The Locus Awards: Thirty Years of the Best in Science Fiction and Fantasy

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Overview

Now, for the first time, the best of the Locus Awards for short fiction are gathered in one volume. Spanning the absolute finest in science fiction and fantasy short fiction for the last thirty years, this anthology is an indispensable guide to speculative fiction from the classic to the outrageous by the leaders of the field.

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Overview

Now, for the first time, the best of the Locus Awards for short fiction are gathered in one volume. Spanning the absolute finest in science fiction and fantasy short fiction for the last thirty years, this anthology is an indispensable guide to speculative fiction from the classic to the outrageous by the leaders of the field.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
The introduction to The Locus Awards says it all: "This book contains some of the finest science fiction and fantasy short fiction ever written." Included within are some of the best Locus Award–winning stories covering the last three decades. From Ursula K. Le Guin to Bruce Sterling, this collection is, simply put, essential reading for any serious fan of the genre.

Groundbreaking classics and author masterworks abound in this collection, which includes Harlan Ellison's "Jeffty Is Five," a nostalgic tale about a boy who remains five years old -- a conduit to the 1940s world of comic books, candy bars, and serial radio shows -- while society keeps rolling on; and John Varley's "The Persistence of Vision," an unforgettable story about one man's experience in an isolated colony of deaf and blind people. George R. R. Martin's "The Way of Cross and Dragon" takes an unyielding look at the future of religion, and Octavia E. Butler's "Bloodchild" examines the symbiotic relationship between humans on a planet inhabited by sentient insectlike aliens.

The Locus Awards, presented to winners of Locus magazine's annual readers' poll, are arguably as prestigious as the Hugo and Nebula because they are chosen by the people who really matter -- the readers. The 18 multi-award-winning stories included in this collection, all in chronological order, take the reader on a retrospective tour of the genre and its many evolutions. From Gene Wolfe's "The Death of Doctor Island" (1973) to Neil Gaiman's homage to Ray Bradbury in "October in the Chair" (2003), this is an absolutely monumental collection worth its weight in gold. Paul Goat Allen

Publishers Weekly
The 18 Locus Award-winning novelettes and short stories selected for this solid anthology by Brown, the longtime editor/publisher of the influential SF/fantasy news magazine, and Strahan, the mag's reviews editor, show how SF and fantasy have matured from the 1970s to the present. Standouts include Harlan Ellison's nostalgic tale of unchanging age, "Jeffty Is Five"; Octavia E. Butler's boundary-stretching "Bloodchild," in which an intelligent alien race uses human beings both as pets and as repositories for their grubs; John Kessel's poignant, semi-autobiographical "Buffalo," about a meeting of Kessel's blue-collar father with his idol, H.G. Wells, in 1934; and Neil Gaiman's wistful homage to Ray Bradbury, "October in the Chair." Gene Wolfe's "The Death of Doctor Island" and Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Day Before the Revolution" are also fine stories, but others don't succeed as well. The youngster who wants to fly the space-lanes in James Tiptree Jr.'s "The Only Neat Thing to Do" inevitably reflects the larger-than-life heroics of earlier genre fiction. Connie Willis's "Even the Queen" tries to be both feminist and humorous, but comes off as a sitcom pilot, while Bruce Sterling's "Maneki Neko" is too cute by a Pok mon and a half. The volume concludes with a list of previous winners in a wide range of categories. (July 6) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-This outstanding anthology presents "the best of the best," culled from 30 years of awards. It includes many of the now-classic stories that have become emblematic of major developments in the genre, such as James Tiptree, Jr.'s "The Only Neat Thing to Do" (still a must-read for any serious teenage science-fiction reader) and Terry Bisson's remarkable "Bears Discover Fire." The most recent awards present the brilliant new writer Ted Chiang and the popular and critically acclaimed Neil Gaiman. Other masters of science fiction and fantasy short fiction represented here: Gene Wolf, Ursula K. LeGuin, Harlan Ellison, John Varley, George R.R. Martin, Joanna Russ, Octavia E. Butler, Pat Murphy, Lucius Shepard, Connie Willis, John Kessel, John Crowley, Bruce Sterling, and Greg Egan. A brief introduction to the author's career precedes each story. Whether readers are catching up on legendary science fiction and fantasy, becoming reacquainted with old favorites, or grazing the field in hopes of discovering new ones, this anthology delivers some of the finest science fiction and fantasy ever written.-Christine C. Menefee, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060594268
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/6/2004
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.32 (d)

Meet the Author

The founder and publisher of "Locus Magazine", Charles N. Brown has been involved in science fiction and fantasy for over 60 years. The editor of "Locus" for over 30 years, Charles has won more Hugos (23) than anyone else and is one of the most respected names in the genre. He lives in Oakland, CA.

Jonathan Strahan has co-edited The Year's Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy series of anthologies for HarperCollins Australia, co-edits the Science Fiction: The Best of . . . and Fantasy: The Best of . . . anthology series with Karen Haber for Simon & Schuster/ibooks, edits the Best Short Novels anthology series for the Doubleday Science Fiction Book Club, and co-edited The Locus Awards for Eos with Charles N. Brown. He is also the Reviews Editor for Locus: The Magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Fields, and reviews for the magazine regularly. He is currently working on The New Space Opera II.

