg, RobertSailing to Byzantium1985
44not reviewedBrin, DavidThe Postman1982
45not reviewedBear, GregHardfought1983
46not reviewedRussell, Eric Frank…And Then There Were None1951
47not reviewedZelazny, RogerHome Is the Hangman1975
48not reviewedHaldeman, JoeThe Hemingway Hoax1990
48★★★★★Wolfe, GeneSeven American Nights1978
50not reviewedLovecraft, H. P.The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath1943

20th Century Novelette

RankStarsAuthor TitleYear
1not reviewedKeyes, DanielFlowers for Algernon1959
2★★★+Asimov, IsaacNightfall1941
3★★★★★Zelazny, RogerA Rose for Ecclesiastes1963
4not reviewedAsimov, IsaacThe Bicentennial Man1976
5★★★★Martin, George R. R.Sandkings1979
6not reviewedBester, AlfredFondly Fahrenheit1954
7★★★★★Ellison, HarlanA Boy and His Dog1969
8★★★★Bear, GregBlood Music1983
9★★★★★Butler, Octavia E.Bloodchild1984
10not reviewedGodwin, TomThe Cold Equations1954
11★★★★★Tiptree, James, Jr.The Women Men Don’t See1973
12★★★★★Tiptree, James, Jr.The Girl Who Was Plugged In1973
13not reviewedCard, Orson ScottEnder’s Game1977
14★★★★★Chiang, TedTower of Babylon1990
15★★★+Weinbaum, Stanley G.A Martian Odyssey1934
16not reviewedDelany, Samuel R.Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones1968
17not reviewedDick, Philip K.We Can Remember It for You Wholesale1966
18★★★★★Gibson, WilliamBurning Chrome1982
19not reviewedLovecraft, H. P.The Call of Cthulhu1928
20not reviewedBrown, FredricArena1944
21★★★★Blish, JamesSurface Tension1952
22not reviewedWillis, ConnieFire Watch1982
23★★★★★Ellison, HarlanThe Deathbird1973
24★★★★★Miller, Walter M., Jr.A Canticle for Leibowitz1955
25★★★★Zelazny, RogerThe Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth1965
26not reviewedSmith, CordwainerThe Ballad of Lost C’Mell1962
26not reviewedNiven, LarryInconstant Moon1971
28not reviewedKuttner, Henry [Lewis Padgett]Mimsy Were the Borogoves1943
29not reviewedNiven, LarryNeutron Star1966
30not reviewedKelly, James PatrickThink Like a Dinosaur1995
31not reviewedZelazny, RogerFor a Breath I Tarry1966
32not reviewedSturgeon, TheodoreMicrocosmic God1941
33not reviewedMcCaffrey, AnneThe Ship Who Sang1961
34not reviewedAsimov, IsaacFoundation1942
35not reviewedDick, Philip K.Second Variety1953
35not reviewedSmith, CordwainerScanners Live in Vain1950
37not reviewedShepard, LuciusThe Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule1984
38not reviewedHeinlein, Robert A.–And He Built a Crooked House1941
39not reviewedLeinster, MurrayFirst Contact1945
40not reviewedKornbluth, C. M.The Little Black Bag1950
41not reviewedAldiss, Brian W.Hothouse1961
41not reviewedHeinlein, Robert A.The Roads Must Roll1940
43not reviewedKornbluth, C. M.The Marching Morons1951
44★★★★Sterling, BruceSwarm1982
45not reviewedLovecraft, H. P.The Dunwich Horror1929
46not reviewedAsimov, IsaacThe Ugly Little Boy1958
47★★★1/2Zelazny, RogerThe Keys to December1966
48not reviewedLeiber, FritzGonna Roll the Bones1967
49★★★Chiang, TedUnderstand1991
50not reviewedWaldrop, HowardThe Ugly Chickens1980
50★★★★★Le Guin, Ursula K.Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come out Tonight1987

