Lock In a Finalist for the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel

This makes it a nice Monday, for sure.

Even better, it’s with an amazing peer group of novels and writers. The entire category:

The Peripheral, William Gibson (Putnam; Viking UK)
Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu (Tor)
Lock In, John Scalzi (Tor; Gollancz)
Annihilation/Authority/Acceptance, Jeff VanderMeer (FSG Originals; Fourth Estate; HarperCollins Canada)

Also amazing: The Fantasy category:

The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Tor)
Steles of the Sky, Elizabeth Bear (Tor)
City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett (Broadway; Jo Fletcher)
The Magician’s Land, Lev Grossman (Viking; Arrow 2015)
The Mirror Empire, Kameron Hurley (Angry Robot US)

The Young Adult and First Novel categories are likewise packed with fantastic writers and work. Indeed, the entire Locus finalist list this year is really high quality. You can find the whole list here.

Congratulations to all the finalists!

57 Comments on “Lock In a Finalist for the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel”

  1. Likely due to the fact that a small coterie of black lesbians in wheelchairs control the Locus Award, which is odd given that any rando with web access can vote, for free.

  2. I thought the Wheelchair-Lesbian Cabal was super-secret. How did *you* find out about it, Nick?

    Delighted for Scalzi, and pleased to see Robert Jackson Bennett on the fantasy list, and Darryl Gregory for “We’re all completely fine.”

    (So, is this basically the list you get when fans just, like, vote?)

  3. Now, see, that’s a list of finalists that I had expected to see this year. Although, obv., John is an affirmative action nom because he’s so gay. ;-)

  4. John — If you’re comfortable doing so, would you care to share which works from your peers who are also nominated you have already had a chance to read? Not trying to get you to rate the works — I’m just curious which ones had already caught your own personal interest before today.

  5. Monte01:

    I’ve read all of them (they were all sent along to me, except maaaaaybe The Peripheral, which I have so I must have bought it).

    Let me put it this way: I don’t expect to win the award this year. Wouldn’t mind, would be nice, but not expecting it with this crowd. But I’d have a hard time guessing who will win. Which is in this case a sign of an excellent finalist slate.

  6. Maybe you might have taken a Locus home in a different year. Lock In is by far my favorite of your books, partly for the x-genre appeal–I enjoy mysteries and SF, and I thought Lock In succeeded at being engaging to both of my inner audiences. That said, last year had so many great novels come out that it’s a tough, tough race.

  7. I must agree that Lock-In, amazing as it is, has some pretty stiff competition. If I had to bet, I’d probably put my money on The Three-Body Problem – but only if I *had* to bet.

  8. On the subject of Three-Body, is there an award category available for Ken (as opposed to Cixin) Liu for the translation?

  9. There are tons of awards only for translations, by public, private, and academic orgs. The PEN award needs to be nominated in the current publication year, so Liu is already locked out for 3BP.

  10. Conspiracy! Angry wimmens! Blah, blah, blah.

    I’m founding my own publishing house in Outer Mongolia to confound your maniacal efforts Scalzi!

  11. @markjreed, I introduced Lock In to a friend on the basis of it being a police procedural, and she thoroughly enjoyed it.

  12. Congrats, this is a tough year to be up for it. Marion has a great point about getting it into other categories.

  13. Congratulations – that is an amazing slate and I know you’re just happy to be a part of it.

  14. Congrats on the nomination, but personally, I want Ancillary Sword to win. It was a brilliant follow-up to Ancillary Mercy. I’ll admit I haven’t read the Peripheral, but VanderMeer lost some of my interest during book 2, Three Body Problem had pacing issues (though I did like it as a whole), and though Lock In was entertaining, it’s not my favorite Scalzi book.

  15. A quality list indeed! Something we’re unlikely to see from the Hugos any time soon…

  16. Congratulations. I hope to see more in this particular universe from you.

  17. I’ve read Lock In, Ancillary Sword and the VanderMeer. They were all very good, but I think I got most pleasure out of Lock In. If that’s an allowable criterion.

