Redshirts on the Locus Magazine 2012 Recommended Reading List

Well, this is nice: Redshirts had landed on Locus magazine’s annual list of recommended reading in science fiction and fantasy, in the category of science fiction novel (oddly enough!), and also gets some love from the Locus contributors in their end-of-2012 recaps. I’m very pleased about this; I’m delighted that Redshirts is seen to be operating on more than just the “hey this is a funny book” level (although, of course, I like that it’s recognized for that too).

While I won’t go down the entire list of recommended reading, because it would be long and also, hey, buy a copy of the magazine, why don’t you, I will say that Toby Buckell, James S.A. Corey, Cory Doctorow, Charlie Stross, Karl Schroeder, Al Reynolds, Kameron Hurley and Nick Harkaway all share my category, which makes me happy because I like them all a lot as humans (and yes, I know James S.A. Corey is actually two people. I like both of him). I’m also pleased that friends pop up in other categories as well, including (but not limited to) N.K. Jemisin, Mary Robinette Kowal, Nick Mamatas, Paolo Bacigalupi, Holly Black, Justine Larbalestier & Sarah Rees Brennan, China Mieville, Allen Steele, Cat Valente, Saladin Ahmed, Madeline Ashby and Gwenda Bond. And that’s not even getting to the short fiction categories! Seriously, I know some super-awesomely creative people. I don’t know how I got that lucky.

Congrats to everyone who made the reading list this year; 2012 turned out to be an excellent year for science fiction and fantasy.

Update: 12:54pm: Oh look, Locus has put the recommended reading list online.

31 Comments on “Redshirts on the Locus Magazine 2012 Recommended Reading List”

  1. Great recommendations there. And, speaking as one in the magazine business and a one-time (too expensive now) pulp magazine collector), that’s the best cover I’ve seen on Locus, maybe ever. Flashy!

  2. Sorry John. Congratulations on the list, it’s a very good group this year – a lot of my favourite authors on there.

  3. I always enjoy the Locus Annual poll and am glad that you made their recommended list. I will say that as a reader that loves my literature in the accessible (Scalzi/ Resnick/ Dietz, etc.) mode rather than the “literary” mode, I always feel a bit bad when I vote knowing that my favorites are rarely on the recommended list and have very little chance of placing on the final list of winners and runner-ups. The ballot lets you do write-ins, no question that it is open to more than the recommended list, but I would be willing to bet that a significant number of voters will tend to pick from the drop down list (rather than write in their own choices). Don’t know if there is a way around it, but still…

  4. Congrats John. I’ve read a few off that list, including Redshirts. I can that there’s lots more reading to do…. Now if I only had time…

    One oversight on the list, though. No love for Richard Kadrey? I found him through The Big Idea, and tore through the Sandman Slim series, loving every second of them. I’m actually working through them again while waiting for new installments of The Human Division.

    Kadrey’s take on theology is very interesting….

  5. Jolly good! And I am looking forward even more to this copy of Locus dropping through my postbox.

  6. Congrats.

    Question for the group: Why do Sci-Fi magazines have such awful websites? I know quality web design is expensive, but Jiminy Christmas, there’s a random icon on the bottom of the page that links to a news article from 2002.

  7. Crikey O’reilly. That’s a good list. I have read several on it including yours, but I clearly have some reading to do . . .

  8. Completely OT, but I don’t read science fiction magazines regularly – and have never read Locus before today. I bought the digital download and I gotta tell you, to me it’s a perfect example of something that’s better in print than on a screen. Even with a reasonably sized monitor on my desk, I spent a whole lot of time scrolling and fussing to read the pages of dense type. It reminded me of an old Whole Earth Catalog or something. That said, reading it led me to half a dozen books I’d never heard of that I’ve noted to buy.

    Scott A.

  9. Apparently having two of your books in our book group’s current reading cycle isn’t enough Scalzi for some people ….. we’ll be reading/discussing Redshirts sometime after June (which is when we’re talking about Fuzzy Nation). there’s no such thing as too much Scalzi for some folks, I guess. ;)~

  10. Two notes: I work as a lowly senior editor at Locus, but should not be construed to be speaking for Locus, and I was one of a couple dozen people with input into the rec list. Having thus disclaimed myself:

    Thanks for the links, John!

    that’s the best cover I’ve seen on Locus, maybe ever. Flashy!

    Thanks! We have a dedicated design editor now, Francesca Myman, who’s been doing some really beautiful work lately. (I have nothing at all to do with designing the covers, so I’m comfortable praising them wholeheartedly. She’s doing good work.)

