Recommended by Locus
Posted on February 1, 2009 Posted by John Scalzi 12 Comments
This is nice: Locus magazine has released its “Recommended Reading List” for 2008, and I’m on it twice: First for Zoe’s Tale, in the Young Adult Books category, and then again for “After the Coup” in the short story category.
I suspected ZT might show up on the list this year, as the Locus review of the novel called it “one of the best young-adult science fiction novels of the last decade,” and that seemed like a pretty good sign. But “Coup” popping up on the list as well was a happy surprise. And in both categories I have some excellent company: YA recommended works include books by Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman, Justine Larbalestier and Terry Pratchett, among others, and short stories by Peter S. Beagle, Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette, Mary Robinette Kowal, Geoff Ryman and Michael Swanwick, among others as well. Hard to complain when one gets to be slotted in with that level of talent.
In all, the Locus list is pretty good collection of what was good in the genre in 2008, so if you’re looking for reading ideas, have at it.
First, congratulations — I know I’d be utterly insufferable if I had book in that kind of company (including yours).
But a more earthy question: Does being on this list drive a sales spike, or is it just a sweet cherry on top of good initial reviews and word of mouth move the units?
I don’t expect to see a sales spike from landing on the Locus list, no.
Congratulations! I just finished Zoe’s Tale –read a lot of it while at Confusion. I enjoyed it.
Congrats, John! I recently read Zoe’s Tale and loved it, recommended it to several friends. On the subject of YA science fiction – not to diminish your accomplishment because, as I said, loved Zoe’s Tale and think it deserves to be on everyone’s recommended reading lists , but…is there really that much YA science fiction out there? The authors you reference are pretty much the only ones I can come up with writing YA SF today, not counting franchise fiction.
I’m glad that Locus has dedicated space to YA SF, and I hope that the YAs out there are paying attention, as its them who I want to see reading more SF. We lose so many readers in the mid-grades through high school, and I think SF as a genre has such broad appeal since you can find pretty much everything in SF, it sub-genreizes so well – space westerns, space operas, romance, mystery, thriller, all set in space or in the future. One of many reasons why it’s my preferred genre to read and write.
Anyway, always appreciate your insights and would love your thoughts on the YA SF market here or in a future post. Congratulations again!
I always keep the Locus list on my phone (through Evernote!) for whenever I’m in a bookstore or library. I ordered the new Greg Egan which I didn’t even know was out.
How is it that some of those books aren’t even out? BN.com says the Alastair Reynolds isn’t out until June 2 and doesn’t even have the Ian MacLeod. Ken MacLeod’s was a few months out too.
They get the British editions over there at Locus.
Is Zoe’s Tale really YA? I ask because I’ve noticed that a) ZT is usually shelved at bookstores with the “adult” SF/F and b) it is priced as an adult hardcover ($24.95 list). Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother, OTOH, is shelved under “Teens” and is priced at $17.95 list. I noticed because my Barnes & Noble card gets me 20% off adult hardcovers and only 10% off on all other (including YA) hardcovers.
I guess ZT could go either way (YA or adult) because while ZT has an teenage protag, and is written at a teen-friendly level, it is also part or a larger adult series. Tor, no doubt, went with the classification they thought would be more profitable. After all, you already have an established audience over in the adult section.
As an aside, I’ve also noticed that at bookstores that bother to separate YA SF/F from YA mainstream, Little Brother is shelved with the “mainstream” books. Which makes it all the more scary, if you think about it.
I continue to be inspired by the examples that you, and Charles Stross, and some other leaders of your generation of online-savvy professional writers, are setting.
2 days after I snailmailed Stan Schmidt 64 pp. of 2 new chapters (as stand-alone short story and stand-alone novelette) of my unfinished novel manuscript “Axiomatic Magic”, interrupted in the middle by a rather exciting Super Bowl game, I completed 40 pages (8,400 words) in one day of a third such chapter, in the same world, with the same viewpoint character.
My wife quite reasonably said that she might read it — if and when it is bought and published.
So, back to job search.
Query: is really good Science Fiction, such as that by Mr. Scalzi, recession-proof?
First for Zoe’s Tale, in the Young Adult Books category…
Now, does this mean the readers who liked it are Young Adults? or that the writer is a Young Adult?
Either way, one of us wins.
I liked it and I’m 51, which is young, at least by John Perry’s standards.
Well, I would have bought the hardback of Zoe’s Tale… but my local pusher was out. So I asked her to order it… and since the paperback is close to release…. :)
Disappointed to see the Fantasy section doesn’t include Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson :(.