20th Century Short Story

RankStarsAuthor TitleYear
1★★★★★Clarke, Arthur C.The Nine Billion Names of God1953
2★★★★Le Guin, Ursula K.The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas1973
3★★★★★Ellison, Harlan‘Repent, Harlequin!’ said the Ticktockman1965
4★★★★Ellison, HarlanI Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream1967
5★★★Clarke, Arthur C.The Star1955
6not reviewedBradbury, RayA Sound of Thunder1952
7not reviewedHeinlein, Robert A.All You Zombies–1959
8★★★★Gibson, WilliamJohnny Mnemonic1981
9★★★Tiptree, James, Jr.The Screwfly Solution1977
10not reviewedJackson, ShirleyThe Lottery1948
11not reviewedBradbury, RayThere Will Come Soft Rains1950
12not reviewedAsimov, IsaacThe Last Question1956
13not reviewedShaw, BobLight of Other Days1966
14not reviewedVonnegut, KurtHarrison Bergeron1961
15not reviewedHeinlein, Robert A.The Green Hills of Earth1947
16★★★Smith, CordwainerThe Game of Rat and Dragon1955
17★★★★★Pohl, FrederikDay Million1966
18★★★+Ellison, HarlanJeffty Is Five1977
19not reviewedClarke, Arthur C.The Sentinel1951
20★★★★★Russ, JoannaWhen It Changed1972
21★★★★★Tiptree, James, Jr.Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death1973
22★★★★★Delany, Samuel R.Aye, and Gomorrah1967
23not reviewedBixby, JeromeIt’s a Good Life1953
24not reviewedBradbury, RayThe Veldt1950
25not reviewedVarley, JohnAir Raid1977
26★★★★★Le Guin, Ursula K.The Day Before the Revolution1974
27★★★+Bisson, TerryBears Discover Fire1990
28★★★★★Butler, Octavia E.Speech Sounds1983
29not reviewedAsimov, IsaacRobbie1940
30not reviewedBradbury, RayThe Million Year Picnic1946
30★★★Willis, ConnieEven the Queen1992
30not reviewedSturgeon, TheodoreThe Man Who Lost the Sea1959
33not reviewedLeiber, FritzA Pail of Air1951
34not reviewedSturgeon, TheodoreSaucer of Loneliness1953
35not reviewedDavidson, AvramOr All the Seas with Oysters1958
35not reviewedRussell, Eric FrankAllamagoosa1955
37not reviewedCard, Orson ScottUnaccompanied Sonata1979
38not reviewedMartin, George R. R.With Morning Comes Mistfall1973
39not reviewedGaiman, NeilA Midsummer Night’s Dream1990
40not reviewedBester, AlfredThe Men Who Murdered Mohammed1958
41not reviewedAsimov, IsaacLiar!1941
42not reviewedEgan, GregLearning to Be Me1990
43not reviewedGaiman, NeilTroll Bridge1993
44★★★★Wolfe, GeneThe Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories1970
45not reviewedLeiber, FritzComing Attraction1950
45not reviewedSilverberg, RobertPassengers1968
47not reviewedBallard, J. G.The Terminal Beach1964
48not reviewedBradbury, RayAll Summer in a Day1954
49not reviewedKnight, DamonThe Country of the Kind1956
50not reviewedSturgeon, TheodoreThunder and Roses1947

21st Century Novella

RankStarsAuthor TitleYear
1★★★★★Link, KellyMagic for Beginners2005
2not reviewedStross, CharlesPalimpsest2009
3not reviewedMacLeod, Ian R.New Light on the Drake Equation2001
4★★★★★Chiang, TedLiking What You See:  A Documentary2002
5★★★★Vinge, VernorFast Times at Fairmont High2001
6not reviewedReynolds, AlastairDiamond Dogs2001
7not reviewedWillis, ConnieInside Job2005
8not reviewedStross, CharlesThe Concrete Jungle2004
9not reviewedBaker, KageThe Empress of Mars2003
10not reviewedScalzi, JohnThe God Engines2009
11not reviewedGaiman, NeilCoraline2002
11not reviewedVinge, VernorThe Cookie Monster2003
13★★★★★Swirsky, RachelThe Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window2010
14★★★★★Le Guin, Ursula K.The Finder2001
15★★★★★McDonald, IanThe Little Goddess2005
16not reviewedStross, CharlesMissile Gap2006
17★★★★★Chiang, TedThe Lifecycle of Software Objects2010
18not reviewedKelly, James PatrickBurn2005
19not reviewedKress, NancyThe Erdmann Nexus2008
19not reviewedChwedyk, RichardBronte’s Egg2002

