Locus awards go to Ann Leckie, Naomi Novik and other stars

Prestigious science fiction and fantasy prizes also honour work by Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman and George RR Martin

Ann Leckie and Naomi Novik won the top two prizes at this weekend’s Locus awards, with George RR Martin, Neil Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett also honoured at the Seattle ceremony.

Leckie took the Locus award for best science fiction novel for Ancillary Mercy, the conclusion of her story about Breq, a soldier who carries within her the intelligence systems of a now-destroyed starship. The trilogy’s first part, Ancillary Justice, won Leckie the Hugo, Nebula and Arthur C Clarke awards, and was hailed for the distinctive voice in which it was told – Breq refers to all characters as “she”, regardless of their gender.

Novik’s Uprooted, which won best fantasy novel, is set in a land blighted by a dark, enchanted forest, and is also in the running for the Hugo award and the British Fantasy Society award.

The prestigious Locus prizes, which are voted for by the American speculative fiction magazine’s readership, have been running for more than 40 years, and have gone to authors including Isaac Asimov, Gene Wolfe and Ursula K Le Guin in the past.

This year, Pratchett took the prize for best young adult novel for his final Discworld book, The Shepherd’s Crown. Gaiman, with whom Pratchett co-wrote the comic fantasy novel Good Omens, won two Locus awards, with his story Black Dog taking best novelette, and his short story collection Trigger Warning winning the best collection prize.

Old Venus, the anthology of science fiction writing edited by Martin and Gardner Dozois, won the best anthology award. In a note sent to be read at this weekend’s ceremony, Martin said that “the real credit belongs to our writers, who gave us such amazing stories”.

“Nonetheless, we plan on keeping the plaque for ourselves. Two years ago, the readers of Locus honoured Old Mars as best anthology. This year Old Venus. It’s very gratifying to know that the readers still appreciate new anthologies of old stuff … that is, new old stuff … well, you know what I mean … put together by old grey editors who were new young turks just yesterday. Keep your eyes out for Old Uranus, coming to a bookstore near you soon,” said the novelist.

He was quick to add on his blog that this was only a joke, for now. “Before the crazy internet rumours start flying, I had better say that I was only kidding about Old Uranus. I do want to do some more books with Gardner, but not until I have subdued the Son of Kong,” wrote Martin, referring to the sixth novel in his Game of Thrones fantasy series, the yet-to-be-completed Winds of Winter, which he has described as the monkey on his back.

The Hugo awards, which have proved controversial after the shortlists were once again filled with nominations lobbied for by rightwing campaigners, will unveil their winners in August.


Alison Flood

The GuardianTramp

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