  18. I’m glad to see Lev Grossman in there. There seemed to be years when none of my friends had heard of him.

  19. Thank you for the response John, and congratulations. I really hope this list spurns positive discussion of SF/F generally, including current offerings. For the same reason, I enjoyed your list of recommended readings posted last week — and I hope others, whatever their ideological bents, will take a moment to appreciate the immense effort and wealth of creativity that goes into producing works like yours and all the others on these lists of nominees.

  20. Gully Foyle

    I fear Outer Mongolia is no longer available; they’ve set up a reciprocity agreement with a women’s cooperative which has guaranteed total freedom not to use the million or so nomads to take over the world.


    Shrewd people, I think you’ll agree…

  21. David Evans — based on your comment, you’ll probably be very pleased to learn (if you didn’t already know) that SyFy just announced that it is going to produce a new series based on Grossman’s “The Magicians” series, to star Jason Ralph.

  22. I’m reminded yet again about why I hate the one year cycle for book awards. All these great books that are still in hardback, so I can’t afford them, so I can’t read them and vote. Oh well, silver lining, I can add them to my watch list.

  23. I actually expected Lock In to be nominated for a Hugo. But I guess we all know where that went.

  24. The ones I’ve read – Ancillary Sword and the Goblin Emperor – they are not competing but of the two I’d vote for the Goblin Emperor – just because it appeals to me more

    Both I bought on Kindle because of the Big Ideas (the Big Idea was for Ancillary Justice originally).

    Was not aware originally that Katherine Addison was also Sarah Monette but also loved the Melusine series

    Which is to say I read all kinds of novels (and will read lock-in when it comes down in price on kindle) but I love-love angsty novels with a sci-fi plus fantasy elements and retro (nowadays they call it steam-punk) feeling with characters torn between different poles Or not retro but so alien all the rules are out.. And when they throw out rules (gender, kinship, even morality) then mash them up and reform them.

    Currently reading C. J. Cherryh’s newest Foreigner book.

  25. Well, I’ve got Scalzi on this one vs. Ancillary Sword. Those are the only two I have read so far and I give extra points for a new novel, versus a sequel. And, dang it, Ancillary Sword is actually in My Favorite Genre (TM): Space Opera, even Military Space Opera. AND it dealt with a topic I really find intruiging: identity uniqueness after we can all upload our consciousnesses. But, Lock In was one of those I read only on the weight of having liked other things by the author, and otherwise would not match my taste in SF. Maybe what got me was the mystery aspect. I do like mystery and/or crime procedural mixed into my SF. Dang it, Scalzi, stop tearing down my carefully built edifice of what I do and don’t like. Who do you think you are rearranging my comfort zone with your entertaining novels?

    (grumbles off to look into the other nominees)

  26. Yeah, probably a good year to consider it an honor just to be nominated. Not that Lock-In wasn’t a good book, but that’s pretty serious competition (I’ve also added a couple of books to my “must read” list, so that’s good. Or bad. Probably good, but it’s not like I had loads of free time to begin with).

  27. Now that’s a line-up! I’ve read only 3 of the 5 (Lock In, Ancillary Sword, and A/A/A) with the other two already on my horrifically long ‘to-read’ list. I don’t even know what I’d pick to win between the three I’ve read, but I’m really glad that they all exist so that I could enjoy them.

  28. I’ve actually read all 5 of the sf nominees (which is rare for me, I’m normally years behind the awards), and while I enjoyed all of them, I thought that “The Peripheral” was head and shoulders above the rest, and one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I give 5 stars to less than 1% of the books I read, but “The Peripheral” was an easy 5 stars.

  29. That’s a great slate for best science fiction novel. I’m especially happy to see “The Peripheral” there, as it’s got to be the best thing Gibson has written in years. But why am I not seeing any love for “Station Eleven”? I thought it was flat-out excellent.

