The Locus Awards
Reviewed date: 2006 May 16
Next to the Hugo and Nebula awards, the Locus award is arguably the most prestigious science fiction award. This collection of 18 Locus winners is an excellent look at the cream of the crop. It contains nine short stories and four novelettes, but is most valuable for the five novellas it also includes. Short stories and novelettes are often reprinted and you'll find them in other collections, but due to their length, novellas (even award-winning ones) are rarely reprinted.
- The Day Before the Revolution, by Ursula K. Le Guin - An old woman whose prison writings started the revolution reflects on her life after her stroke. She feels old and useless.
- Jeffty is Five, by Harlan Ellison - Jeffty is a little boy who never ages and is perpetually a five-year-old child. Voted by Locus readers in 1999 as the best short story ever.
- The Way of Cross and Dragon, by George R. R. Martin - Father Damien Har Veris of the Knights Inquisitor goes to the planet Arion to stamp out a heresy: they have made Judas Iscariot a saint.
- Bears Discover Fire, by Terry Bisson - It's a fine story, sure, but not the Second Coming of Christ. Stop reprinting it already.
- Buffalo, by John Kessel - Fictional 1934 encounter between John Kessel's father and H. G. Wells.
- Even the Queen, by Connie Willis - A women's lib story. In the time after the Liberation, when [blank] is a thing of the past, young Perdita wants to join the Cyclists, much to the despair of her mother and grandmother.
- Gone, by John Crowley - Alien elmers drop down from the mothership and offer to do odd jobs around the house, asking only that people voluntarily vote "Yes" on their Good Will Tickets.
- Maneki Neko, by Bruce Sterling - A worldwide underground economy functions via an intelligent computer network directing its users. Their sign is the cat. (Maneki neko is a Japanese cat figurine thought to bring good luck.)
- October in the Chair, by Neil Gaiman - A Bradbury pastiche. The months gather together at their regular meeting and October tells them a creepy story.
- Hell is the Absence of God, by Ted Chiang - Neil Fisk's wife is accidentally killed by an angelic Visitation, and ascends to Heaven. Neil wishes to love God so he can go Heaven and join his wife, but loving God for purely selfish reasons is impossible.
- Border Guards, by Greg Egan - A cyber-punk story where nobody dies, and only a few people remember the old days before immortality.
- Rachel in Love, by Pat Murphy - A scientist dies of a heart attack during the night, and his intelligent chimp daughter runs away from home, gets caught by a Primate Research Center, and falls in love with the janitor at the facility.
- Bloodchild, by Octavia Butler - T'Gatoi, an alien Tlic, is a friend to a young human child named Gan. Gan knows that one day he will have to be host to T'Gatoi's larvae.
- The Death of Doctor Island, by Gene Wolfe - Nicholas Kenneth de Vore wakes up on a strange island which appears to be an asylum; he talks to the island--Doctor Island--and to the island's two other inhabitants: the homicidal Ignacio and the unbalanced Diane.
- The Scalehunter's Beautiful Daughter, by Lucius Shepard - Held prisoner in the belly of the dragon.
- Souls, by Joanna Russ - The saintly Abbess Radegunde uses her preternatural knowledge to parley with invading Norsemen to try to save the people of the abbess and the village.
- The Persistence of Vision, by John Varley - A drifter stumbles upon a blind-deaf commune in New Mexico, and stays to learn about the culture they have developed.
- The Only Neat Thing To Do, by James Tiptree Jr. - A young girl takes her spaceship out in pursuit of a missing charting expedition, and makes contact with a symbiotic alien life form that lives in her brain.