2009's Best SF Novelists: Kage Baker, Nancy Kress, Cherie Priest, Robert Charles Wilson And Kim Stanley Robinson

Locus Magazine announced the finalists for its reader-selected Locus Awards — and the five best science fiction novels of 2009 include three female authors. The winners will be announced during the Science Fiction Awards Weekend in Seattle WA, June 25-27, and tickets are still available. Here are the finalists:

Science Fiction Novel

* The Empress of Mars, Kage Baker (Subterranean; Tor)
* Steal Across the Sky, Nancy Kress (Tor)
* Boneshaker, Cherie Priest (Tor)
* Galileo's Dream, Kim Stanley Robinson (HarperVoyager; Ballantine Spectra)
* Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America, Robert Charles Wilson (Tor)

Fantasy Novel

* The City & The City, China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan UK)
* Unseen Academicals, Terry Pratchett (Harper; Doubleday UK)
* Drood, Dan Simmons (Little, Brown)
* Palimpsest, Catherynne M. Valente (Bantam Spectra)
* Finch, Jeff VanderMeer (Underland)

First Novel

* The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade)
* The Manual of Detection, Jedediah Berry (Penguin)
* Soulless, Gail Carriger (Orbit US)
* Lamentation, Ken Scholes (Tor)
* Norse Code, Greg van Eekhout (Ballantine Spectra)

Young-Adult Novel

* The Hotel Under the Sand, Kage Baker (Tachyon)
* Going Bovine, Libba Bray (Delacorte)
* Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins (Scholastic; Scholastic UK)
* Liar, Justine Larbalestier (Bloomsbury; Allen & Unwin Australia)
* Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld (Simon Pulse; Simon & Schuster UK)


* The Women of Nell Gwynne's, Kage Baker (Subterranean)
* "Act One", Nancy Kress (Asimov's 3/09)
* "Vishnu at the Cat Circus", Ian McDonald (Cyberabad Days)
* Shambling Towards Hiroshima, James Morrow (Tachyon)
* "Palimpsest", Charles Stross (Wireless)


* "By Moonlight", Peter S. Beagle (We Never Talk About My Brother)
* "It Takes Two", Nicola Griffith (Eclipse Three)
* "First Flight", Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor.com 8/25/09)
* "Eros, Philia, Agape", Rachel Swirsky (Tor.com 3/3/09)
* "The Island", Peter Watts (The New Space Opera 2)

Short Story

* "The Pelican Bar", Karen Joy Fowler (Eclipse Three)
* "An Invocation of Incuriosity", Neil Gaiman (Songs of the Dying Earth)
* "Spar", Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld 10/09)
* "Going Deep", James Patrick Kelly (Asimov's 6/09)
* "Useless Things", Maureen F. McHugh (Eclipse Three)


* Analog
* Asimov's
* Clarkesworld
* F&SF
* Tor.com


* Baen
* Night Shade
* Pyr
* Subterranean
* Tor


* Lovecraft Unbound, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Dark Horse)
* The New Space Opera 2, Gardner Dozois & Jonathan Strahan, eds. (Eos; HarperCollins Australia)
* The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois, ed. (St. Martin's)
* Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance, George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, eds. (Subterranean)
* Eclipse Three, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Night Shade)


* We Never Talk About My Brother, Peter S. Beagle (Tachyon)
* Cyberabad Days, Ian McDonald (Pyr)
* Wireless, Charles Stross (Ace, Orbit UK)
* The Best of Gene Wolfe, Gene Wolfe (Tor); as The Very Best of Gene Wolfe (PS)
* The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny: Volumes 1-6, Roger Zelazny (NESFA)


* Ellen Datlow
* Gardner Dozois
* David G. Hartwell
* Jonathan Strahan
* Gordon Van Gelder


* Stephan Martinière
* John Picacio
* Shaun Tan
* Charles Vess
* Michael Whelan

Non-fiction/Art Book

* Powers: Secret Histories, John Berlyne (PS)
* Spectrum 16: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, Cathy & Arnie Fenner, eds. (Underwood)
* Cheek by Jowl, Ursula K. Le Guin (Aqueduct)
* This is Me, Jack Vance! (Or, More Properly, This is "I"), Jack Vance (Subterranean)
* Drawing Down the Moon: The Art of Charles Vess, Charles Vess (Dark Horse)

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I thought The City & The City was a YA novel.

*surfs to Amazon for a moment*

After a quick perusal of its Amazon listing, it appears I have been grossly misinformed.

*bumps The City & The City up his library queue*

I've only read two of the SF novel candidates and I liked Julian Comstock more than Steal Across the Sky. Then again, I felt like Steal Across the Sky was more sci-fi than Comstock, which seemed to be SF by default due to its setting in the future and the prevalence of the theme of mankind's difficult relationship with technology (the weapons of the war, the ineffective but stylish vaccines, etc.) and knowledge (the banning of books, the limited motion picture offerings, and the general controversy over Darwin). I suppose sci-fi includes speculative fiction, which Comstock undoubtedly is. Both are great reads and superb examples of literary SF.