Locus Award Finalists and Nebula Award Winners in 2020

The finalists for the 2020 Locus Awards have recently been announced, and last week the winners of the 2019 Nebula Awards were revealed. I usually only write about the Hugo Awards, but these two other big Speculative Fiction awards that deserve some love. I’ll be pretty brief, since well, I’m a bit lazy lately. A full list of nominees and winners for the Nebula can be found here. A list of the Locus nominees can be found here.

First, lets talk about the winner of the 2019 Nebula Award for Best Novel, because, well, there’s a few interesting things to talk about with this one. The winner was Sarah Pinsker’s A Song for a New Day. This book is also nominated for the 2020 Locus Award for best First Novel, and is not the first big win for Pinsker this year. In April her short story collection Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea won the Philip K. Dick Award (and got nominated for the Locus Award for Best Collection).

A Song for a New Day is set in a dystopian future where a deadly virus (and also terrorism) caused all public gatherings to be banned, including concerts. One of the protagonists is a musician who must flout social distancing laws to hold illegal concerts in order to keep her career and passion alive. The other is an online saleswoman/virtual reality music agent who is young enough to not really remember a world before self isolation and social distancing, and has therefore never gone out in public.

This story was published in September 2019.

Sarah Pinsker is Time Traveller.

I haven’t read this book yet. In fact, I hadn’t heard of it before I started doing research for this article. How I missed a science fiction book basically becoming reality in under a year I don’t know, but yeah, it seems this book is the most prophetic work ever. I want to read and review it soon due to it being a) A Nebula Award Winner b) A book by Sarah Pinsker, whose short fiction I’ve enjoyed and c) Freakishly topical. Also, I kinda don’t want to read and review it just now, because my experiences with living through a pandemic and worldwide lockdowns will unfairly influence my view of the book.

In other news, there are a lot of titles that are common amongst all three of the big awards this year. In the Novel catagory we have Gideon the Ninth, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, and A Memory Called Empire on all three lists, and amongst the Novellas Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom, The Deep, This is How You Lose the Time War, and The Haunting of Tram Car 015 are also on each list. All these books, with the exception of This is How You Lose the Time War and The Deep I have previously read and loved. Those two have actually been on my To Read list a lot longer than some of the other finalists, so I better get to them soon.

I’ve never paid much attention to the Locus Awards before. Part of what made me look into it more this year is that I got two Locus-related challenges on my book bingo card. I haven’t filled either of them yet, but looking through the finalists there are a lot that I’m interested in. And I mean a lot. There are five different novel categories, each with ten finalists. Even if I was a more reliable reviewer, the only way I’d ever have a chance of reading every Locus Award nominee is if I reviewed every new release as it came out. Whilst I love modern speculative fiction, there are too many classics that I’ve neglected to make this a practical direction for my blog or my spare time. There are some finalists that are definitely on my To Read list though. I’ve had a dead tree copy of Ann Leckie’s The Raven Tower (finalist for Best Fantasy Novel) sitting on my shelf for almost a year now, glaring up at me and demanding to know if I really do love Ann Leckie as much as I say I do.

The Nebula Awards for this year were awarded on May 30. The winners of the Locus Awards will be announced on June 27, and I’m looking forward to it. Until then, back to my Hugo Award reading.

Happy Reading,

~ Lauren


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