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Table of Contents

The 1970s
The death of Doctor Island 3
The day before the revolution 56
Jeffty is five 71
The persistence of vision 91
The 1980s
The way of cross and dragon 137
Souls 155
Bloodchild 199
The only neat thing to do 218
Rachel in love 268
The scalehunter's beautiful daughter 296
The 1990s
Bears discover fire 363
Buffalo 374
Even the queen 392
Gone 409
Maneki Neko 422
The 2000s
Border guards 441
Hell is the absence of God 465
October in the chair 490
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First Chapter

The Locus Awards
Thirty Years of the Best in Science Fiction and Fantasy

The Death of Doctor Island

Gene Wolf

A grain of sand, teetering on the brink of the pit, trembled and fell in; the ant lion at the bottom angrily flung it out again. For a moment there was quiet. Then the entire pit, and a square meter of sand around it, shifted drunkenly while two coconut palms bent to watch. The sand rose, pivoting at one edge, and the scarred head of a boy appeared -- a stubble of brown hair threatened to erase the marks of the sutures; with dilated eyes hypnotically dark he paused, his neck just where the ant lion's had been; then, as though goaded from below, he vaulted up and onto the beach, turned, and kicked sand into the dark hatchway from which he had emerged. It slammed shut. The boy was about fourteen.

For a time he squatted, pushing the sand aside and trying to find the door. A few centimeters down, his hands met a gritty, solid material which, though neither concrete nor sandstone, shared the qualities of both -- a sandfilled organic plastic. On it he scraped his fingers raw, but he could not locate the edges of the hatch.

Then he stood and looked about him, his head moving continually as the heads of certain reptiles do -- back and forth, with no pauses at the terminations of the movements. He did this constantly, ceaselessly -- always -- and for that reason it will not often be described again, just as it will not be mentioned that he breathed. He did; and as he did, his head, like a rearing snake's, turned from side to side. The boy was thin, and naked as a frog.

Ahead of him the sand sloped gently down toward sapphire water; there were coconuts on the beach, and sea shells, and a scuttling crab that played with the finger-high edge of each dying wave. Behind him there were only palms and sand for a long distance, the palms growing ever closer together as they moved away from the water until the forest of their columniated trunks seemed architectural; like some palace maze becoming as it progressed more and more draped with creepers and lianas with green, scarlet and yellow leaves, the palms interspersed with bamboo and deciduous trees dotted with flaming orchids until almost at the limit of his sight the whole ended in a spangled wall whose predominant color was black-green.

The boy walked toward the beach, then down the beach until he stood in knee-deep water as warm as blood. He dipped his fingers and tasted it -- it was fresh, with no hint of the disinfectants to which he was accustomed. He waded out again and sat on the sand about five meters up from the highwater mark, and after ten minutes, during which he heard no sound but the wind and the murmuring of the surf, he threw back his head and began to scream. His screaming was high-pitched, and each breath ended in a gibbering, ululant note, after which came the hollow, iron gasp of the next indrawn breath. On one occasion he had screamed in this way, without cessation, for fourteen hours and twenty-two minutes, at the end of which a nursing nun with an exemplary record stretching back seventeen years had administered an injection without the permission of the attending physician.

After a time the boy paused -- not because he was tired, but in order to listen better. There was, still, only the sound of the wind in the palm fronds and the murmuring surf, yet he felt that he had heard a voice. The boy could be quiet as well as noisy, and he was quiet now, his left hand sifting white sand as clean as salt between its fingers while his right tossed tiny pebbles like beachglass beads into the surf.

"Hear me," said the surf. "Hear me. Hear me."

"I hear you," the boy said.

"Good," said the surf, and it faintly echoed itself: "Good, good, good."

The boy shrugged.

"What shall I call you?" asked the surf.

"My name is Nicholas Kenneth de Vore."

"Nick, Nick . . . Nick?"

The boy stood, and turning his back on the sea, walked inland. When he was out of sight of the water he found a coconut palm growing sloped and angled, leaning and weaving among its companions like the plume of an ascending jet blown by the wind. After feeling its rough exterior with both hands, the boy began to climb; he was inexpert and climbed slowly and a little clumsily, but his body was light and he was strong. In time he reached the top, and disturbed the little brown plush monkeys there, who fled chattering into other palms, leaving him to nestle alone among the stems of the fronds and the green coconuts. "I am here also," said a voice from the palm.

"Ah," said the boy, who was watching the tossing, sapphire sky far over his head.

"I will call you Nicholas."

The boy said, "I can see the sea."

"Do you know my name?"

The boy did not reply. Under him the long, long stem of the twisted palm swayed faintly.

"My friends all call me Dr. Island."

"I will not call you that," the boy said.

"You mean that you are not my friend."

A gull screamed.

"But you see, I take you for my friend. You may say that I am not yours, but I say that you are mine. I like you, Nicholas, and I will treat you as a friend."

"Are you a machine or a person or a committee?" the boy asked.

"I am all those things and more. I am the spirit of this island, the tutelary genius."

"Bullshit."

"Now that we have met, would you rather I leave you alone?"

Again the boy did not reply ...

The Locus Awards
Thirty Years of the Best in Science Fiction and Fantasy
. Copyright © by Charles Brown. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    delightful sampling

    This strong tome provides readers with a delightful sampling of some of the winning shorts and novellas over the last thirty years. The collection is balanced as four entries represent the 1970s; six from the 1980s; five from the 1990s; and three from the 2000s. The contributors are a who¿s who of the two genres (not surprising since this prestigious award is selected by a vote of Locus magazine readers) to include greats like Harlan Ellison, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Gene Wolfe and Ursula K. Le Guin, etc. Each selection is well written, but some of the tales, surprisingly especially from the 1990s, feel dated; incredibly, the seventies and eighties hold up quite well and besides a bit of nostalgia remain terrific entries. Readers, especially those of the magazine, will appreciate the eighteen selections that make up ¿thirty years of the best in science fiction and fantasy¿.---- Harriet Klausner

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