Locus Pocus!

Rumors of my doing cartwheels in the foyer are nothing but lies, and sensible persons should disregard them.  I will confess, however, that I’m super-excited about the 2010 Locus Awards finalist list, because there are some darned spiffy books on it.

It’s hard to predict the winners when everything nominated is of such high quality.  I have, however, favorites in each full-length fiction category that I’m definitely rooting for.

Here are the titles I’m hoping will bring home the prizes:

Best Science Fiction Novel: Boneshaker, Cherie Priest.  Many people say being a mom Boneshakeris the toughest job on earth.  When you factor in protecting your son from zombies, toxic gas, and a mad scientist who may or may not be his father, the job becomes exponentially more difficult.   “Steampunk” is an overused word these days, but in this case, if the goggles fit, strap ’em on!  An excellent specimen of the sub-genre.

Best Fantasy Novel: Unseen Academicals, Terry Pratchett.  Thirty- seven novels into the Discworld saga, and Pratchett hasn’t exhausted his supply of tales regarding the mythical city of Ankh-Morpork?  For that alone he’s clearly winning material.  Never one to rest on his laurels, fantasy’s reigning king of snark delivers another pointy satire, this time focusing his razor-sharp wit on politics, academe, and sports.  Painfully funny.

Best First Novel: Soulless, Gail Carriger.  It’s really simple:  if you can  write a 19th-century urban paranormal romantic comedy of errors, you deserve to win whatever prizes exist.  Especially when your quirky heroine’s most interesting quirk — she has no soul — is refreshingly original.  First in the Parasol Protectorate series, Carriger’s novel redecorates the Victorian novel with wit and verve.

Best Young Adult Novel: Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins.  I hesitate  to praise this novel any more than I already have, lest you grow sick of it.  And yet, there’s nothing more thrilling than watching Katniss Everdeen fight a corrupt government.  Seriously.

Best Novella: The Women of Nell Gwynne’s, Kage Baker.  The most exclusive brothel in Whitehall is actually an intelligence-gathering ring for a clandestine organization.  You’ve got to love a spy novel that turns the tables on an era by giving the derring-do and techno-gizmos to the ladies, who succeed precisely because of their low/underrated societal status.  Bonus points for the madam with mechanical eye implants.  Juicy, risqué fun.

Best Anthology: Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance, George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, eds.  This loving tribute to one of the best authors ever — Vance’s genius both illuminates and transcends his genre choices — contains short stories from various authors, including luminaries like Matthew Hughes and Neil Gaiman.  Set in the universe of Vance’s classic Dying Earth saga, these tales made me weep with pure pleasure, and resolve to buy my own copy, something I never, ever do.  But this is genius, and must eventually be owned.  Try it for free here first.

My “Victoriana or bust” tendencies  indicate that I’m highly biased, which is why I’ve not been asked to serve on any book awards committees (and rightfully so, I might add).  Which of this year’s nominees are your favorites?  Whom are you rooting for?  And if you don’t read sci-fi or fantasy, how can I change your mind?

Tune in towards the end of June,when the Locus awards are handed out.  And if you stop by the library between now and then, be careful while crossing the foyer, just in case the waiting drives me crazy, and I change my mind about those cartwheels.

–Leigh Anne

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