    I’m baffled by the classification of ‘Railsea’ as a YA novel.

    Eh, that’s how it was marketed, as a successor to Un Lun Dun, for “readers of all ages,” AKA a YA book they hope has crossover appeal — which of course it does. YA is a slippery category a lot of times though, and has as much to do with marketing as anything else. (Margo Lanagan’s one of my favorite writers, for instance, and I’m often surprised by the books of hers that are called YA.)

    No love for Richard Kadrey

    The short and unsatisfying explanation is “Not enough of the people who put together the recommended list voted for it.” The more nuanced answer — based on general impressions gathered over the past dozen years of seeing the list made — is that after the first couple of books in an ongoing series, there tends to be less enthusiasm for recommending the new titles, unless it’s an extraordinary installment — a writer doing more of the same, no matter how entertainingly or competently, doesn’t seem to hit the threshold of inclusion for our reviewers. (I comfort myself by hoping that’s the reason my latest series novel didn’t make the list either…)

    Why do Sci-Fi magazines have such awful websites?

    I confess I have nothing to do with the website, either, besides posting news there occasionally. Our situation is a bit weird, though — the website, Locus Online, is run separately from the print magazine, though some material from the magazine appears on the site, and of course we cooperate closely with the online editor-in-chief. He runs his own original content, too, though (short fiction/film/book reviews, etc.), and indeed won a Hugo of his own for the site (in the “Best Web Site” category) back in ’02. The magazine and website are more collaborative partners than parent/subsidiary, at least in my view.

  11. Congratulations. I have mixed feelings about Redshirts. The main story I find to be really slight, deserving of the ‘hey, this is a funny book’ attitude and depending on recognition of genre cliches, and I was disappointed with the slide to ‘but it’s all fiction’, which seemed to me to make pointless the struggles of the characters we had followed up to that point. But the codas… the codas are beautiful and heartbreaking, tragic and comic vignettes of real characters that couldn’t exist without the cliches in the main story. Jo Walton writes about the long spear, where a payoff perhaps several books into a series (the spear point) depends on the buildup over the previous work (the spear shaft). I think you achieved that with the codas as the point of Redshirts, stabbing right to the heart.

  12. I don’t think I agree there was a slide to ‘but it’s all fiction’. Friend of mine also had the reaction that the Codas somehow invalidated the main story and made clear it was just fiction as well (same conclusion, different route than you).
    I dunno, after the big reveal and their… “trip” to solve their problem (trying to avoid spoilers), nothing directly or indirectly contravenes what is established. We never find out if the script writer is crazy or if it actually happened.
    Ah well, I enjoyed the novel itself more than the Codas, but to each his/her own :)

  13. Tim – thank you for the response!

    I must admit to a complete ignorance of the _marketing_ of _Railsea_; from what I remember my experience was that something (probably Locus’ forthcoming books section) notified me that there was a new Mieville novel coming out, I ordered the e-book from Amazon, and then completely forgot about it until the happy day it showed up on my Kindle, free of blurbs, book covers, or other advertising material.

    That said … ‘Un Lun Dun’ I understand as a juvenile novel; ‘Railsea’ felt just like one of his adult books to me. Hence the surprise. :)

  14. Congrats John, Let the Kitten Roar! Haters are going to hate. Continue on the high road brother.

  15. I am a freshman writer and I am currently in an English class. I agree with most of the thing you say in this article. I will give my view on teenage writers. I am a teenage writer so I believe that it is best coming from my eyes. A lot of teens enjoy writing and some of them are very good at it when they actually try. But there are other teens who really do not enjoy writing at all. Those who do not like to write will basically turn anything in to get credit and most of the time just rushed through and did a crappy job. I know that i do not like writing about things that do not interest me but as soon as I find something to write about that does interest me I am great at writing because it is fun for me. That is probably how it is with most teens.That is my view on teen writers.


    Alexander, every major incident, from the first one where the character dies attacked by the worms, is screenwritten by an uncaring hack in the twentieth century. That is the entire point of the main story. The viewpoint characters figure out that they are being written, that they are themselves fiction. They take control of their lives by referencing the fictional pseudoscience of the original show to go and remonstrate with their writers. They are fictional. They look like the actors who play them on the TV show, to the point where they can impersonate them to go into the TV studio.

    And then they become real. And their actions have real consequences which are explored beautifully in the codas.

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