Thoughtful Thursday: The 2019 Locus Awards: Short fiction

The Nebula Awards are in our rearview, and next up are the Locus Awards, leading us into Hugo Season!

The Locus Weekend will be held in Seattle, Washington, on June 28-30, 2019.

The Locus Awards have lots of categories, so I am focused on the short fiction this week and in a few weeks we’ll discuss the novels.

Click the title links below to read our reviews and on the author links to visit our page for the author. I’ve included the cover art for some of our favorites.

Who do you think will win the Locus Award in these categories?
Answer below for a chance to win a book from our stacks.


The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí ClarkThe Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de BodardArtificial Condition by Martha WellsThe Descent of Monsters by J.Y. Yang


“The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections” by Tina Connolly“How to Swallow the Moon” by Isabel Yap, Uncanny“Queen Lily” by Theodora Goss, Lightspeed


“The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington” by P. Djeli Clark“A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” by Alix E. HarrowHow Long ‘Til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin“Firelight” by Ursula K. Le Guin“The Starship and the Temple Cat” by Yoon Ha Lee

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Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town. You can read her blog at, and follow her on Twitter: @mariond_d.

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  1. John Smith /

    I think maybe JY Yang’s “The Descent of Monsters” will win for best novella!

  2. Von Berry /

    Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells for Best Novella.
    Okay, Glory by Elizabeth Bear for Best Novelette.
    Firelight by Ursula K. Le Guin for Best Short Story.

  3. Short Story: The Storyteller’s Replacement by N.K. Jemisin

  4. Noneofyourbusiness /

    Virtually all of these seem like good contenders, but I’m most drawn to say “The Descent of Monsters” and “The Only Harmless Great Thing”.

  5. As the person in charge of this site’s short fiction review column, SHORTS, I’m happy to say I’ve read most of the nominees (6 of the novellas, 5 of the novelettes, and all but 2 of the short stories). There are some really excellent nominees – it’s hard to pick just one favorite in each category! But personally my favorites were:

    Novella: “The Black God’s Drums” (honorable mentions to “Tea Master,” “Lucky Peach” and both Wells novellas)
    Novelette: Tossup between “Queen Lily” and “Last Banquet” (honorable mention to “Nine Last Days on Planet Earth”).
    Short story: “Secret Lives of Nine Negro Teeth” and “A Witch’s Guide to Escape” (honorable mentions to “STET” and “The Starship and the Temple Cat”)

  6. The Distinguished Professor /

    As Tadiana Jones said above, “The Tea Master and the Detective”, “Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach” and “The Black God’s Drums” also seem like good choices for novella. I heard the author read a bit from the former.

  7. Margo /

    It’s always safe to guess the Nebula winners. Not always right, but safe. So, Tea Master for novella, although I wouldn’t be surprised or upset if the Black God’s Drums or Descent of Monsters won. I really liked How to Swallow the Moon, but this may be the year for Harmless Great Things. And finally, the Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of GW gets my vote for inventiveness (and parallel structure)!

  8. Lady Morar /

    Of course, it would be nice for Ursula le Guin’s “Fireflight” to win Short Story after her passing.

  9. Yagiz /

    – The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark
    – “No Flight Without the Shatter” by Brooke Bolander
    – “Firelight” by Ursula K. Le Guin

  10. I have NO idea what is going to win, but here are my guesses:

    Best Novella: Time Was by Ian McDonald
    Best Short Story: “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington” by P. Djèlí Clark
    Best Novellette: “Quality Time” by Ken Liu

  11. SandyG /

    Since I’ve Gotten away from reading short fiction I haven’t read any of the nominees but it’d be nice for Ursula K LeGuin to win

  12. I like all of Yang’s work. Of the Murderbot Diaries I preferred All Systems Red to Rogue Protocol even though it was good too.

    • Personally my favorites of the four Murderbot novellas were these middle two, Artificial Condition and Rogue Protocol.

  13. Sethia /

    Unfortunately I haven’t read any of these, but some of those covers are gorgeous!

    • Several of the nominated short stories are free online (links to the stories are in the original reviews linked above). I’d especially recommend checking out the four short stories that I mention in my comment above.

  14. Rachel /

    Fingers crossed for Tea Master and the Detective!

  15. Von Berry, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

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