  30. That is a great collection of books. I can’t argue with most of them. Probably leaning towards The Three Body Problem for the win, but it really could go to any of them. About the only one I have any problem with is Half a King, but that’s really just because it rubbed me the wrong way.

  31. Congratulations, John! That’s a stellar lineup to be a part of.

  32. Bob, everyone I know who had read Station Eleven has raved about it, I’m surprised to not see it on the list, too. But which one would it knock off? None of them seem appropriate to remove, which I guess shows the abundance of excellent books that were published last year.

  33. monte01: I really hope this list spurns positive discussion of SF/F generally, including current offerings.

    I really hope you meant “spawns”.

  34. I thought VanderMeer accomplished exactly what he set out to do in THE SOUTHERN REACH Trilogy, but my experience was more of admiring a perfectly crafted, intricate machine than engaging with a story.

  35. Lara, how is your local library system/interlibrary loan system? I have read, or seen on the shelves, most of these books myself; I don’t buy a book unless I’ve read and liked it already, so almost all my new reads are from the library.

  36. I see “The Martian” didn’t make it. Is it a rule issue like with the Hugos?

  37. It’s interesting that ‘Rogues’ was deliberately structured to break down genre divisions and yet obviously the voters were fine with that; John’s ‘Lock-In’ can’t be neatly classified either, and the voters liked that too.

    I expect to see more and more of these sorts of books since people voting with their wallets don’t appear to want the sort of purist tracts which the puppies assure us are what the people with wallets really want…

  38. What a wonderful list. I would be torn between the Southern Reach Trilogy and The Three Body Problem–sorry, Mr. Scalzi :( And in fantasy, Mirror Empire for sure–it blew me awayyyyyy! I think I will think of this as the Hugo’s this year, and maybe next year, until rules are changed or it somehow gets sorted out.

  39. Off topic: I just realized your little quote at the top of the blog says “taunting the tauntable”–all this time I had thought it said “taunting the tauntaun . . . ” and always wondered what you had against those excellent beasts.

  40. David Langford — (laughing) — yes, I meant “spawns.” Wow, talk about a really, really unfortunate typographical error. That will teach me to use the “Preview” function more wisely. Thank you for catching that, and giving me the benefit of the doubt. I hope others did too.

  41. Sincere congratulations – I had a feeling this was coming (…a comment a while back, I mentioned Lock In with a *wink*), and I would hope it’s a rewarding feeling to be on such a strong list; your peers strength mirrors your own and so on.

    Sadly, I have money on another author winning, but them’s the breaks.

  42. Walked into my local library yesterday to drop off a CD, decided to go look for what’s in the stacks under “Sc”…..found “Lock In”, so naturally, I walked on looking at other books….just kidding, of COURSE, I checked it out. Somewhere near Chapter 7 now, IIRC…..maybe further….it was late last night when I closed the book and turned out the light……

  43. As a humorous aside to our host – you can tell you’ve made the Literary Elite Illuminati [tm] because your name is typeset at least three times larger than the book title.


    Gibson – a solid size up, but better yet, it’s either side of the title (and yes, the superfluous “a novel” ruining the mirror effect annoys me slightly):


    Cixin Liu barely scrapes font size 10, and his translator gets a plug with only a slightly smaller font, and states his achievements as an incentive (and yes, I understand the importance of a good translator, especially in non-Romantic languages) all in a scrawl on the front cover:


    Leckie is almost there, with just a slightly smaller size :


    VanderMeer – goes with an artistic flourish (no name!), however somewhat spoilt by the back page requiring multiple ‘heavy’ hitting’ recommendations (mostly from US newspapers, which is a bit meh, although he got a S.K. one).


    Someone run a sweepstake on statistical size of author font (pre-award covers only!) and eventual winners for the last twenty years to see the real cabal.