21st Century Novelette

RankStarsAuthor TitleYear
1★★1/2Chiang, TedHell Is the Absence of God2001
2★★★★★Chiang, TedThe Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate2007
3not reviewedGaiman, NeilA Study in Emerald2003
4not reviewedBacigalupi, PaoloThe Calorie Man2005
5not reviewedLink, KellyThe Faery Handbag2004
5not reviewedBacigalupi, PaoloThe People of Sand and Slag2004
7not reviewedFord, JeffreyThe Empire of Ice Cream2003
8★★★★★Stross, CharlesLobsters2001
9not reviewedMieville, ChinaReports of Certain Events in London2004
9not reviewedWatts, PeterThe Island2009
11not reviewedReynolds, AlastairBeyond the Aquila Rift2005
12not reviewedDoctorow, CoryWhen Sysadmins Ruled the Earth2006
13not reviewedBacigalupi, PaoloYellow Card Man2006
13not reviewedBacigalupi, PaoloThe Fluted Girl2003
15not reviewedGregory, DarylSecond Person, Present Tense2005
16not reviewedBacigalupi, PaoloPump Six2008
16not reviewedEgan, GregDark Integers2007
18★★★★★Beagle, Peter S.Two Hearts2005
19not reviewedGardner, James AlanThe Ray-Gun:  A Love Story2008
20not reviewedSwirsky, RachelEros, Philia, Agape2009

21st Century Short Story

RankStarsAuthor TitleYear
1★★★★★Chiang, TedExhalation2008
2not reviewedLanagan, MargoSinging My Sister Down2004
3not reviewedGaiman, NeilHow to Talk to Girls at Parties2006
4★★★★★Watts, PeterThe Things2010
5★★★★★Swanwick, MichaelThe Dog Said Bow-Wow2001
5not reviewedLe Guin, Ursula K.The Bones of the Earth2001
7not reviewedJohnson, Kij26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss2008
8not reviewedAbraham, DanielThe Cambist and Lord Iron2007
9not reviewedJohnson, KijSpar2009
9not reviewedReynolds, AlastairZima Blue2005
11★★★★★Liu, KenThe Paper Menagerie2011
12not reviewedGaiman, NeilOctober in the Chair2002
13not reviewedResnick, MikeTravels with My Cats2004
14not reviewedFord, JeffreyCreation2002
15not reviewedBear, ElizabethTideline2007
16★★★★★Stross, CharlesRogue Farm2003
17not reviewedMcIntosh, WillBridesicle2009
18not reviewedEllison, HarlanHow Interesting:  A Tiny Man2010
19not reviewedJohnson, KijPonies2010
20not reviewedFowler, Karen JoyThe Pelican Bar2009
20not reviewedFowler, Karen JoyWhat I Didn’t See2002

12 Responses to Locus Ranked Short Fiction: Novellas, Novelettes, Short Stories

  1. pdtillman says:

    Thanks for the Locus lists! Makes me feel better that I gave them a few $$ last month. Good outfit. I only subscribed briefly, way back in the paper-only days, but read their online reviews & features regularly. My old Usenet pal Rich Horton is now their short fiction reviewer, IB.

    I’ll have to came back to these when I have more time. Do you happen to have links to the originals there?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. pdtillman says:

    Oh, never mind: there are the links right in the header! Doh.
    Gee, “only” 3 stars for “The Screwfly Solution?” One of my fave Tiptrees!

    Did you happen to catch this one:
    Joanna Russ puts the make on Alice Sheldon!
    Gee. Pity Sheldon was too chicken to play along. Might have saved her life!
    Now, there’s an alt-hist story idea. Like Bruce Sterling’s wonderful “Dori Bangs”! Which might go past someone who didn’t keep up with the American music scene, then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andreas says:

      I like Tiptree, and I liked this story. But I won’t pass 5 stars to each of them just because it’s by that girl (I even don’t do that with Le Guin!).
      I need to look into that link, maybe I have been there and just don’t remember.


  3. pdtillman says:

    Boy, these lists would make for some KILLER best-of anthologies!! I guess Locus doesn’t do books? Hmmm….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andreas says:

      Yes it would. But imagine the nightmare and costs to get the rights; those Ellison stories alone…

      Liked by 1 person

      • pdtillman says:

        Yeah. Maybe skip those? Cast-iron SOB, by all reports. Well, shdn’t speak ill of the dead. ♱

        Liked by 1 person

        • Andreas says:

          As a person he may have been disputable. But his stories are pure magic 🙂 Skipping the difficult to acquire stories might be a solution. The question then is how many are those and how legitimate such an reduced anthology might be. I’m sure we are not the first fools to think about this 😀


  4. pdtillman says:

    AS time permits, I’ll try to point you to some of the GREATS. IMO, of course. Such as VINTAGE SEASON (1946) by the Kuttners

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andreas says:

      I usually read SF only from New Wave onwards. Here and there an even more vintage one but very seldom. I found that I nearly can’t take Golden Age SF. Things like Caves of Steel make me puke 🤮


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